24 October 2017

Dr. Maximo Kalaw: the other Great Kalaw of Lipa during the American Colonial Era

Image credits:  Dr. Maximo M. Kalaw from the Presidential Museum and Library PH on Flicker.  Oblation picture by: Cmlagman, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24598858.
Many Filipinos – yes, not just Batangueños – ought to have heard of the name Teodoro M. Kalaw, if just for the countless number of streets named after the so-called “Father of Philippine Libraries” in cities and municipalities around the country. This Lipa-born nationalist figure during the American colonial era has, in fact, a somewhat overshadowed if no less great younger brother in Maximo, then regarded as the “foremost student of government in the Philippines.”

Both brothers, in fact, were among a handful of Batangueños included in the 1931 publication of the first volume of “Men of the Philippines1,” a compilation of short biographies of “individuals who, in various fields of endeavor, have contributed to the material and cultural advancement of these Islands.”

Maximo was born in the then-town of Lipa on 20 May 1891, seven years after his older brother Teodoro, to Valerio Kalaw and the former Maria Manguiat. He graduated from an elementary school in Lipa, after which he enrolled and finished secondary education at the Batangas High School2.

As was typical of many young men and women in Batangas during the era if their parents were affluent, Maximo went to Manila after finishing high school to study at the Normal School, a “normal school” being a training institution for teachers. From 1909-1910, he was at the University of the Philippines’ College of Liberal Arts.

Two years later, he would be appointed private secretary by future Philippine President Manuel L. Quezon. This gave Maximo the opportunity to study in the United States, since Quezon at the time was one of two Filipino Resident Commissioners representing the Philippines in the United States Congress3.

By 1916, he had obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington and Bachelor of Laws degree from Georgetown University. Returning to the Philippines, Maximo would work as Associate Editor of The Manila Times in 1918 and serve as Secretary of the Philippine Mission to the United States the following year.

At the University of the Philippines, where he was listed as a member of the faculty in school year 1916-19174, he was a pioneer of the Department of Political Science. By 1919, he would become the first Filipino head of University of the Philippines’ Political Science Department and also be appointed Dean of the university’s College of Liberal Arts, a position he would occupy until he retired from the university in 1935.

In 1923, Maximo became UP’s exchange professor to the University of Michigan, which would honor him with a Ph.D. in 1924. He was a brilliant and prolific political writer who published several books and wrote many papers published in scholarly journals, not to mention the articles that he had published in newspapers to educate the Filipino about the political dynamics of his era.

A Juan A. Cabildo, writing in “Appraisals5,” described Maximo as
“…the prophet of the new era, the interpreter of our fundamental law, the guardian of our political faiths… Through all his works, one could discern the vigor of the Kalaw mind. None dare question the infallibility of his manifestos, the divine sources of his inspiration. Minds athirst for knowledge sought the cool waters from the brooks of Kalaw’s wisdom.”
Regrettably, Maximo would get caught up in the politics of two groups with conflicting visions for Philippine independence. His preference to support the faction advocating the Hares-Hawes-Cutting Act, which would ultimately be rejected by the Philippine Senate6, would lead to him being overlooked for the position of President of the University of the Philippines. This would be the cause of his disillusion and his reason for retiring from the university at the age of 44.

Away from academe, Maximo would serve two consecutive terms as Assemblyman for the Third District of Batangas in the National Assembly of the Philippine Commonwealth. Upon Manuel L. Quezon’s death in New York in 1944, Sergio Osmeña, Vice-President of the Philippine government-in-exile, appointed Maximo Secretary of Public Instruction and Information. He would also serve as Chairman and General Manager of the Philippine Coconut Corporation7 during the Presidency of Manuel L. Roxas.

With regards his personal life, Maximo married the former Marieta Tejico in Iloilo back in April of 1918. The couple would have five children: Augusto, Erlinda, Edgardo, Azucena and Lydia. He passed away in March of 1954 just short of his 63rd birthday.

Notes and references:
1 Along with other details about Kalaw’s life included in this article, from “Men of the Philippines Volume I,” edited by George F. Nellist, published 1931.
2 Along with other details about Kalaw’s life included in this article, from “The Political Science of Dr. Maximo M. Kalaw,” by Remigio E. Agpalo, published 1990.
3 Resident Commissioner, Wikipedia.
4 According to Agpalo, a “Mr. Maximo Kalaw” was listed as one of two professors of the University of the Philippines newly established Department of Political Science, the other being the American George A. Malcolm. This is in conflict with the information contained in “Men of the Philippines,” which said that he joined UP in 1921. I have preferred to use Agpalo’s information since his reference was the UP Catalogue of school year 1916-1917.
5 Presumably a Bureau of Printing pamphlet or magazine published in 1953 and cited by Agpalo.
6 The rejection of the Hares-Hawes-Cutting Act, which was supported by the group led by Sergio Osmeña and Manuel A. Roxas (incidentally both future Philippine Presidents), would lead to the Tydings-McDuffie Act which was being pushed by Manuel L. Quezon and his group.
7 The Philippine Coconut Corporation was the forerunner of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PhilCOA).

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