News and Events

Macapagal Book Caps Centennial Celebration

Family and friends of former Pampanga Vice Governor Cielo Macapagal Salgado gathered recently at Holy Angel University (HAU) to celebrate the life and legacy of her father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal.

The occasion was the Pampanga launching of the book "My Lolo, Diosdado Macapagal" written and published by Salgado's daughter, Ria Llanes. The event, organized by the HAU Center for Kapampangan Studies, was held at the Academic Hall of the new St. Joseph Building.

The book launching capped the province-wide Macapagal Birth Centennial celebration, which started last April 22 and climaxed on September 28 with wreath-laying ceremonies in Lubao, Pampanga led by former President Gloria Arroyo, the late President’s daughter from his second wife.

"President Macapagal would have been pleased to see his first daughter (Cielo), first grandchild (Ria) and first great-grandchild (Jose Eduardo Diosdado or Jed, Ria's son) together in this event," Robby Tantingco, Director of the Center for Kapampangan Studies, said.

Jed and sister Jia performed an original composition based on "Sintang Cayanacan," the poem Macapagal dedicated to first wife Purita de la Rosa, Cielo Salgado's mother.

Visitors at the book launch included Gen. Jovito Palparan, former Board Member Dr. Leticia Yap, school administrators, cultural advocates and representatives from the military, business, industry, government and private sectors.

The book contains excerpts from a personal journal written by President Macapagal himself about his life and first wife Purita, who was the sister of movie king Rogelio de la Rosa. The Macapagals and the De la Rosas lived on the same street in Lubao town.

Before Diosdado became a politician and Rogelio a movie actor, they acted together in Kapampangan zarzuelas. Although Rogelio had the movie star looks, the author wrote that it was always Diosdado who played the hero to Rogelio’s villain, because Rogelio’s sister Purita was often the leading lady.

Purita died in 1943, "in my Lolo's arms," the author wrote. When Macapagal Diosdado became President in 1961, he had married Eva Macaraeg, President Arroyo’s mother.

The author recalls that the children from the first marriage never stayed in Malacañang, but "in a small apartment on Roosevelt Avenue in Quezon City." Still, the President always managed to visit them in the apartment, often without security detail and at one time riding a taxicab.

"The book is a testament to the kind of man my grandfather was—a man of integrity, an honest and simple person, one who lived his life according to his values and principles, who loved God, country and family, in that order," the author said in her speech during the book launching.

"Here at Holy Angel, we have always maintained that Diosdado Macapagal is one of the greatest Presidents the Philippines has ever had," University President Dr. Arlyn Villanueva said during the program.

The author said she and her family went through "a lot of pain—the result of our circumstances, of being his grandchildren from his first marriage, of growing up without our own grandmother."

The author's mother, Cielo Macapagal Salgado, served as Pampanga Vice Governor in 1987 and again in 1995. She failed in her gubernatorial bids in 1992 and 1998.

The book is available at the Center for Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University. For inquiries, email or call 888 8691 local 1312.

Date Posted: 12-03-2010