The Families of Old Santa Cruz, Manila

PATERNO [ originally MING MONG LO,  PATERNO AGUSTIN ].  By the 1850s, the wealthy Paterno family, particularly that of Capitan Maximino “Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson [ o 1830 – + 26 July 1900 ;  married three times:  the first to Valeria Pineda, the second to Valeria’s cousin Carmen “Carmina” Devera Ignacio y Pineda, and the third to Carmen’s sister, Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda.], had already reestablished itself in the prosperous “arrabal de Santa Cruz” / Santa Cruz district [ from their original residences in the adjacent “arrabal de Binondo” / Binondo district ], where many rich Chinese-Filipino and Spanish-Filipino mestizo merchants lived.

[ There is some confusion as to the actual spelling of the Paterno siblings’ maternal surname “Devera Ignacio”: historians spelled it as “Debera Ignacio,” “de Vera Ygnacio,” “Devera Ygnacio,” etc . In the 1800s, a written name was acceptable as long as it sounded close to its pronunciation. But in archival documents studied by this author in August 1988, the { 14 } siblings and half-siblings of Pedro A Paterno named { with the exception of sibling # 14 Rosenda Devera y Ignacio who died an infant } Narciso, Agueda “Guiday,” Maria Dolores “Doleng,” Jose Timoteo “Pepe,” (Pedro Alejandro,) Jacoba “Cobang,” Antonio, Maximino “Mino,” Maria de la Paz Santa “Paz,” Trinidad “Trining,” Mariano “Nano,” Concepcion “Concha,” Feliciano “Ciano,” (Rosenda,) & Adelaida “Adela” signed their surnames as “Paterno y Devera Ignacio.” ]

Capitan Maximino M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his first wife Valeria Pineda had one son: Narciso Paterno y Pineda married Lorenza Chuidian, then married Emilia Venegas.

Capitan Maximino M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his second wife Carmen “Carmina” Devera Ignacio y Pineda had 9 children:  Agueda “Guiday” Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Maria Dolores “Doleng” Paterno y Devera Ignacio, Jose Timoteo “Pepe” Paterno y Devera Ignacio married his paternal first cousin Maria Patrocinio “Quita” Paterno y Zamora (daughter of his uncle Lucas M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his aunt Capitana Martina’s stepdaughter Regina Zamora), Pedro Alejandro Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Luisa Pineiro y Merino;  Maria Jacoba “Cobang” Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Antonio Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Andrea Angeles;  Maximino Paterno y Devera Ignacio married his paternal first cousin Asuncion Zamora y Paterno;  Maria de la Paz Santa “Paz” Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Trinidad “Trining” Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Claudio Gabriel.

Capitan Maximino M. A. Paterno y Yamson and his third wife Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda had 5 children:  Mariano “Nano” Paterno y Devera Ignacio, “Concepcion “Concha” Paterno y Devera Ignacio married Narciso Padilla y Bibby, the twins Feliciano “Ciano” Paterno y Devera Ignacio and Rosenda Paterno y Devera Ignacio, and Adelaida “Adela”/”Adeling” Paterno y Devera Ignacio.

Agueda “Guiday” Paterno y Devera Ignacio [ o __ _____ 1855 – + 15 September 1915 ].  Jewelry designer.  Her works were shown in Spanish expositions.  Her portrait was painted by her famous uncle Justiniano Asuncion y Molo aka “Capitan Ting,” a first cousin of her father, Capitan Maximino Paterno.

Maria Dolores “Doleng” Paterno y Devera Ignacio [ o 10 March 1854 – + 03 July 1881 ]. She was the composer of the famous “La Flor de Manila” or “Sampaguita” song. Her portrait was painted by her famous uncle Justiniano Asuncion y Molo aka “Capitan Ting,” a first cousin of her father, Capitan Maximino Paterno.

Pedro Alejandro Paterno y Devera Ignacio [ He chose to use “y Molo” according to top historian Dr Ambeth Ocampo ] [ o 17 February 1857 – + 26 April 1911 ]. He was a famous Filipino statesman.

Maria Jacoba “Cobang” Paterno y Devera Ignacio.  Jewelry designer.  Her works were shown in Spanish expositions.

Maria de la Paz Santa “Paz” Paterno y Devera Ignacio [ o 01 November 1867 – + 25 August 1914 ]. Painter. She painted several landscapes and “bodegones” still-life.

Concepcion “Concha” Paterno y Devera Ignacio de Padilla [ + 1943 ].

Feliciano “Ciano” Paterno y Devera Ignacio [ + 23 March 1951 ].

Adelaida “Adela” Paterno y Devera Ignacio [ o 24 October 1881 – + 21 January 1962 ].  Painter & Embroiderer.

Capitan Maximino Molo Agustin Paterno’s large house in the “arrabal de Santa Cruz” [ Santa Cruz district ] occupied the narrow, elongated block bordered by no 73 Calle San Roque [ no 453 Padre Gomez street ], corner Calle Noria [ Pedro Paterno street ], corner Calle Quiotan [ Sales street ], corner Calle Francisco Carriedo, midway between the Santa Cruz church and the Quiapo church.  The facade/main entrance [ and postal address ] of the house was on Calle San Roque;  the “azotea” and the “caballerizas” [ stables ] were on Calle Francisco Carriedo.  The long sides of the house were along Calle San Roque and Calle Quiotan; the short sides of the house were along Calle Noria and Calle Francisco Carriedo.

Capitana Martina Molo Agustin Paterno de Zamora was a sister of Capitan Maximino M A Paterno and she also waxed very rich because of her entrepreneurial activities. She married the widower Capitan Mariano Zamora, who was a scion of another affluent Santa Cruz family (Capitan Mariano Zamora’s daughter from his first marriage to Manuela Josefa, Regina Zamora, married Lucas Molo Agustin Paterno, the youngest brother of Capitana Martina and Capitan Maximino).  In partnership with her elder sisters Matea (spinster), Paz (married to Manuel Callejas), and Juana (spinster), Martina engaged in the trade of local fabrics like “sinamay” and the importation of European textiles as well as furniture, among many other business activities. The industrious and prosperous Martina invested her earnings mostly in real estate:  she eventually owned four blocks along Calle Rosario in Binondo (the equivalent of Ayala avenue today), six big houses along Calle San Sebastian (later Calle R Hidalgo), several properties surrounding the Quiapo church and the Santa Cruz church, and many others.  As the de facto “Queen of Santa Cruz,” Martina Molo Agustin Paterno de Zamora held the singular distinction of being the simultaneous “camarera” of two of the most venerated holy images in the islands, the “Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno” of the Quiapo church and the “Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buenviaje” of the Antipolo church.  Such was her unquestioned prominence in Manila and the surrounding provinces.

Capitan Mariano Zamora and his first wife Manuela Josefa had a daughter:  Regina Zamora married her father’s second wife’s/stepmother’s brother Lucas Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson.

Capitan Mariano Zamora and and his second wife Capitana Martina Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson had 4 children:  Asuncion Zamora y Paterno married her maternal first cousin Maximino Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  Manuel Zamora y Paterno married his niece Maria Egypciaca Paterno y Zamora (daughter of his half-sister Regina and maternal uncle Lucas M. A. Paterno y Yamson), then married Baltazara Mangali;  Juana Zamora y Paterno married Pablo Ocampo y de Leon;  and Severino Zamora y Paterno married Ana Longos.

Dr Manuel Zamora y Paterno, the son of Capitan Mariano Zamora and Martina Molo Agustin Paterno, formulated the popular children’s vitamin syrup “Tiki-Tiki.”

