≡ Menu

Getting Started with LaTeX

[This is the fourth in a series of posts exploring the use of LaTeX in the Humanities]

The essence of LaTeX is writing in a rich text markup language, which is saved in a .tex file, and then compiling this to produce a finished and formatted PDF, Postscript or DVI file.

File Extension -- XKCD

Relevant XKCD

Installation instructions for LaTeX on Windows, Mac or Linux can be found latex-project.org. A number of introductions to LaTeX have already been written, and I do not propose to add to their number. The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e is a comprehensive introduction.

I found the GUI LaTeX editor Texmaker to be a friendly and intuitive interface for learning LaTeX. My introduction to LaTeX was through this Youtube tutorial using Texmaker. While the series turns math-formatting intensive in later segments, the introductory episode gives a clear sense for how to use Texmaker.

Eventually I began to find the interface, and particularly the structural refresh rate, of Texmaker to be unwieldy. I switched over to editing my .tex files in Vim. Unless you are already familiar with Vim, I would not beginning your LaTeX editing here, as it will add a second learning curve — learning Vim — to the already steep curve of learning LaTeX.

In my upcoming posts I intend to address the specific configurations and settings which I have found useful for my work as a scholar in the humanities.


Bibtex citation management

[This is the third in a series of posts exploring the use of LaTeX in the Humanities]

In working with LaTeX you will be managing your citations in a separate .bib file. You can use any text editor to work with your .bib file.

Mendeley has the ability to produce and manage .bib files, but the control which this feature gives to the user is very limited and for my purposes unfeasible. Mendeley updates and overwrites the entire bib file with every revision to any entry. Any direct editing of the bib file — something absolutely necessary given the limited category set which Mendeley maintains — is thus overwritten each time you add a new entry to your bibliography. This is more than annoying; it is untenable.

Mendeley Bibtex settings

I found using Mendeley to manage and view my sources and then exporting individual bibliography entries to a separate bib file was the best way to proceed. First set Mendeley in the Tools >> Options menu, on the BibTex tab, to Escape LaTex special characters. With this setting Mendeley will preformat your entries to work with LaTeX.

Right-clicking on an entry in the main screen of Mendeley Desktop brings up a list of options, among them Copy As. From the Copy As submenu, select BibTex entry.

If you paste the copied text to a text editor, you will see something like this

This is the initial structure of the citation. To the right of @misc{ on Line 1 is the citation key. As I will detail later, inputting this key in LaTeX using the biblatex package will allow you to use this citation anywhere in the document.

There are a number of problems with the initial formatting of the citation by Mendeley. For my purposes both the file and mendeley-groups lines are superfluous information, so I delete them. Second, Mendeley has formatted the newspaper article class as @misc. We need to revise this to @article, change the booktitle to journal, and add a subheading to specify that it is a magazine / newspaper type article, i.e., one in which the citation includes a specific day. Finally, Mendeley has stripped the day from the citation. We need to add this back.

Here is the revised citation

Your bibliography will consist of hundreds of such entries, one after the other, saved in a single .bib file, e.g. thesis.bib. When you compile a LaTeX document, it will read the bib file and generate the citations accordingly. Editing and revising citations throughout an immense document, is thus a simple and straightforward affair and only requires a single change within the .bib file.

I have found JabRef, an open source cross platform BibTex management program, to be useful. It provides an intuitive graphical interface for managing BibTex citations. I recommend its use. It is not essential, however; any text editor can suffice for managing your .bib file.


[This is the second in a series of posts exploring the use of LaTeX in the Humanities]

Mendeley Desktop

Mendeley Desktop

I have been very happy with Mendeley for the management of sources. In writing my dissertation I digitized thousands of documents, each of which needed to be managed individually.

Mendeley made this process easy for me. I could add the pdf of any source, whether downloaded from jstor or digitized from microfilm or photographed in the archives, to Mendeley and input its citation information. I would then have the ability to sort and search through my material instantly and conveniently view the pdf.

