Written by 12:00 pm Feature, News

   Fundacion Climaco remembers history of integrity, launches Climaco Exhibit 

“How do we heal a nation that forgets? We nurture a generation who remembers,” wished Fundacion Climaco’s Executive Director and Curator, Mr. Kiko Miranda, to achieve the recognition of Zamboanga City’s former Mayor Cesar Cortez Climaco to the younger generations.

Fundacion Climaco has officially launched their exhibit titled, “Telegrammed Truths: The Valiant Correspondence of Cesar Cortez Climaco” at The Gallery of the Peninsula and the Archipelago, Ateneo de Zamboanga University (AdZU) in partnership with Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts last February 23, 2024. 

The exhibit highlighted the different artifacts, telegrams, and letters written by Zamboanga City’s former Mayor Cesar Cortez Climaco that centered upon the battles he fought against the government during the Martial Law, including his fight for democracy, justice, and rights of the Filipino people. 

A man of courage, wit, and humor, his legacy is explored as his causes are remembered, specifically the fight for freedom from the tyrannic rule for every Filipino, contributing to a more resilient nation that involves fostering a deep sense of remembrance, learning from the past, and withstanding challenges together. 

The ceremony kicked off with a warm welcome from the Director of the Ateneo Center for Culture and the Arts, Mr. Carlito Robin. Describing the exhibit as a “journey of remembrance and discovery,” he aspires to inspire resilience, sacrifice, and unwavering faith in collective action into the hearts and minds of visitors to the exhibit, followed by a gratitude-filled message from the University President, Fr. Guillrey Anthony Ernald Andal, SJ, who delivered an awe-inspiring speech emphasizing Cesar Cortes Climaco’s embodiment of Jesuit values.

 The event continued with brief messages from key figures involved in the exhibit’s inauguration: Dr. Myl Johann Amsid, Vice President of Fundacion Climaco, Mr. Kiko Miranda, Executive Director of Fundacion Climaco, and Dr. Desi Climaco, the granddaughter of Cesar Climaco.

After the ribbon cutting, the exhibit revealed different segments, including letters of how Climaco was back then through the eyes of his own family, friends, and colleagues, a display of the prestigious awards he has received, namely the Gawad Rizal Award and Peace Weaver Award, his very own motorcycle was also displayed, along with the urgent telegrams and letters he wrote about his opposition during the Martial Law, and the responses and death threats he received through them. 

Mr. Miranda explained the inspiration for creating the exhibit was due to the lack of exposure and resources about Cesar Climaco in the general public, and when they received the thousands of telegrams and letters from two years of sorting through eight (8) MegaBoxes, an open-to-all exhibit was what immediately came to mind.

Former Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, niece of Cesar Cortes Climaco, was also in attendance at the exhibit and expressed her insights, “Being mayor also, I am very inspired and honored to see the lives and works of our leaders, uncle Cesar in his letters was very brave and wrote about courage. I also enjoyed it because we have to bridge the gap between our generation and today’s generation.” 

In a message to students, she urged them to remember their history and the heroes who fought for them and also emphasized that everyone has a hero within their hearts. 

Cesar Climaco’s daughter, Mrs. Delora Climaco, expressed being deeply touched by the exhibit and emphasized that in times of despair over the lack of progress and the scarcity of good leaders, it is important not to resign to the belief that no one can emulate Mayor Cesar as he would be disheartened if there were no one like him in future generations.

       In a time when history is often overlooked, it can highlight the significance of remembering hardships and appreciating the bravery of those who paved the way, so the hope is for them to carry in mind that Zamboanga City had a national hero and an exemplary politician. It may seem that the fate of politics looks bleak right now, but future generations can look back and recognize that leaders like him existed and could emerge once again.

Fundacion Climaco plans to expand this exhibit on a larger scale, specifically in the Cesar Climaco museum -Abong,  Zamboanga City.

Written by: Shannen Denise Abasa and Mia Shalom Cuna

Photos by: Christia Labinghisa

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