Reminiscences of Old Pampanga

Last Sunday evening, 30 May 2010, we were at Albert Salgado Paloma’s Rory Cameron-Lady Kenmare-“La Fiorentina”-“Le Clos Fiorentina”-overlooking-the-French-Riviera like house [ think white, white, white halls of noble proportions with classical antique Filipino furniture and genuine French antiques effortlessly put together with Albert’s tremendous, inimitable style and chic ] in San Fernando, Pampanga for his annual reception celebrating the town [ now city ] fiesta in honor of “San Fernando, El Rey.”

The big draw of an Albert Salgado Paloma invitation for me is to relive the lunches and dinners of the Old Pampanga I remember from my childhood and youth:  the delicious and luxurious Spanish and French-inflected Capampangan food cooked at home, presented on large antique porcelain, ironstone, and silver platters and laid on beautiful antique hardwood tables;  an assortment of fine wines;  the many tables elegantly set with china, crystal, and silver on linen damask;  and the genial company who knew one another, whose parents knew one another, and whose grandparents and great grandparents knew one another as well.  I’m sure it was a similar draw for many of the other regular guests.

Dinner was a grand concourse comparable to the five star hotel buffets:  Italian gnocchi, tagliatelle, and penne in various sauces, A large Lapu-lapu fish as “Pescado en Mayonesa,”  Dory filets with capers and butter sauce, “Relleno de Pollo,” Roast Turkey with all the trimmings including glazed yams, “Caldereta de Cordero [ lamb ]” braised in French red wine, Angus Beef carvery, Albert’s famous long-simmered “Fabada Asturiana,” Smithfield Virginia ham, young “Lechon,”  fresh asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, Mixed Greens salad with unusual dressings.  Steamed Japanese rice for those who wanted some.

For desserts, there were fresh fruits and many cakes and pies from Manila’s most fashionable pastry shops.  There was also a delicious “buco” sorbet, tinged with pandan and exquisitely laced with “dayap” lime rind.

Later in the evening, when most of the older guests had left, Albert and I finally got around to talking, and as always, he was a vivid window to a vanished world, to a Pampanga long gone, even if he was already of the PostWar generation…

“Albert, how did one spell Benito Ullmann?  One l, two ls?  One n, two ns?”  I asked.

[ Benito Ullmann was the part-German first husband of Albert’s grandaunt, the very rich businesswoman Teodora Salgado y Basilio.  After his death, she married a full Spaniard, Dr. Saa, who was, of all things, a magician.  She had no children though, thus she partitioned her many holdings between her several Salgado nephews and nieces. ]

“Ullmann… two ls and two ns.”

“Benito Ullmann was in the luxury imports business.  Was he a part-owner of ‘La Estrella del Norte’ or did he have his own firm?”

“I don’t know about his involvement with ‘La Estrella del Norte’ but he had his own firm.”

“I remember your telling me years ago that the famous Arnedo Paris porcelain dinner service was ordered through Benito Ullmann’s firm… Therefore, the Grand Duke [ Alexis Alexandrovich of Russia ] must have ordered it immediately from Benito Ullmann after his visit to the Arnedos in Sulipan in 1891…”

“Yes it was.  It was Tirso Ballesteros and his mother Joaquina Arnedo-Ballesteros who told us.  They were there when we visited the Arnedo house in Sulipan… a long time ago?”  he confirmed.

Albert continued:  “Those plates were displayed in two “vajilleras” glass-fronted cabinets in the “comedor” dining room.  Tirso and his mother Joaquina told us that the majority were actually in a storage room.  They were beautiful!  Where are they now?”

“With me.  Most of them anyway.  Some are displayed at the ‘Museo de La Salle’ in Dasmarinas, Cavite.”


“I didn’t know Tito Ocampo was from Mexico town.  I thought the Ocampos were from San Fernando…”

“Tito’s father was an Ocampo from Santa Rita.  His mother was a Paras from Mexico.  That’s why he has that property there.”

“Interesting to note how old Dr. Sandico [ Mayorico Hizon Sandico ] and Imang Jane [ Jane Lazatin Garcia ] married off all their children to equally old Capampangan families.  I remember Dr. Sandico very well, he was a perfect gentleman… to the hilt.  He was also quite emphatic about people of good family:  ‘galing sa mabuting pamilya,’ he used to say.”

“Yes, they’re of very good family.  Their Hizon ancestors were painted by Simon Flores.  You’ve seen them?”