The imported pdfs are automatically renamed and stored in accordance with specifications which can be set in the Options menu. I have all of my files renamed in the format author. year. title. The problem of hundreds of pdfs with names like journalscan22, and a system in which some files stored by author name and others by title, is thus automatically streamlined and neatly formatted. I love this feature of Mendeley.

A free account with mendeley.com allowed me to back up my data and sync it with other devices. Mendeley works cross platform on iOS and Android and I use Mendeley to view my sources on a tablet as well as on my laptop.

With the immense range of sources which I included in my Mendeley desktop client, I exceeded the data cap for the free account and paid for an upgrade so that I could sync all of my data.

Mendeley is not perfect. I was not particularly pleased when Elsevier bought up Mendeley, and was concerned that development on the software would taper off. I am glad to see that development has continued despite the fact that Big Data now owns Mendeley.

The sort categories available in Mendeley are limited. It would be particularly useful for my purposes if they allowed sorting not only by year, but also by month and day. The bibtex export feature, which I will address in my next post, does not include the day category — an obvious bug. I put in feature requests with Mendeley two years ago for these items, but they have not been fixed.

Despite its limitations, Mendeley is, in my opinion, hands down the best visual source manager available. I use it to sort, search and read my sources. It is the only piece of propietary software which I will be recommending. Mendeley is a free download from https://www.mendeley.com/ Given that I am recommending something propietary, I should stress that I get nothing out of this recommendation.

I do not, however, use Mendeley for citations — it is much too limited. For that I use JabRef.


[This is the first in a series of posts exploring the use of LaTeX in the Humanities]

When I embarked on the writing of my doctoral dissertation, I was confronted by the question of with what software I would write it. I knew that I would be managing an immense number of citations and had no desire to write the entire work in Word, or LibreOffice Write.

I have happily used LibreOffice for short articles, letters, and other minor projects, but I knew that this would require a sophisticated adaptability calibrated to the needs of scholarship. I began looking into the use of LaTeX.

There was an initial, rather steep learning curve to LaTeX for me, but the results have more than compensated for this effort. I have been able to seamlessly manage a thousand separate sources which were incorporated into an neatly formatted 950 page final document. LaTeX made the writing process a distraction free affair, in which I could focus on producing content and set aside formatting for a separate stage in the process.

Here is a snippet from the opening of my main tex file which pulls together and compiles the document class I created, JPSDissertation.cls, the bibliography, JPSDissertation.bib., and all of the seventy-eight chapters, five appendices, and three indices, including numerous images, maps, and tables.

The end result was not only in compliance with the requirements of UC Berkeley for doctoral dissertations, but also, I believe, elegant.

Dissertation sample chapter page

Dissertation sample chapter page

In the fields of engineering, the hard sciences and mathematics, the use of LaTeX is commonplace. In the humanities, however, very few scholars use LaTeX. Using material drawn from my dissertation, as well as my Master’s Thesis —  the code of which I have made available on github — I will be writing a series of posts explaining the basics of LaTeX for scholars in the humanities.



[This is part of a collection of posts serializing the second chapter of Pasyon, Awit, Legend.]

Latent within the Carpio legend is the folk memory and celebration of social banditry under late Spanish colonialism. It was a moment within the vast totality of peasant and lower-class discourse which was conducted in registers designed to occlude these discourses from elite perception and interference. A superficial examination of the legend finds only superstition and all the old aristocratic stereotypes of peasant thought. Ileto unfortunately has nothing much to add to these preconceptions.

Ileto’s quest to locate lower class discourses and categories of thought was a valuable one. He approached this task, however, with an elite, textual hermeneutic that did not situate the reception of the texts he examined within their historically determined acts of performance.

A careful examination of these lower-class discourses reveals that they contained a deep seated historicity. They are a complex and contradictory affair, in keeping with the developing social consciousness which produced them. To begin to piece together this consciousness from the extant source material will require a heightened sensitivity to each text’s historical specificity and to the significance endowed upon it in its performance.


[This is part of a collection of posts serializing the second chapter of Pasyon, Awit, Legend.]

