Wednesday 21 February 2024

Philippine History - CHAPTER 29: Don Miguel Jose Ossorio and How He Started Victorias Milling Company

In Chapter 28, the historical timeline started with Don Miguel Jose Ossorio’s plans to set up a centrifugal mill in Manapla after his visit to Negros Island. In the book “Victorias – A History in Pictures”, published by the Victorias Milling Company, Don Miguel recounted on March 1, 1950, the year he turned 60, the origins of his sugar mills. In this Chapter, I share that story as told by Don Miguel himself while adding notes of information and explanations for better understanding.

This is Don Miguel’s story:

When Don Miguel was working as a director of Hogar Filipino, a company that provided loans to businesses in the Philippines, they wanted to visit the Negros Island with the intention of providing loans to local hacienderos who needed more capital for their sugar business . This was in 1916 when mortgages in Manila had become limited; they had to explore elsewhere.

So, Hogar Filipino appointed Don Miguel, then just 26 years old, as part of the three-man committee who would travel to the Negros Island; this was his first trip to Negros. The other two men were Don Antonio Melian, the founder of Hogar Filipino, and Jose Reguera, Hogar’s representative in Iloilo. The gentlemen engaged a certain Mr. Blanco to help them appraise sugar estates that would be used as collateral by the hacienderos for their loans. Mr. Blanco was the administrator of Hacienda Progreso in Isabela.

The first prospective borrower was Don Esteban de la Rama, a wealthy haciendero, who wanted to borrow P600,000 by offering 2,500 hectares of his land in Bago and a mill that produced centrifugal sugar. Don Esteban’s two-year old mill was manufactured by Blair, Campbell and Maclean, and was erected by him with the help of his mechanic. Don Esteban also offered warehouses he owned in Iloilo as well as a building next to the Sta. Cruz Bridge in Manila. The term of Don Esteban’s loan was 20 years.

This trip, according to Don Miguel, “proved to be a turning point in my business career” as he never thought about the sugar business because he had never set foot in the Negros Island before. In his meeting with Don Esteban, Don Miguel asked a lot of questions about the sugar business that gave him encouragement and ideas about venturing into this industry. He also learned that the Negros Island needed sugar mills and capitalists who were willing to take the risks of ordering machinery, especially that war was going on in Europe. That time, the local sugar planters were just producing muscovado sugar and were losing money because muscovado was no longer in demand; the world market was shifting to centrifugal sugar.

(NOTE: Most machines for the sugar centrals that time were ordered from Europe, specifically from Scotland, since the 1860s with the help of the British vice-consul, Nicolas Loney, who was based in Iloilo and who saw the potential both in the importation of steam-powered mills for sugar manufacturing and the export of sugar directly from Iloilo, rather than letting the product pass through Manila. He later partnered with the Scottish merchants Ker and Co., naming their firm Loney, Ker and Co. Nicolas Loney, who spoke Spanish, is credited as having modernized sugar manufacturing; the ‘Muelle Loney’ in Iloilo City was named after him. Don Miguel described the machines of Don Esteban de la Rama as having been manufactured by Blair, Campbell and Maclean, a Scottish manufacturer that must have supplied machines in Panay and Negros on credit for decades since the time of Nicolas Loney. World War I, that hampered importation of machines from Europe, started on July 28, 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918).

Mr. Blanco advised Don Miguel that, if ever he wanted to put up a sugar mill himself, the best place would be in Manapla on the northern part of the Negros Island. According to Mr. Blanco, Manapla was ideal because of steady rainfall that would allow the planting of sugar cane all-year round. Don Miguel then asked Mr. Blanco to bring him to Manapla after he was done with his professional duties in Iloilo, where Hogar Filipino also gave out loans to Mr. Guillermo Gomez, a collector of Customs in Iloilo, and his brother, Mr. Felipe Gomez, the chief of police in Iloilo, and Mr. Jose Gan, an agriculturist who received education in the US. Hogar Filipino lent money to this gentlemen for them to buy the hacienda of the Uruquijo Family in La Carlota; the said hacienda was later named San Jose. They also some of their real estate in Iloilo as collateral.

After completing his tasked as an officer of Hogar Filipino and after he was left alone in Negros Island by Don Antonio Melian who went back to Manila, Don Miguel went to visit Manapla with Mr. Blanco. While staying at Hacienda Bilbao owned by Don Benjamin Gamboa, Don Miguel on horseback visited Hacienda Begoña that was recently purchased by Ruperto Mendieta and who was building a home there, and Balolan where Don Miguel eventually built a wharf in 1918. During these visits, Don Miguel was learning everything he could about the sugar business and was envisioning his plans for planting sugarcane, milling them into sugar, and finally shipping the finished product out of the Island to be sold.
(NOTE: Don Miguel must have stayed at the home of Don Benjamin Gamboa where he later built the Gamboa Mansion; read link below to read about the burning of that Gamboa Mansion by the retreating Japanese soldiers on the last months of World War II).




Don Miguel also visited three muscovado mills in operation during his ‘educational tour’, some of these visits were during September’s drizzly weather. Some mills he tried to visit were shut down as the milling season then started in December and ended in May. And as early as this visit, he asked Mr. Blanco to gather the sugar planters owning adjacent lands so that he could convince them to sign up for preliminary milling contracts to mill on a 50-50 basis for a minimum of 250 days, the details of which were patterned from the contracts used by San Carlos Milling Company that had been in operation for three years at that time. These planters were in need of a centrifugal sugar mill as focusing on producing muscovado sugar, which was now unsaleable, would bankrupt their businesses.

After studying the sugar business and learning all he could during his trip, he immediately went back to Manila and saw the president of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, Don Eliseo Sendres, who actually knew something about ‘Manapla’ because, when Don Miguel told him that he fell in love with Negros Island and was determined to put up a 300-ton sugar mill in Manapla, Don Eliseo’s reaction was positive and agreed that ‘Manapla’ was the place to be. Don Eliseo signified to Don Miguel that his bank would help him in his venture and even wanted to invest P10,000 of his own money should Don Miguel eventually incorporate.

Now having a bank supporting his business plans, Don Miguel went to look for manufacturers who could build the mill. As European manufacturers were out of the question because of the ongoing World War I there, Don Miguel negotiated with a US company, Castle Brothers Wolf and Sons, who were represented in Manila by Honolulu Iron Works, a company that also supplied machines to other sugar mills. The company sent an engineer named Powrie to travel to Manapla in order to draw plans for a 300-ton sugar mill that would include 12 kilometers of narrow gauge railroad, warehouses, and buildings for the mill; these were all estimated to cost P1,200,000. Don Miguel was able to put up P700,000 with the balance of P500,000 to be financed by the manufacturers themselves bearing an 8% interest. On December 23, 1916, Don Miguel signed the order to purchase the machinery at the offices of Castle Brothers.
In December 1917, Don Miguel formally established North Negros Sugar Company, or NONSUCO, in Manapla, and on August 1, 1918, its mill became operational just when the sugar prices began to rise; the prices steadily rose until 1920.
Seeing that Don Miguel’s business was going to be profitable, Mr. Ramon Diaz, his friend who happened to be a bond broker, must have introduced Don Miguel to the management of a new bank, Philippine Trust Company (PTC), which was established in October 1916, in order for Don Miguel to get more capital for NONSUCO. NONSUCO successfully issued a P600,000 bond with 8% interest and a term of 20 years that was then purchased by Philippine Trust Company at 99. (The Philippine Trust Company would later become one of the oldest banks in the Philippines, alongside Bank of the Philippine Islands and Philippine National Bank).