“Yes, Saturnino Hizon y David and his third wife Cornelia Sison.  It turned out that Saturnino Hizon was actually the direct, maternal grandfather of Dr. Sandico.  His mother Pilar Sison Hizon-Sandico was a daughter of Saturnino and Cornelia.  I remember the Saturnino portrait very well because he was buck-teethed.  They were already given to the children.  Then they were restored by Helmuth Zotter, the Austrian.  Very expensive!”

“There used to be a big Simon Flores painting right across from this house when I was young.  A family portrait with several people.  Lindy Locsin [ Architect Leandro V. Locsin ] bought it.”

“Which family was it?”


“Oh, if Lindy bought it then it’s the one with the mother-in-law.  There were three Quiason family portraits — the three were brothers — that hung in San Fernando before the war.  Another one, with just four figures [ Cirilo and Ceferina Quiason and their family ], is in the Central Bank Collection.  Another one is really dark, in the Central Bank too if I’m not mistaken. I’m a Quiason by descent, through my mother, by the way.  The baby in the Central Bank portrait, the one whose pee-pee was burned off by his own cigar, was my mother’s maternal grandfather { Jose “Yayang” Quiason y Henson }.”  I related.

Albert countered:  “Lindy also bought three portraits by Simon Flores from the Cunanan ancestral house in Mexico town.  The very old, probably 1780s, thatch-roofed house that used to stand on the site of the Methodist church now, right beside the old town church.  The parents of Mariano Cunanan and another one.”

“By the time I saw the house in the 1950s, the Cunanans had already become Methodists.  I guess that’s why the Methodist church now stands on the site of their ancestral home.”

“The Quiason are descended from the Cunanan:  Cirilo Quiason y Cunanan.  His mother was Maria Cunanan and his father was Modesto Quiason.”  [ FYI:  Our Cunanan is NOT related to Andrew Philip Cunanan, the assassin of Gianni Versace in Miami.   😛 ]

He added:  “Lindy had the big Quiason portrait and the three solo Cunanan portraits restored by no less than the principal restorers of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.”

“Do you think Lindy would have bothered to record the names of those three Cunanan portraits by Simon Flores?”  I asked.

“Knowing Lindy, yes, he would have.”

Albert recalled further:  “That Cunanan house had the most beautiful segmented “cabecera” dining table I ever saw:  Neoclassical, with tapering Sheraton legs, and discreet bone and kamagong inlay.  Their sideboards in the “comedor” dining room were a pair of longer and bigger than usual Sheraton-type altar tables, tapering legs, restrained bone and kamagong inlay, and all.  Beautiful!!!”

“My only ‘recuerdo’ of that Cunanan house is the smallish grooved marble top table from the ‘sala.’  Without knowing its provenance, I bought it, along with many other first rate antiques, for a small fortune in 1997 from Rene Dizon who had acquired it, together with the late ‘agente’ Mamerto “Mamer” Ocampo, from the family in 1972 in exchange for a new color TV.  Rene didn’t even know it was the Cunanan house, all he remembered was that it was the old, long, thatch-roofed house beside the Mexico church.  Then I learned that the old, thatch-roofed house used for ‘Filosofo Tasio’ in director Gerry de Leon’s classic 1961 ‘Noli Me Tangere’ was  the Cunanan house in Mexico, Pampanga.  Years later, you told me that the Cunanan house had beautiful old things and it was right beside the Mexico church where the Methodist church stands now.  So you see, after all those years, all the bits and pieces of information finally jived.  I guess that buying that grooved marble top table from Rene was sheer serendipity, as always.”


“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cunanan family had those silver “paliteras” toothpick trees…”

“Sonny Tinio remembers being told long ago by Hizon [ de Mexico ] descendants that the old house had twelve of them and that they were distributed to the children…”

“Very believable.”

“Te Hizon still had two of them before his beautiful San Fernando house was damaged by lahar.”




  1. September 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm


    As far as I know, the pair of lifesize portraits of Don Norberto Castor and his wife from the Castor-Reyes ancestral house in Candaba, Pampanga were painted by Simon Flores y de la Rosa. Or by Antonio Malantic. But I never heard of them as having been painted by Justiniano Asuncion.

    I could be wrong. Please confirm.

    Justiniano Asuncion painted several beautiful portraits of members of the Paterno family, who were his Molo de San Agustin relatives. His portraits of Teodora de Vera Ygnacio, Agueda Paterno, & Dolores Paterno from the 1870s are considered some of the glories of Philippine Art.