Bonifacio’s journey to the cave of San Mateo did place him within a nexus of signification. Bonifacio was aware that this was known as the cave of Bernardo Carpio. He was not awakening a sleeping king, however, nor was he manipulating peasant belief. He was participating in a long-standing history of revolt. There is continuity between social banditry and Bonifacio. This continuity is not to be found in Pasyon and Revolution‘s atavistic, essentialised counter-rational underside to history, however. It is not a continuity of idiom or ideology. Bonifacio’s journey to the cave of San Mateo was an act of identifying with the history of mass resistance of the late nineteenth century.

Based on an awareness of its history, Bonifacio recognized the tactical significance of San Mateo’s geography and used it to the advantage of the Katipunan at the beginning of the revolution.

In Pasyon and Revolution we read, “Bonifacio himself, as Carlos Ronquillo reports, told his followers that their legendary king Bernardo would descend from Mount Tapusi to aid the Katipunan rebels.” (111) The source for this claim is Ronquillo’s manuscript, Ilang Talata tungkol sa Paghihimagsik ng 1896-97; there is no page number given.

Carlos Ronquillo with Emilio Aguinaldo and other ilustrado exiles in Hongkong (1898)

Carlos Ronquillo with Emilio Aguinaldo and other ilustrado exiles in Hongkong (1898)

In responding to Milagros Guerrero’s critique of his work, Ileto stated

In 1897, Carlos Ronquillo, the personal Secretary of Emilio Aguinaldo, in his “history” of the Katipunan uprising castigated Bonifacio for raising false hopes that an army would descend from Mount Tapusi “to lead his whole army.” “This plain falsehood,” writes Ronquillo, “was a deception or morale booster (pangpalakas loób) perpetrated by Bonifacio; because at the appointed hour neither men nor arms arrived from Tapusi. Up to now we do not know where this mountain is.”1

Ileto used this passage in three separate essays. In each case he cited pages 6 and 21 of Ronquillo’s unpublished manuscript. In his response to Guerrero Ileto dropped his prior reference to Bernardo Carpio. In Carpio’s stead we find Bonifacio’s promise that “an army” would lead the “whole army.” Not one of the four citations provided the Tagalog original, aside from the phrase ‘pangpalakas loób.’

[click to continue…]


[This is part of a collection of posts serializing the second chapter of Pasyon, Awit, Legend.]

How then did Tapusi become not merely associated with but actually conflated with Pamitinan and the cave of Bernardo Carpio, if it is a geographically distinct location?

Santiago Alvarez, when speaking of Bonifacio’s intention to assault Manila from San Mateo refers to Bonifacio’s hiding place in the mountains of San Mateo as ‘Tapusi.’1 Alvarez was a mestizo land-owner from Cavite, whose alliance with Bonifacio in opposition to Aguinaldo reflected the continuation of a long-standing regional rivalry between two ruling class factions. His account is an important one for our understanding of the events in Cavite leading up to the arrest and execution of Bonifacio. The greater the remove of an event or person from Alvarez’ class and geographical ambit, however, the more tenuous are the facts which Alvarez records on the subject. Thus, when Alvarez writes of Maestrong Sebio, a charismatic leader from Bulacan, he misidentifies him as Eusebio Viola, a wealthy mestizo landowner. Maestrong Sebio was in truth Eusebio Roque, a local school teacher.2 Another wealthy Caviteño, Carlos Ronquillo, also conflated Tapusi with Pamitinan in his 1898 account of the revolution. There is more involved, however, in Ronquillo’s account than simple error.

Fray Mariano Gil, a Spanish priest, revealed the existence of the Katipunan to the colonial authorities after hearing the confession of a wife of one of the members. In his report he stated that the Katipunan was amassing weapons at Tapusi. Tapusi was not a mountain in this report, nor did it have any geographic specificity at all. It was simply a fabled place of resistance. The response of the Spanish authorities was not to rush to San Mateo, but to hunt for Bonifacio and his companions in Tondo. Gil’s testimony is not evidence for the conflation of Pamitinan and Tapusi but rather for a hazy fear of Tapusi in the minds of the colonial and religious authorities.

