from tempo.com.ph: RP, SPAIN SIGN SECURITY ACCORD.
The Philippines and Spain have reaffirmed their interest to forge closer defense cooperation to battle terrorism and other transnational crimes. President Arroyo and her Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Rodriguez-Zapatero agreed to expand the defense collaboration between their governments during their meeting at the Palacio de la Moncloa.
Shortly after their meeting, President Arroyo gave Zapatero a replica of the famous bells from Baler, Aurora in celebration of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day on June 30. Around 50 Spanish soldiers made a history-making last stand for their country during the Philippine-Spanish war that ended in 1899, now known as the siege of Baler.
I highlighted the replica of the “famous bells from Baler” in the news because I have an inside story about it. There are three Baler bells in exhibit at the Museo de Baler. They were used at the Baler Church and they have different sizes and the years when they were manufactured were embossed on the sides of the bells. One was an 19th century bell, the latest was marked with the year 1971. Last year the Spanish officials, who were here for the Fil-Spanish Friendship Day celebrations, wanted to have the smallest bell for souvenir and a local official agreed and gave them the bell. Fortunately Mrs. Mesina learned about it before they managed to take it out of Baler on their chartered plane. The bell was already at the San Luis airport when she caught up with the visitors. She told them that it would be impossible to take the thing out of the country because it is a historical artifact and the Customs will not allow it. They told her it won’t be a problem because they have their own plane and they were here as diplomats. So she talked to Sen. Angara and told him that he should not let this thing happen again, citing the case of the “Campana de Baler”, the famous church bell that was said to have been taken to Rome because of it’s legendary sound. So the Senator interfered and the bell didn’t make it abroad. Instead he had the bell photographed and measured so that a replica can be made. And that was the bell in the news above. I also have a part in the story – I was the one who photographed and measured it. Then I send the files to the office of Sen. Angara via email. I’m famous!