    Toto Gonzalez

  2. September 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Hello! I am Ma-an L. Asuncion, born and raised in San Fernando, Pampanga (because my mother is from there) and a direct descendant of Justiniano Asuncion or “Capitan Ting”. I would like to ask if you know the the life-size portrait of Don Norberto Castor done by my great-great grandfather? I’ve read an article in a website that this painting is in Candaba now. Please let me know if you have an idea of the whereabout of this painting because I am planning to have an exhibit of all work of Capitan Ting in 2016 as a commemoration for his 200th year. You can email me in these addresses: or Thank you very much and God Bless!

  3. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 1, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Teodora Salgado-Ullmann’s very good friend is Estefania Julian Aldaba mother of former D.S.W.D Secretary Estefania Aldaba-Lim Teodora Salgado-Ullmann would lend Estefania Julian-Aldaba batches of diamonds and other precious gems with only her honor and integrity as security she would then sell it to her friends in Malolos Bulacan

    Some of the niece that inherited from Teodora Salgado-Ullmann are Socorro Henson,Elisa Salgado-Miranda and the mother of Mercy Angeles-Padilla she is a daughter in law of Senator Ambrosio Padilla

  4. Enrique Bustos said,

    November 27, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Albert Paloma designed the Chapel in the Coconut Palace in the C.C.P.Complex the image of the Sto Nino is covered in glass shelves featuring jeweled montages and bric a brac such as a shoe horn with Imelda Marcos Initials traced in little diamonds

  5. Brandon Vista said,

    August 17, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    About Don Mariano Cunanan, he was one of the early Methodist in Pampanga. He was converted as early as 1900’s. That is why the Methodist church in Mexico stands besides their ancestral home. The Cunanan theater made of nipa hut at that time became the place of worship beginning 1903. They eventually donated their property to the church. Mariano Cunanan is one of the significant figures of the success of early Methodism in Pampanga. I just wonder if you have a picture of Don Mariano Cunanan? or their old house which you mentioned in your blog? I am doing a research about Methodist history in Mexico but have not found any old picture of him.

  6. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    June 23, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks, Enrique.

    It was heartwarming to read the article of Ms. Marlen Ronquillo.

    What is sad is in other places of similar set up, the children of the grateful, beholden tenants do not have that kind of attitude at all.
    Since the children had the chance to already study in Manila thru the kindness of their parent’s benefactors, they have conveniently forgotten to look back.

    I remember the times during the traditional Pabasa in our ancestral house, the whole place would be bustling with activities for days. The faithful tenants and their entire families were present helping in every way.
    The same thing happened during the town fiesta when they would set up the carroza for the procession. Everyone had a role and they passed it on to their children.

    It was their “panata” too.

    Some of the children carried on but a lot have totally forgotten the “panata” of their humble parents.

  7. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 23, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Alfredo Casas Carmelo the only marine painter in the Philippines married Elvira Ullmann daughter of Edmond Ullmann and Juana Faustino Dizon. Edmond is the son of Felix Ullmann the founder of La Estrella del Norte.Alfredo Carmelo is the son of Eulalio Lacandola Carmelo and Maxima Santisteban Casas,Eulalio Carmelo a descendant of Lakan Dula the Rajah (King) of Tondo who fought the Spaniards during the colonization of the Philippines is the owner of Lithographia de Carmelo Y Bauermann in Calle Iris later know as Calle Azcarraga but today it is now know as C.M. Recto Ave in Manila Maxima Casas is the daughter of Pedro Casas son of Ambrosio Casas, Ambrosio’s sister Lucia married Damian Domingo considered the first great Filipino painter and the country’s first formal art educator Damian is the ancestor of the Ongpin family because Alfonso Ongpin is his great grandson another relative who used to work with Lithographia de Carmelo Y Bauermann is Jorge Pineda a painter, he was a peer of Fernando Amorsolo but less prolific, being an ocasional painter and he explored subjects outside those of the Amorsolo school. Among his most charming genre scenes are those depicting Filipino games like siklot and sungkaan
    one of Alfredo Carmelo’s daughter is socialite Maxine Carmelo Cacho whose family is a significant stockholder of the defunct Far East Bank & Trust Co

  8. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 23, 2010 at 1:58 am

    The Alberto house and déjà vu

    Reading historian Ambeth Ocampo’s article on the Alberto ancestral house in Laguna brought me to the past right away: an old house in Lubao that was bought by the same developer currently negotiating to acquire the Alberto house and was moved—old tile by old tile—to a seaside town in Bataan.

