Monday, June 17, 2013

North Cemetery to Philippine National Library/Archives

philippine national library archivesEquipped with additional information and with city offices resuming work, the search for Mr. Cloyde W. Williams continued. I learned that he was a US Infantry Volunteer (34th Regiment), who fought in the Philippine-American War 1898-1902. He stayed in Manila after his discharge, but he was already a civilian when he died, so he may not have been interred in any of the military groups' burial grounds, though it is certain he was buried at Manila North Cemetery. He was married to a Filipina, Cirila Naluz, who died in 1934; she was also buried at Manila North Cemetery. These notes written down, I pocketed the piece of paper and headed off to North Cemetery once more.

manila city hallUnfortunately, the added clues would not help very much. The cemetery admin reiterated that they no longer have records of the deceased or exhumations from that long ago, but the National Archives might. I was told that the best they could do is to point me to relevant burial sites across the 34-hectare cemetery, yet in order to do that, I would need a formal authorization letter from Mr. Williams' relative. But that would just be wasting more time and money, as I could do that without any authorization with just the help of a graveyard caretaker, and I've already done a bit of that during my last visit. So, I decided to head on over to the National Archives instead. Again though, easier said than done.

manila streetsFor some reason, not many people know where the National Archives is located. Getting dropped off at the Manila Central Post Office building would be the first testament of this, though the driver attested that the National Archives was just across the street. Asking around, most passersby did not know the location of what I was referring to, so I decided to stick to asking where Kalaw Street is (as the National Archives is on that street). Not wanting to be steered in the wrong direction and dropped off at a random site again, I walked and asked along the way.

After going through a couple of underpasses, weaving through crowds, walking past areas of sleeping homeless, and downing the juice of two coconuts to battle the midday heat, I somehow made it to the National Archives (a division of the National Library) about an hour or so later. Here the clerk guided me in making a written request for Mr. Williams' records and informed me to check back on July 8. So, we'll have to wait until then to see if we have a trace.

If anyone's got any custom task ideas, head to the Book Me page or my Manila Gofer site.


Nash Torres said...

National Archives, National Library, National Museum... Philippine gems that hardly any Filipino is familiar with. Another sad truth.

Buzz Lightyear said...

Kumusta Coconuter:

This is an amazing story; if you can find his grave and complete the task, I think you would have the foundation for a fascinating article that you could submit to a magazine. I just discovered your blog, and I think that you have an outstanding blog and you're a great writer... some real cerebral intellectual gravitas here instead of the usual chit-chat I read on blog posts. I guess it helps that I'm a history geek and an adventure freak, so your post and its prelude post really fired my imagination. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

I'm an American married to a Pinay for over 19 years now; I've visited the Philippines 6 times now and love the Philippines and the Filipino people. Very similarly to you, I went on a quest for information about an American who died in the Philippines, this time it was an American whose B-24 bomber got attacked by Japanese Zeroes after bombing Japanese airfields on Negros in November 1944. The crash was witnessed by my father-in-law when he was a boy, north of my wife's hometown of Oroquieta City in Mindanao, where they found the plane along with 2 bodies (the others were able to bail out and be resuced by Filipinos)... long story short, I found out a lot about this man from researching the records. I definitely need to blog about that sometime soon.

Please visit my blog sometime when you get a chance, it is
and I have a lot of posts about the Philippines.


Lee Weller said...

So what's the latest??? I can't wait to hear! I, too, have a person of interest (also an American, a survivor of Santo Tomas internment) who was interred in North Cemetery in 1949. Keep up the good work, both investigating and writing.

Michael Sta. Ana said...

Hey Coconuter!!! Been waiting for the ending of your Cloyde William's epic story since the end of July. This was a combination of thrill and fun---what's the ending???

Coconuter said...

Hi! The project was on a very tight budget, and unfortunately, when records released from the National Archive did not help, further funding was needed to do a brute force search at the cemetery (which did not materialize).

Coconuter said...

Thanks. Regarding the update, please see my reply to Michael Sta. Ana above.

Michael Sta. Ana said...

That's pretty frustrating. I wished you find all the info. It's gonna be epic, I know. If you did it, then you'll gonna lined up with some of these know-it-all, proud Filipino hardcore researchers. I admire all the effort you put in though. Hoping to hear from you soon about new stories like this. I love it.

I'm quite a blogger-writer too : What Michael Likes

Quite doing few research on travel, food and Philippine culture. But you write very well and I am a great fan of that great articles of yours-- a well-explained content, authoritative, and detailed but succinct.

Capital Stars said...

Great post


Paolo Pineda said...

I was inspired of this story and turning this into useful IT project. I will defend my system by December 12, 2014. Hi, Coconuter I want you to be my guest in my final defense, how much is your talent fee? I hope you reply soon. Thanks! :) -

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