We, at the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), join the family and friends of Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil, former Chairperson of the National Historical Commission (NHC), a forerunner of the NHCP, in commemorating her birth centenary on 19 July 2022.
Guerrero-Nakpil served as Chairperson of the NHC from June 1967 to March 1971. During her tenure, the NHC was just newly formed out of the merger of the Philippines Historical Committee and the National Heroes Commission in 1965. The almost two-year transition resulted in Guerrero-Nakpil’s direct administration of the five national shrines her agency had inherited from the said predecessor offices and concurrently supervised by the Director of the National Museum until 1967. These were the Rizal Shrines in Calamba, Dapitan and Fort Santiago and Mabini Shrines in Tanauan and Nagtahan, respectively.
Owing to a meager budget allotted to the NHC, Guerrero-Nakpil tapped various government agencies and the private sector to help finance the maintenance and operation of the national shrines, apart from the proceeds of the publications. Nevertheless, she made the NHC available to assist fellow cultural agencies, as in the case of the transfer of 11 million documents of the Bureau of Records Management from its old office to the National Library Building from 18 September to 3 October 1967.
A champion of public history, she organized the Floating Museum of Philippine History aboard the Presidential Yacht. After its tour around the country from 25 March to 13 May 1969, the exhibit found a permanent home in the National Library Building. She also spearheaded the production of historical films, the promotion of local history, and the increase in the number of national shrines outside Manila.
Guerrero-Nakpil rose to prominence for her columns in various newspapers such as Evening News, The Philippines Herald, The Manila Chronicle, The Manila Times, Asia, and Malaya. She also wrote ten books, many of which discoursed post-colonial history and Philippine nationalism.
Born in Manila on 19 July 1922, Guerrero-Nakpil graduated in St. Theresa’s College in 1942 and in the same year married Ismael A. Cruz, a descendant of Jose Rizal through his sister Maria. In 1950, five years after Cruz died, she married architect Angel E. Nakpil.
In addition to being NHC Chairperson, Guerrero-Nakpil also served as Director-General of the Technology Resource Center (1975-1985) and was elected to the Executive Board of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1983.
Guerrero-Nakpil died on 30 July 2018 and was survived by her children, including incumbent NHCP Commissioner Lisa Guerrero Nakpil and former Board Member Gemma Cruz Araneta, who in her capacity as National Museum Director joined the NHC Board then chaired by her mother.