    The Laguna house was of historic value, connected to the life and times of the mother of the national hero. And when something concerns Rizal, who shaped him and what shaped him, the value is deemed priceless.

    The old house in Lubao, bought by the developer who contracted the controversial tenements called
    “Home along the Riles” and brought, “wooden plank by wooden plank and old tile by old tile” to a Bataan seaside resort town, was not a house where heroes lived. But the old house was a virtual mural of history.

    That old house in Lubao relates to the topics of the old: the feudal structure, the Basques that settled in the country to own and run sugar mills and haciendas, the days of the landlords and the sharecroppers. It relates to something new and current: meritocracy and the singer Enrique Iglesias.

    Can we really weave all of these things into the history of one seemingly obscure old house alone? Yes, and I will explain.

    The old Lubao house was built by a couple, the late Dr. Wenceslao Vitug and Doña Juanita Arrastia Vitug. Doña Juanita Arrastia came from the landowning clan that descended from Basque adventurers. At one point in Philippine society, said an account, no one can be more beautiful that the Arrastia women.

    Isabel Arrastia Preysler, the former wife of Julio Iglesias and who latter married into a family that is a member of the Spanish royalty, came from the Arrastias of Lubao. So is the current ambassador to the Vatican, Mercy Arrastia. International singer Enrique Iglesias is a son of Julio and Isabel. Some of the Arrastia women became movie stars themselves, even if only briefly. Others married matinee idols of an earlier generation. The wife of the late actor Mario Montenegro is an Arrastia.

    Dr. Wenceslao Vitug, who was from a barrio of sharecroppers that was adjacent to the poblacion, was himself another story—an inspiring story of meritocracy. He preceded the “Poor Boy from Lubao” (former President Diosdado Macapagal) at the Pampanga High School. But he was more brilliant than the late president.

    After excelling at the Pampanga High School, Wenceslao Vitug trained in medicine at UST, where he again excelled. His academic brilliance was soon the stuff of legend in Lubao and his overachiev-ing ways brought him to the attention of the town elite—and Doña Juanita. Were it not for meritocracy, Wenceslao Vitug, who came from a barrio of Arrastia sharecroppers, would not have met and married Doña Juanita Arrastia.

    During the heyday of feudalism, Lubao was strictly segregated. The landowning families, mostly Basque descendants, married among themselves. The Arrastia women married tycoons, ambassadors, Forbes Park residents and movie actors at the very least. But not commoners from the barrios of their sharecroppers.

    So when Doña Juanita married a commoner, even an overachieving doctor, it was big news in Lubao, a marriage that broke the mold. It was one story that can fuel one long-running telenovela.

    Before they left Lubao for good, Dr. Wenceslao and Doña Juanita, did one thing that also broke precedent—become caring and enlightened landlords.

    Dr. Vitug would take care of the medical and health needs of the Arrastia tenants, from routine check-ups to more complicated treatment. Doña Juanita would spend weekends attending to the problem of the tenants’ wives and kids.

    On the shaded balcony of the old Lubao house now in Bataan, Doña Juanita would extend interest-free loans, on a pay-when-able basis. In exchange, the wives of the tenants would comb her long hair and tell her stories about the goings on at the rice farms the Arrastias owned.

    During the town fiestas of Lubao, the tenants and the families would repay their kindness. On a single file, they would fill up their carabao-driven carts with firewood to light up the giant vats and ovens at the Arrastia yard. They would cook and serve the guests. After the fiesta, they would stay a day longer to clean up the yard and wash the dishes and scrub the giant vats and ovens.

    Kids who tagged along with their sharecropper-fathers to the big Arrastia house during these town fiestas were witness to and entirely different kind of kind and caring landlords. I was one such kid.

    After reading Ambeth Ocampo’s account on the old Alberto house in Laguna—one that is being acquired for the Bataan seaside town—I suddenly remembered the old Arrastia house in Lubao.

    Today, after the transplant, it sits by the sea, as a rich man’s acquisition. The old structure and architecture remain intact.

    But in this seaside setting, you cannot even imagine what took place in that old house at another place and time—the young Isabel Arrastia Preysler visiting. Or the good doctor with the stethoscope. And Doña Juanita kindly handing out interest-free loans so that the kids of their tenants can study and break free from their fathers’ indentured status.