NONSUCO’s P600,000 bonds were later sold by PTC to “the Friars” for 105.

(NOTE: In bond transactions, this means that when PTC bought the bonds from NONSUCO at 99, PTC earned a discount of 1% of the bond’s par value of P600,000. PTC paid NONSUCO P594,000 (99% of P600,000), and when PTC later sold it to the Friars for 105 of the bond’s par value, PTC received P630,000 (105% of P600,000. In total, PTC earned P36,000 from the two transactions of NONSUCO’s bonds).

(NOTE: “The Friars” referred to by Don Miguel must have been the confraternities who ran the Obras Pias, a charitable institution created by the Spaniards in 1827 to receive donations that would be used for charitable, religious and educational purposes. This organization was formally converted into a bank in 1828 but was only established in 1851 as El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel II, or Banco Español Filipino, for short. During the American colonial period, in 1912, it officially changed its name to Bank of the Philippine Islands, or Banco de las Islas Filipinos, and was later privatized.)

A year later, Mr. Phil C. Whitaker, the president of PTC helped NONSUCO issue another bond of P900,000 with a two-year term to finance the doubling of NONSUCO’s milling capacity. This was proof that the banks then had taken notice of the profitability of the sugar industry in the Negros Island and was willing to help provide capital to any sugar mill’s expansion plans, including those of Don Miguel’s NONSUCO.

As NONSUCO’s capacity had doubled, Don Miguel negotiated with the hacienderos of Victorias, courting them to mill their sugarcane with him. The sugar planters of Silay and Saravia that time were sending their sugarcane to the Hawaiian-Philippine Company that also opened in 1918-1919. Don Miguel promised the Victorias sugar planters, that included the Benedictos, Montinolas, Ascalons, Gonzagas, Ditchings, Lopezes, and the Gastons, that NONSUCO would extend its railroad network to the Victorias area in order to transport their produce to the Manapla sugar mill. He also committed that, in case their sugarcane could not be accommodated in Manapla, he would build a separate sugar mill in Victorias for them. This decision of one man, Don Miguel Jose Ossorio, singlehandedly impacted the economic, political, social, cultural and environmental aspects of the town of Victorias.

Don Miguel, in order to convince the Victorias planters, offered them 45-55 contract and the option to purchase 25% of the stock of a company he would establish Victorias Milling Company (VMC). Some of them purchased stocks worth P200,000. Those conditions and the steady rise of sugar prices in the world market forced the planters to expand and plant more sugarcane which worried Don Miguel as to whether the capacity of the Manapla sugar mill would be able to handle the rise in volume of sugarcane to be milled.

In 1920, Don Miguel and wife Paz went to Singapore to bring their sons Miguel, Luis and Jose to a boarding school there. Sending children to boarding schools were popular among rich families, although Don Miguel did not mention the name of the boarding school, except that it was the same boarding school where his mother, Doña Emilia Lapuente de Ossorio, sent him and his brothers in 1898. After Singapore, they travelled to Java, then part of Dutch East Indies, to visit the sugar mills built by the Dutch and compared the ones built by Honolulu Iron Works for him.

In June 1920, Don Miguel placed an order for a “low-type factory” for Victorias.

In 1921, the Bank of the Philippine Islands experienced financial difficulties like other banks due to the declining prices of the commodities they were financing. Due to this crisis, the Bank needed to help of the Philippine Treasury. It was then Governor-General Leonard Wood (this was now the American colonial period) who told the Archbishop of Manila, the representative of the Catholic Church as the majority shareholder of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, that in order to receive the help needed by the Bank, the Archbishop would have to agree to the appointment of an American as its president. The governor-general appointed Mr. William T. Nolting as the Bank’s president.

Don Miguel recounted that his business relationship with William T. Nolting was difficult in the beginning as Mr. Nolting was questioning why Don Miguel’s loans with the Bank reached P3,000,000 and that the loan for the Victorias sugar mill did not even have any collateral.
Although Don Miguel reasoned to Mr. Nolting that his predecessors trusted him and believed that his sugar business would be profitable, Don Miguel had to agree to mortgage the sugar mill assets for the said loan with a term of five years. Stories that Don Miguel later heard were that some of his so-called ‘friends’ told Mr. Nolting that Don Miguel did not know anything about the sugar business and that he did not really need to put up a second sugar mill in Victorias. (This part of Don Miguel’s narration just showed that earning the trust of other businessmen, especially his fellow Spaniards at that time, was an important aspect of doing business, until certain Americans with a different mindset or who did not have an understanding of the culture came along.)

To please the Americans, Don Miguel appointed Mr. Nolting as president (probably just as a figurehead of NONSUCO) but Don Miguel was still the managing director. He then asked his friend, Mr. Alfred Cooper, to sit on the two boards of directors of both NONSUCO and VMC. Don Miguel needed to stay in Manapla for six months in order to make sure both sugar mills were managed well.

It was in 1922 when fertilizer was used and both sugar mills grew and improved their own varieties to increase production in order to be an example to the local planters who were encouraged to follow.

In 1923, the price of sugar reached P15 per picul, and in 1924, the debt to the Bank of the Philippine Island decreased to P3,000,000 after reaching P3,500,000 when the Victorias sugar mill was completed. (In 1926, this debt to the Bank was all paid off after VMC issued a US$1 million bond).

In July 1924, Don Miguel confided to his good friend, Mr. Alfred Cooper, that he wished he could travel to England with his wife, Pacita, to see their sons whom they had not seen in two years, but Don Miguel worried about how he could finance the trip. At this time, the two sugar centrals were practically new in the sugar business and were in debt. Mr. Cooper’s reaction to his wish, according to Don Miguel, “was the greatest act of friendship” ever showered upon him because Mr. Cooper told him, “Your I.O.U. up to P50,000 is good with me indefinitely.” He was willing to lend Don Miguel that amount with no rush to collect.

Don Miguel was very grateful for the gesture and decided not to borrow. Instead, he would sell 50 shares of NONSUCO at the par value of P1,000 that would still amount to P50,000. At this time, NONSUCO’s capital stock amounted to P2,000,000. According to Mr. Cooper, he believed in Don Migue’s business and it was his privilege to be an investor.

Don Miguel took the P50,000 cheque and obtained a letter of credit for US$25,000 which he would use for the trip. (That time, the exchange rate was US$1 to P2.00). Don Miguel then wired Mr. Nolting, who was also on a ship en route to the U.S., telling him that he was going to England with Doña Pacita to visit their sons.

