Republic of the Philippines

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Philippines Philatelic Personalities





By Aquilino de los Triños

(Philippine Journal of Philately, Jan-Feb 1949)


A man of public affairs who carries the grimmest responsibility of the state, that of dealing with crimes, Don Joaquin Pardo de Tavera could keep that grand seren­ity of mind or level-headedness, which makes him most fit to carry on his present position, Director of the National Bureau of Investiga­tion. Although his office forces upon him the darker side of man, this verile, grand man of 65 is able to shed on man's wretchedness the light of his luminous soul.  Understanding because he knows the depths of human frailty; resolute because of his own integrity, Don Joaquin renders his delicate position unassailable.


Born on August 14, 1884 in Lau­sanne, Switzerland, he was the son of Joaquin Pardo de Tavera who was arrested during the Cavite uprising in 1872, together with Fathers Burgos, Gomez and Zamora. His father was imprisoned in Fort Santiago for 3-hard years, then deported to Guam (the Ile du Diable during the Spanish regime) where he remained until pardoned after four years, and subsequently deported to Europe.


Young Joaquin was educated at St. Ignace de Loyola, the Jesuit School in Paris. Later he obtained his degree of Bachelor of Arts and Philosophy in the University of Sorbonne, Paris, France.


For the first time be came to the Philippines in 1905. Arriving at Manila, he enrolled in the famous Law School "Escuela de Derecho". He passed the Bar examination in 1910 and was later appointed as Assistant Attorney, Bureau of Justice, where he served under Attorneys-General Araneta, Villamor, Avancena and Paredes. He resigned in 1920 to devote his time to the practice of law.  On April 1, 1939, upon the insistence of the late President M. L. Quezon and of the late Secretary of Justice Jose Abad Santos, he accepted the appointment of Chief of the Division of Investigation of the Department of Justice.


Then World War II and Japanese Occupation came. As leading Filipinos were the targets of the Kempei Tai, on March 2, 1942, Don Joaquin and other leaders were soon rounded up and imprisoned by the Japanese in Fort Santiago. After liberation, he was recalled by President Sergio Osmeña to reorganize the Division; then under the presidency of the late Manuel A. Roxas, the Division of Investigation was converted into the actual National Bureau of Investigation (N.B.I.) and he became its director, a position he is holding to the present time.


Don Joaquin is an artist by temperament, but one of his strongest and oldest hobbies is philately. He purchased his first album from Arthur Maury who, at that time, was the Scott of France. It was an international album. He must have been then about 12 or 13 years of age. He started collecting until he had, at the age, of 20, when he came to the Philippine Islands, a very large and rather valuable collection.  His collection of Switzerland, including all the old values, was complete, but this collection was stolen while coming to the Philippines. He became disheartened and stopped collecting stamps.


But the "philatelic bug" was so much for him and he started all over again but limiting himself to P.I. stamps only in which he specialized to the extent of collecting anything in connection with stamps or post office work. He even has a collection of letters stamped in the Philippines since 1842 until the issuance of the first P.I. stamps in 1854.  He was a member of the Associacion Filatelica de Filipinas and became its president in 1926.


He still remembers those happy and boisterous philatelic reunions when members tried to help one another in completing their collections. Money was not then an important factor, it was rather exchange and, in many instances, free gifts of stamps. It was not rare to see a member split a block four ways to keep one stamp and distribute the others. Some of his companions were Messrs. Ubago, Castaner, Mencarini, Fernandez, Reyes, Del­gado, Ferraz, Ortiz, Blum, Banks, Garcia and many others.


The Tavera family is connected in some way with some of the stamps of the Philippine Islands.


Don Joaquin and his father were imprisoned in Fort Santiago (10c pink).


In the Blood Compact, (30¢ orange) he has 3 relatives and one very dear friend. The painting was made by Luna, the famous painter, his cousin by marriage to Paz Pardo de Tavera; Legaspi was posed by T.H. Pardo de Tavera, brother of Paz, brother-in-law of Luna, and first cousin of Don Joaquin; the standing warrior in helmet was posed by Felix P. de Tavera, famous surgeon and sculptor, brother of Trinidad, hence Don Joaquin's first cousin also; Sikatuna was posed by Jose Rizal, his very close friend.


One of the next issues will figure T. H. Pardo de Tavera, his cousin, Teodoro M. Kalaw, one of his professors, and E. de los Santos Cristobal, one of his best friends. (Semi-­postal issue 40 plus 2¢).


When he has had a heavy day in his office, and which is nearly every day, he takes out his stamps and soon forgets all his worries, except the worry of looking at many empty spaces in his albums which he hopes he might, if they do not cost so much, to be able to fill up before dying.


Don Joaquin says that in the absence of life insurance or real estate, which he owns neither, the best insurance he can leave to his wife will be his collection of Philippine stamps with the hope that she will be able to use their value at a good advantage. He recommends philately - the real philately - to all young or old.


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