Susana Paterno de Madrigal.  Susana Paterno y Ramos was the daughter of Jose Tereso Paterno y Zamora and Dolores Ramos y Valera of Pangil, Laguna.  Jose Tereso Paterno was the eldest son of Lucas Molo Agustin Paterno and Regina Zamora.  Lucas was the youngest son of Paterno Agustin and Miguela Yamson y de la Cruz;  he was the brother of Capitan Maximino “Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno.

Susana “Sanang” and her two brothers Jose and Simon lived in Pangil, Laguna until their mother Dolores passed away when “Sanang” was about 12 years old.  In her youth, she stayed for extended periods in the Manila homes of her affluent aunts, uncles, and cousins, the Paterno of Santa Cruz district, where she learned the domestic arts well.  She was specially close to her Tia Adela [ Adelaida Paterno y Devera Ignacio, a younger daughter of Maximino ], a first cousin of her father Jose Tereso Paterno y Zamora.  True to the aristocratic Paterno tradition, Susana “Sanang” was a gifted artist:  she could draw, paint, design dresses, specially evening gowns, sew, and embroider them.

Susana “Sanang” Paterno y Ramos married the prosperous Spanish mestizo businessman Vicente Madrigal y Lopez [ 1880 – 1972 ] from Ligao, Albay.  It was the astute Vicente who observed that Susana was his “lucky charm”:  every time she was involved in a business transaction, albeit in a small way, it always prospered.  Her absence, more often than not, led to failure.  So he resolved that she would have her way with their businesses.  In the following years,  the empire of Vicente and Susana Madrigal grew beyond all bounds and surpassed by far all previous great Filipino fortunes.  It is still occasionally mentioned in high business circles that had the empire of Vicente Madrigal not been divided after his 1972 passing, no Chinese-Filipino taipan [ the richest Filipinos today ] would be able to supersede it to this day.

Without the knowledge of Vicente, Susana quietly purchased, by installments, the hundreds of hectares of mango orchards which decades later became the posh Alabang development of the Madrigal family in partnership with the Zobel de Ayala family.

According to Vicente “Bu” Madrigal Warns, his mother Maria Paz “Pacita” Paterno Madrigal-Warns-Gonzalez had told him that the house of her great-grandfather Lucas Molo Agustin Paterno and his wife Regina Zamora y Paterno in the “arrabal de Santa Cruz” [ Santa Cruz district ] was located right in front of the Quiapo church and that her mother Susana “Sanang” had stayed there as a child.

ASUNCION [ originally KAGALITAN ]. In the early 1800s, Mariano Kagalitan, an accomplished artist and a “capitan” of Santa Cruz district in the late 1700s, married Maria de la Paz Molo [ a daughter of Ming Mong Lo / Jose Molo and ;  she was a sister of Paterno Agustin { o 1786 – + 1853 }, who married Miguela Yamson y de la Cruz;  Paterno Agustin and Miguela Yamson y de la Cruz became the parents of Capitan Maximino “Memo” Molo Agustin Paterno ] and they had several children:  Manuel, Antonio, Mariano [ the painter of religious subjects ], Ambrocio, Leoncio [ the sculptor, o 1813 – 1888 ], and Justiniano [ the portrait painter, o 1816 – + 1901 ]. During the Claveria decree of 1849, the surname “Kagalitan” was changed to “Assumpcion” and later to “Asuncion.” Justiniano Asuncion y Molo became “capitan” of Santa Cruz district in 1853, hence the honorific “Capitan Ting.”  He married Justina Farafina Gomez.




Acknowledgment:  Miguel and Jean Marie Paterno, the estate of Adelaida Paterno y Devera Ignacio, the estate of Feliciano Paterno y Devera Ignacio, the estate of Maria de la Paz Paterno y Devera Ignacio, Pablo Pineda Campos III, Martin Imperial Tinio Jr., Sonny Rayos [ descendant of Leoncio Asuncion ], Santiago Albano Pilar [ essay on Justiniano Asuncion, “Folio of 60 Philippine masterpieces,”  Central Bank of the Philippines ], Chuchi Constantino, multi-awarded journalist and the former Press Secretary during the Ramos and the Estrada administrations Rodolfo “Rod” T. Reyes.


The Families of Old Binondo, Manila

by Augusto M R Gonzalez III (Toto Gonzalez)

The Chinese had been trading with the various, prosperous settlements of these Malay islands — the great kingdom of Tondo [ which spanned present-day Tondo district all the way northwards to much of Central Luzon;  Rajah Lakandula was a grandson of the Sultan of Brunei, his mother was a daughter of the sultan;  Rajah Lakandula is listed in the genealogy of the royal family of Brunei ], Maynilad, Namayan, Ternate, Bai’, Butuan Karaga, and others — for ages, not only centuries.  Eons before the Portuguese explorer Fernao de Magalhaes / Fernando de Magallanes / Ferdinand Magellan and the Spanish “conquistadores” found themselves sailing into these islands in 1521, the Chinese traders had long been principal players in the prosperous economies of the early settlements.  The great kingdom of Tondo, Maynilad, Namayan, Ternate, and Bai’ were principal settlements of the northern island.  The early Malay cultures of the natives in those places were by no means primitive as the written accounts of the early Spanish invaders would have readers believe:  In reality, there were developed languages [ as proven by the Laguna copperplate inscription ca. 900 A.D. at the National Museum ], numerical systems [ there was actually a term for “million” ], written literature [ as proven by the Laguna copperplate inscription ca. 900 A.D. ], oral traditions, and even various forms of art;  there were costumes, materials, and accessories ascribed to every social class;  there was spirituality, animistic communion with nature, perceptions of the unseen, belief in the afterlife;  there were systems of government, laws and sanctions, social classes, etc.;  even sexuality was advanced in the sense that there were specific tools [ penis rings, etc. ] and practices to enhance the sexual act.  Butuan Karaga [ and its satellite Surigao ] in Mindanao, in particular, was an advanced and magnificent Southeast Asian culture, as proven by archaeological artifacts, specially ritual goldware and jewelry, of such high quality and sophisticated execution that compare favorably with similar specimens from the world’s earliest civilizations.

When the Spaniards took over Rajah Sulayman’s palisade of “Maynilad” in 1570 and established the walled city of Intramuros, they isolated the potentially troublesome Chinese residents in a ghetto called “Parian” just outside the walls “extra muros.”  In 1594, Governor-General Luis Perez Dasmarinas established the settlement of Binondo [ originally “Minondoc” ] just across the Pasig River for “los Sangleyes” Chinese immigrants who had converted to Catholicism.  During that time, the Spaniards forced Chinese immigrants to convert to Catholicism or be deported, or worse, be executed [ or massacred ].  Because there were hardly any women coming from China, the Chinese immigrant converts took to marrying native women, thus creating the “mestizo de Sangley” Chinese mestizo [ half-breed ].  It was in Binondo where the “mestizo de Sangley” Chinese mestizo community rose with unparalleled wealth and influence, and like their Chinese trader forebears, continued to play a leading role in the economic life of the islands from the Spanish colonization onwards for four hundred years until the present time…


TUASON  [ originally SON TUA ].  During the British Occupation of Manila from 1762-64, a prosperous Chinese trader named Son Tua voluntarily or involuntarily assisted the Spaniards, led by Governor-General Simon de Anda, with his resources — financial, manpower, and logistical — in fighting and resisting the British invaders.  Son Tua later adopted the Christian name of Antonio Maria Tuason.  As a reward, he was given a large “encomienda” land grant by the Spaniards which comprised the vast area of present-day Diliman in Quezon City and the Marikina valley [ urban legend has it that as a reward for his anti-British services, the Spaniards gave Tuason all the land he could cover on horseback in one day, but he was so brilliant and shrewd that he stationed horses at several points so he could cover a far bigger swathe of land;  however, the current Tuason descendants debunk that myth with more logical theories ].  Antonio Maria Tuason was awarded a “mayorazgo” noble estate with a tradition of primogeniture and his family was elevated to the Spanish “hidalguia” nobility — the only Filipino family to attain those signal honors.  Two hundred years after the Chinese patriarch’s passing and his descendants are still members, if not principal players, of the country’s plutarchy [ plutocracy and oligarchy ].