In August 1924, the couple sailed from Manila on board SS President Garfield, taking 35 days to reach Marseille, a seaport south of France. They then took a train from Marseille, probably, to Calais, another sea port but on the northern part of France. From there, they took a boat to England and finally a train to London, where they stayed at the Grand Hotel in Trafalgar Square. In October, they flew from London to Paris on Imperial Airways. This was Doña Pacita’s first flight, and the couple did not enjoy it. (Maybe Doña Pacita suffered airsickness during the flight that ruined her first experience on a plane.) On their way back to London, they just took a train and boat.

For Christmas and New Year’s, they rented an apartment at Kensington Palace Mansions so that they could be with their sons. It must have been a wonderful Christmas for Don Miguel and his family. This was his much deserved break, and probably his reward, for all the hard work and time he put in in the planning, searching for financing and expertise, establishing, negotiating with planters and his buyers, and managing the two sugar mills since 1916.

After the New Year’s celebrations (this was now January 1925), they both traveled to Madrid and stayed at Palace Hotel. According to Don Miguel, this was his first ever visit to Madrid. (His father was born in Spain but Don Miguel was born in Manila.) There, they met up with Señora Maria Alvarez, his father’s widow from the third marriage, who visited them at their hotel with her children, Maria and Carlitos. They also met up with General Manolo Reguera, his father’s old friend and a general in the Spanish army.

Another friend they saw in Madrid was Don Eugenio de Saez Orozco, the former president of Banco Español Filipino, who was a prominent man in Manila. Don Eugenio was now retired and lived with his wife and daughter in an expensive apartment in Madrid that had a chapel. (NOTE: “Don Eugenio de Saez Orozco” was Don Eugenio del Saz-Orozo de la Oz; his wife was Doña Felisa Mortera y Camacho. He was the last Spanish mayor of Manila and a president of El Banco Español Filipino. Their son, Jose Maria, was born in Manila, and became a Capuchin monk, adopting the name Jose María de Manila. He was martyred in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War and was beatified in 2013. Blessed Jose María de Manila is now the third Filipino to have been declared blessed by the Roman Catholic Church. During that visit by Don Miguel to the apartment of the Orozcos – no mention that Jose Marîa was there as well -, they would have never imagined that 11 years later, Jose Marîa would be martyred or that someday he would be venerated as ‘Blessed’.)

Don Miguel and Doña Pacita returned to London in the late January 1925. They then sailed for New York after booking their passage through American Express. Their ship, RMS Berengaria (also known as SS Imperator) was one of the biggest ships at that time. They arrived in New York in early February and was met at the pier by Don Miguel’s business friends, Mr. John M. Switzer, Mr. Webster and Mr. Pond of the Pacific Commercial Company.

In New York, Don Miguel and Doña Pacita stayed at the Pennsylvania Hotel but later moved to Roosevelt Hotel. From there, they made a trip to Havana, Cuba, via New Orleans. In Havana, they were hosted to a lavish dinner by old friends, LTC Harman Agnew and wife, Camille O’Connor Agnew, who used to live in Manila when Harman was still a captain in the US Army. They were frequent visitors at the home of the Ossorios at Padre Faura in Manila.

In April 1925, they travelled to San Francisco by train and were met at the train station by Mr. Alfred Ehrman in a red automobile which he used as an honorary chief of the fire department. The couple stayed at Palace Hotel.

While Don Miguel was in New York, he visited the International Banking Corporation to seek help in refinancing his debt of P3,000,000 from the Bank of the Philippine Islands. He asked for US$1,500,000 but was turned away because the amount was beneath the bank’s minimum of US$10,000,000. In San Francisco, it was the same. Don Miguel and the banker he met with could not agree on the terms.

On their way home to Manila, the ship they sailed on, SS President Taft, stopped briefly in Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. John Fleming of the Pacific Trust Company met the couple and introduced Don Miguel to the presidents of four local banks to whom Don Miguel presented the financials of VMC and his quest for a loan. These meetings must have helped because in 1926, Don Miguel was able to negotiate with Pacific Trust Company through cable, meaning, through long-distance communications, for a US$1,000,000 bond issue. As Pacific Trust had an office in Manila, the paper work was completed there with the terms of 7.5% interest over 15 years and sold at 95.

Later, when Mr. Francis Greenfield, the manager of NONSUCO, was vacationing in Hawaii, a banker asked him about “Victorias”, meaning the sugar mill. Mr. Greenfield told him that the owners of Victorias were the same owners of the one he was managing and that they always put savings into their stock. These words spread around Honolulu and made VMC bonds popular, meaning, a lot of investors bought the said bonds and VMC was able to get the US$1,000,000, allowing Don Miguel to pay the Bank of the Philippine Islands his loan of P3,000,000, and to finally get William Nolting off his back, so to speak.

(NOTE: When Don Miguel came home that year, a two-day thanksgiving celebration was held for producing the first large crop of 23,743 metric tons. Also, in December 1925, NONSUCO celebrated its 8th year.)

Don Miguel recalled that he finally heaved a sigh of relief when “the day the bonds were signed was the first time I could say I was really out of the woods financially after building the two centrals at Manapla and Victorias.” He was sure then that the two sugar centrals would be able to stand on their own and pay for the bonds, while providing employment for thousands and at the same time, taking care of their families, but most of all, produce the sweetest sugar ever.

This is where Don Miguel Jose Ossorio ended his narration.
* * * * *


Don Miguel’s story above, documented in 1950, happened when the repairs and rehabilitation of the mills, trains, machines and facilities of Victorias Milling Company were already completed. VMC must have benefited from the Philippine War Damage Act of 1946 that created the Philippine Commission that paid qualified beneficiaries, including US$13.1 million to sugar centrals all over the Philippines.

Immediately after World War II was declared over and the rehabilitation started, Don Miguel’s kindness extended, not only to his employees, but also to the sugar planters and their families by letting families live in the VMC compound while they rebuilt their homes that were destroyed during the war. They included the family of Don Felix Montinola whose mansion in front of the public plaza was deliberately set on fire by the guerillas so that it would not be used by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1942. Don Miguel offered the family of Don Felix Montinola to temporarily stay at one of the houses along the so-called Palm Avenue in the VMC compound while their new house in Victorias was being built. Their friendship dated back in the early days of NONSUCO when Don Miguel 'courted' the hacienderos in the Victorias area. At one instance, Don Miguel even offered Don Felix to choose which lands the latter wanted for his sugar plantation; Don Felix declined the offer. (Read the link below about Don Felix Montinola, former mayor of Victorias).

https://apinoyinkorea.blogspot.com/2019/11/philippine-history-chapter-16-don-felix.html

In all my research, readings, conversations with locals, and analyses of the personalities, events, and deeds of the people of Victorias of the past, I concluded that there are a very few worthy of a monument built in their honor and memory. On Chapter 4 and Chapter 6 (links provided below), I concluded that CAPITANA TUTANG and former mayor, ESTEBAN JALANDONI, are worthy of having a monument built in their honor.


https://apinoyinkorea.blogspot.com/2019/11/philippine-history-chapter-6-eliodoro.html

