“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.

The Families of Old Bicol

[ I wonder if I can get dear ol’ Sonny Tinio — Filipiniana scholar par excellence Manuel Imperial Tinio Jr. — to help me with this… ]






According to the patrician historian Martin Imperial Tinio, Jr.:

“The Imperial oral tradition says that the family is descended from 2 brothers shipwrecked in the San Bernardino Strait in the early 17th century and landed in Manito. The story is probably true a most of the land in that town belongs to the Imperials. They eventually moved down to Daraga, Albay and one is said to have migrated to Baao in Camarines Sur. Luis Dato, a UP historian said that he saw a baptismal record of an Imperial in Baao Church dated 1635. When I was going to work on the Imperial Family Tree in the 1990s, the church records were no longer available as the whole church had been burned. The present records we have of the Legazpi Imperials date from the 1790s, same as that of those in Naga. I’m still working on trying to connect all the Imperials in the country, including the ones in Ilocos and Aklan. I have already connected the ones in Batanes, who were originally from Naga. Incidentally, the Imperials in all the provinces were already cabezas in the late 1700s. My great-great-grandfather, Don Sinforozo Imperial became Gobernadorcillo of Daraga in 1850 and Gobernadorcillo of Legazpi in 1852. All his sons became officials of Legazpi and Albay towns in the late 19th century, while his daughter, Theodora, married Gen. Ludovico Arejola, the commander of the revolutionary forces in Camarines Sur.”

JAUCIAN.  The Jaucian family were originally from Jaro, Iloilo.  They transferred residence to Bicol because of their increasing involvement in the “abaca” hemp export business.

According to Martin I. Tinio, Jr.:

“The Jaucian Family is descended from Domingo Jaucian a sangley cristiano who was baptized in Molo in 1801, the same year that Domingo Consing, progenitor of the Consing Family of Molo was baptized. The parish priest at that time was an Araneta, said to be the progenitor of the Araneta clan.

Domingo’s presumed grandson, Mariano,(I still haven’t really determined the connection as I haven’t completed my research of the Molo baptismal records) migrated to Daraga, Albay and married a Bicolana. Accompanying him were his cousins and in-laws who founded the Anson, Locsin and Yulo families of Albay. These families intermarried among themselves for almost a century, just as they did in Iloilo. Mariano’s grandson, Cirilo, became the richest man in Bicol at the turn-of-the-century and was called ‘The Abaca King’ of Bicol. He was the first Capitan Municipal of Guinobatan in 1894, when the title of Gobernadorcillo was changed to that upon the promulgation of the Maura Decree of 1893. In the confidential report to the Alalde Mayor or Provincial Governor of the parish priest regarding the qualifications of the candidates for the election of gobernadorcillo in the late 1880s, the current parish priest stated that Balbino Jaucian, youngest brother of Cirilo, was the richest man in Daraga. He served as gobernadorcillo for 2 terms and refused to serve another. Andres, another brother who migrated to Libmanan, Camarines Sur, also became the biggest landowner and the richest man in that town, the largest in the proince after Naga. He also became Capitan of Libmanan. The Jaucian family was the biggest landowning family in Albay and was considered the richest in Bicol until the mid-20th century.”



Acknowledgments:  Filipiniana scholar nonpareil Martin Imperial Tinio Jr.;  former Press Secretary during the Ramos and the Estrada administrations Rodolfo “Rod” T. Reyes.

The Families of Old Sariaya, Tayabas [ now Quezon ]

[ I wonder if I can get the Gala-Eleazar sisters — Tita Baby Eleazar Gala-de Villa, Tita Lilia Eleazar Gala-Grino, Tita Leonie Eleazar Gala-Gonzalez — and the Gala cousins of my cousins — Ave Reynoso Gala-Blanco, Vina Gala Alava-Pelaez, Maritess Gala Alava-Yong, Itchay Gala Alava-Cuenca, Meng de Villa Gala-Perdices, et. al.  — to help me with this… ]

ALCALA.  The Alcala were the original, “principalia” family of Sariaya town.  It was from them that the other rich families of the town radiated.

Teresa Alcala de Gala.

Vanity of vanities:  When Teresa Alcala de Gala passed away in prewar, she left strict instructions that her coffin should be placed above a high funeral bier, much higher in fact than royal catafalques, just so her peasant workers and mourners could not “look down” at her in the coffin.  [ One has to see the extant photographs to believe the sight! ]


Moises Gala y Alcala.

Avelina Eleazar y Ordoveza, de Gala.


Margarita Rodriguez.


ARGUELLES.  The Arguelles were originally from San Juan, Batangas, which was only separated from Sariaya, Tayabas by the river.  The Arguelles were initially “hacenderos” who made a second huge fortune off their gold mines in nearby Mindoro island.

Amparo Arguelles y Ochoa, de Villa.

DE VILLA.  Like the Arguelles, the de Villa were also originally from San Juan, Batangas.

Jovencio de Villa.

Amparo Arguelles y Ochoa, de Villa.

Braulio Arguelles de Villa.

Amparito Gala de Villa – Lopez-Puckett.

Reina de Villa Lopez-Puckett – Tan.

Audrey de Villa Lopez-Puckett – Chiu.

The Families of Old Ilocos Norte


Julio Agcaoili was born in Piddig, Ilocos Norte on 12 April 1855. His parents were Vicente Agcaoili and Jacoba Ventura.  He married Ruperta Pichay of Magsingal, Ilocos Sur.

They had ten children:  Pascual [ municipal treasurer;  writer and composer of Ilocano zarzuelas and dramas ], Francisco [ US-trained chemical engineer ], Romarico [ US-trained civil engineer ], Julia [ Manila Carnival Queen of 1909;  Mrs. Jose Martinez ], Pilar [ Ilocos Norte Carnival Queen;  Mrs. Liborio Albano ], Trinidad [ Mrs. _____ _____ ], Angela [ Mrs. { Gen. } Fidel Segundo ], Vicente [ US-trained engineer, music professor, and violinist ], Antonio [ surgeon, founder of San Antonio hospital in Laoag ], and Violeta [ Mrs. { Col. } Amado Martelino ].  The five men were all accomplished professionals;  the five ladies were accomplished in their own right and all married successful career men.

They were among the early “ilustrados” of Ilocos Norte.














VALDEZ [ with a Z, not an S ].

VER.  According to knowledgeable Ver descendants, aside from their obvious Spanish antecedents, the Ver clan actually has Dutch origins:  Ver as in Vermeer, Vermeulen…

Jose Quevedo Ver married Adela Rizal Hidalgo [ daughter of Saturnina Rizal de Hidalgo, sister of national hero Jose Rizal ] and they had three daughters:  Emma Ver married Ramon Reyes;  Purisima Ver married Nestor Villaroman;  and Aurora Ver married Felix Gonzalez.

Elena Ver [ a first cousin of Jose Quevedo Ver ], was the mother of General Fabian C. Ver.


Acknowledgment:  Joanne Ranada, Ipe Nazareno, et. al..

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