Jose Severo Tuason married Teresa de la Paz.

Gonzalo Tuason married Isabel Gil de Sola [viuda de Agustin Westernhagen].

PATERNO [ originally MING MONG LO,  PATERNO MOLO DE SAN AGUSTIN ].  According to Pedro Alejandro Paterno [ whom serious Filipino historians tend to take lightly, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, since it is his family anyway ], the Paterno clan progenitor was Ming Mong Lo, a Chinese “apothecary” [ herbalist?  “albulario”? ] from the mainland who settled in Binondo and married a Tagala of aristocratic lineage — she was supposed to be descended from the “Maguinoo of Luzon,”  the ruling Malay dynasty before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1570.  THAT was according to Pedro A. Paterno.

The facts:

Ming Mong Lo or Joseph Molo and his wife Anastacia Michaela _____ had _____ children:  Silverio, Juana, Pedro, Alejo, and Paterno, surnamed Agustin.

Paterno Agustin married Miguela Yamson y de la Cruz [ Michaela Yapson y de la Cruz ].  Miguela was the daughter of Juan Yapson and Maria de la Cruz.  It was Maria de la Cruz who was listed as a descendant of Rajah Lakandula;  it was through her that Pedro A. Paterno was descended from the pre-Spanish Malay royals of Tondo and Maynilad, the “Maguinoo of Luzon.”  Paterno and Miguela had nine children:  Matea, Paz, Anastacio, Feliciano, Lucas, Tomas, Maximino, Martina, and Juana.  It was Maximino who first assumed the complete surname Molo Agustin Paterno, then his siblings followed.


Mariano Roxas and Ana Maria de Ureta had three or five children.

Antonio Roxas married Lucina Arroyo and they had fifteen children,  twelve sons and three daughters.  According to their grandson Felix Roxas y Fernandez and great great grandson Salvador Araneta y Zaragoza, twelve of the Roxas-Arroyo family sat together on one dining table during meals in the paternal home on Calle San Vicente which fronted Chino Velasco’s bazaar [ the rich and influential Chinese businessman Mariano Velasco Chua Cheng Co ].

Mariano Leon Roxas y Arroyo married Carmen Arce.

Their daughter, Rosa Roxas y Arce, married the Spanish mestizo Jose Zaragoza y Aranquizna of San Isidro, Nueva Ecija, the son of a Spanish auditor of the Tobacco Monopoly.  Jose Zaragoza and Rosa Roxas had five children:  Natividad married Demetrio Tuason y de la Paz;  Salvador married Carolina Tuason y Gil de Sola;  Elias married Rosario Velez y Rodriguez Infante;  Carmen married Gregorio Araneta y Soriano;  Margarita married Carlos Preysler y Gonzalez.

Felix Roxas y Arroyo married Cornelia Fernandez.

He was the first Europe-trained Filipino architect;  he designed many famous churches, buildings, and residences during his professional prime:  Santo Domingo church [ Intramuros ];  San Ignacio church [ Intamuros ];  Pedro Pablo Roxas y de Castro residence [ Calle General Solano, San Miguel ];  Rafael Enriquez y Villanueva residence [ Calle San Sebastian, Quiapo ].  Felix and Cornelia had a son, Felix, and a daughter, Lucina.  Felix Roxas y Fernandez married Carmen Moreno Lacalle;  he became a longtime Mayor of Manila.  Lucina Roxas y Fernandez married Enrique Brias de Coya.

Felipe Roxas y Arroyo married Raymunda Chuidian.

He was a painter of note.  He lived and died in Paris, France.

Juan Roxas y Arroyo married Vicenta Reyes.

They were the parents of Francisco L. Roxas y Reyes, one of the 13 Martyrs of Bagumbayan in January 1897.

Rafael Roxas y Arroyo married Victoriana Manio.

Rafael married Victoriana Manio of Calumpit, Bulacan and settled there.  They had several children:  Fr. Manuel, Josefa, and Ana, et. al..  Josefa “Pepita” Roxas y Manio became famous in her time because King Norodom I of Cambodia fell in love and proposed marriage to her at a ball given in his honor by the Arnedos in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga.  King Norodom I gave Josefa a “granada de oro” a pomegranate-shaped jewel and he gave her sister Ana a “concha” a conch shell-shaped jewel.  Both pieces were set with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and pearls;  both bore inscriptions from Norodom I to the recipient [ Ana’s was inscribed:  “S.M. { Su Majestad } El Rey de Cambodia a la Sta. Ana Rojas” ];  judging from their late Victorian design, the jewels seemed to have been purchased from the prestigious “La Estrella del Norte” on the Escolta in Manila.

It is also thought that the various Roxases in Bulacan are actually descended from Rafael Roxas and Victoriana Manio.

Andres Roxas y Arroyo married Eleuteria Punzalan.

Andres settled in Calauan, Laguna because he managed the “Hacienda Calauan” of his cousin, Jose Bonifacio Roxas y Ubaldo, which devolved to the latter’s only son, Pedro Pablo “Perico” Roxas y de Castro.  [ “Hacienda Calauan” was inherited by Pedro Pablo Roxas’ daughter Margarita Roxas viuda de Eduardo Soriano. ]

*Encarnacion Roxas.  It is thought that Encarnacion Roxas — the “camarera” caretaker of the “Nuestra Senora del Santisimo Rosario de La Naval de Manila” at the Santo Domingo Church and the chairperson of the canonical coronation committee in 1907 —  was a sister of the famous Roxas y Arroyo brothers and was one of the three daughters of Antonio Roxas and Lucina Arroyo of Binondo.

[ Antonio Roxas was a brother of Domingo Roxas de Ureta who married Maria Saturnina Ubaldo and had three children — Margarita, Jose Bonifacio, and Mariano who spawned the present-day Roxas-de Ayala-Zobel-Soriano clan. ]


Jose Damaso Gorricho, a quartermaster of the Spanish army, married Ciriaca de los Santos of Imus, Cavite.  Her fortunate marriage to a Spanish army man paved the way for the hardworking Ciriaca to start a business by supplying “zacate” hay for the many horses of the Spanish cavalry in Intramuros;  she became known as a “zacatera.”

As her “zacate” business flourished, Ciriaca de los Santos de Gorricho purchased land across the Pasig River from Intramuros where she could grow the “zacate” hay she supplied to the cavalry.  Years later, urban development fortunately sprawled to that particular stretch of Gorricho land which eventually became the Escolta, the premier commercial district of Manila.

At the prime of their prosperous lives, Jose Damaso and Ciriaca de Gorricho owned both sides of the Escolta, from the Puente de San Gabriel all the way to Calle Soda.

Jose Damaso Gorricho and Ciriaca de los Santos had several children:  Juliana, Gertrudis, Josefa…


The Pardo de Tavera are, like the de Ayala, an aristocratic Spanish family.  Both venerable families can trace their lineages to the “Reconquista” of Ferdinand and Isabella and even way beyond;  both families are related by blood and marriage, however distant, to the most aristocratic as well as the royal Spanish families like the Alba, Medinaceli, et. al..

