The Law of the Sea

Arturo M. Tolentino: I wish people will remember me for The Law of the Sea

Early Beginnings and School Years (1910-1924)

My father entered this world on September 19, 1910 at the Mary Johnstone hospital, Tondo, Manila, the first of ten children to be born to Salvador Tolentino and his wife Escolastica nee Modesto.

Soon after my grandparents got married they moved from Angono to a small shack in Manila made of wood and roofing salvage from a fire, which became my father’s first home.

A few years after my father was born, the family returned again to Angono, Rizal remaining there until my father was old enough to enter first grade. Early in 1916 they were back in Manila this time living in a rented apartment where they remained until my grandfather managed to build a house in Cataluna and Espana Streets.

My great grandfather’s concern about my grandmother’s lack of education would seem to have been unfounded for it was she who taught my father the rudiments of reading and writing prior to his entering grade school. By the time my father commenced his formal education at Quiapo Public School – he was already at an advantage over his classmates.

In 1921 my father took his fifth grade in the National University Elementary Department and in 1924 finished his last two years of elementary education at Mabini Intermediate School.

My father’s brilliant mind became evident to all who knew him even in those early days of his life. His grades through primary and intermediate were constantly the highest and the only reason he was not nominated valedictorian that time he finished elementary school was a complication regarding his residence status.

My father was a very organized individual. Take for example the study habits that he developed and used throughout his early school and university years. For every subject that he was taking he allocated a specific number of minutes or hours of study time. This he adhered to rigidly. Once the time is up, he moved to the next subject irrespective of how much he had accomplished during the allotted period.