Capitana Tutang was a legend in the 1880s for her bravery and contributed to the story about Nuestra Señora de Las Victorias. Esteban Jalandoni, who came to Victorias on July 31, 1901, to work as the municipal secretary the next day, and finally was elected mayor in 1928, served the people of Victorias and left behind his memoirs that were rich of historical records.
But also during my research, I discovered one classic example of historical negationism perpetrated by the people in position who put up a monument in the Victorias public plaza and approved an ordinance for a person they claimed donated the land where the current city hall and public plaza stand. I found out that the document (the Memoirs of Esteban Jalandoni) that they used to back up the said ‘claim’ is the same document that pointed to the northern banks of the Magnanud River as the exact location of the small land donation. And to get more evidence to prove that I was right, I wrote the National Historical Commission of the Philippines in 2019 about the ‘monument’; the Commission wrote me back telling me that they had no idea about the said person or his monument in Victorias. Let us all be vigilant about these issues that involve our history. Let’s not allow people in position to deceive us with their own version of fake history and use taxpayers’ money to perpetrate it for their own political agenda. (Read Chapter 8 and Historical Negationism on the links below).
Now, going back to Don Miguel.

After having learned about what Don Miguel had achieved as a hardworking and intelligent businessman, a generous employer, a philanthropist and a visionary, I now add DON MIGUEL JOSE OSSORIO to this list.

What he had done for VMC and its employees, Victorias and its people, business enterprises, organizations, schools, religious orders, and a lot more in the Philippines and overseas (that probably we would never know) could never be quantified nor matched by any other Victoriahanon.

He, like Nicolas Loney in Iloilo, deserves a monument standing tall and respected on a cleared plantation in Victorias. While Nicolas Loney is described as the “Father of the Sugar Industry in the Philippines”, Don Miguel is the “Godfather of Victorias.”

In the words of Mr. Claudio Luzuriaga, Jr., “Don Miguel was a fair, kind and helpful man.” A story told by Mr. Claudio Luzuriaga, Sr. was that when he had difficulty paying his loan to the bank for the amount he used to buy his Hacienda Progreso, Don Miguel paid that loan and simply told Mr. Claudio Luzuriaga, Sr. that he could pay back Don Miguel only when he was able to. Mr. Claudio Luzuriaga, Jr. also recalled that during his long-distance conversations with Don Miguel (when he was already retired and lived in Connecticut), Don Miguel would always ask, “What more can I do for my people?” This just shows his mission in life was not to make money; it was to provide, not just employment, but to look after the welfare of his employees and their families as well. Don Miguel lived the words benevolence, generosity, charity, and kindness.


Don Miguel Jose Ossorio’s parents were born in Spain; they were called peninsulares, meaning Spaniards born in the Spanish Peninsula. Since Don Miguel was born in Manila, Philippines, on October 1, 1890, he was an insular, meaning ‘from the islands’, or a Spaniard born in the Philippine islands. Don Miguel was sent to boarding schools in St. Edmund’s in Ware, England, the oldest Catholic school there, and later to the Christian Brothers School in Gibraltar. He married Maria Paz Yatco in 1910, a daughter of Don Luis Ronquillo Yatco, a rich ship owner whose fleet included 148 ships, a steamboat and Chinese junks that sailed to ports all over the country.

Don Miguel’s last visit to VMC was in 1962. He died on October 25, 1965, in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA. He was 75.

Photos and other credits: “Victorias – A History in Pictures”, Mr. David Granada, photographer, Mrs. Mona Magno-Veluz, Mrs. Aurora Delgado, ANC, California Digital Library, Ancestry.com, Duke University, U.P.-Economics Department

#history #victoriaslgu #VictoriasCity #historyblog #history #victoriasmillingcompany #VMC #sugar #historyfacts #Negros #NegrosOcc #historian #victoriashistory #PhilippineHistory #nicolasloney #muelleloney #loney #alfonsoossorio #jacksonpollock #blessedjosemariademanila #bancoespanolfilipino #BankofthePhilippineIslands #BPI

Thursday 8 February 2024

Foto-óleo: A Portrait and The Lost Art Form

I stumbled upon the exhibit (link below) of the National Museum of the Philippines titled "Larawan at Litrato: Foto-óleo and Picture Portraits of the Philippines (1891-1953) (see link below) and realized that I have seen recently this kind of a portrait somewhere at home.

National Museum - Foto-oleo exhibit

So, I inspected the 'portrait' by following the description of a foto-óleo provided by the National Museum of the Philippines. The 'portrait' is foto-óleo!😄

It's a portrait of Don Felix Montinola, former mayor of Victorias in the 1934-1940. It was during his term that the município of Victorias was built (read blog here).

His foto-óleo portrait was made by Tinsay Art Studio in Manila before World War II broke out and was brought by the family to their old home in their hacienda in Manapla when they evacuated in the early months of 1942. Before the Japanese Imperial Army arrived in Victorias on May 27, 1942, the Montinola family already brought their belongings, including family portraits and furniture, to the hacienda. 

Their original mansion in Victorias standing in front of the public plaza, like all big houses then, was eventually burned down by the Filipino guerillas to prevent the Japanese from using them. Even if the mansion was spared by the guerillas, it would still have been burned down by the Japanese soldiers themselves when they had to flee Victorias to retreat to the mountains of Silay in order to escape the US Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE).(read blog about Victorias during World War II here).

This foto-óleo portrait was done around 1939-1941, a few years before World War II, to celebrate Don Felix Montinola's mayorship in Victorias. It must have been 'ordered' by her second eldest daughter, Salud Montinola, in Manila, and their relatives there must have recommended the Tinsay Art Studio, among other studios that made the same foto-óleo art then. (Read blog about Salud Montinola here).

According to the National Museum of the Philippines, "foto-óleo is an art form popular during the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, prior to the invention of color photography. It was executed by applying oil paint directly on black and white photographs to make it more life-like and visually-pleasing.

While the practice may be traced in Europe and the Americas, foto-óleo artmaking was adopted by artists in the Philippines and made them their own, turning unique portraits that highlighted jewelry, rosary beads and medals. Artists in Negros may have invented the decoupage style of portraiture, on which painted headshot photographs were fixed on the shaped wood and framed and glazed on both sides. In the course of our research, we found that foto-óleos were especially popular among prominent Filipino families. These were mainly kept by succeeding generations in family homes, serving as memento of loved ones. Among the photographic studios in which they were produced were Filipino, Hollywood Art, Luz, Luzon, Sabater, Tinsay Art, United Portrait Artists, Venus and X'or Studio." 

Don Felix Montinola did not have to travel to Manila for this foto-óleo portrait. Tinsay Art Studio only needed his black and white photo which the studio then turned into foto-óleo.