The nobleman Julian Pardo de Tavera and his wife Juana Gomez Artucha arrived in Manila from Spain in 1825.  Eschewing the Pardo de Tavera tradition of eminent careers in the judiciary, Julian became a lieutenant in the Spanish army.  Julian and Juana Pardo de Tavera had four children:  Felix, _____, _____, and Joaquin.

The two Pardo de Tavera brothers married two de Gorricho y de los Santos sisters, the daughters of the industrialist Jose Damaso Gorricho and the highly successful entrepreneur Ciriaca de los Santos:  Felix Pardo de Tavera married Juliana de Gorricho;  his younger brother Joaquin Pardo de Tavera married Gertrudis de Gorricho.

Felix Pardo de Tavera married Juliana de Gorricho and they had three children:  Trinidad Hermenigildo “Trini” / later “T.H.” [ married Concepcion “Concha” Cembrano Kerr y Gonzalez-Calderon ], Felix [ married Agustina Manigot ], and Paz “Chiching” [ married Juan Luna y Novicio ].

Joaquin Pardo de Tavera married Gertrudis “Tula” de Gorricho and had three children:  Eloisa [ married Daniel Earnshaw ], Beatrice [ married Manuel de Yriarte ], and Joaquin [ married Paz Azaola ].

*Years before Joaquin Pardo de Tavera married Gertrudis de Gorricho, he had 2 “hija natural” from a lady in Bicol.  One of them, Macaria “Nena” Lopez, married a Spanish soldier _____ Madrigal and became the mother of the tycoon Vicente Madrigal y Lopez, who married Susana Paterno y Ramos of Manila.  Thus, the Madrigal-Paterno are also of Pardo de Tavera descent.



The rich Vicenta Reyes married Juan Roxas.  They were the parents of Francisco L. Roxas y Reyes, one of the 13 Martyrs of Bagumbayan in 1896.

Capitan Francisco “Kikoy” Reyes married Macaria “Kayang” Baptista.

Francisco Reyes y Baptista married Adriana del Rosario [ of the family that owned “Funeraria Paz” ].  Their daughter Marina del Rosario Reyes married the architect Pablo Antonio [ honored as a National Artist for Architecture ].

Generoso “Ochong” Reyes y Baptista married Trinidad de los Reyes y Tanquintin [ granddaughter of Crisanto de los Reyes y Mendoza ].  They had two daughters:  Maria Trinidad “Neneching” de los Reyes Reyes [ married Jaime Valera, brother of top couturier Ramon Oswalds Valera ] and Carmen “Mengay” de los Reyes Reyes [ married Vicente Cecilio Reyes ].

Inocencia “Enchay” Reyes y Baptista married Rafael Filomeno Roces y Gonzalez and they had eleven children, ten sons and one daughter:  Francisco, Rafael, Rafael, Inocencia, Alejandro, Luis, Jose Miguel, Marcos, Alfredo, Joaquin, and Jesus.

Carmen Reyes y Baptista married Abelardo Icasiano.

Nicanor Reyes y Baptista [ Sr. ] married Amparo Mendoza y de Leon.  They had children, among them Nicanor Jr. [ married Josephine Sumulong Cojuangco ] and Lourdes [ married Aurelio Javellana Montinola Jr. ].


Balbino Mauricio y de Jesus was an ancestor of the Roces family.

There is an extant “letras y figuras” painting of “Balvino Mauricio” which depicts his Calle Anloague mansion.  His house was supposed to have been the model for Capitan Tiago’s residence in Jose Rizal’s novel “Noli Me Tangere.”

ROCES.  Alejandro Rozes y Gonzalez of Gijon, Asturias, Spain married Florentina de Leon;  after Florentina passed away, he married Severa Mauricio y de Jesus of Binondo, Manila [ sister of Balbino Mauricio y de Jesus ].

Alejandro Roman Domingo Roces y Mauricio married Maria Filomena Gonzalez and they had 11 eleven children:  Filomena [ married Benito Legarda y de la Paz];  Alejandro [ married Antonia Pardo ];  Rafael [ married Inocencia Reyes y Baptista ];  Marcos;  et. al..

Filomena Roces y Gonzalez married Benito Legarda y de la Paz and they had several children:

Alejandro Roces y Gonzalez married Antonia Pardo and they had seven children:  Rafael;  Antonia [ married _____ Prieto ];  Ramon;  Mercedes;  Filomena [ married _____ Verzosa ];  Isabel;  and Joaquin.

Rafael Filomeno Roces y Gonzalez married Inocencia Reyes y Baptista and they had 11 eleven children, 10 ten sons and 1 one daughter:  Francisco, Rafael, Rafael, Inocencia, Alejandro, Luis, Jose Miguel, Marcos, Alfredo, Joaquin, and Jesus.

Marcos B. Roces married Maria Teresa Prieto.

[ There was another Alejandro Roces from Gijon, Asturias, Spain who settled in Iloilo and married Francisca Ortizo.  Alejandro Roces was the progenitor of the Roces de Iloilo. ]

SY CIP.  According to the oral history of the Sy-Quia family, the first Sy Quia [ Vicente Ruperto Romero Sy Quia + 09 January 1894 ] arrived from Amoy, China with his cousin, Sy Cip.  Sy Quia did business between Manila and Vigan, Ilocos Sur;  he married Petronila Encarnacion of Vigan in 1853.  His cousin Sy Cip chose to settle in Cagayan.  Sy Cip’s descendants found their way southwards to Binondo, Manila where they became successful traders.


Ildefonso Cosiam Tambunting.


Claudio Teehankee.

A Teehankee married a Yutivo lady, thus linking the prominent intellectual family to one of Binondo’s great merchant families.




Mariano Velasco Chua Chengco.

The three-hectare family compound with several mansions still exists in China.  The mansions are highly unusual because the materials used — the ipil, kamagong, molave, tindalo / balayong hardwoods and the terra cotta roof tiles — were imported to China from Las Islas Filipinas, notably Basilan island, which was the Velasco family’s copra plantation.

Mariano Velasco Chua Chengco owned “Bazaar Velasco,” one of the first and largest of Filipino department stores during that time.  [ The current “Plaza Fair” department store is a descendant of “Bazaar Velasco.” ]  Mariano was prominent in the wealthy circles of the city, be it the Chinese, the Spanish mestizo, or the Spanish peninsular.

Mariano’s palatial, block-long residence fronted three streets:  Calle Azcarraga, Calle T. Alonso, and Calle Soler.

Jose Velasco.

On a contemporary note, a Ting daughter-in-law of Mariano Velasco Chua Chengco was one of the early financiers of the SM ShoeMart department store [ turned mall empire ] of taipan Henry Sy Sr..


CARLOS PALANCA TAN GUIN LAY.  Chinese immigrant;  no blood relation to Carlos Palanca Tan Quien Sen;  he became a godson of the latter.


Lau Cheng Co was the owner of the biggest “carroceria” / “carruaje” dealership in Manila before the advent of the automobiles.  He was rich and counted Andres Soriano Sr. and Carlos Palanca Tan Guin Lay as his friends.  He was a collector of beautiful things and his Binondo residence was filled with French furniture, Chinese furniture, Meissen and Nymphenburg German porcelain, Bohemian glass, English silver, and other prized objects.  Unfortunately, everything was destroyed during World War II.


From “Lola Grande!” by James B. Reuter, PhilStar, 10/18/08:

“”The original “Lola Grande” was Cornelia Lau Chang Co, born in the Chinese area of Binondo, in old Manila, in 1820. She married Tomas Ly Chau Co, who came to the Philippines with the last wave of Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.”

“Tomas died. Doña Cornelia had to provide for her family of five children, alone. She started a business, making grass mats—tampipis—and other products of palm frond—buri. She supplied these to small retailers.”

