Historian calls out FB history group admin over ‘stolen’ Josephine Bracken post

May 23, 2023 - 2:48 PM
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Josephine Bracken
Josephine Bracken, wife of Dr. Jose Rizal, national hero of the Philippines, wearing a traditional Filipino dress. (Austin Craig, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons)

A public historian called on social media users to acknowledge their sources properly after one of his posts about Josephine Bracken was posted by a Facebook user without his permission in an 877,047-strong public group.

Historian Ambeth Ocampo, also a professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, found out that his post about Bracken’s embroidered heeled footwear was appropriated by one of the administrators of the Facebook group “Memories of Old Manila & Beyond.”

“Sometimes, I am torn between sharing or keeping my research on this page,” the historian said in a Facebook post on Monday, May 22.

“Last week, I took a photo of Josephine Bracken’s slip-ons when it was being moved from one display case to another. I wrote a caption citing one of Rizal’s letters,” Ocampo added.

Bracken was Jose Rizal‘s last love who the historian said was “immortalized towards the end of Ultimo Adios,” his farewell poem before the national hero was executed at the Bagumbayan.

“Then I [found] out that someone had used both photo and most of the caption as his own. (compare my post with that on Memories of Old Manila). Mr. Reambonanza appropriated the photo, and even my own memory of Rizal’s letter, as his own,” Ocampo said in his Facebook post, referring to Luis Reambonanza.

“Is it so difficult to press the ‘share’ button and drive some engagement into my page? Is it so difficult to acknowledge the Page where you found and shared an interesting bit of history?” the historian added.

Ocampo also included a screengrab of Reambonanza’s post in the Facebook group to emphasize his point about appropriation.

“Everyone is welcome to share posts from this page, but please acknowledge the source,” he said.

Reambonanza, who is also tagged as a “group expert” in the mentioned Facebook group, had posted the picture of Bracken’s footwear, tweaked a bit of Ocampo’s original caption, and made it appear as if it was his own.

“This is the actual embroidered step-in with heels of Jose Rizal’s love, Josephine Bracken. On load to the Rizal Library from the Asenieros, descendants of Rizal’s student Jose ‘Joe’ Aseniero. Looking at this footwear reminded me of a letter of Rizal that states ‘Josephine’s feet are bigger than mine,'” Reambonanza wrote.

The post is no longer publicly available in the group, but Ocampo shared that he called out Reambonanza in its comments before.

“I wish you would just share my FB [Facebook] post rather than claim them as your own. The photo and part of the caption are mine. I don’t mind sharing, but hope others will not plagiarize,” the historian reportedly commented.

On May 18, Ocampo shared a picture of Bracken’s closed-toe footwear with the caption:

Josephine Bracken’s embroidered step-in with heels.

On loan to the Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University from the Asenieros, descendants of Rizal’s student Jose “Joe” Aseniero.

Looking at this footwear this morning reminded me of a letter of Rizal that states “Josephine’s feet are bigger than mine.”

Hours after Ocampo posted about the footwear, someone took a screengrab of Reambonanza’s post in the Facebook group “Memories of Old Manila & Beyond.”

“Salamat,” the historian said, tagging the Facebook user who alerted him of the content.

“Nakakagigil ang mga ganitong walang galang sa mga pagsisikap ng iba,” Ocampo added.

The historian also asked social media users to “report” the mentioned Facebook group and Reambonanza.

Ocampo shared a screengrab of another Facebook user who noticed that Reambonanza had supposedly committed appropriation before.

“Thanks to Febe Sevilla for the reminder. Her setting is not public so I am sharing her post from 2017. The guy stole both the photo and caption. Nakakawalang gana talaga ang mga gaya ni Reambonanza,” the historian said.

Ocampo is known for sharing tidbits of information about Philippine history and its figures on his Facebook page, particularly involving 19th century Philippines.

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He is recognized for his definitive writings about Jose Rizal, considered the country’s national hero.

Ocampo also writes the longest-running editorial page column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and has published over 35 books, including “Queridas de Rizal: Looking Back 16 and Yaman: History and Heritage in Philippine Money.”