Pedro Paterno

Pedro Paterno [ca. 1906. Filipinas Heritage Library]

Pedro Paterno, writing his self-aggrandizing memoirs on his role in mediating the pact of Biaknabato, stated, “I climbed mount Tapusi, with its famous cave, eternal refuge of tulisanes and afterwards lair of General Luciano San Miguel, who afterwards died gloriously at Pugad-Babuy under the fire of American cannons…”3 Thus, in 1910 Paterno identified Tapusi with Pamitinan. It is worth pointing out that Paterno, the extremely wealthy and laughably pretentious Bulakeño, could not speak passable Tagalog and was carried in a hammock from Manila to Biaknabato and back again. He never went anywhere near Pamitinan and he certainly did not “climb” anything.4

The conflation of Pamitinan and Tapusi occurred among outsiders, those excluded by class from the sociolinguistic register of the peasantry and by spatial and temporal remove from the actual geographical specificity of Pamitinan. Tapusi and Pamitinan were connected, in history and in legend. They were not, however, the same.

On the basis of these conflations, Ileto goes on to identify ‘Mount Tapusi’ with Meru, a center of power in Southeast Asian conception.5 This misses the point entirely. Tapusi was not a mountain, it was not in San Mateo, it had no cave; the idea of Bonifacio’s journey being a ritual ascent of Tapusi makes no sense in light of historical evidence.6


[This is part of a collection of posts serializing the second chapter of Pasyon, Awit, Legend.]

Colonial authorities labeled the long-standing tradition of resistance at San Mateo banditry, and the inhabitants of the region, tulisanes. Telesforo Canseco, the overseer of the Dominican hacienda in Naic, Cavite, wrote of

the bandits (tulisanes) of San Mateo with long beards whom we have called tulisan pulpul, are men who are dedicated to robbing and committing crimes and have taken to the mountains (remontarse) and have lived for many years in the mountains of San Mateo, where even the Spanish have not been able to reach them.1

Noceda y Sanlucar

Noceda y Sanlucar, Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala, 1754 edition

Noceda and Sanlucar in the 1860 edition of Vocabulario de la Lengua Tagala defined tulisan as “malhechor, salteador; de tulis, agudo” [evil-doer, highwayman; from tulis, sharp.]2 The etymon of tulisan is tulis, to sharpen. Tulis is an Austronesian root which developed into the Malay tulisan, writing,3 a significance related to the sharpened implement which was used for scratching letters into the leaves of the lontar palm.4 Tulis thus had pluripotent significance, waiting to be sharpened into one or the other of at least two possible meanings. As the Spaniards supplanted and destroyed Philippine writing systems, the highly literate native populations were driven to orality; tulis came to mean banditry.

The word tulisan, as banditry, was appropriated by the Spanish. Felix Ramos y Duarte in his 1898 Diccionario de mejicanismos defines tulis as “ladron, ratero” (bandit, pickpocket).5 Tulis, rather than tulisan, had entered Mexican Spanish by the late nineteenth century as a word meaning bandit. The Diccionario Porrua attributes the origin of the word ‘tulises’ to a ‘grupo de bandoleros del Edo. De Durango’ who escaped from the jail of the town of San Andres de Teúl, in approximately 1859. Most notable among them was the famous bandolero, El Cucaracho.6 From Teúl the dictionary derives the word tulis as bandit. Gironiere, among others, was already using ‘tulisan’ as a Tagalog word for bandit long before these events in Teúl, thus ruling out this etymological reconstruction.

An alternative etymology has been proposed by Paloma Albalá Hernández in her Americanismos en las Indias del Poniente. She suggests a Náhuatl origin for the word, deriving tulisán from “tule, planta de la que se hace el petate, que etimológicamente procede de la voz náhuatl tullín o tolin, según Molina (1571) ‘juncia o espadaña’ y según Siméon (1885) tollin o tullin ‘junco, juncia, carrizo’.” [“tule, plant used in making bedrolls, proceeding etymologically from the náhuatl tullin or tolin, according to Molina (1571), sedge or bulrush, and according to Siméon (1885) tollin or tullin, rush, sedge, reed-grass.”]7 No further explanation is given for this proposed etymology, but it would seem that petate, bedrolls, were considered a standard item of the bandolero, and since these bedrolls were made from tule, the bandoleros became known as tulis. Teresita A. Alcantara follows the same path for the entrance of tulis into Tagalog.8 This etymology seems far-fetched.