“She was methodical, hard-working, efficient, excellent in mathematics. She began transporting unhusked rice, from the producing provinces in Central Luzon to Manila. She became a licensed transporter of rice — a consignado — the fifth ranking consignado of rice from Pangasinan to Manila.”

“Gradually she was able to acquire rice lands in Pangasinan. She bought and sold raw sugar. She started a faraderia, a simple process of producing raw sugar crystals. She sold these, in quantity, to British and American export companies. She built houses in Metro Manila, in Santa Ana. She established an orphan asylum — the Asilo de Huerfanos — for the children of those who died in the great cholera epidemics of 1882 and 1889. A tiny little woman, she was far ahead of her time.””


The Yu Cheng Co family descends from the Chinese wife of the clan progenitor Yu Tiao Qui.

According to the Yuchengco descendants, from the 1850s to the 1890s, the patriarch Yu Tiao Qui owned most of the commercial real estate in Santa Cruz district, as well as the entire end of Calle Gandara there.

Enrique Yuchengco married his first cousin _____ Tiaoqui.

Dr. Luisa, Vicencia, Dr. Aurora, and Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco.  Luisa finished her medical studies at the University of Shanghai.  Vicencia “Vic” is a very successful entrepreneur who engaged in several businesses;  she helped her father Enrique establish the family’s insurance business.  Aurora is a medical doctor in Hong Kong.  Alfonso finished his M.B.A. at Columbia University.


The Tiaoqui family descends from the Filipina wife of the clan progenitor Yu Tiao Qui.

[ Aurora “Oyang” Tiaoqui married Alfredo Rizal Hidalgo, son of Saturnina Rizal de Hidalgo, the eldest sister of the national hero Jose Rizal.  Their daughter, Lourdes “Lulu” Tiaoqui Hidalgo, married Vivencio “Vencio” Tinio.  Lourdes and Vivencio’s daughter, “Lisa” Hidalgo Tinio, married Francisco “Jun” Madrigal Bayot Jr., a descendant of Ming Mong Lo, the Paterno clan progenitor.  Their marriage illustrates a commingling of old Chinese-Filipino and Spanish-Filipino clans — Tiaoqui/Yuchengco, Rizal, Hidalgo, Tinio, Madrigal, Paterno, and Bayot. ]

YU TI VO.  The Yutivo hardware business was established by 3 Yu first cousins:  Yu Ti Vo, Yu Tiong Cuan [ an adopted son ], and _____.

Yu Khe Thai.  Yu Khe Thai was the eldest son of Yu Ti Vo by his first wife.  Yu Khe Thai inherited the leadership of the Yutivo hardware business from his father, Yu Ti Vo.

Yu Khe Thai had 2 elder sisters who married 2 Sycip brothers.  Anna Yu married Washington Sycip and Helen Yu married David Sycip.

Yu Khe Jin.  Yu Khe Jin was the eldest son of Yu Ti Vo by his second wife;  he was the younger half-brother of Yu Khe Thai.  He observed that many decisions in the family business were being made by the 2 Sycip brothers-in-law of his elder half-brother Yu Khe Thai, so he challenged the latter for the leadership of the hardware business.  Yu Khe Thai relinquished the leadership of the business to him.  As a result, Yu Khe Jin’s descendants are the ones who inherited the Yutivo hardware business, not those of Yu Khe Thai’s.

ONGPIN.  Roman Ongpin y Tanbensiang was a leader of the Chinese community.



According to Antonio Casas Cuyegkeng:

[ This article is based from childhood stories, documents from the files of Dr. Jose Cuyegkeng, as provided by Ms. Mary Cuyegkeng Fontanilla, and the book “The Life and Family of Guillermo A. Cu Unjieng” by and from correspondence with Ms. Josephine M. T. Khu. ]

CU YEG KENG (Antonio Cuyegkeng) or Kenga (as he was commonly known) was from Cuoshang (or Cushang, in the local pronunciation) village, the same village as the Cu Unjieng’s, was located in Jinjiang (or Chinkiang in the old spelling) county of Fujian province.  However, Shandong (or Shantung in the old spelling) province is reputed to be the ultimate origins of those bearing the Cu surname. Jinjiang County no longer exists because the local administrative units were reorganized in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the late 1890’s, Taigong as Guillermo Cu Unjieng was commonly known, who would have been in his late 20’s and quite well-established, could have brought Kenga with him to Manila (Taigong could have been brought to Manila by Cu Yeg Keng’s father, then Taigong later returned the favor and brought Kenga to Manila on the former’s return from a trip to China).  Kenga was in his mid-teens (a normal age for Chinese boys to be brought over to the Philippines).

Kenga was not an immediate cousin of Taigong, but a distant relative–about five times removed. Kenga was a relative from the same village, who was about 13 years younger than Taigong.  It is clear from the middle Chinese character “YI” of Cu Yeg Keng’s name that, Cu Yeg Keng is one generation below Taigong, whose middle Chinese character is “YUN”. Taigong is from the 19th generation, while Cu Yeg Keng is from the 20th generation of males in the village.

Considering that Taigong went back to China to get married in 1890 and the succeeding trips were already in the 1900s, Taigong was about 33+ years of age when he brought Kenga to Manila.  Kenga would, then, have been a little over 20 years old.  Therefore, Kenga was born around late 1870’s.  His mother was Ong O Ken.

Kenga managed the Cu Unjieng and Company up to the late 1920’s.   Kenga, as well, had set up his own textile and other goods business, which Kenga operated under his personal name, Cu Yeg Keng Trading.  Cu Yeg Keng Trading, which was engaged in the textile business, was located at 127 Nueva St., Manila.

In 1929, Cu Unjieng and Company expanded thru the merger with Cu Yeg Keng Trading and Khu Yek Chiong Company, owned by Guillermo’s oldest son, Yek Chiong, with Cu Unjieng and Company as the surviving entity. However, the merger collapsed a year or two after it occurred. Or, at least, Khu Yek-chiong withdrew from the merger at that time. Indications are that Cu Yeg Keng Trading also withdrew from the consortium. While Cu Unjieng and Company operated until the Japanese occupation, but not thereafter, Cu Yeg Keng Trading continued on after the war.

Kenga suddenly collapsed, probably from a heart attack, and died on October 11, 1948 at the maternal house of the Chinese family, believed to be in 259 – 261 Juan Luna St., Binondo, Manila.  He would have been about 73 years old,

In the Extra-Judicial Settlement of the Estate of Antonio Cuyegkeng, the second son of the Chinese wife, Chua Sac, Cu Uh Khun (Florentino), was named administrator of Cu Yeg Keng Trading, as the eldest son, Cu Uh Po (Manuel), had already died.

At the time of Kenga’s death, Cu Uh Po (Manuel) was survived by this wife, Lim Chong Goan, and sons Leoncio and Inocencio Lim Cu.  Leoncio had an only child, Gilbert Uy Cuyegkeng.

Kenga and his Chinese wife, Chua Sac, had eight (8) children, four (4) boys and four (4) girls.  Cu Uh Khun (Florentino) was followed by Lourdes Chua Cu, married to Benito P. Lim; Cu Uh Chua (Andres), married to Rosita Co Sylianco; Benito Chua Cuyegkeng;  Maria Luisa  Chua Cuyegkeng, married to Jose P. Barreto; Maria Marcela Chua Cuyegkeng, married to Ngui Te; and Vicenta Chua Cuyegkeng, married to Guillermo Tang Palao.

In her later years, Chua Sac was believed to have stayed with the family of Benito, somewhere in the San Miguel area near San Beda College.

