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Mark Timothy J. Libunao is a 32-year old registered Medical Technologist, a father to a 5-year old amiable and smart little boy and a husband to a registered Physical Therapist. He is an accomplished campus journalist, student leader, businessman, salesman and most of all, a loving father and husband, an obedient son, a caring brother, a very loyal and dear friend.

An Editor-in-Chief of his high school and college publications, a student council president for three years in college, a volunteer grade school teacher and a social mobilizer who was able to spearhead various community projects in Quezon City. He led several national organizations including the Quezon City Red Cross Youth Council, College Editors' Guild of the Philippines, Jesuit Volunteers of the Philippines and Philippine Society of Medical Technology Students. His glorious years came when he was elected as a student commissioner of the National Youth Commission under the Office of the President of the Philippines last 2002 and 2003. He worked and was designated as the Chief Medical Technologist of Murphy Diagnostic & Multi-Specialty Center and Hope Medical & Multi-Specialty Center in Quezon City before he entered medical school.

He is the eldest son of Mr. Freddie Mandario Libunao & Mrs. Ma. Sonia Jaleco Jesena of Hughes St., Maasin, Iloilo. He has two siblings: Bryan Paul graduated with a Masters Degree in Integrated Marketing and Communications in the University of Asia and the Pacific and Maria Mikaela who is a second year Medical Technology student of Centro Escolar University.

His wife, Ma. Theresa Acay of Marikina City is a registered Physical Therapist while his son Mikhail Thaddeus is a pre-school pupil of Jesus Christ Saves Global Outreach Christian Academy (JCA) in Quezon City.

He finished his grade school and high school in Ateneo de Iloilo (formerly Santa Maria Catholic School). He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Medical Technology in World Citi Colleges and was awarded as the Most Outstanding Intern of the Year of Philippine Heart Center & World Citi Medical Center. He is presently on his third year Post Graduate course as Doctor of Medicine in Far Eastern University - Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation where he served as the Treasurer of the Medicine Student Council last 2007 and 2009. He was a former faculty of the KATINKO Wellness Institute Foundation Inc. where he taught Anatomy & Physiology, Massage Economics, Microbiology, Parasitology and Public Hygiene to Massage Therapists. Presently, he is one of the board of directors of Healthville Inc., a wellness company he co-founded with his brother.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ever wondered how Iloilo became the QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH? The title is a a moniker of the previously bestowed decree by the Queen Regent Maria Cristina of Spain in 1896:

Such title was too long for the new American administrators of Iloilo to use in their official transactions with other English-speaking countries that Iloilo transacts business with. An English description was therefore coined to introduce Iloilo especially to the Australian merchants who are the chief buyers of Iloilo's sugar shipment.
Hence the title QUEEN REGENT'S CITY IN THE SOUTH was born in 1901 after the Americans assumed government power in Iloilo.

The constant use of the long title used to describe Iloilo went on until a new one came out to simplify the writing of articles in sugar shipment manifesto and other political documentation.
Hence the title QUEEN'S CITY IN THE SOUTH.

With the sugar industry flourishing even more that catapulted Iloilo's economy to enormous heights and with the American Government pouring in enormous political and economic functions to the city, Iloilo became the second major seat of power during that time with all administrative functions channeling from Iloilo & Manila only. No other province in the south was as important historically and politically and as progressive as Iloilo.
Hence the title QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH sprung out.

The QUEEN CITY OF THE SOUTH title was then made as Iloilo's official nickname when Iloilo was legally declared a city for the second time by the virtue of the Commonwealth Act No. 158 in 1937.

In 1886, the Philippine Islands were divided into two provinces only,
After the proclamation of the two provinces, Manila adopted the red ensign of 1845
while Iloilo used a new white and blue ensign.

The book written by the Augustinian Father Policarpio Hernandez titled "ILOILO, The Most Noble City: History and Development 1566-1898." narrates the circumstances of how Iloilo City won for itself the accolade "La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad de Iloilo"

"When Andres Bonifacio's Katipunan launched the revolt against Spain at the outskirts of Manila on 30 August 1896, the Ilongo elite was caught by surprise. They immediately responded with protestations of outrage and affirmed their loyalty to Mother Spain. The Ilongos themselves were united in their support of Spain during the first two years of the revolutionary period, nipping in the bud local separatist movements and eventually battling the troops of General Emilio Aguinaldo.

A few days after the Cry of Balintawak, the Jaro Ayuntamiento, comprised entirely of native Ilongos, convened in a special session on 1 September. It condemned the Manila uprising as an unpatriotic act 'that finds no echo in the hearts of the Jarenos.' Iloilo towns also condemned the Manila uprising, and the neighboring provinces of Capiz, Antique and the Negros Island followed suit. Emboldened by this outpouring of love and loyalty toward Spain, the Ilongo elite, with the backing of the Spanish and foreign communities of Iloilo, initiated the organization of loyal volunteers in the region to be sent to quell the Tagalog rebellion. Five hundred native troops volunteered and an Ilongo Volunteer Battalion was formed under the cadre of mostly Spanish officers.

