Conversations about: Felix Eduardo Resurreccion Hidalgo y Padilla, 1855 – 1913, painter

“Hidalgo is all light, color, harmony, feeling, limpidness like the Philippines in her calm moonlit nights, in her serene days with her horizons inviting contemplation…”

Dr. Jose P. Rizal during the toast at the dinner in honor of of the prizewinning artists Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo on 25 June 1884 at the “Cafe Ingles.”


Refinement.  The one characteristic of the paintings of Felix Resurrecion Hidalgo y Padilla.

“The only real “La Banca’!!! ”  Teyet declared smugly as we stood, mesmerized as always during every visit, by the masterpiece in his apartment’s entrance hall.

So it was quite a surprise when we browsed through Teyet’s former BFF “best friend forever” and now archnemesis couturier Pitoy Moreno’s book “Kasalan” [ “Wedding” ] — derided as “Kasalanan” [ “Sin” ] by Teyet — and saw the “La Banca” painting by Hidalgo, another one, this time from the collection of industrialist Manuel Ag*stines and his patrician wife Ros*rito Legarda-Prieto C*ro.

For sure, that was another real “La Banca.”

Another beautiful, relatively accessible Hidalgo painting is “La Inocencia” still in its original Filipino Art Nouveau frame from the collection of Dr. Alejandro Legarda.  It still hangs in the living room of his house.

A real stunner, an epic work, is the mural “The Assassination of Governor Bustamante” in the Leandro and Cecilia Locsin collection.  I first saw it during the Luna-Hidalgo retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila in the late 1980s.  With the painter’s characteristic finesse, it didn’t even look like a violent assassination.  It looked like the Dominican friars were just parading around with banners or something…

Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo y Padilla was born in 1855 to the rich, propertied Padilla family of Binondo, Manila originally from 1700s Lingayen, Pangasinan.  For starters, he was painted at the age of four in 1859 [ or age of six in 1859 if born in 1853;  historians have varied dates  😛 ] with his maternal grandfather Narciso Padilla by the Tondo maestro Antonio Malantic.  Narciso Padilla was a rich lawyer and merchant with several businesses and many commercial real estate properties in Manila and surrounding “arrabales” districts.  Narciso’s daughter, Barbara “Baritay” Padilla de Resurreccion Hidalgo, Felix’s mother, inherited many valuable  properties from him, among them several big warehouses in the Divisoria entrepot in Tondo which lined the Pasig river.  The affluent Padilla family had [ and still has ] a long history distinguished by high professional achievement, wealth, conservatism, and prudence.  The Padilla descendants recall that, with characteristic frugality, their forebears had transferred the “bahay na bato” ancestral house in Lingayen, Pangasinan beam by beam and brick by brick to Calle General Solano in posh San Miguel district, Manila in the late 1800s.  Frugality notwithstanding, the transfer of whole houses “in toto” was not an unusual practice during the Spanish colonial era.


Conversations about: Juan Luna y Novicio, 1857 – 1899, painter

“All that bravura.  So Ilocano, don’t you think?  Must be all that ‘bagnet’ and ‘pakbet’ and ‘inabraaaooo’ during his years in Badoc, Ilocos Norte…”  my friend mused.

Also, “Bagoong and talong make the Ilokano strong.”

One remembers the hullaballoo, the tempest in a teapot, that ensued in the late 1980s when two ladies dressed in “traje de mestiza” allegedly appeared in the upper portion of the magnificent “Spoliarium” painting after restoration work.  The restorer was panned from Forbes Park to Santa Ana to Manila and back again.  Art world wits and wags took turns in identifying the two women, or two men in drag as they also thought:  “Urbana at Feliza!  Paula and Candida!  Madame and Meldy Co!  Cory and Bea!”  and so forth and so on.

Just as the Ilocano temper of Juan’s brother General Antonio Luna became widely known when he slapped Felipe Buencamino Sr. in the face [ and by that practically received his death sentence  😛 ;  General Luna slapping Buencamino Sr. is a lingering story but the circumstances remain unclear;  apparently, General Luna insulted Buencamino Sr.’s deceased son Joaquin Arnedo Buencamino, by calling the young man a coward —  at that time, Joaquin had been recently killed while fighting in the battle of San Fernando, Pampanga. ], the same northern temper of Juan Luna gained permanent notoriety when, in an incredible fit of jealousy, he shot his wife Paz “Chiching” Pardo de Tavera and mother-in-law Juliana Gorricho de Pardo de Tavera in their heads at point blank range in the Pardo de Tavera house in Paris, if we are to believe the firsthand account of Luna’s brother-in-law T.H. Pardo de Tavera.  Several accounts have related that both Paz and Juliana had been shot through the doorknob as they tried to block Luna’s jabs and kicks.  However, the big gaping gunshot wounds in the heads of Paz and Juliana could only have been achieved at point blank range.  What was unnerving was that Juan’s and Paz’s young son “Luling” — who later became the famous architect Andres Luna de San Pedro, who designed and constructed the magnificent Crystal Palace arcade on the Escolta [ a mall ] which led to the decline of the fortunes of the Pardo de Tavera — had witnessed the murders at close range.