The portrait's size is 17 inches by 23 inches and is encased in a glass frame with heavy wood panels. The width of the panel is 3 inches, and the size is 23 inches by 29 inches. The back shows that the panel was closed by nails and has an eye hook for hanging. It was a surreal experience for me to run my hands on and around the wooden frame as I feel the artistry and the craftsmanship of the artisan who created this foto-óleo portrait that has since become a family heirloom.😎

In the exhibit of the National Museum, there are portraits from homes around the country, including the beautiful foto-óleo portraits borrowed from the Balay ni Tana Dicang Museum in Talisay City, Negros Occidental. 

Don Felix Montinola's foto-óleo portrait was left behind in their hacienda in Manapla when the family went back to Victorias after the war ended and was kept there until recently. 

The foto-óleo art form has been lost forever when color photography was introduced in the Philippines, which means these portraits are rare, and must be properly cared for and treasured.

Do you have an foto-óleo portrait hanging in your living  room?😊   

         (A painting of Don Felix Montinola y Lozada)

#nationalmuseum #Philippines #art #fotooleo #Tinsayartstudio #donfelixmontinola #history #historian #portrait #museum #heritage

Wednesday 7 February 2024

Victorias City, Negros Occidental: Why The "Car-Free Day" Ordinance is BAD to the Environment, Economy, and Safety of the Victoriahanon

Amo ni example sang ordinansa nga wala guid guintun-an, wala guin-consulta ang mga 'stakeholders', kag wala guid guin-paminsar sang intsakto. Daw nadumduman ko dayon ang ukay-ukay stalls nga guin butang sa atubang mismo sang Victorias Elementary School sang November 20, 2018 (read blog here).

Ang Victorias City Ordinance 2023-59 naga-promote KUNO "car-free" day, pero ang solution nila ipa-sira ang dalanon. Ang buot guid silingon "car-free" guina-discourage ang pag-usar sang salakyan para mas diyutay ang mga salakyan sa dalanon. Kag tungod guin pasira ang portion sang Montinola St., Yap Quiña St. kag Jover St. ang natabô nag-traffic sa iban nga intersection kay guin-IBANAN mo alagyan ang mga tricycles kag motorcycles (single), delivery vans, private vehicles, kag city and barangay vehicles.

Kon guin-paminsar lang sang author sang sini nga ordinansa nga indi kita dakô pareho sang Bacolod City nga damô dalanon, mahibal-an niya tani nga perwisyo ang dala sang pagsira sang mga dalanon, especially pakadto sa commercial center kag eskuwelahan. Biskan gani Bacolod, guina-traffic kon isira nila ang Lacon St., kita pa ayhan? 😡

Nag-observe ako sang mga dalanon during "car-free day" sa gwa sang Victorias Elementary School (VES) kag Victorias Commercial Center (VCC), nagpamangkot ako sa mga tricycle drivers kag sa manunudlô. Ang hambal sang isa ka negosyante sa akon nga naga-baligya bugas sa VCC, tig-diutay guid nagabalakal kon sirado ang Jover St. side sang VCC. 

Sa mga guinpang-istorya ko, wala guid gali sila guin-consulta antes manirado dalanon. Ti, ambi.😢 Ang mga traffic enforcers guin-consulta man nila ayhan?😠


MGA RASON NGA-A HALIT ANG ORDINANSA 2023-59:

1. NAGLAYÔ PA GUID ANG LIBOT SANG TRICYCLE, USIK SA GASOLINA, USIK SA ORAS, KAG MAS DAMO ANG CARBON EMISSIONS. NAGLA-IN PA KAY NAG-TRAFFIC PA GUID SA IBAN NGA INTERSECTIONS SANG MONTINOLA/YAPQUIÑA, MONTINOLA/QUEZON, JOVER/JALANDONI, KAG JOVER/ARDOSA. 

KAG NA-IBANAN ANG INCOME SANG TRICYCLE DRIVERS KAY MAS DAKÔ ILA GASTO SA GASOLINA.

SAMPLE DISTANCE MEASUREMENT: NAG-LAYO PA GUID BIYAHE SANG TRICYCLE HALIN VNHS PAKADTO SA VCC:


ORDINARY DAY: 535 METERS DISTANCIA HALIN SA VICTORIAS NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PAKADTO VICTORIAS COMMERCIAL CENTER (GOOGLE MAP MEASUREMENT)


"CAR-FREE" DAY: 1,030 METERS DISTANCIA HALIN SA VICTORIAS NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL PAKADTO VICTORIAS COMMERCIAL CENTER KAY ONE-WAY ANG JOVER ST. (GOOGLE MAP MEASUREMENT)

VIDEO: FEBRUARY 5, 2024; 7AM SHOWING TRICYCLES/VEHICLES PASSING THROUGH MONTINOLA/QUEZON ST. INTERSECTION BECAUSE YAP QUIÑA ST. IS CLOSED.

2. IMBIS MAPA-LAPIT SA GATE SANG VES, NAGLAYÔ PA ANG LALAKTON SANG MGA ESTUDYANTE NGA MAY LUKDO NGA MGA SCHOOL BAGS. KUN MAG-ULAN KAG MAINIT SA UGTONG ADLAW, MAS MABUDLAY SA KABATAAN MANAUG SA TRICYCLE KAY INDI KASULOD SA YAP QUIÑA ST.

ANG ISA KA MISSION SANG LGU IS TO ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY. PERO PASULAYON SA INIT KAG ULAN ANG MGA ESTUDYANTE KAG MGA TEACHERS KAY INDI SILA MADUL-ONG SA GATE SANG VES.

VIDEO: FEBRUARY 5, 2024; 7AM @ VICTORIAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (CERRADO ANG YAP-QUINA ST.)

3. KON WALA TRICYCLE MASAKYAN ANG MGA NAGABAKAL KINILO-KILO NGA BUGAS, ANG DECISION NILA INDI NA LANG MAG-BAKAL, LABI NA GUID ANG MGA SENIORS KAG PWD KAY NABUG-ATAN KAY WALA TRICYCLE NAGA-HULAT SA ENTRANCE SANG VCC-JOVER STREET-SIDE. NEGATIVE EFFECT SA MGA NEGOSYANTE.

4. KON CERRADO ANG DALANON PALIBOT SA VCC, MAY NEGATIVE EFFECT SA EKONOMIYA KAY GUINA LIMITAHAN ANG ECONOMIC MOVEMENT OF GOODS, PEOPLE, AND SERVICES -- A VERY BASIC ECONOMIC PRINCIPLE. DAPAT GUINA-IMPROVE MO ANG FLOW OF PEOPLE, GOODS, AND SERVICES FOR THE GOOD OF THE LOCAL ECONOMY.

5. SA PAG-CERRADO SANG CITY HALL PARKING KAG PUEDE PARKINGAN, NAG-SAYLO ANG MGA SALAKAYAN KAG NAG PARKING SILA SA JOVER ST., MIRAFLORES ST., ARNAEZ ST. - DIDTO NAG GUINOTOK TANAN. KON MAY EMERGENCY, BUDLAY AGYAN. PATI DELIVERY TRUCKS, DIDTO NAGA-UNLOAD SA MIRAFLORES ST.

TRAFFIC SA JOVER ST.