It would seem likely that the word tulisan traveled from Manila to Acapulco in the final years of the galleon trade. Teul, in the Estado de Durango, was on the west coast of the Mexican isthmus, north of Acapulco. En route, the word also entered Chamorro, as tulisan rather than tulis. Chamorro is an Austronesian language and Chamorro speakers would have found the desinence -an familiar.

Regardless of the path taken by the word ‘tulisan’ in its transpacific peregrination, what is important is that there was a specific historical phenomenon in the nineteenth century in both Mexico and the Philippines with which the word was associated: social banditry.

[click to continue…]


[This is part of a collection of posts serializing the second chapter of Pasyon, Awit, Legend.]

For tourists what they visited was no more than the cave of San Mateo. For Bonifacio, the mountain and the cave “of Bernardo Carpio” were named Pamitinan. Julio Nakpil, a commander of troops under Bonifacio and a famed composer, was stationed in the mountains of San Mateo along with Emilio Jacinto. He fought there under the nom-de-guerre of J. Giliw. In his handwritten manuscript, Apuntes para la historia de la Revolución Filipina de Teodoro M. Kalaw, Nakpil wrote of how Bonifacio was fleeing from Aguinaldo in Cavite to San Mateo when he was arrested and executed. Bonifacio’s widow, Gregoria de Jesus, was able to escape and reached the San Mateo mountains, joining Nakpil and commanding troops there. She and Nakpil married a year and a half later. Within a month of Bonifacio’s execution, Nakpil composed a dance entitled Pamitinan, which he dedicated to the remontados.1 This was the tradition which Bonifacio’s Katipunan identified with Pamitinan, the history of resistance to Spanish rule, and not a mythical Tagalog king.

Nakpil, Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan

Julio Nakpil, “Marangal na Dalit ng Katagalugan” (1896)

Despite the remarkable differences and great distance between the two places, Pamitinan can be associated with Tapusi both historically and geographically. What were these historical and geographical connections?

Some of the remontados of Tapusi came from San Mateo. Nakpil wrote of the remontados from this region, Rizal did also, refering to ‘los remontados de San Mateo,’ in El Filibusterismo.2 The US colonial government in the Philippines conducted a census of the population in 1903. On page 474, in a brief glossary, the census defined ‘nomads’ or ‘remontados:’ “This term refers to a group of wild Tagálog people, who tradition says ran away from the town of San Mateo, and whose descendants to-day roam the mountains back of Montalbán in association with the Negrito.”3

Linguistic evidence suggests that remontado migration connected Tapusi in the Limutan river valley with Pamitinan. In the 1970s Teodoro Llamzon discovered a new language in Daraitan in the mountainous upstream of Tanay, Rizal. This was exactly where Gironiere located Tapuzi, although he spelled the region ‘Darangitan.’ Llamzon designated the language Sinauna (original or ancient), as he considered it represented an ancient strand of Tagalog; the native speakers called their language Tagarug. In the Ethnologue listing of languages it is classified as Remontado Agta. Agta is a language of the Negrito people of the Sierra Madre and the population of Sinauna speakers is supposed to be descended from intermarried remontado and Negrito populations.4 Sinauna has now been identified as an important transitional form between Tagalog and Bikolano. It is mutually unintelligible with Tagalog.5

In Southeast Asian linguistics, the pepet vowel is the indifferent vowel; it is akin to schwa. Pepet is the Javanese word for this vowel. Carlos Conant, in his dissertation of 1913, examined the ways in which this vowel differentiated in different languages in the Philippines, e.g. atəp (roof), becomes atep, atip, atap, and atup.6 Llamzon revisited this thesis and examined the role of dialects in this law. He found that the pepet vowel has not disappeared from most of the languages that Conant claimed had lost the pepet vowel. Conant overlooked the retention of the pepet vowel because he failed to examine dialects.7

For our present purposes, this line in Llamzon’s work is important: “for the Puray dialect, which is geographically located at the back of the Montalban Dam, the regular reflex seems to be ə.” Some brief samples of the dialect follow: ipa, dakip, ngipin, pusod, talong, dikit, dinggin, all of which indicate a retained pepet vowel.8 Puray is a river slightly beyond Pamitinan; it is a tributary of the San Mateo River.9 Thus, in the region of Pamitinan, a Tagalog dialect was spoken which retains the pepet vowel.

