10 little known facts about Manuel Luis Quezon

Even if you aren’t a resident of QC, you probably know that the biggest city in Metro Manila, was named after Manuel Luis Quezon y Molina who served as first president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines (second if you count Emilio Aguinaldo)– and several schools as well.

You also know that he is known as the “Father of the National Language” and that you probably have a memorable experience of celebrating Linggo ng Wika” once in your student life.


But other than our national heroes, perhaps no other figure in Philippine history receives as much reverence and mystery as Manuel Quezon.

Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about MLQ: Lifted from this SOURCE

1. MLQ was a lazy student.
Manuel was the son of two elementary elementary teachers but ironically, he was described as “Bright but lazy” during his schoolboy years,  He was known to his classmates and teachers as the “gulerato” or bluffer.

2. MLQ adopted someone’s name into his own.
The “Antonio” in Manuel Luis Quezon Antonio y Molina was adopted from the name of the his benefactor who fed and sheltered him during the time when he was still struggling to make ends meet

3. MLQ was a gifted pianist.
There was a time when he single-handedly taught a trans-Atlantic ship’s orchestra how to play the Philippine national anthem.
The orchestra had just finished playing the Polish national anthem but didn’t know the Philippine one. Quezon—although not having played the piano for years—taught it to them by tapping out the tune with just one finger, amazing his co-passengers which included the Polish piano great Jan Paderewski.

4. MLQ refused to learn English
As an officer in the Philippine Revolution and subsequent Philippine-American War, Quezon, felt betrayed by the Americans whom they considered to be allies against the Spanish, that he refused to learn English after the rebellion died down.
The turning point came when an American general named Harry Bandholtz befriended him and even offered to pay him to learn English. Although Quezon stopped taking lessons when Bandholtz was assigned elsewhere, he again studied the language when he became Philippine Commissioner in Washington in 1909, becoming proficient in a relatively short amount of time.


5. MLQ almost fought two duels…twice.
Quezon had his fair share of altercations, including nearly fighting two duels in his lifetime.
The first one stemmed from an incident wherein Quezon, then a delegate to the first Philippine Assembly in 1908, was informed of a newspaper article criticizing him. Carrying the newspaper, he rushed into the press office and stuffed it into the editor’s mouth. The editor—a man named Salazar—then challenged Quezon to a duel, to which the latter replied “to hell with you and your duel,” and then went into the office’s backroom where he told the pressmen not to work for such “scoundrels.”

The second came from political rival Dominador Gomez, an assemblyman and nephew of Mariano Gomez (one of the priests in Gomburza) whose character Quezon criticized before the US Senate. Gomez—himself a fiery rhetorican—challenged Quezon to duel which they scheduled sometime in 1915. Thankfully, it was called off after a mutual friend succeeded in calming them down.

6. MLQ was a talented poker player.
Quezon also had a penchant for the game of cards. According to some accounts, he was reputedly one of the best poker players in his lifetime.
Later on, he took up the game of bridge which quickly became his favorite pastime. In fact, one of his regular partners in card games was Dwight Eisenhower who was also known as the “Bridge Wizard of Manila.”

7. He made his own clothes.
Quezon liked to dress in style, but he didn’t just stop at wearing elegant clothes; he actually made his own.
Quezon designed an outfit that could be described as a “semi-uniform of high russet riding breeches, a soft white shirt, and a high-buttoned military tunic with a high collar.” On the other hand, he didn’t always dress to the nines; when receiving visitors at his home, he was said to wear just an open polo shirt. Other times, he received them wearing a barong tagalog, which he claimed felt very comfortable.


8. MLQ was a ladies man 
With his looks it was no surprise that Quezon had the makings of a Don Juan.
It is said that some time after he received his college degree in Manila and went back to his hometown, he had a romance with the mistress of a local priest with whom he had a quarrel with. During the same period, he also had a dalliance with the girl of a Spanish civil guard officer whom he subsequently assaulted, earning him prison time.
Even marriage could not supposedly extinguish his love for the fairer sex. The late president Diosdado Macapagal recounted that while working as a staff at Malacañang Palace, he would often hear Aurora shouting and searching for her husband, not knowing that Quezon was with a paramour onboard a yacht out at sea.

