Perdon: History in the Making

May 8th, 2014 · No Comments

 It is said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  This is so true for author, historian, archivist, Renato Perdon.  What some discard as old and torn documents, creased sepia photographs, Perdon delights in, as treasures to keep.


Perdon-booksTo Renato Perdon, the past is a whole new world waiting to be unearthed, discovered and understood.  It’s only a matter of time.  He exhumes the past with a passion and journeys through the alleys of a bygone era, , disinterring declassified documents, dusting old books and magazines.    Like working on a giant puzzle, he pieces the remnants of the past to reveal a colorful cultural patchwork, in the hope of providing an insight of today.


For anyone with an interest in history,  he is a mine of information on Philippine history and culture. More than just shooting out facts and dates, his narratives of Filipino ancestry are dished out from a different perspective. Drawing parallels between yesterday and today, he provides other possible interpretations of the past, in  the hope of providing new answers to the long-drawn questions that have haunted us, as a people.


As an author, his books capture the very essence of the people and the times:  “Brown Americans of Asia”,  “Kulturang Pilipino” and  “Footnotes in History” provides readers with one more viewpoint – the one missed out in history books.  His book on Rizal, portrays him “as simply an ordinary man thrown into extraordinary circumstances.”   It’s an honest look at history with a difference.   It’s story telling at its best.  His autobiographical book “Life and Times of the Perdon Family” focuses on the Perdon  ancestry and highlights their  highs and lows in the Bicol region. His latest book “Connecting Two Cultures” takes a close look at the fusion of Philippine and Australian cultures.


His other books are for Filipinos and foreigners with special interest in the Philippines.  These language books –  Filipino Dictionary, Essential Filipino Phrasebook, Moving Out in Filipino plus other book on common phrases, language workbooks – simply reconnect us to our roots. 


The importance of education was instilled in him by his father, who conscientiously travelled the small towns of Bicol to teach.  While he was driven originally by his ambition to be in Foreign Service, fate stepped in and he landed a job with National Historical Commission of the Philippines.  Here he dedicated 20 years of his professional life as a historical translator and researcher, while also teaching the subject at Lyceum.  He was also Special Assistant to the Chairman of the National Historic studies and Cultural Heritage Consultant for Presidential Commission on Culture and the Arts.


He had the honor of working and being mentored by notable Filipino historians, it was inevitable that he developed a profound interest in history.  “I cannot forget the inspiration they have given me, says Perdon.  His impressive circle includes: historian-priest, Fr. Horacio de la Costa; art critic and writer/editor Emilio Aguilar Cruz; historian, Teodoro Agoncillo, medical doctor and historian Domingo Avella; academic and historian, Dr. Serafin D. Quiason, Rizalist and historian, Professor Esteban A. de Ocampo; and  writer, Carmen Guerero Nakpil  and other private historians.  Dr. Gregorio F. Zaide, Marcelino Foronda, Celedonio Resurrecion, Diosdado Capino, Sixto Orosa, Sr. were in his correspondence list too. 


His first entry to Australia was as a Colombo scholar.  He later  migrated and found employment as an archivist with the City of Sydney Archives, Sydney, Australia where he stayed until his retirement. He is also a   translator and language consultant for the Community Relations commission.


He holds an MA in Asian Studies and a Graduate Diploma in Archives Administration (University of New South Wales), a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum Studies (Sydney University), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Spanish Major (Colegio de San Juan de Letran). He completed his undergraduate studies (BA in Political Science and BS in Foreign Service) in the Philippines. He has published articles and books on history, cultural conservation and heraldry, both in the Philippines and Australia.


While the old resonates with him dearly, Renato Perdon is very much attuned with the new and the now.  Armed with his sense of wit, he continues to traverse through time, collecting and archiving anything of interest, knowing that today too, will one day be a generation’s past.


His books are now available on Amazon.


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