Filipinos were not Christianized. We Filipinized Christianity.

Instituto Cervantes' Jose R. Rodriguez

By Vim Nadera – “Among the many other things, Christianity is one of the legacies of Spain to the Philippines. Some of the largest pieces of evidence of the Spanish influence on Philippine culture are the Spanish Churches that still scatter the countryside today, and it is, truly, a wonderful legacy of Spain to the Philippines. The churches date back to mid-seventeenth century through the mid-eighteenth century. There is one to be found in almost every town square. As you may know, the Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia. Whenever I go to my regular trips abroad, it never fails to amaze me to see more and more Filipino missionaries spreading the word of God all over the world. No wonder Filipinos are considered to be the new missionaries of the 21st century.”

That was a Spaniard reacting on the belief that we filipinized Christianity.

Born in 1950 in Ourense, Spain, he is married to Filipino artist Lourdes Coching.

He is Señor Jose Rodriguez, the Instituto Cervantes’ director, who supports the strengthening of our bilateral relations with Spain since they are excellent in all fields.

Let us further reflect on Don Pepe’s views about the positive aspects of our partnership with the country that introduced us to Christ.

Vim Nadera (VN): What do you love/hate about the Philippines? What do you hate about it?

Jose Rodriguez (JR): When you love someone, you take both the good and the bad. I love the Philippines.

VN: What made you fall in love with a Filipina?

JR: Beauty and brains.

VN: Are your kids more Spanish or more Filipino?

JR: They are both. They are very proud to be Filipino-Spanish.

VN: How would you describe the Rodriguez family?

JR: We are a very common family— an example of two identities partnered together.

VN: You have a Ph.D. and M.A. in business administration and a B.S. in agricultural technical engineering, how come you ended up in arts and culture?

JR: Even before I finished my studies, I was already involved in cultural affairs being a director of an art gallery in our university. Then, after I finished my studies, I became a journalist where I initially worked as a news correspondent and ended up becoming the Bureau Chief for Asia- Pacific of the Spanish news agency EFE.

VN: What is your most unforgettable experience as a correspondent?

JR: We usually remember events that have a huge impact on our life and career, and, unfortunately, these are mostly tragic ones like in my case, covering the capsizing of the MV Doña Paz, which was considered to be one of the deadliest ferry disasters in history. Then there was also the 1989 Coup d’état as well as the tragedy in Ormoc City during the 1990 earthquake.

VN: What made you decide to put up the weekly Crónica de Manila?

JR: This was a common effort with the late Senator Raul Manglapus and a group of distinguished Hispanics in the country. It was an experience that I will never forget.

VN: You have been awarded the Encomienda de Isabel la Católica by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain, what are your contributions in the strengthening of Spanish-Philippine relations?

JR: It is a great distinction that I treasure very much. Since I arrived in the country in the 70s, I have tried my best to strengthen the relations between our two countries and I try my best to focus my efforts in creating goodwill among our people and countries. – via


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