With enthusiasm compensating for their poor military training, the Ilongo Volunteers gathered at Plaza Alfonso XII (present-day Plaza Libertad) for blessings prior to their departure to Manila. A massive overflow of pro-Spanish patriotism marked the occasion that was attended, in full force, by local Spanish authorities and the Iloilo Ayuntamiento.

As per report of the Diario de Manila, the Ilongo Volunteers embarked on the ship Brutus as folk heroes, cheered by the people who sent them off en masse. Bishop Leandro Arrue and the city officials, led by Governor Ricardo Monet, joined the multitude that wished the Ilongo volunteers luck in their fight for the Mother Country.

The seal was made after Maria Cristina, Queen Regent of Spain declared Iloilo a city,
the first ever Philippine locale that was officially declared a city.
The declaration was made long before Cebu and Manila became a city

Divided into two companies, the Volunteer Battalion arrived in Manila on 16 January 1897. It easily became one of the largest native contingent to serve the government forces against the insurgent soldiers of General Emilio Aguinaldo in the battlegrounds of Cavite province. Regular financial contributions, mainly from the families of the Ilongo elite, supported the Ilongo Volunteers throughout their years of service. The first fund raising campaign in March 1897 generated some 1,615 pesos. Among the leading contributors were Felix de la Rama and Eugenio Lopez, as well as other urban elite families from both Iloilo and Jaro. Before this, as per the report of Diario de Manila, some 40,000 pesos had already been collected when the Ilongo Battalion embarked for Manila, 'an amount at the time that would last them for four months.....'

As expected, the Ilongo Volunteers established for themselves a distinguished combat record in the battles of Cavite against Aguinaldo's revolutionary forces. Once the pact of Biak-na-Bato was signed, the Battalion returned to Iloilo on April 1898. Just like their departure, their homecoming galvanized the people into more public outpourings and manifestations of pro-Spanish loyalty and patriotism.

The Spanish Crown did not let the effort of the Ilongos go unheralded. Queen Maria Cristina issued a special royal decree, dated 10 March 1898, which awarded Iloilo City the perpetual title La Muy Noble Ciudad for its exemplary conduct, its laudable actions during the Tagalog insurrection, and for being the first in organizing, arming and supporting the Ilongo Volunteers.

Such filial devotion of the Ilongos to the Mother Country was understandable. Their allegiance to Spanish rule was a form of loyalty at once comprehensible. Allowed a more liberal degree of local autonomy by the Maura administration reforms of 1893, the leaders of Iloilo, Jaro and the other towns of Panay and Negros thought the uprising and revolt against Spanish rule were preposterous. Involved as they were in the development of Iloilo and Negros, enjoying the prosperity of the sugar boom during the past decades, the Ilongos had always considered themselves part of Spain, their grievances against the Mother Country nil."

In other words, the Spanish honorific "La Muy Leal y Noble Ciudad" which has fostered a certain distinction and a sense of "home-town" pride among Iloilo City natives is in fact really an award given by Spain for their act of "betrayal" as many people of today would claim against the fight for Philippine nationhood.

Iloilo was legally declared a city for the second time in 1937 by the virtue of
the Commonwealth Act No. 158.
This was the time when the new city seal (above) was used.

With all that has been negatively said about that act, I still don't consider it an act of betrayal since the Philippines were not united then and Iloilo was just blessed enough to have been free or minimally affected by the Spanish oppression. The act therefore made by the Ilonggos in siding with Spain was just an initial reactionary move since Spain was so good to all of Iloilo.

Fortunately as the years pass, Iloilo has awakened from the supposed hypnotic effect of Spain and many Ilonggos begin to fight the oppression. In fact, the very people who fought side by side with the Spaniards are the very ones fight against them.

Many of the Ilonggos who initially sided with Spain were recognized and honored by the National Historical Institute for the massive revolutionary movement that they have established against Spain.

In fact many Ilonggos later on joined with the national revolutionary movement.
Gen. Pablo S. Araneta of the Revolutionary Government of Visayas.
Gen. Marciano S. Araneta of the cantonal Government in Negros.
Don Gregorio S. Araneta of the Malolos Republic.

The National Historical Institute (NHI) recognized the patriotic contributions of afore-mentioned Ilonggo Heroes with the installation of Statues and/or Historical Markers in their honor.


Gen. Martin T. Delgado - Sta. Barbara Plaza-Iloilo
Gen. Pablo S. Araneta - Molo (Convent) Plaza-Iloilo City
Gen. Aniceto L. Lacson - Talisay Plaza-Negros Occidental
Gen. Juan A. Araneta - Bago Plaza-Negros Occidental
Gen. Marciano S. Araneta - La Carlota Plaza-Negros Occidental
Don Gregorio S. Araneta - R.Hidalgo Street Quiapo-Manila
Gen. Pantaleon S. Villegas - Carcar Plaza, Cebu
Gen. Leandro L. Fullon - San Jose Plaza-Antique

The title may have been associated with an act many people of today would consider treacherous nevertheless, the same people who committed such "treacherous" act are the most instrumental people in helping Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo win the fight.

To honor the valiant help of the Ilonggos and the people of Panay, the second of the 3 stars in the Philippine flag was meant not for the entire Visayas but for the island of Panay only.