In the early 1900’s, Kenga married Margarita (Tita) Gomez Mangahas, a Filipina from Angat, Bulacan.  They had 11 children, four (4) boys and seven (7) girls.  However, two (2) of the boys died before reaching the age of five, and one (1) girl passed away in her teens.

The eldest, Leoncia (Lucy) Mangahas Cu, was born on September 12, 1906, and got married to Benito Enriquez Lim, no known relation with Benito P. Lim the husband of Lourdes Chua Cu. Lucy was followed by Patricia Mangahas Cu, married to Pedro Yangco Uy-tioco; Emerenciana (Miling)  Mangahas Cu, who got widowed in 1945 when a bomb killed Wilfredo Tan Beng Yu and their eldest child, Maria Luisa Cu Yu, remarried  Manuel Hunchiong Ty; Tomas Mangahas Cu, who died at the age of 3; Concepcion (Chit) Mangahas Cu, married to Daniel Uy Tan; Alfonso Ma. Mangahas Cuyegkeng, married to Trinidad Almeda Casas; Rosario (Charing) Mangahas Cuyegkeng, married to Antonio Silvestre Trinidad; Jose Mangahas Cuyegkeng, married to Elena Barbara Resurrecion Ines; Teresita Mangahas Cuyegkeng, who died at the age of 15; Antonio Mangahas Cu, who died at the age of 4; and Rafaela (Fely) Mangahas Cuyegkeng, married to Eduardo Limgenco Dy Buncio.

The maternal house of the Filipino family was in 651 – 655 Benavides St., Binondo, Manila.  The house passed on to Jose Mangahas Cuyegkeng and his family.

As to the family name, the mestizo children of Cu Yeg Keng and Cu Unjieng did what so many Chinese mestizo families did, and used the entire name of their founding ancestor in the Philippines as their surname, rather than just Chinese surname itself (in this case “Cu”). When Cu Unjieng acquired the personal Spanish name of Guillermo, his full Chinese name (where “Cu” was the surname and “Un Jieng” the personal name) just naturally got used as a surname. Guillermo’s middle name, Araullo, was the family name of his baptismal godfather, Manuel G. Araullo.  The same thing must have happened when Cu Yeg Keng adopted the personal name “Antonio.”

Kenga must have applied for a Filipino citizenship, under the US Commonwealth, sometime in the late 1917’s to early 1918’s.  No documents have been found to show when the use of the name “Antonio” and family name “Cuyegkeng” started, as well as who determined who can use the said family name.

Based on the Extra-Judicial Settlement document, it was only the last four (4) children (Benito, Maria Luisa, Maria Marcela, and Vicenta) of Chua Sac who carried the family name Cuyegkeng.  Of the 11 children of Tita, five (5) (Alfonso, Rosario, Jose, Teresita, and Rafaela) used the Cuyegkeng family name.

Cu Uh Chua (Andres), who was born on June 29, 1917, used the family name “CU” till the mid-1960.  His family started using ‘CUYEGKENG” around 1965, when Dr. Andres Cu Uh Chua was started to being referred to as Dr. Andres Cuyegkeng.   On the other hand, Alfonso (6th child of Tita), who was born on March 15, 1918, and the siblings after him, used “CUYEGKENG” from the very beginning.

An oddity occurred in the case of Antonio, 10th child of Tita. When his remains, together with that of Tita, Tomas Cu and Teresita Cuyegkeng, were transferred from the Chinese Cemetery to the Most Holy Redeemer Church Crypts, and finally to the crypts at Santuario de San Antonio, Makati City, the name on the grave marker had always been Antonio Cu.  Tita’s name in the grave marker was Margarita Cuyegkeng.  Upon Tita’s request, the members of the Filipino family provided Tita and their siblings a separate mausoleum from where Kenga and Cha Sac are buried in the Manila Chinese Cemetery.

It is understandable that Tomas used the family name CU, as he was born in 1914 (died on April 1, 1917), the eldest son and 4th child of Tita.  Teresita, the 9th child of Tita, who was born in 1923 and died on March 1, 1938, had the family name CUYEGKENG.  The question remains as to why Antonio, who was born in 1924 and died on June 17, 1928, used CU as a family name.


CO BAN KIAT.  One of Binondo’s most influential and enduring business dynasties.

LIM TUA CO.  Destileria Limtuaco.

Bonifacio Limtuaco.

Carlos Limtuaco.

Lim Chay Seng.  The Lim Chay Seng family lived in an elegant residence along Taft avenue furnished with magnificent Chinese furniture and porcelains.

James Limpe.

SOMOZA [ originally YAP TUI CO ].

Yap Tui Co was a sugar trader who came from Amoy, China.  He married the Chinese mestiza Espiridiona Ysidra Cua-Peco from Maragondon, Cavite and settled there.  Yap Tui Co adopted the Christian name Faustino Somoza.  Years later when he passed away, his remains were brought back to China.

Faustino and Espiridiona Somoza had three children:  Vicente, Esperanza, and Mauricio.

Vicente Somoza y Cua-Peco.  He was a delegate to the Malolos Congress of 1898;  he was one of the 92 signatories of the Malolos Constitution.  He was a co-founder of the “Camara de Comercio Filipino” [ the current Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Foundation, Inc. ].  He settled in M.H. del Pilar Street in Ermita with his wife.

Esperanza Somoza y Cua-Peco.  She was a convent “interna” who later became a spinster.  She was a pianist who gave lessons and she lived in the Quiapo district.

Mauricio Somoza y Cua-Peco.  He was a translator who worked for the Monte de Piedad bank and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.   Mauricio was known for his palatial residence in Binondo, designed by Tomas Arguelles, which fronted three streets —   Calle Ongpin, Calle Misericordia, and Calle Kipuja.  It was destroyed during World War II.



Aside from books, the personal perspectives of the following were invaluable:  Maripaz Godinez [ Son Tua / Tuason ];  Miguel “Mickey” and Jean Paterno, Maria Victoria “Marivic” Madrigal Vazquez, and Ramon Nazareth Villegas [ Paterno ];  Felix Roxas:  “The World of Felix Roxas,” Filipiniana Book Guild, Salvador Zaragoza Araneta papers through Regina Lopez Araneta-Teodoro, Ramon Rosello Zaragoza [ Roxas ];  Ruby R. Paredes:  “Ilustrado Legacy:  The Pardo de Taveras of Manila,”  “Anarchy of Families” edited by Alfred W. McCoy, ADMU press [ Gorricho and Pardo de Tavera ];  Mia Cruz Syquia-Faustmann [ Sy Quia ];  Eric Velasco Lim [ Mariano Velasco Chua Chengco ];  Raymond Lim Moreno [ Mariano Velasco Chua Chengco and Dy Buncio ];  Antonio Casas Cuyegkeng [ Casas Binan and Cuyegkeng Binondo ];  [ Mary Constance “Connie” Yuchengco-Gonzalez [ Yu Tiao Qui and Yu Cheng Co ];  Francis Montemayor de Leon [ Lau Chang Co and Ly Chau Co ];  Monchito Nocon [ Yap Tui Co / Somoza ];  multi-awarded journalist and the former Press Secretary during the Ramos and the Estrada administrations Rodolfo “Rod” T. Reyes.

The Families of Old Tondo, Manila

Tondo, Manila is the place furthest from Social Manila’s mindset [ with the possible exception of the hugely popular 168 mall where even Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos shops for amusing nonconsequentials ].  But the place has an ancient, eminent, even venerable history…

The ancient, great kingdom of Tondo spanned what is now present-day Tondo district all the way northwards to much of Central Luzon.  Before the Spanish colonization of these islands in the late 1500s, the kingdom of Tondo, by its sheer size and economic importance, dominated the lesser ones of Maynilad, Namayan, Ternate, and Bai’.  Rajah Lakandula, the great lord of the kingdom during the Spanish invasion of 1570, was a grandson of the Sultan of Brunei, his mother was a daughter of the sultan.  To this day, Rajah Lakandula of Tondo is listed in the genealogy of the royal family of Brunei.