9. MLQ was the  people’s president.
Quezon’s empathy for the masses stemmed from his own experience; coming from a family that was not really well-off but had enough to go by, Quezon—just like his wife—connected with the plight of the lower classes. During his private practice, he worked for the poor pro bono while placing exorbitant fees on his wealthy clients. In fact, he considered himself to be “almost a communist.”
In spite of his taste for high-class clothes and foreign junkets, the Castilian Quezon was truly a president for the masses. Numerous stories and anecdotes have been attributed to him dropping in unannounced on government offices to conduct surprise inspections. He was also known to mingle and eat lunch with common folk and listen to their problems.
Twice, he ordered the immediate release of two inmates, one of whom was sentenced to serve a month in prison for urinating in public. The other one, a cart driver living on 15 cents a day, was convicted for making bombs. Regarding his crime Quezon quipped, “No wonder you are a bomb-thrower, no one can live on fifteen cents a day” and had him released.

10. His legacy lives on in the stage play “MLQ: Ang Buhay ni Manuel Luis Quezon
In celebration of QC Diamond Annivesary, the Quezon City Government, restages the musical MLQ: Ang Buhay ni Manuel Luis Quezon, Isang Dula.
First presented in 2009, during the 70th anniversary of the founding of Quezon City, the production had PETA Theater as its performance venue.

MLQ celebrates the life and legacy of the late, great President Manuel L. Quezon as the play highlighted his historical and his heroic contributions
to the establishment of an independent Philippines.MLQ STAGEPLAY (59) MLQ STAGEPLAY (55)

With MLQ, the power of theater is being utilized to inform, educate and entertain people to accommodate a greater number of audiences, primarily students. This play hopes to be a catalyst for people to have a better awareness and appreciation of the sacrifices and patriotism of the Statesman.
Full House Asia Production Studios Inc, the production partner of QC Government and and the QC Diamond Committee, assembles world class performers and production people to bring life to MLQ: Ang Buhay ni Manuel Luis Quezon, Isang Dula.

Says director and playwright George de Jesus. “MLQ, Ang Buhay ni Manuel Luis Quezon has an offbeat take in presenting the life of the first President of the Philippine Commonwealth and the acknowledged “Father of the Philippine National Language”. Instead of a chronological account of his life, the play explores how he came to be a “Statesman and Patriot, Lover of Freedom, Advocate of Social Justice, Beloved of the People” as written on his epitaph at the QC Memorial Circle.



The significant moments that gave him these attributes are shown from the point of view of three college students working on a research paper about MLQ. Using this narrative device coupled with kundiman music, multi-media graphics and contemporary theatrical devices allows the audience, particularly students to see MLQ from a different perspective. This is all geared towards a better appreciation, not only of his achievements and contribution to the Philippines, but of his humanity as gleaned from his actual words and speeches.”

“This re-staging is in adherence to the City Government’s priority to education by providing an option on alternative learning through theater arts
production, says” QC officer Regina Samson Head of QC Communications coordinating center.

Performances of MLQ: Ang Buhay ni Manuel Luis Quezon, Isang Dula. are slated on August 19, 2015, (7pm – Press Preview / Opening Show) and on August 20,21,26,27,28, (10am & 3pm respectively) at the new KIA Theater, Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City.

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Alternately portraying the role of Manuel L Quezon are Arnold Reyes and Gian Magdangal; Chinie Concepcion(Aurora Quezon); Jun Ofrasio, (Lucio Quezon /Andres Bonifacio); Stella Canete/ Dolly De Leon (Maria Molina), Christian Velarde. Jeol Saracho (Father Teodoro Fernandez /Gov. Paras / Felipe Agoncillo / Claro M. Recto); Randy Villarama(Mascardo / Gobernador / Osmeña; Richard Cunanan (Frayle / Judge Linebarger / Colonel Harbord / MacArthur); Topper Fabregas (Cabo de Guardia Civil / Francis Berry / Willian Atkins Jones); Ron Ryan Alfonso (Aguinaldo) with Ross Pesigan (Manny), Joshua Deocareza(Louie) and Martjha Comia (Quiel). Assisting director De Jesus realize MLQ on stage are Dong Calingacion (Technical / Light Director); Otto Fernandez (Production Designer); Erwin Flores (Choreographer); Joiee Mejias (Multi-Media Projections Designer); Samantha G. Valenciano (Graphic Designer); Roy Del Valle (Finale Song Composer), Producer, Alvin I. Trono; and Executive Producers, Gina T. Godinez and Maricel T. Santos.

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