In 2010, the Mataw-guro Association Filipino Martial Arts Education for Arnis de Mano, was officially formed. To commemorate the founding, two very successful gatherings, one in the Philippines, and one in the United States, were held simultaneously.
It was decided during those gatherings, that the next assembly would be held in the Philippines, (with Mataw-guros from the United States flying over) in 2011.
The question of venue came up. Some suggested Baguio City, the summer capital of the country, site of several top caliber conventions. Some proposed Mactan City because it was where Rajah Lapu-lapu first used the Art of Kali (predecessor of Arnis de Mano) in defense of the country, killing the Spanish Conquistador Ferdinand Magellan in the process.
Others recommended Manila being the most central point. For a while, there was a quandary, until Louelle Lledo came up with the idea to hold it at the Cavite State University in the Municipality of Indang in the Province of Cavite.
The Province of Cavite is in the region known as CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon). Metropolitan Manila, bound Cavite on the north, Batangas on the south, Laguna on the east and South China Sea on the west.
It is predominantly Tagalog and per the last census has an estimated population of 3.3 million inhabitants, residing in 19 municipalities and four cities on its 1,512 + square kilometers land area.
A first class municipality in Cavite, Indang is the acknowledged Coffee Capital of the Philippines. Originally, Indang was a barrio in the municipality of Silang, Indang became a separate municipality in 1655 when the residents, led by Gobernadorcillo Juan Dimabiling petitioned the Spanish authorities.
The reason they cited was the inaccessibility of the Poblacion of Silang from the barrio of Indang for transacting official business and religious services.
During the Philippine Revolution, Indang was known by its Katipunan name “Walang Tinag” (unmovable or invincible). Indang belonged to Andres Bonifacio’s magdiwang faction of the Katipunan.
According to the census of 2007, there are about 62,000 residents in Indang. Chief Executive of Indang is Mayor Bienvenido Dimero.
It is the site of the main campus of Cavite State University formerly known as Don Severino de las Alas Agricultural College. On February 3, 2011, Cavite State University celebrated its 105th Foundation Day.
Ironically, theme of the foundation day was “Promoting good governance through educational reforms.”
When Louelle Lledo, Vice-President of the Mataw-guro Association Filipino Martial Arts Education for Arnis de Mano, was asked why Cavite State University, in the municipality of Indang in the Province of Cavite was recommended to be the venue for the association’s celebration, and center point in the awarding of honors, he gave the following reasons:
- Cavite is adjacent to the Greater Manila Area and is an easy access from all parts of the Philippines.
- Cavite is the Historical Capital of the Philippines. The First Philippine Republic was established in Kawit, Cavite in 1898.
- Cavite is the cradle of Philippine Revolution. The first successful revolt against the Spaniards took place in Imus, Cavite in 1872.
- Cavite is the birthplace of Philippine Independence. On June 12, 1898, the Philippines declared its independence from Spain. General Emilio Aguinaldo, was proclaimed First President of the Philippine Republic.
- Indang is known as a supporter of Andres Bonifacio’s Magdiwang faction of the Katipunan and when the term Filipino fighting art is mentioned, the first figure that comes to mind is Andres Bonifacio holding his tabak (bolo).
- Mayor Dimero of Indang is himself a practitioner of Arnis de Mano.
- Cavite State University has always been an avid supporter of the Martial Arts and a consistent martial arts winner in the School, Colleges, and Universities Athletic Association Region IV.
- It was in Indang, Cavite where the first seeds of the Mataw-guro Association were sown, by Professor Armando Soteco, Atty. Salvador Dimaisip, the late Roland Dantes, and Louelle Lledo, during the wake for the late Mark Lledo.
- It was in Cavite State University where Louelle Lledo (as Coach of the University’s martial arts team) first applied the instruction program that is now being proposed by the Mataw-guro Association, in line with Republic Act 9850 better known as the Arnis Law.
There was no objection to this suggested venue, in fact it was a unanimous decision. February 26, 2011 was set as the date for this memorable and notable occasion.
Highlight of this event is the participation of the Guest of Honor, the Honorable Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, and author of Republic Act 9850, more popularly known as the Arnis Law.
The Senator, one of the most prolific legislators, with about 650 bills that became laws to his credit, took the time off from his busy schedule as a Philippine lawmaker to grace the Mataw-guro Association assembly.
He confirmed his participation in Indang, Cavite although on that day he will be motoring all the way from the Province of Pampanga.
Senator Zubiri graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelors Degree in Agri-Business Management.
He is presently working on his Master’s Degree in Environment and Natural Resources at the University of the Philippines.
Senator Zubiri’s involvement in politics started when he served as Chief of Staff in the office of his Congressman father. When his father vacated the position of Congressman of the third District of Bukidnon, he ran for office easily winning and holding the position for three terms.