HAMBAL SANG ORDINANCE POSTER TO "REDUCE TRAFFIC CONGESTION" PERO NAG-TRAFFIC PA GUID GANI.😡

6. LASTLY, WALA MAN MAY GUIN PAKITA NGA MEASUREMENT SANG CARBON EMISSIONS BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER TO PROVE KON MAY REDUCTION SA AIR POLLUTION SA VICTORIAS ANG "CAR-FREE DAY".

IMPORTANTE GUID: KON PAGSIRAD-AN MO ANG MGA DALANON PALIBOT SA CENTER OF COMMERCE SANG ISA KA LGU, MAY EPEKTO GUID INI SA EKONOMIYA SANG LGU. SA CASE SANG VICTORIAS, KAGAMAY SANG ATON CUIDAD, KON PASIRAD-AN MO ANG PALIBOT SANG VCC, GUINA-PABUDLAYAN MO ANG MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE, GOODS, AND SERVICES

AND THAT IS BAD ECONOMICS.


KON PARA SA MATINLÔ NGA ENVIRONMENT GUID MAN, ARI ANG AKON MGA SUGGESTIONS:

1. Educate the settlements/families living along the river banks on the impact of throwing garbage into our rivers and waterways, and assign garbage drop-off and collection in their areas.

2. Educate the young students regarding environmental awareness so they can, in turn, raise this kind of awareness at home.

3. Hold cleanliness and beautification competitions among barangays in or near the city center, and a separate competition for barangays in the rural areas and sitios far from the city center.

Cleanliness should include proper waste disposal,  elimination of dog poop from the roads, getting rid of stray dogs from roaming inside Victorias Commercial Center and from city streets. Penalize pet owners who stroll around the city streets and the public plaza so that their dogs can poop outside their homes.

4. Clean up the small creeks and tributaries of the Magnanud and Malihaw Rivers, and if possible, dredge them.

                                  * * * 

This is just to call out the local government of Victorias kay based on my observations and conversations, my opinion on this perwisyo-issue is that the said ordinance has NEGATIVE EFFECTS ON VICTORIAS. Sa Korea, ang ila city government nagapamati guid sa pumuluyô. 

Ang hambal sa akon sang mga tricycle drivers nga na-istorya ko, wala kuno sila may mahimo kay tricycle driver lang sila.😢 Gani, I am doing this to be their voice.

I'm calling on the mayor, the city administrator and the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Victorias City to look into this Ordinance 2023-59 and its economic impact on tricycle drivers, business owners at VCC, its impact on the safety of the young students of VES, and all the stakeholders affected, and revoke it kay from my conclusions above negative ang impact sini sa environment, ekonomiya, kag pangabuhî sang Victoriahanon.

(By the way, daw may Local Economic Development Dept. man ang cuidad? Nga-a wala ini nila guintun-an man?😡)

I end this blog with my own original quote:

"You won't see the problems of Victorias from inside an air-conditioned car, and you won't solve the problems of Victorias from inside an air-conditioned room."

#environment #pollution #victorias #victoriaslgu #negrosoccidental #Philippines #kalikasan #economics #economist #publicsafety #safety #tricycledrivers #gasoline #gasolineprices


Sunday 4 February 2024

Philippine History: CHAPTER 28: The Historical Timeline of Victorias Milling Company (1915-1989)

Since its incorporation in May 1919, the Victorias Milling Company (VMC) has tremendous contribution to the economy of Victorias. According to Dr. Bernardo Villegas, in one of his Economics books, the VMC had been "fatherly" to its employees as it took care of them from birth to death. It had its won hospital, free housing for its employees that came with free water and electricity, and it had schools and a world-famous chapel within its compound.  Its employees did not have to go to the 'town proper' of Victorias to purchase food and daily needs as it had its own market and grocery. It even had a small airport for planes that flew the Manila-Victorias route.



Although VMC has been mentioned in Chapters 14 and 17 (links below) in The History of Victorias City Philippines, the said mentions were very limited.

As a tribute to VMC and to the memory of its founder, Don Miguel Jose Ossorio, I am providing its historical timeline that I am quoting and paraphrasing from “Victorias – A History in Pictures”, a book of photographs and historical information published by the Victorias Milling Company. In the previous chapters about the World War II experience of the Victoriahanon, I only noted that the machinery and equipment of VMC were ruined during those years. The book, on the other hand, has more details that are worthy to share.

The history of Victorias Milling Company starts in 1916 when…

The 26-year old Miguel Jose Ossorio draws plans for a centrifugal sugar mill in Manapla, Negros Occidental. Ossorio was a businessman born in the Philippines from Spanish parents. His team includes his brother, Jesus, an electrical engineer educated in England; Norberto Capay, a mechanical and marine engineer; and Claudio R. de Luzuriaga, Sr., a lawyer.


1916: The construction of a 300-ton per day sugar mill begins.

1917: In December 1917, the North Negros Sugar Company, or NONSUCO, is established with Francis Greenfield, a sugar expert from Hawaii as its manager.

1918: NONSUCO produces 43,752 piculs of raw sugar on its first year. (A picul is equivalent to 60 kilograms and is an Asian unit to measure weight. It is originally a Javanese term that translates to "to carry on a shoulder", meaning whatever a man can carry on his shoulder with a pole. Picture a man with a pole resting on his shoulder with two vats hanging on opposite ends - that is 'pikul'. The term was then adopted by Portuguese and Spanish colonizers.)

1918: A drydock is completed in Balolan, Manapla.

1918: M. J. Ossorio starts his plans for a 700-ton sugar mill in Victorias and offers the sugar planters in Victorias 25% of the shares of stock of the new mill. The planters in Victorias buy P200,000 worth of shares.

1919: May 7, 1919, the new company, Victorias Milling Company, is incorporated with initial paid-up capital of P1,000. M. J. Ossorio is its managing director and chairman of the board of directors. VMC became the 17th centrifugal sugar mill in the Philippines.

1919: VMC’s magneto telephone is installed.

1920: The construction of the VMC sugar mill starts and is supervised by Norberto Capay and Jesus Ossorio, based on the design of Cornelius Johannes Hugo Penning, a Dutch, who is considered a master builder of centrifugal sugar mills.

1921: Production for crop year 1920-1921 is 180,084 piculs with revenues of P254,141.96.

1921: VMC’s Research Department is established. Its initial mission is to create a rational fertilization program in sugarcane agriculture.

1921: M. J. Ossorio invites Carlos L. Locsin, a chemist from Silay City, to join VMC. Mr. Locsin accepts.

1921: VMC’s port in the Daan Banwa area of Victorias becomes operational.

1921: NONSUCO’s farms start using fertilizers.

1923: VMC’s Department of Field Experiments promotes modern sugarcane agriculture methods among its planters. The Department’s two biggest concerns are the experiments on fertilizer response, and the tests on sugarcane varieties such as “Badilla H-109”,the outstanding Hawaiian hybrid, and “Negros Purple”, the dominant local variety.

1925: Cornelius Joannes Hugo Penning becomes the manager of VMC. He designed the mill.

1925: A two-day thanksgiving celebration is held for producing the first large crop of 23,743 metric tons.

