Republic of the Philippines

      Stamps and Postal History


Philippines Philatelic Personalities





By Carlos Manseguiao

(Philippine Journal of Philately, May-June 1959)

The Governor is a Philatelist

AMONG the stamp collectors who regularly visit the Stamp and Philatelic Division of the Bureau of Posts, to buy new stamps for their collections, are business tycoons, professors of various schools and universities and private citizens. Only a few are government bigwigs who find in stamp collecting a relaxing and peace-promoting hobby. One such government official is the incumbent governor of Batangas, the honorable Feliciano P. Leviste. .

Governor Leviste is quite a familiar figure in the Stamp and Philatelic Division. The moment he strides past the stamp counters, employees and outsiders who know him, look at him with admiration and respect. For Gov. Leviste has proven himself to be a capable and distinguished governor not only in his native province but all over the country.

Philately is the only hobby of the amiable governor. Before the war, his collection included nature's lush beauty spots, such as gigantic vol­canoes of the world, cascading wa­terfalls of many nations and famous mountains etched against the limit­less sky.

However, during the last World War, his collection went up in smoke when his house was burned down by the Japanese soldiers. Because of his staunch devotion to his country and his constant refusal to collaborate with the Japanese, he had been the object of the enemy's ire.

With the same avid interest he had before the war, the provincial executive renewed his collection immediately after the liberation. He bought stamps from dealers here and abroad and exchanged them for stamps from philatelists. Due to pressure of work, he has had not enough time to correspond with foreign philatelists.

"Stamp collecting is not as expensive as other hobbies indulged in by the next man you know," was the governor's answer when asked if stamp collecting is a drain to his finances. "As a matter of fact," he continued, "it could be a good investment for the future. They could be sold, if you like it, at much higher price than their original value after many years of keeping them."

The governor recommended stamp collecting to school children when he opined: "Stamps portray the culture, history and progress of a country. It will help the children understand that country better and they could be influenced to become good citizens."

In order to bolster philately and philatelic literature in the Philippines, the governor favors the plan that the Bureau of Posts should be given a sufficient financial outlay by the government to finance the printing of stamps locally. He has in mind to make stamps a good business venture of the government by making it a revenue-raising program. He recalled that at present Bureau of Posts realizes every year P10,000,000 from stamp sales. "And if proper incentive is given, this amount could be increased considerably," the governor added.

Gov. Leviste, a frank and sincere politician, always seeking ways and means for the welfare of the people, stated that "the government should procure modern printing machines not only for printing stamps but also for banknotes. This. would not only be a boon to the people, since it would create employment, but would also ward off the drain from our international dollars reserve".

In order to promote tourism in the Philippines, Gov. Leviste declared that we can popularize the Philippines by depicting on stamps places of interest, such as the perfect-coned Mayon Volcano, the recently world-famous Hibokhibok volcano, the Taal volcano, the Maria Cristina falls, the magnificent Ifugao rice terraces, Philippine flowers, etc., and making our foreign embassies as show windows for these stamps.

Gov. Leviste first saw light 61 years ago in Malvar, Batangas. He finished his high school education at the Seminario de Javier de  Manila. He was graduated from the Ateneo de Manila as a Bachelor of Arts in 1915.  In 1919,  he finished his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas. After practicing law in Manila for sometime, he became a municipal councilor of his town for three consecutive terms - this began his colorful political career; .

He became an assistant city fiscal for Manila in 1946.  Drafted to run for the top executive position in his province of Batangas, as a Nationalista Party nominee, he was subsequently elected in 1947.   He bested his strong administration-favored opponent by a convincing margin. Because of his clean and accomplished administration, he was re-elected in 1951 for the second term. In 1955, he ran for the third term and won with the biggest majority ever registered by any governor in that election. This shows he was, and still is, a "hit" among his people. This year, he is available for the fourth term with no known opponent so far!

The provincial executive was married in 1924 to the former Aurelia Malvar of Santo Tomas, Batangas. Mrs. Leviste is the daughter of the intrepid revolutionary hero, Gen. Miguel Malvar, the last general to conditionally surrender to the American forces. By her, the governor has one child, Expedito, who is now a technical assistant of the Philippine Mission in the United Nations. The governor has four grandchildren.

The governor began collecting stamps at the tender age of 12. "The artistry and historical significance of stamps attracted me so much that I collected and mounted them in an album which I fashioned by my own hands," the governor reminisced.

He has found philately a refreshing avocation for busy executives.  His belief can be well supported by the stamp hobbies of such great figures as the American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, King George V and Queen Elizabeth II of England, the queens of Romania and Italy, and other famous notables.

An ardent philatelist that he is, with a final say on the topic of stamp collecting, Gov. Leviste asserted: "Politics and philately are good combination. While politics is strenuous, philately is relaxing and the combination  of the two makes a politician durable, both politically and physically."


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