    On Father’s Day, it came back to me again, but it played out with the old house still at the poblacion. My father and me and our carabao-driven cart filled with chopped firewood, heading out for that old house in Lubao to be of service to the good doctor and Doña Juanita

  9. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 11, 2010 at 4:44 am

    Lizzie Zobel was appointed by President Gloria Arroyo as a member of the board of The Philippine National Red Cross

  10. Mando Santos said,

    June 10, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Ano ba yan… Kung hindi matrona, bakla. Wala bang normal na tao sa larangan ng sining at kultura sa Pilipinas?

    In English:

    What’s this… If they aren’t matrons, they’re gays. Are there no normal people in the fields of art and culture in the Philippines?

  11. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 10, 2010 at 7:10 am

    from “Cocktales” by Vic Agustin:

    Jaime Laya together with his group resigned from the Friends of the Cultural Concerns of the Philippines because of a feud with the group of Minerva Tanseco…

    THE matron-dominated Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippine’s nine out of 15 board members resigned over unresolved financial and personal disagreements.

    According to e-mails circulating among the FCCP members, those who have left in a huff include the president, Gerry Contreras, along with board members Mars Lambino (vice president), Jaime Laya, Helen Ong, Mimi Valerio, Marietta Holmgren, Cristina Caedo, Raul Sunico, and Joey Soriano.

    The mass resignations left only Minerva Tanseco, Elizabeth Cristobal, Boysie Villavicencio, Letty Hahn and Martin Lopez remaining on the high-society fund-raising board.

    According to an FCCP member who asked not to be identified, the holdover members of the FCCP board led by Tanseco had been pushing the association to seek the return of P8.6 million it had donated to its disbursing affiliate, the Friends for the Development of Arts and Culture Foundation.

    Composed of ex-FCCP presidents, the foundation in turn donated the P8.6 million to the St. Scholastica’s College and the Cultural Center of the Philippines, with the two institutions sharing the donation equally.

    According to the grapevine, the Tanseco bloc was upset that the foundation—effectively run by ex-FCCP presidents Leticia Syquia, Olga Martel, Tessie Luz, and Imelda Cojuangco—had unilaterally donated the money without as much as a by-your-leave from the FCCP membership.

    The rift had been festering since May 2008, when the combined membership of the FCCP and the foundation, known by its shorthand FDAC, voted 46-8 in favor of rescinding the twin donation and recovering the funds.

    Apparently, there had not only been a nasty signature campaign but also a boycott of the annual fund-raising ball that already led to the latter being re-scheduled

    Jaime Laya and his group formed a new cultural group named Society for Cultural Enrichment, Inc with Gerry Contreras as president and chairman and former Central Bank governor and art enthusiast Dr. Jaime Laya as vice chairman. Other officers were vice president Angolan Consul Helen Ong, 1st vice president Cristina Galang Caedo, treasurer Mimi Valerio, assistant treasurer Marietta Holmgren, secretary Mars Lambino, international concert pianist assistant secretary Raul Sunico and public relations officer Sandie Poblador. Members of the board were Tess Castro, Betty Chua, Mila How, Tessie Luz, Margie Ortiz Luis and Mita Rufino. The SCEI promises to promote all fields of art and culture

  12. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 10, 2010 at 5:22 am

    I asked the family of Liding Oledan late sister Norma Miranda Rodriquez they told me that Benito Ullmann is a stockholder of La Estrella Del Norte so that makes him part owner of the firm



    Here is the statement of Hilarion Maramba Henares the new Chairman of the National Museum

    PRESIDENT Arroyo called me up one day and asked me if I would consent to be the new chairman of the National Museum of the Philippines. Being a history buff, I said yes. By the legal deadline, March 10, 2010, I found myself a “midnight appointee,” but to my surprise, I was appointed together with an entirely new Board of Trustees.

    I asked the President why she chose to make the revamp. She answered, “Whenever I go abroad, the first thing I am encouraged to do is to visit the museums. I am the Honorary Chair and Patron of the National Museum of the Philippines, yet in all the nine years of my administration, neither I nor any of my state guests in Malacañang have ever been invited to see the National Museum. When I found out that there were never any board meetings at the National Museum since 2002, and that all the trustees had long ended their terms and were just on hold-over status, I knew the time had come to reorganize the Museum.”