Senator Zubiri’s election to the House of Senate was controversial, but at the end, the Supreme Court upheld the result of the elections. At 39 years of age, he became the youngest Senate Majority Leader.
Miguel Zubiri is a Senator for all Filipinos and not just a selected sector of society.
Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines know him as the Senator who authored the bill that is now Republic Act No. 9166 or the Armed Forces of the Philippines Base Pay Increase Act.
Senator Zubiri is a champion of environmental concerns. Environmentalists and followers of the “green” movement best know him, for authoring the Renewable Energy Bill enacted into law as Republic Act 9513 and Republic Act No. 9147, The Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.
He is the president of the Palawan-based Katala Foundation, established to protect all endangered species and their habitat.
Those who have less means are grateful to him for sponsoring the Cheaper Medicine Bill enacted into law as Republic Act 9502 and the Rent Control Law or Republic Act No. 9653.
Practitioners of the Filipino Martial Arts all over the world are indebted to Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri for authoring Republic Act 9850 declaring Arnis de Mano as the National Martial Art of the Philippines.
He is not only an enthusiast but also a master of Arnis de Mano in his own rights. For all his accomplishments, most notably in the field of the Filipino Martial Arts the Mataw-guro Association vested the Agila ng Kulturang Pilipino on the Honorable Senator Miguel Zubiri.
AGILA NG KULTURANG PILIPINO is the highest award in the Mataw-guro Association. It is vested only once, on a person who has exceptionally contributed to the cause of the Mataw-guro Association in relation to Arnis de Mano and Philippine Culture.
Originally called Monkey-eating Eagle, the name was officially changed to Philippine Eagle in 1978. The scientific name Phitecophaga Jefferyi means monkey eater.
It is the largest, rarest, and most majestic of the breed that has a wingspan of about 8 feet. It is native to the Philippines, and is known locally as Haribon or Haring Ibon (King Bird). In 1995, President Fidel Ramos declared the Philippine Eagle as a national emblem with proclamation No. 615.
The only recipient of this award, Senator Miguel Zubiri, is the “largest of the breed, rarest of the specie, and most majestic of its kind.” He has accomplished an extraordinary deed that nobody has ever done before or since.
The award will be in the form of a silver-colored plaque 11″X14″ with AGILA NG KULTURANG PILIPINO in red with the seal of the association and signed by the President, Vice-President, Secretary General, International Coordinator and Chairman of the Board.
Above the wordings is the figure of the Philippine Eagle. The sun and the Philippine Colors of red, white, and blue, are extending out of the outstretched wings of the eagle denoting that the eagle has embraced all schools and styles under the title National Martial Arts of the Philippines.
This is what the Honorable Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri has done by authoring the Arnis Law. He is he Eagle. The award has no border because of what the Eagle has done has no bounds.
Likewise, it has no date because this feat is timeless and has neither a beginning nor an end.
As part of the Awarding of Honors, Senator Zubiri conferred on the nineteen founding members of the Mataw-guro Association the Award for Meritorious Service to Philippine Culture.
On top of the Award is the Eagle overseeing the Mataw-guro Association, denoting that the Mataw-guro Association was created in line with the Arnis Law.
The founding members of the Mataw-guro Association represent fifteen different schools of thought of Arnis de Mano. With new members joining, it is believed that majority of the different styles will be represented.
The ultimate goal of the association is to develop a standard curriculum of education which will be adopted by all practitioners of the Filipino Martial Arts, whether a member or not of the Mataw-guro Association.
When that goal is finally achieved, then styles will cease to exist and will be replaced with a united Filipino Martial Arts Education.
Perhaps a Filipino Martial Arts College or even University will be established and students may graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Arnis de Mano, a Master’s Degree in Armed Fighting or even a Doctorate’s Degree in Unarmed Fighting and other related Degrees.
THE FOUNDING MEMBERS (MGA NAGTATAG):
On the 2011 Mataw-guro Association Assembly the following were inducted as new members of the Mataw-guro Association:
1. Enrica “Nickie” Esmero – Amara Arkanis Philippines
2. Julio “Jojo” Penales – Amara Arkanis Philippines
3. Felipe “Ipe” Penales – Amara Arkanis Philippines
4. Renato “Nat” Tanglao – Amara Arkanis Philippines
5. Bella Marie Baron “Peachie” Saguin – Kalis Illustrisimo
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
6. Thomas Collins – Northwest Martial Arts (Post Falls, Idaho)
7. Marc Lawrence – South Bay Filipino Martial Arts (Gardena, California)
8. Richard Lundy – Seventh Direction School of Martial Arts (Walthill, Nebraska)