Who Was Jose Maria Panganiban?

Jose Maria Panganiban was a propagandist, activist and essayist who advocated for reform in the then-Spanish colony of the Philippines. He was a founding member of the propaganda organization La Solidaridad. His legacy is celebrated throughout the Philippines and the Spanish Filipino community.

Panganiban was born on February 1st, 1863 in the Camarines Norte province of the Philippines in a town that now bears his name. The Philippines at the time had long been a colony of Spain. By the time of his birth, the colony had already begun the long push toward nationalism that later culminated in the Philippine Revolution. After sailing to Spain in 1888 to study medicine, Panganiban made the acquaintance of a community of activists and became a member of the pro-Filipino organization La Solidaridad. Under the banner of the organization, Panganiban published, using the pseudonym Jomapa, essays critical of the educational, social and economic conditions of the Philippines under Spanish rule.

Although he remained an activist throughout his entire career, his life was cut short by tuberculosis at age 27 in a boarding house in Barcelona. His remains were returned to his homeland in 1985 and interred within the base of one of the many monuments in his honor.