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About Paz Mascuñana

About the author: Maria Paz Zamora de Mascuñana (1888 — 1978) Fictionist, publishing a collection of short stories, Mi Obolo (Manila, 1924). At one time Associate editor of The Women’s Home Journal and co-author with Sofia de Veyra, of Everyday Cookery for the Home: Choice Recipes for All Tastes and All Occasions, San Juan Press, 1930. This biographical note by Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo appeared in Pinay: Autobiographical Narratives by Women Writers, 1926-1998, Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City, 2000:

Maria Paz Zamora’s father was Dr. Felipe Zamora who, according to his great granddaughter, Sylvia Roces-Montilla, was the first Filipino doctor. The Zamora family (there were five daughters) had to go into exile in Vietnam to avoid being investigated by Spaniards for Dr. Zamora’s friendship with Jose Rizal. Maria Paz was the model for the Marquesa in Juan Luna’s famous painting. She was educated by governesses, and could speak English, French, and Esperanto, aside from Spanish and Tagalog. Though she never had formal schooling, she valued scholarship, and set up foundations which supported research on leukemia, rabies, allergies, and cancer. She was also skilled in the traditional womanly arts, sewing and embroidering the fine linen tablecloths for each grandchild, and producing a cookbook, Everyday Cooking [sic] for the Home (published by St. Louis Industrial School in Hong Kong) with Sofia Reyes de Veyre [sic].

About the diary: Abridged and translated by Carlos Quirino, and published as “A Housewife’s Diary of the War,” in Vol. 10 of Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation (1978). The original diary was first published Vol. IV of the Bulletin of the Philippine Historical Association in 1958 then self-published in Cuentos cortos, 1919-1923 y recuerdos de la liberacion, 1945, Manila, 1960. In Recipes for Revision: Digesting American Empire in the Philippines via Filipina Literature in Spanish in Kritika Kultura 29 (2017), Adam Lifshey observed, observed,

The war text has been republished at least three times since then, but each of those versions is radically distinct from the others and from the originals of 1958 and 1960, which are virtually identical. The later versions are all heavily abridged and translated into English, but the chopping-up is done in different places and different ways, and all the translators are different.18 Along with this protean publication history, the memoirs also seem to be the only fragment of the oeuvre of Paz Zamora Mascuñana that has received sustained attention from a scholar.

In Los sonidos de la II Guerra Mundial en Manila: ruido y autorrepresentación en “Nuestros cinco últimos días bajo el yugo nipón” de María Paz Zamora-Mascuñana, in Revista de Crítica Literaria Latinoamericana, Año 44, No. 88 (2ᵈᵒ semestre de 2018), Rocio Oertuño Casanova wrote.

Paz Zamora-Mascuñana’s diary, as I said, was published in Spanish… which she dedicated to her grandchildren so they wouldn’t forget Spanish. Turning away from this intention, Carlos Quirino translated the journal into English. This translation was published within the work in 10 volumes edited by Alfredo Roces, Filipino Heritage, the Making of a Nation, with the title “A Housewife’s Dairy of the War” in 1978. The new title of the journal with the indefinite article -“A,”- that leaves the author plunged into the anonymity of the community, and the adjective “housewife”, highlighting from her only the facet of her wife without paid work, seems to underestimate the epic of a woman who she not only survived the battle of Manila, but dominated at least Four languages…

Much later, in 2000, some fragments of the account of his experience of the war were translated again into English by Lourdes Castrillo-Britires with the more reliable title of “Our Last Five Days Under The Japanese Yoke”, and included in the anthology of autobiographical text Pinay: Autobiographical Narratives

The text is structured in days, headed by the date, beginning beginning on Thursday, February 8, 1945, five days after the beginning of the battle of Manila that was advancing through neighborhoods until on March 3, although Mascuñana’s story ends on February 13, when the Americans beat the Japanese in their part of town.