This article aims to discuss Maria Paz Zamora-Mascuñana’s Mi obolo (1924) in light of biographical and culturally meaningful findings obtained through archival work conducted in 2018 and 2022 using the Library of Congress’s holdings of Philippine periodicals from the American colonial period as well as those of the Southeast Asian Newspaper collection at the East View Global Press Archive (GPA).3 The main claim here is that, with the publication of Mi obolo, Zamora-Mascuñana materialized her political will to contribute to the construction of the nation at a time when women’s participation in Filipino politics was met with resistance due to the opposition of most political leaders to women’s suffrage. However, Zamora-Mascuñana strategically chose the setting of the fundraising campaign organized in support of the Third Independence Mission to publish her short story collection, using as the title a contemporary buzzword—obolo [“contribution”]—which other writers, such as Jesus Balmori, had already employed to support the campaign, thus boldly placing herself and her creation on the same level as that of her male counterparts. This article’s working hypothesis is that as a woman writer and a member of the elite, Zamora-Mascuñana displays in Mi obolo the ideological program that women from the Hispanophone Filipino privileged class had supported since the early 1900s. This agenda, directed towards the construction of the Philippine nation, pivoted mainly around Christian values and the rejection of American symbols of modernity. The article is divided into three main sections devoted, firstly, to an overview of Zamora-Mascuñana’s production and its significance within the corpus of the Golden Age of Filipino Literature in Spanish; secondly, to the connections between Mi obolo and the Third Independence Mission; and thirdly, to the analysis of Mi obolo in relation to the discussion of womanhood at a time when evolving notions of modernity were transforming traditional


American colonial period, Filipino Literature in Spanish, Third Independence Mission, women’s associations, women’s magazines, women’s suffrage

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)