Republic of the Philippines

      Stamps and Postal History


Philippines Philatelic Personalities





By Carolina B. Clements

(Philippine Journal of Philately, Mar-April 1951)

Founder  of the Asociacion Filatelica de Filipinas, the oldest philatelic club in the Philippines, and dean of the local stamp collectors, Don Joaquin Ortiz is now recognized as one of the foremost philatelists in the country.

The tale of his philatelic adventures gives an interesting proof of the irresistibility of the hobby, which had carried him through vicissitudes and adversities in his life.

Young Joaquin was first attracted to stamp collecting while he was a student at Ateneo de Manila where he saw the beautifully mounted stamps of his classmates consisting of different effigies and multicolored landscapes. Fascinated by them he right away started to make his own collection, and with unusual zeal in hunting for stamps his own collection grew faster than that of other boys.

A childhood friend of his saw his fine collection and offered him a good price for it. It was difficult to part with his stamps; it was equally difficult to resist the tempting offer. It finally resulted in giving up his stamps.

Stripped of his precious collection and desirous to replace it he again started to collect stamps. This time he bought stamps from Mr. Wicks whose office was then at the Escolta, and from the Manila Filatelica in Dulumbayan Street which is now Rizal Avenue.

At the age of 17, by force of necessity, he once again sold his stamps.

For years he deserted the hobby and devoted his time to working for his livelihood.

He worked and took to life earnestly, and at the age of 26 married a pharmacist.  After seven years of happy married life his wife died, and to console himself he frequented the "Typist Club" of his late friend, E. Bayani, at Intramuros. This club sold books and stamps for collection. Here his love for stamps with the old zeal was revived. He offered Mr. Bayani seven hundred pesos for his stamps which the latter accepted. Thus he became a stamp dealer.  He used the "Typist Club" as his office.

With increasing interest he now devoted most of his time to reading philatelic journals. This inspired him to edit a philatelic magazine, the "Revista Filatelica Filipina", first philatelic magazine printed in the Islands. It was a quarterly Spanish journal. Later, in one of the apartments on Potenciana Street, Intramuros, he organized the now popular stamp club, the “Asociacion Filatelca de Filipinas”.  And, the “Revista Filatelica Filipinas” became its official organ. 

It may be said that from the AFF originated the great Filipino stamp collectors of today. All this took place about the year 1925. Don Joaquin is proud to say that this journal was the first official organ of the Asociacion Filatelica de Fi­lipinas.

In 1926 he noted that there was a marked push in stamp business so he transferred his office to the "Cosmopolitan" at the foot of the Sta. Cruz bridge, later known as the "Paterno Building" which was demolished in the recent war. The Bureau of Posts was then on Helios Street, a stone throw from his office. The stamp collectors, especially the members of the AFF, finding his  spacious office a very convenient meeting place, they made it the headquarters of the Asociacion Fi­lateliea de Filipinas.

In 1929 he married for the second time and again deserted the hobby and his stamp business. He turned his attention to a bazaar of photographs, and cloths which proved to be one of his great mistakes in life, for he lost thousands of pesos in this enterprise. He realized that had he invested his money in stamps he would have been by now one of our prosperous businessmen. Moreover, he realized how much pleasure he had missed in giving up the hobby.

Having therefore suffered reverses in business, Don Joaquin, the truant lover of philately, again sought consolation in the hobby.

Fortunately he came across Colonel Inocencio M. Delgado who owned a pawn shop on Trabajo Street, Sampaloc, and he (Col. Delgado) proposed to him to be his partner in his philatelic establishment known as the "Ortiz Stamp Company" of pre-war, situated at the famous Crystal Arcade at the Escolta.

This "Ortiz Stamp Company" did not only sell stamps but also propagated the hobby of stamp collecting through a weekly radio broadcast. They had charming Carmen Rosales as their vocalist in the philatelic aircast .

World War II came. The Office of the "Ortiz Stamp Company" moved from one place to another until finally just before the libera­tion Don Joaquin transferred it to his own house at F. B. Harrison, Pasay. Here his stock of stamps, including the rare ones, were reduced to ashes.

After sometime he succeeded in obtaining a good quantity of various stamps - stamps of the Spanish time to the present - to add to the stamps of his old partner, Colonel Delgado, and with them they started anew their business at the Escolta.

He who tried hard in the past years to desert philately always found himself back to it, and now he happily confesses that in the ups and downs of his life, stamps have been his most intimate and loyal friends. 



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