1925: NONSUCO celebrates its 8th year in December.

1926: VMC pays all of its debts to the Bank of the Philippine Islands by issuing a US$ 1 million bond through the Pacific Trust Company of Honolulu.

1927: NONSUCO opens its railway through Cadiz in April.


1927: Tamasoc, a pest, starts to spread among crops of NONSUCO and VMC districts. Dr. Dwight Pierce, an entomologist from California, is hired.

1927: M. J. Ossorio buys a seat at the New York Coffee and Sugar Exchange.

1928: A refinery is opened in VMC, the second only in the Philippines.

1928: NONSUCO opens a distillery.

1929: NONSUCO exports first shipment of 2,800 tons of first raw sugar to US in October.
Starting 1929, VMC and NONSUCO will export sugar to US. One of its biggest buyers is the American Sugar Refining Company (AMSTAR).
1931: M. J. Ossorio’s second son, Luis C. Ossorio, arrives from the US to train in the management of VMC and NONSUCO.

1931: Jesus J. Ossorio assumes acting manager role after Cornelius Joannes H. Penning resigns.

1931: Carlos L. Locsin initiates the organization of the Philippine Association of Sugar Technologies in Bacolod and is elected as its first president. This association is the forerunner of the Philippine Sugar Technologies Association or PHILSUTECH.

1932: Shiras M. Jones takes over the management of NONSUCO and VMC when Jesus Ossorio gets sick due to appendicitis while Francis Greenfield, NONSUCO manager, is in the US for vacation.

1932: VICMICO Athletic and Social Club opens a store, billiard and table tennis halls, a bowling alley, a barbershop, and a refreshment shop. Later, a rice mill, an ice plant, and a soap factory are added.

1933-34: During the crop year, POJ high yielding cane variety from Java gives VMC and NONSUCO their all-time prewar high of 990.342 piculs and 1,225,737 piculs, respectively.

VMC refinery also produces 337,129 bags (100-pound bags).

1934: Jose Maria Ossorio, the third son of M. J. Ossorio, arrives in the Philippines from the US to start his management training in NONSUCO and VMC.

1934: In July, VMC signs a contract with the US Army in the Philippines to deliver
1,300,000 pounds of refined sugar.

1937: M/V Nonsuco is purchased for interocean operations and sails for the first time in September.


1938: Saint Joseph’s Hospital is established with Dr. L. Greentree as its director.
1939: Jose M. Ossorio takes over as manager of VMC in Manila as Mr. Francis A. Greenfield, NONSUCO manager, dies in a car accident in California.

1940: A sugar bag factory is set up.

1940: Dr. L. Greenfield resigns as director of St. Joseph’s Hospital. He is replaced by Dr. D. Davies.

1941: Preparations in Manapla and Victorias for the impending war: air-raid shelters, war drills conducted by the Philippine Constabulary, organizing a group of civilian guards, building of evacuation sites at the Aloyan Hills in Cadiz and Cansilayan in Victorias for employees and families who will stay behind to guard the centrals.

1941: Able-bodied NONSUCO and VMC employees signed up to join the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE), including Luis C. Ossorio. Don Miguel, Doña Paz and the Ossorio clan stay in the US, except for Luis, Miguel Jr., and Jose, who stay behind to manage the two centrals. Luis is sent to Lanao del Norte as part of the Panay Regimen of the USAFFEE. He brings most of the staff and supplies and equipment from the Saint Joseph’s Hospital.

1941: War comes to the Philippines on December 8 when Japanese warplanes bomb Manila.

1941: By the time the war broke out, the production of NONSUCO and VMC was 1.5 million piculs of raw sugar from 17,000 hectares of plantations.

1941: VMC’s total production is 397,523.62 piculs of raw sugar and 152,305.48 100-pound bags of refine sugar.

1942: Management orders Norberto B. Capay, the supervising engineering, to render the NONSUCO and VMC mills inoperable by dismantling the crucial parts of the machinery and hiding them at Sitio Magbanua in the Marapara Peaks of Silay.

1942: May 20, the Japanese Imperial Army lands in Bacolod City. Jose M. Ossorio and family evacuate to Aloyan Hills in Cadiz. Carlos L. Locsin is left to guard NONSUCO in Manapla. The Japanese soldiers later took over the NONSUCO and VMC centrals.

1942: June 20, Jose. M. Ossorio, his family and other nationals allied with the US surrender to the Japanese army and are temporarily detained in Bacolod City. They are then shipped to Manila and detained at the University of Santo Tomas campus during the war.

1942: Norberto B. Capay, supervising engineer, is left to manage NONSUCO and VMC as Carlos L. Locsin has to flee Negros with Don Claudio R. de Luzuriaga, Sr. due to threats to their safety.

1942: Norberto B. Capay also flees Negros on November 14 for his safety. NONSUCO is now managed by Mr. Sensake while VMC is managed by Mr. Noda.

1943: NONSUCO mill is reactivated to produce final molasses that will be turned into alcohol needed by the Japanese for fuel.

1944: VMC is also reactivated to produce final molasses to produce alcohol. A distillery is built at the site.

1944: On October 20, General Douglas MacArthur and the US liberation forces land in Leyte.

1945: The VMC distillery produces 47 drums of alcohol for the Japanese military.

1945: The detainees at the UST compound that included Jose M. Ossorio and family are liberated by the 1st Cavalry Division of the US Army on February 3. They are later reunited with Luis C. Ossorio and family, and with Michael Clive Ossorio, the eldest son of Jesus Ossorio. They all leave for the US on board an American troop transport ship.

1945: On March 25, the Japanese soldiers occupying NONSUCO leave for the mountains of Patag in Silay where they make their last stand. The NONSUCO central is left in ruins.

1945: On March 30, the Japanese troops leave the VMC site after destroying machinery and setting on fire homes and sleeping quarters.

1945: On the night of March 30, Bacolod is liberated by the 40th Infantry Division of the US Army.

1945: On April 8, Norberto B. Capay returns to VMC from Panay and restores order to stop the looting.

1945: On May 9, the Japanese resistance at Patag falls to the American and Filipino guerilla forces.

1945: In June, NONSUCO is secured from looters.

1945: In the later months of the year, 400 hectares of land are planted with cane seedlings to be sold to the planters to start the rehabilitation of the plantations/district covered by VMC.

1945: Total damages from World War II for NONSUCO and VMC total P1,957,595.91.

(NOTE: Under the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946 passed by the US Congress, the Philippine War Damage Commission compensated sugar centrals that existed before World War II and suffered war damages a total of US$13.3 million for war damages. VMC must have had received part of this for its rehabilitation).

1946: Management decides to give up the NONSUCO central as damages were too costly for rehabilitation. Surviving machinery and assets are integrated into the VMC central.

1947: On April 28 and May 6, the refinery and raw sugar factory, respectively, restarted operations. For 1946-47, the post-war operations, VMC produces 122,208.33 piculs of raw sugar, 2,711 tons molasses, and 121,889 100-pound bags of refined sugar.

1948: The Pension Fund for employees is set up.