On 18 August 1900, the American Edith Moses, the wife of Commissioner Bernard Moses, wrote:  “Tondo is a quarter as near like Chinatown as you can picture it.  It is the dirtiest and most crowded part of Manila, but in spite of that fact some of the richest Filipino families reside there.”

ABREU.  Flaviano Abreu married Saturnina Salazar, a very rich Chinese mestiza heiress, and they resided in a large “bahay-na-bato” on Calle Sagunto [ later Calle Santo Cristo;  present-day Santo Cristo Street ].

CABANGIS.  The Cabangis family owned the entire island of Balut in Tondo.  Tomas Cabangis was an “ilustrado”;  he was with Jose Rizal and the other “ilustrados” in Spain during the 1880s.

DE BELEN.  Eugenio de Belen and his wife Maximina Meneses, “Capitan Genio” and “Capitana Simang,” lived in a three-storey “bahay na bato” which fronted three streets in front of the Tondo church.

DE SANTOS.  Although the very rich de Santos family were famous for being landowners with vast rice “haciendas” in the tens of thousands of hectares in Nueva Ecija, their clan progenitor was the 1700s Spaniard Prudencio de Santos, a Spanish army officer who settled in Manila and acquired a wide swathe of what is now the present-day Divisoria entrepot in Tondo.  [ There is an extant oil portrait, copied from a daguerreotype { which was in turn copied from an early portrait }, of the Spaniard Prudencio de Santos by the great artist Fabian de la Rosa, dated 1931, from the once highly-distinguished but sadly dispersed Dr. Arturo de Santos Collection;  it is now in the Atty. Jose Maria Trenas Collection ].

[ The parents of Roman Santos y Rodriguez, founder of Prudential Bank, were Hilarion Santos of Manila and Marta Rodriguez y Tuason of Bacolor, Pampanga.  According to archival records, the original surname of Hilarion Santos was actually “de Santos.”  There is a possibility that he could have been descended from the de Santos family of Tondo. ]


The Lopez del Castillo are descended from the Cabangis family.




The Spanish-Chinese mestiza Mercedes Pantangco y Simon married Macario Rufino y Santos — descendant of an Italian immigrant named Ruffino — and they had seven children:  Manuel, Ernesto, Vicente, Ester, Rafael, and two more daughters.  Macario passed away early, leaving Mercedes to raise her children singlehandedly.  She sent her sons to study at the De La Salle College and her daughter to the nearby Saint Scholastica’s College.

The siblings Ernesto, Vicente, Ester, and Rafael Rufino — the acronym EVER — established a flourishing chain of cinemas which started a business empire that diversified to banking and real estate development.

SALAZAR.  The Chinese mestiza Saturnina Salazar inherited a great fortune from moneylending by her industrious Chinese father Silvestre Salazar, known as “Nor Beteng” to all of Divisoria.  She married Flaviano Abreu and they lived in a large “bahay-na-bato” on Calle Sagunto.  Their elder daughter Guadalupe “Neneng” Abreu y Salazar became the second wife of Felipe “Ipe” Buencamino y Siojo [ Sr. ] of San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan.  Ipe and Neneng had two sons:  Philip and Victor.  Philip married Mary Romero;  Victor married Dolores Arguelles.  Vic’s and Loleng’s elder son Philip Arguelles Buencamino Jr. married Zenaida “Nini” Aragon Quezon, daughter of President Manuel Luis Molina Quezon and First Lady Aurora Molina Aragon;  their younger son Victor Arguelles Buencamino Jr. married Blesilda “Blessie” Ocampo of Old Quiapo.

PEDRO SY-QUIA Y ENCARNACION.  The affluent migrant businessman Vicente Ruperto Romero Sy Quia [ + 09 January 1894 ] of Am Thau, Amoy, China married Petronila Encarnacion of Vigan, Ilocos Sur in 1853.  Their second son Pedro Sy-Quia y Encarnacion married Asuncion Michels de Champourcin y Ventura of Bacolor, Pampanga in the 1870s and built a large, palatial “bahay na bato” in Tondo [ the Sy-Quia-Michels de Champourcin property was expropriated during the American regime and was converted to the Tutuban Railway Station;  the original facade survives as the present-day Tutuban mall in Divisoria ].  Pedro and Asuncion had three sons:  Pedro Jr., Gonzalo, and Leopoldo [ surnamed Sy-Quia y Michels de Champourcin ].  Pedro Jr. married Caridad Arguelles Cruz;  Gonzalo married Ramona Vargas;  Leopoldo married Maria Chanco.



The 19th century Filipino master painter Antonio Malantic, whose surviving works are very few, was famous in his time for his portraits of wealthy Tondo residents such as the families mentioned above.

Acknowledgments:  Ramon N. Villegas, Victor Abreu Buencamino Sr., Victor Arguelles Buencamino Jr., Manuel Buencamino, Arch. Miguel Noche, Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales, Vicente Roman Santos Santos, Richard Tuason-Sanchez Bautista, Atty. Jose Maria P. Trenas, Mia Cruz Syquia-Faustmann, Arch. J. Antonio Gonzalez Mendoza, multi-awarded journalist and the former Press Secretary during the Ramos and the Estrada administrations Rodolfo “Rod” T. Reyes.

“Laing” beside you… here in Albay

“Laing” is the signature dish of Bicolandia.  It is made from dried “gabi” leaves stewed in coconut milk seasoned with ginger and chilis.  When well done, as Bicolana cooks are wont to do, it is out of this world.  Simply delicious with a steaming mound of rice!!!  So popular is “Laing” that it is a well-known dish even in Manila restaurants and households.  And no, it has nothing to do with the 1960s actress Lilian Laing nor with the Marcos era society florist Ronnie Laing.  😛

“Ensaimada Malolos”

A lot of Bulacan and Manila seniors get weak in the knees at the thought of the “Ensaimada Malolos” of long ago — a bread rich with eggs and lard decadently topped with Danish butter, “queso de bola” Edam cheese, slivers of “Hoc Shiu” Chinese ham, and slices of “itlog na pula” red eggs…


I first heard of “Sinanglaw” in 1992 as we were filming eminent director Eddie Romero’s “Noli Me Tangere” for the CCP Cultural Center of the Philippines in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

After a long day’s shoot, we — assistant director Jo-Ann Cabalda-Banaga, production consultant Jo Atienza, production designer Rodel Cruz, production design assistants Pia Fernandez and Karisse Villa, period consultant Jo Panlilio, et. al. — were relaxing at the workshop of the “Art Dep” art department / production design department [ in an old and crumbling Vigan ancestral house ] and we found ourselves discussing comparatively healthy Ilocano cuisine…  “Inabraw,”  “Pinakbet,”  “Sinanglaw,”  “Mollo,”  “Bagnet,”  “K-B-L,”  …

The eyes of the red meat-loving Kapampangans in the group glazed over at the thought of all the “bagoong,” vegetables, and various innards which were the staples of Ilocano cuisine…

Alpha male, macho production designer Rodel Cruz blurted out:  “Wow, pare, you have to taste “Sinanglaw”!!!  Woohoo!!!  Pare, it’s so macho with all those cow innards it’ll freak you girls out.  Wow, man, it’s the death of cuisine!!!”

