Filipino, Vietnamese Kinship Dates Back Centuries Ago

By Gica, Ivar | Manila Bulletin, July 16, 2001 | Go to article overview

Filipino, Vietnamese Kinship Dates Back Centuries Ago


Gica, Ivar, Manila Bulletin


ALTHOUGH the present diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Vietnam has turned 25 years old last June 12, up to late 1967, I noted a street in downtown Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh) named Filipinen in honor of Filipinos who fought for Vietnam in earlier wars. Apparently, it was the French colonizers of Vietnam that inspired that street sign. History records Tomas Claudio as the first Filipino to die in a foreign war. It shows that Spain used Filipinos in her imperialistic adventures in Indochina as early as 1595.

Noted historians Gregorio F. Zaide and Sonia M. Zaide in their comprehensive book, Philippine History & Government, recorded that from 1858-63 some 1,500 Filipino soldiers fought under the Spanish flag in Indochina. It was to help her ally, France, conquer the Vietnamese Empire and to avenge the murder of Spanish missionaries by the Vietnamese. Fighting shoulder-toshoulder with French forces, they distinguished themselves in the battles of Saigon, Ka Koa, My Tho and Bien Hoa.

For their gallant services, they were praised by their Spanish commander, Col. Carlos Palanca Gutierrez and by the French commanders, General Chaumont, Admiral Bonard and Vice Admiral Charnier.

Ninety Filipinos also joined the first Spanish expedition to Cambodia of 130 men in 1596 under the command of Captain Juan Gallinato. Two years later, Luis Dasmarinas (former governorgeneral and son of Gomez Perez Dasmarinas) led another expedition to Cambodia with Filipinos and Japanese soldiers. Both these expeditions however failed to subjugate the Cambodians. After the Indochina war in 1975, a Cambodian army chief, General Sostene Fernandez, was said to be of Filipino parentage. …

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