That the Limutan river valley was spelled Lumutan in de los Angeles report on Manila’s water supply was not an error in transcription; rather, it reflected the ambiguity of the pepet vowel which was retained in both Puray Tagalog and Sinauna. It seems likely that the original semantic significance of the place name was Lumutan (verdant, lush green, mossy). The pepet vowel in the penultimate syllable of a non-enclitic morpheme reflects to i,10 and thus L/*e/mut[an] came to be L/i/mut[an] (forgotten).

[click to continue…]


VI. Tourist pilgrimages

[This is part of a collection of posts serializing the second chapter of Pasyon, Awit, Legend.]

Bonifacio’s trek to San Mateo could be situated within a history of ‘pilgrimage,’ but it would be a very different history from that which Pasyon and Revolution suggested. There was an established tradition of European tourists traveling to the cave of San Mateo in the nineteenth century.

In a separate section of his book, Gironiere writes of traveling to see the cave of San Mateo. He tells of going between two “monster mountains … equally alike and similar in height.”1 His story goes into great detail of the spelunking which he and Hamilton Lindsay undertook, through subterranean chambers and between enormous stalactites. He does not mention Tapuzi in the context of the cave of San Mateo, nor does he mention San Mateo in his journey to Tapuzi. At the time of his explorations the conflation of the two locations had not yet occurred.

Surveying the accounts written by foreigners visiting Luzon in the nineteenth century we almost always find a reference or two to the caves of San Mateo. It was a popular destination among the more bold adventurers to visit Manila.

The Scottish businessman, Robert MacMicking, wrote

Some miles beyond Mariquina, there is a most curious cave, of great extent, at the village of San Mateo, which is well worthy of a visit by the curious. Shortly after entering it, the height of the cavern rises to about fifty feet, although it varies continually, — so much so, that at some places there is scarcely height enough for a man to sit upright … The temperature within the cavern was 77\degree, and without, 86\degree, being a very considerable change, even in the cool of the evening, on coming out of it, just after sunset. I am afraid to give an estimate as to the extent of this immense cave; it requires, however, five or six hours to partially see its curiosities, and of course would take far more time to investigate it properly. The only living creatures met within it, [sic] appear to be bats, which are not very numerous.2

Joseph Stevens

Joseph Stevens from Yesterdays in the Philippines (New York: Charles Scribners Sons, 1898).

Joseph Stevens traveled to the cave in May, 1894, less than a year before the Katipunan visited the cave during Holy Week, 1895. He wrote,

After a jolly good bath, and a few preparations, our party of four, with the two boys and two guides, started up a steep valley in among lofty mountains to the so-called caves of Montalvan. [sic] One of our guides was the principal of a village school, who held sway over a group of little Indian girls under a big mango-tree, and he shut up shop to join our expedition. In about two hours and a half our caravan reached the narrower defile that pierced two mountains which came down hobnobbing together like a great gate, grand and picturesque. From a large, quiet pool just beneath the gates, we climbed almost straight up the mouth of the stalactite caves that run no one knows how far into the mountains, starting at a point about two hundred feet above the river.3

It was not just foreign travelers, but business also which was going to the caves of San Mateo. One year prior to Stevens’ journey, the San Pedro Mining Company petitioned for the right to collect guano in Pamitinan.4 Scientists studied the place. The German geologist Drasche wrote of a journey there. It is interesting to note that, despite the fact that his work was written entirely in German, Drasche refered to the cave as the “cueva de S. Mateo.” This would indicate that this had become the official name of the cave. This is the only aspect of Philippine geology which he treats in this fashion; all other geographical features were translated into German.5