Now that really got me curious…  what exactly was “Sinanglaw”???


In Vigan, Ilocos Sur, “Sinanglaw” is a soup of cow innards sauteed in ginger, garlic, onions, peppers, and of course, bile fluids.  Sometimes, goat innards are also used.

The best “Sinanglaw” I ever had was cooked — “Slow Food” style — by Manang “Glori” Gloria [ the housekeeper at the Quema ancestral house in Vigan ] in the 1990s [ indeed, really good “Sinanglaw” takes about four hours to simmer ].  It was served for breakfast along with other Vigan morning fare like the garlicky longganizas, etc..

I remember that wonderful Vigan breakfast hosted by Rebecca “Becky” Quema de los Reyes well.  We were with Patis Tesoro, Cora Alvina, Glenna Aquino, Sonny Tinio,  Ramon Zaragoza, Jo Panlilio, et. al..

[ I will always remember Manang Glori because she is the ultimate Vilma Santos fan.  When Vilma Santos first ran for mayor of Lipa, Batangas, Manang Glori organized a small contingent from Vigan and they loyally traveled all the way down to Lipa, Batangas to cheer and support their idol.  Vintage photos and posters of Vilma decorate the walls of Manang Glori’s bedroom.  She says she will gladly die for Vilma Santos.  She claims that she will do anything for Vilma should she ever visit Vigan, Ilocos Sur.  If current Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto ever reads this, I hope she will send some signed memorabilia ASAP for her ultimate fan Manang Glori at the Quema ancestral house in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. ]

I ate so much of the delicious, cholesterol-laden “Sinanglaw” — two soup bowls full — I developed a massive headache of cerebral aneurysm quality for the rest of the day… harharhar!!!   😛   😛   😛


Lami ang “Budbud Kabug”!

The first time I heard of “Budbud Kabug” was from Dorla Perez-Villalon.

The first time I tried it was with Tess Lopez and Mercey Teves-Goni at a popular stall at the Dumaguete Public Market.

“Kabug” means “bat” in Cebuano but I don’t understand what it has to do with the “suman”…

Yes, it was different and yummy!!!   🙂   🙂   🙂

“Pancit Molo” is a soup, not a pancit!

When I was a child in my Lola Charing’s house, a delicious but strangely named soup called “Pancit Molo” which wasn’t a pancit at all, appeared every now and then on a white tureen on the dining table.  And because it was easy to eat, just soft dumplings and broth, slivers of chicken and salty ham, we kiddies tolerated it.  Actually, we kiddies didn’t like soup at all.  Only the old people, like Lola Charing, Daddy, Mommy, Tito Hector, and Brother Andrew liked soup, and steaming warm at that.

Looking back, since we were Capampangan, then our “Pancit Molo” was not authentic Ilonggo, but it sure was good, if a tad salty.  The bone of the “Hoc Shiu” ham was boiled with the chicken broth for that “kick.”  It also imparted a crazy salty-porky smell to the broth.  The forcemeat of pork, shrimps, garlic, and onions was enhanced with minced “Hoc Shiu” ham.  The dumpling wrappers were painstakingly homemade, one by one.  Slivers of “Hoc Shiu” ham and chicken floated with the minced celery in the broth.  It was so delicious it was easy to finish a bowl.

In the 1970s, Via Mare’s proprietor Glenda Barretto and Laguna-Quezon hacendero Ado Escudero made “Pancit Molo” uberchic by serving it in fresh coconuts.  My uncle, Brother Andrew, always fashionable when it came to food, also took to having “Pancit Molo” served in fresh coconuts during parties.

I had no idea that “Pancit Molo” soup had its origins in faraway Molo, Iloilo…

During my first trip to Iloilo City many years ago, we were told that the best “Pancit Molo” in Molo could be ordered from the spinster Miss Lazaro who lived in the pristine, obsessive compulsive – squeaky clean Lazaro ancestral house [ originally the Melliza house ].  It was reputed to be so good that it was the “official” “Pancit Molo” of many of the town’s better homes.

Oh, and now that I’m old, I already like soup.  In fact, I can’t live without it anymore.

Never mind that the Duchess of Windsor disliked soup and declared:  “You can’t build a meal on a lake!”

The Families of Old Leyte



ACEBEDO.  According to the Acebedo descendants, it is a conjecture in the family that they are of Indian descent, because so many of them, from the past generations to the present, bear visibly Indian features.

Luisa Acebedo de Pedrosa.





VELOSO.  The Veloso of Leyte are directly descended from the Veloso of Cebu.


LOPEZ.  The silversmith Fray Francisco Lopez of Granada, Spain had a relationship with Maria Crisostomo y Talentin of Basey, Samar and they had fourteen children, seven boys and seven girls.

The eldest daughter, Trinidad Lopez y Crisostomo, married cabeza de barangay Daniel Romualdez of Pandacan, Manila.  They met when Trinidad’s father Fray Francisco was assigned from Basey, Samar to the church of Pandacan in faraway Manila.  Trinidad and Daniel traveled to Leyte province because she believed that his delicate health — he suffered a bout of consumption — could be improved by the salubrious sea breezes.  It was in Leyte where their three sons were born:  Norberto in Burauen, Miguel in Dagami, and Vicente Orestes in Tolosa.

The Lopez-Crisostomo family founded the town of Tolosa, Leyte.

Norberto Romualdez y Lopez [ Norberto Romualdez Sr. ] of Pandacan, Manila and Tolosa, Leyte married Mariquita Marquez y Lobiano.  After she passed away, he married a second time to Beatriz Buz of Palapag, Samar.  Norberto became an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

Miguel Romualdez y Lopez of Pandacan, Manila and Tolosa, Leyte married Brigida Zialcita of Manila.  Miguel became Mayor of Manila.

Vicente Orestes Romualdez y Lopez of Pandacan, Manila and Tolosa, Leyte married Juanita Acereda.  After Juanita passed away, Vicente Orestes married a second time to Remedios Trinidad y de Guzman of Baliuag, Bulacan and Capiz and they became the parents of the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos [ Mrs. Ferdinand Edralin Marcos ].

ROMUALDEZ.  Senior Leytenos remember that the Romualdez, much as they are now the most popular Leyteno clan, were NOT natives of Leyte province.  They were a prominent family from Pandacan district, Manila;  they have a well-documented history there.  During prewar, Miguel Romualdez y Lopez [ Mayor of Manila ] purchased an imposing “bahay na bato” built by the de Jesus-Legarda y Roces family across from the Pandacan Catholic parish church and established his residence there, creating the now-revered Romualdez ancestral home in Manila.

According to the seniors, the matriarch brought her three sons to Leyte to enjoy the salubrious sea breezes and that was when the Romualdez association with Leyte province began.  However in reality, Trinidad Lopez y Crisostomo brought her husband cabeza de barangay Daniel Romualdez of Pandacan, Manila, who had suffered from consumption, to Leyte because she believed that the salubrious sea breezes could improve his fragile health.  Apparently, the sea breezes helped because Daniel’s and Trinidad’s three sons were born in Leyte:  Norberto in Burauen, Miguel in Dagami, and Vicente Orestes in Tolosa.

According to knowledgeable Romualdez descendants, much as they would want to have a more eminent ancestor, after considerable research they discovered, much to their disappointment, bemusement, and amusement, that their clan progenitor was a Chinese immigrant, Pei Ling Po, who deposited his family temporarily in Vietnam while he searched for livelihood possibilities in Manila in Las Islas Filipinas.  Finally established in Manila, later generations of Romualdezes engaged in goldsmithing.  The clan likes to connect its early days of goldsmithing to the intense penchant for jewelry developed by its ladies, most notably former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

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