1948: Saint Joseph’s Hospital is reopened with Dr. Ricardo Jara as director with Maryknoll Sisters handling the administration.

1948: The athletic and social club is reopened.

1952: The St. Joseph the Worker Chapel is completed. Frederick E. Ossorio has been the prime mover behind the building of the Chapel. Alfonso Ossorio paints the Angry Christ at the altar of the Chapel. The 'Angry Christ' painting made the chapel famous around the world.

1952: Carlos L. Locsin is appointed vice-president and a member of the board of directors.

1952: VICMICO Elementary School is established.



1952: Don Bosco Technical Institute is established after the Salesian Order in Hong Kong accepts the offer of M. J. Ossorio to open a school in VMC.
1953: Norberto B. Capay, the supervising engineer, dies.
1953-54: VMC produces its biggest post-WWII production of 2 million piculs of raw sugar and 1,745,000 100-pound bags of refined sugar.
1955: Carlos L. Locsin is appointed president, succeeding M. J. Ossorio who relinquishes his position as managing director.

1955: In July, the Balolan drydock reopens.
1955: The Industrial Engineering Department is created.
1955: The Pension Plan with group life insurance becomes effective on November 1.
1955: Claudio R. de Luzuriaga, Sr. takes over as the treasurer, vice-president and manager of the Manila office when Harry J. Young dies.
1960: On March 31, the first issue of VICMICO Gazette, the newspaper for employees, is published.
1960: In September, the C-Mill, the first automatic mill in the Philippines, is installed at the raw sugar factory.
1960: The first diesel-electric locomotive (train) is added to the fleet.
1960: Claudio R. de Luzuriaga, Jr. becomes the vice-president and a member of the board.
1961: In January, the St. Joseph’s Arts Guild Choir is organized.
1961: The first pig iron in the Philippines is produced in the blast furnace.
1961: The VICMICO Industrial Workers’ Association is organized.
1964: The foundry is established.
1964: The Rosary Kindergarten is renamed as St. Mary Mazarello School after it is placed under the care of the Figlia Maria Auxiliatrice nuns.
1965: Pacific Airways Corporation, a subsidiary of VMC, starts its airline service between Victorias and Manila.
1965: M. J. Ossorio is elected chairman emeritus while Carlos L. Locsin is elected chairman of the board. Mr. M. Mendez becomes president.
1965: On February 10, Francisco P. Ossorio dies in Spain.
1965: On October 25, M. J. Ossorio dies in Greenwich, Connecticut.
1965: The VICMICO Rural Electric Service Cooperative (VRESCO) is established.
1966: M/T Cadiz, the first company-made tugboat, is launched at the Balolan Drydock.
1966: In November, Jesus J. Ossorio is elected to the board.
1967: Large-scale cane breeding and selection programs are started by the Research Department for high-yield varieties
1967: Jose Maria Ossorio is elected chairman of the board directors.
1967: Carlos L. Locsin is conferred the lifetime title of chairman emeritus.
1968: Cattle and swine breeding and fattening operations are started.
1969: A carbonation plant is set up, the first in the Philippines.
1969: On May 7, VMC’s 50th anniversary is celebrated.
1969: Management Information Service is established.
1970: The largest ever production of 3,385,209 piculs of raw sugar is achieved.
1970: Manuel V. Locsin becomes president of VMC.
1972: Victorias Chemical Corporation (VICHEMCO) is the first company affiliate is established.
1973: Another record high of 3,408,322 piculs of raw sugar is achieved, breaking the record set three years before.
1974: VMC takes over the management of Insular Refining Company in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila.
1974: Doña Paz Yangco-Ossorio passes away in Greenwich, Connecticut.
1974: A new milling contract is signed with a group of planters in Panay Island.
1974: On October 31, the Maryknoll Sisters turn over the administration of St. Joseph’s Hospital to the staff.
1974-75: Sugar price goes up as high as US$ 0.65 per pound in the world market.
1975: Canetown Subdivision is set up through a subsidiary, Canetown Development Corporation. The Subdivision’s Phase 1 covers 27 hectares and is divided into 440 residential lots.
1975-76: Victorias Agromachinery Corporation is established.
1975: On June 17, VMC starts Panay Cane Purchase Project with the planters of Panay Island.
1975: On July 6, the cane transloading station in Bay-ang, Ajuy, Iloilo, is inaugurated.
1975: The 1920 telephone is improved with the installation in the VMC compound of a new dial system with 410 lines and 40 connections.
1975: On September 18, VICHEMCO’s furfural plant starts operations.
1975: The post office in the VMC compound is established.
1976-77: New production records are set: 3,951,241 piculs of raw sugar for the crop year, and daily production of 28,770.32 100-pound bags.
1976-77: Agribusiness Division and Management and Administrative Services are established.
1976-77: St. Joseph Cottolengo School for the disabled is established.
1976-77: Claudio R. de Luzuriaga, Jr. succeeds Manuel V. Locsin as president.
1977: The VICMICO Institute of Management is established in partnership with the Univesity of Negros Occidental – Recolletos in Bacolod City.
1978: The refinery produces the all-time record of 8,095,894 LKG.
1979: VMC acquires North Legaspi Land Development Corporation and inaugurates the building onwed by the subsidiary located at Legaspi St., Legaspi Village, Makati City.
1985: VMC food processing exports tuna chunks to Canada.
1987: The First Planters’ Day is held. VMC confers awards to outstanding planters.
1988: A Yoshiimine boiler is operated to add steam supply and add electricity-generating capacity to bring down bunker oil consumption and electric power cost.
1988: VMC, through its subsidiary, Canetown Development Corporation, turns over to the University of St. La Salle a new building and a 1.8 hectare lot for a Victorias Campus of the University.
1988: Prawn ponds expand to 35 hectares in Guisok.
1989: In March, Michael Clive Ossorio dies. He was a former resident director.
1989: In May, Luis C. Ossorio dies in Greenwich, Connecticut. He was a former vice president and director.
The timeline in the book ends in 1989.
* * * *
VMC is the reason why Victorias, now a city, is in the map, so to speak. With the billions of pesos in economic activities that VMC has created, be they direct or as a multiplier, it practically transformed a sleepy town into a city. Since 1919, it has caused the migration of people, attracted skills and labor, introduced and created new technologies, and enabled local businesses to flourish in Victorias, although the financial crisis that forced VMC into debt restructuring in late 1990’s revealed stories about mismanagement, corporate corruption, improper use of bank loans, and other practices that brought it to its knees.



One other legacy that its founder, Don Miguel Ossorio and his brother, Jesus, left in Victorias City is the church of the Our Lady of Victory Parish that is located along Osmeña Avenue. The Ossorios helped construct the church through building materials and labor.

VMC celebrated its 100th year in 2019.
* * * *
Photo credits: “Victorias – A History in Pictures”, Mr. David Granada, photographer.

#history #victoriaslgu #VictoriasCity #historyblog
#victoriasmillingcompany #VMC #sugar #NEGROS #NegrosOcc #historian #victoriashistory