    In fairness to the old board, I as the new chairman found that, although no board meetings were ever scheduled, there had been frequent meetings between ex-Chairman Antonio O. Cojuangco and his museum director Corazon S. Alvina, and that given severe financial constraints, they managed to accomplish many important achievements. Lectures, researchers’ fora, exhibits, symposia, work-shops, and round-table conferences, along with the other functions of the museum, have been going on all the time, month by month, year after year. In 2008 alone, more than 450,000 visitors, mostly students, have been to the Museum, the Planetarium, the Art Gallery and the Regional Museums in the provinces.

    Still, the financial resources of the museum were so depleted that the former chairman had to personally shoulder the electricity bills of the museum, as well as the salary of a senior consultant who spent time setting up historical exhibits with accompanying lecture tours. The resources were augmented with private donations from different sources. At the suggestion of the President, we offered to hire the former museum director as consultant to the Board at her old salary to provide continuity to the transition. She accepted our offer for only one peso a year instead, but then later refused the offer upon the advice of friends.

    The brutal fact is that while the National Museum by law was entitled to receive as Endowment Fund a sum of P500 million – P250 million from the PCSO and P250 million from the Pagcor due and receivable 9 to 12 years ago — it received a measly P5 million from PCSO and P72 million from Pagcor, leaving a balance of P423 million. The loss of interest income and missed opportunities in the last 9 to 12 years is incalculable.

    With the energetic new director, Jeremy Barns (formerly of the excellently managed and arranged Malacañang Palace Museum), in charge of all the groundwork and details, obviously the first thing the new Board did was to ask the President to insist that the PCSO and the Pagcor deliver the P423 million Endowment Fund to the National Museum of the Philippines. This was done with dispatch, with a reasonable chance of success.

    The second step was to schedule weekly special meetings of the Board till the end of June, and once a month from there on.

    The third step was to convey to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) the recommendation to give 100% tax exemption to all donors for their donations to the National Museum.

    Fourth, we immediately commenced Restoration of the old Senate Session Hall, as it appeared in the days of Senate President Manuel L. Quezon when the chamber was the primary forum for the advancement of the national movement for the Independence of the Philippines, graced with the presence of such great leaders as Claro M. Recto, Manuel Roxas, Jose P. Laurel, and Benigno Aquino, as well as Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, Ninoy Aquino and Vicente Sotto. We also immediately commenced to give more emphasis to the historic grandeur of the old House of Representatives/National Assembly Session Hall as well, a chamber once graced by the presence of Juan Ponce Enrile’s father, Don Alfonso, and my own grandfather Don Daniel Maramba served as Assemblymen, and by such great Speakers of the House as Sergio Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, Jose Laurel Jr., Eugenio Perez and Cornelio Villareal.

    Finally, we are preparing a series of exhibits featuring many items in the Museum’s permanent collections that have not been seen for a long – or even ever put out on public display. These will open for public viewing on June 12, the 112th anniversary of Philippine Independence, and consist of three parts:

    1. The permanent display of 159 paintings mostly by Juan Luna that belonged to his daughter-in-law Grace Luna de San Pedro – the largest Luna collection ever and never before shown together in the Museum. This was a bequest of the Far East Bank & Trust of Central Bank in the early 1990s. This will be highlighted by the unveiling of the fully restored Luna masterpiece “Una Bulakeña” which together with the legendary “Spolarium” is a “National Cultural Treasure”, the highest form of cultural heritage status.

    2. The permanent display of more than 150 sketches by Fernando Amorsolo together with valuable personal memorabilia of the first National Artist (his easel, chair, brushes and palletes as well as the last portrait he was working on), donated by his widow.

    3. The presentation of the greatest treasures of Philippine archaeology from the museum collections, more than 30 of which will be declared “National Cultural Treasures”. These include the extremely rare astrolabe which was excavated from the wreck of the San Diego, the Tabon skullcap, mandible and tibia fragments of the oldest modern man found in the Philippines, one fragment of which is carbon-dated 47,000 years ago; the only three known evidences of Filipino ancient script, and many other artifacts.

    MOVING FORWARD, scheduled for launch in September of 2010, is a special project on “Ang Kultura ng mga Kapangpangan” – a cultural extravaganza we are planning in partnership with the National Historical Institute, the National Commission on Culture and Arts, the University of Angeles, and the Kapangpangan Studies of the Holy Child University. This project will feature the legacies of great Pampangueños such as the Aquinos of Tarlac, the Abad Santoses of San Fernando, the Macapagals of Lubao (with special emphasis on the 100th Birth Anniversary of President Diosdado Macapagal), and also feature the Macabebe scouts, the Hukbalahaps, the American Bases and Mt. Pinatubo. Fascinating episodes such as the exile of Lakandula and the tax exemption granted to his descendants (among whom were Puyats and the Macapagals), the Gonzalez family and the Inaugural Dinner of Aguinaldo on plates that were gifts of the Russian Czars will be highlighted, together with the Mancommunidad spectacles, the zarzuelas, the moro-moros and the literature and songs of the Pampangueños.

    And that is how we, “midnight appointees,” made our day at the National Museum of the Philippines.

  13. Ipê Nazareno said,

    June 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Weren’t the Levy Family the original owners of “La Estrella del Norte”?

  14. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 2, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Written in Erlinda “Liding” Salgado Miranda-Oledan’s book “Philippine Objets d’ Art” that her aunt Teodora Salgado de Ullmann was the original owner of “La Estrella Del Norte.”

  15. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 2, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Leandro “Lindy” V. Locsin had an outstanding collection of 19th century portraits including the celebrated ones of Pagsanjan, Laguna’s Francia sisters, Soledad and Inocencia, by legendary portraitist Antonio Malantic; the beautiful Romana A. Carillo of Binan, Laguna by Justiniano Asuncion; and Don Norberto Castor of Candaba, Pampanga by Simon Flores.

  16. Alicia Perez said,

    June 2, 2010 at 6:02 am


    I wonder how the current organization of the National Museum will pull that one off? In one of her midnight madnesses, outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo removed Cora Alvina, Tonyboy Cojuangco, Lizzie Zobel, and other committed and $$$ capable people from the National Museum and replaced them with a bunch of nobodies who do not have the necessary financial and social clout to carry out the various programs of the national repository. Don’t tell me about intellectuals, intellectuals need money to survive. [ I should know. I’m married to one. It’s good I have the money. ]

    Also, the removal of Jimmy Laya from the Cultural Center of the Philippines is just sheer philistinism…

    Quo vadis, Philippine Arts and Culture???

    Alicia Perez

  17. Enrique Bustos said,

    June 2, 2010 at 4:43 am

    In September, the National Museum will have a special “Kapangpangan” exhibit that will feature the Aquinos, the Abad Santoses, the Macapagals, with emphasis on Diosdado’s 100th birth anniversary, the history of the Macabebe Scouts, the Hukbalahaps, the NPA, Clark Field, the Exile of Lakandula and the tax exemption granted to his descendants ( including the Puyats and Macapagals ) the Gonzales family, the gift of the Russian Czar, the Mancommunidad extravaganzas, Pampangueño zarzuelas and literature.

  18. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    June 2, 2010 at 4:31 am


    in the same manner, in my father’s hometown in Bulakan, the old families were in the barrio Bambang, two barrios away from the town center ( the bayan as what the barrio folks called it ).

    the reason concluded was those familes were the early settlers of the area and they all resided in that barrio because there was a major river infront of their houses, the river connected to the other towns like Malolos, Bigaa, Calumpit, Baliuag and most towns in Bulacan which were by the river.
    it also flowed out to Manila Bay.

    the river was the most important consideration for the early settlers.

    then when the Spaniards arrived and established the center ( the bayan ), some of the families moved there and the new barrio was called Bagumbayan (bagong bayan ).

  19. June 2, 2010 at 4:04 am


    I can relate to what you said…

    I beg the readers’ indulgence for this belabored reply, but it’s a good time to record all these blasted facts…

    “the old families of every town lived around the ‘poblacion,’ ‘paglimbunan’.”

    Apalit, Pampanga was different from other Philippine towns that way. In the 1800s, for some reason the rich people of Apalit — the “principalia” and the “ilustrados” — mostly [ but not all ] lived in Barrio Sulipan downstream from the Apalit “poblacion.” The Sioco, Yumul, Mercado, Carlos, Espiritu [ some branches ], Tanjutco [ a branch ], Arnedo, Buencamino [ a branch ], Escaler, and Gonzalez all had their “bahay-na-bato” there. Barrio Sulipan was the “Forbes Park” of Apalit and all the rich people lived there, one villa after the other.

    “they also had the honor of having a ‘santo’ during the Holy Week procession or town fiesta.”

    The town patron of Apalit, the famous “Apung Iru,” San Pedro Apostol, belongs to the Armayan-Espiritu. The patroness of Barrio Sulipan, “Nuestra Senora de Soledad,” belonged to the Sioco, then to the Gonzalez [ Florencia Sioco married Joaquin Gonzalez ], before it was destroyed during the war. The patrons of Barrio Capalangan, “Apung de la Cruz” the Holy Cross [ in honor of the de la Cruz ancestors of the Arnedo ] and “Nuestra Senora de la Paz” [ in honor of Maria de la Paz Sioco viuda de Tanjutco who married Joaquin Arnedo ], Our Lady of Peace, belong to the Arnedo. The “Santo Entierro” of the Good Friday procession belongs to the Arnedo. The “Apung Manalangin” [ “Agony in the Garden” ] during Holy Week belongs to the Escaler. The “Santa Maria Magdalena” during Holy Week belongs to the Gonzalez.

    “the patron saints of their ancestors were enshrined at the main altar.”

    Because the three daughters of Josef Sioco [ o 1786 – + 1864 ] collectively donated the “altar mayor” during the 1880 reconstruction of the Apalit church after the destructive 1863 earthquake, the “altar mayor” is graced by the “Virgen Maria” [ for Maria de la Paz Sioco de Arnedo ] at the top tier, and on the main tier flanking “San Pedro Apostol,” there are “San Sabino [ for Sabina Sioco de Escaler ] and San Florencio [ for Florencia Sioco de Gonzalez ]. In 1964, the badly deteriorated “altar mayor” was demolished and a new one in concrete, strictly following the old design, was singlehandedly donated by Rosario Arnedo de Gonzalez, granddaughter of Maria de la Paz Sioco de Arnedo and daughter-in-law of Florencia Sioco de Gonzalez.

    “their family plots in the ‘cementerio’ were strategically located as well as their ‘lapidas’ inside the parish church.”

    Upon entering the Apalit Catholic Cemetery, which was donated by Florencia Sioco de Gonzalez ca. 1880 [ and further expanded with another donation by her grandson Macario Arnedo Gonzalez a.k.a. Brother Andrew Gonzalez F.S.C. in the 1980s ], the 1910s Gonzalez mausoleum [ renovated in the grand style in the 1950s ] is on the right and the old Arnedo and Espiritu burial ground is on the left.

    The remains of the Espiritu, Arnedo, and Gonzalez progenitors are interred inside the Apalit church in the transept, under the pendentives of the dome. Their resting places are suitable because they led the reconstruction of the church in 1880. The legendary Capitan Joaquin Arnedo, his second wife Maria de la Paz Sioco de Arnedo, and Joaquin’s daughter [ by his first wife Victoria _____ ] Juana Arnedo de Buencamino are beside the altar of the Gospel transept. Opposite them are Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez and his son, Octavio Gonzalez. Capitan Joaquin’s brother Juan Mata Arnedo and his wife Elena Dionisio are beside the altar of the Epistle transept. Opposite them are Pedro Armayan-Espiritu, his third wife Ysabel Dungo, and their young grandsons Joaquin and Pedro Espiritu Arnedo [ the only sons of Maria Espiritu and Governor Macario Arnedo ].

    [ The Escaler progenitors are interred in their mausoleum at the “Cementerio del Norte” North Cemetery in Manila; however, Manuel Escaler’s mother, Prisca Ines Rodriguez de Escaler + 1896, is still interred in the Epistle transept of the Apalit church ].

    “some had monuments of their ancestor around town.”

    There is a statue of my grandfather Augusto Diosdado Sioco Gonzalez in front of the Apalit Municipal Building; he donated the building in 1937 and his aunt Sabina Sioco de Escaler donated the land which she purchased from the Cacnio-Mercado family [ unfortunately the Apalit town authorities painted it black and white making him look like Charlie Chaplin 😛 ]. There is a statue of our granduncle Jose Sioco Escaler in front of the Apalit Public Elementary School. The main artery of Apalit [ not the old Calle Real, which has shrunk to a sidestreet ] is named “Joaquin Gonzalez Avenue” in honor of our great grandfather, one of the first ophthalmologists in the late 1800s and a representative of Pampanga province to the 1898 Malolos Congress.

    Cheers, cabalen!!!

    Toto Gonzalez 😀

  20. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    June 2, 2010 at 3:09 am

    the old families of every town lived around the poblacion, “paglimbunan”.

    they also had the honor of having a “santo” during the Holy Week procession or town fiesta.

    the patron saints of their ancestors were enshrined at the main altar.

    their family plots in the cementerio were strategically located as well as their lapidas inside the parish church.

    some had monuments of their ancestor around town.

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