Conversations about: Simon Flores y de la Rosa, 1839 – 1904, painter

From around 1850 to 1900, a talented artist was busy painting all those stately portraits of — well, not all, but mostly — ugly and fat, or ugly and thin, rich Pampango dons and donas, senoritos and senoritas, in mostly vertical but also curiously horizontal modes [ “memento mori” ].  When not busy with portrait commissions, he was occupied painting murals in several Pampanga churches like Bacolor and Betis.  His name was Simon Flores y de la Rosa and he was from Paco, Manila and he had married a Pampanguena named Simplicia Tambungui y Pineda from Guagua town [ what an authentic “Queni” surname, you can’t get more Capampangan than that!!! ].

Almost every “bahay na bato” mansion of a “principalia” family in every town of Pampanga had an oil portrait or a painting by Simon Flores.  Predictably, the greatest numbers were in the old, principal towns of Bacolor, Mexico, Guagua, and San Fernando.

There were predictably many Simon Flores portraits and paintings in the capital town of Bacolor.

One of the earliest known works of Simon Flores, dated “20 de Mayo 1862,” painted when he was all of 23 years old,  is the still-extant portrait of Olegario Rodriguez aka “Incung Luga” [ o 1806 – + 1874 ], patriarch of the still-flourishing Rodriguez clan of Bacolor, when the subject was “56 anos.”  Olegario Rodriguez was depicted wearing the European black coat with tails, embroidered “nipis” shirt [ of “pina” or “jusi” fabrics ], and trousers of a “principalia,” seated on a Biedermeier-style armchair, with his arm resting on a grooved marble top table, which 128 years later until the lahar flows of 1991, still stood in the center of the “sala” of his own house.  The portrait is with Rodriguez descendants in Manila.

A noteworthy and famous pair of Simon Flores portraits, the spouses Jose Leon Santos and Ramona Joven y Suarez, both of Bacolor, now hang in the “sala” of the “Museo De La Salle” in Dasmarinas, Cavite, created by their great great grandson Jose Maria Ricardo “Joey” Yaptinchay-Abad Panlilio.  One vividly remembers the comic story of Joey Panlilio, as related by his grandmother Luz Sarmiento de Panlilio, of how her husband Jose “Pepe” [ Joey’s grandfather ], an aristocratic bon vivant who always preferred the very latest in lifestyle fashions, “thoroughly disliked and was frankly embarrassed by those old, outmoded paintings” during the prewar and relegated them to obscure corners in the ancestral home in Bacolor, installing fashionable, framed large photographs and hand-colored “foto-oleos” in their place.

In the Buyson-Angeles ancestral home, the most social residence in Bacolor prelahar, hung a Simon Flores portrait of the distinguished patriarch, Julian Buyson y Cunanan of Baliuag, Bulacan.

The rich, Chinese mestizo-dominated town of Guagua, Pampanga was burned to the ground during the war.  Most of the imposing “bahay na bato” mansions of the town’s richest residents, both the Chinese and the Spanish mestizos — David, Limson, de Mesa, Valenzuela, Velez, Rodriguez-Infante — lining the plaza were destroyed, and with them, what was surely a fine group of portraits and paintings by Simon Flores, for his wife, Simplicia Tambungui y Pineda, was a native of Guagua town.

There were also several Simon Flores portraits and paintings in the town of San Fernando.  For starters, around 1875, three prosperous, landowning and trading Quiason y Cunanan brothers, Cirilo, Lucio, and Pablo, commissioned imposing family portraits from the artist.  The most beautiful and elegant of the three was the one of the Cirilo Quiason family.  Cirilo was painted with his wife Ceferina Henson y David, their second son Aureo, and third son Jose.  It was painted in 1875 and Simon Flores charged 50 pesos a head in gold coins, totaling 200 pesos.  Simon Flores sketched their faces in their home, brought their clothes to his house, and in a month he presented the finished painting to them.  It was in poor condition when it was sold in the early 1980s by the Quiason descendants to Governor Jaime C. Laya on behalf of the Central Bank of the Philippines.  On the other hand, Lucio or Pablo Quiason was depicted with his wife, daughters, and even mother-in-law in a rather cramped composition.  It is now in the Leandro V. Locsin collection and was expertly repaired by the restorers of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  The third Quiason family portrait is believed to be lost or to have been destroyed during the war.

In Porac town, Simon Flores painted the Spanish mestizo patriarch and wife of the rich Gil-Castellvi family [ whose present-day family members are the beautiful actresses and handsome actors Rosemarie Gil, Mark Gil, Michael de Mesa, and Cherie Gil ].  The portraits were lost postwar.  In the “capilla” chapel of the house was Flores’ “La Virgen Maria,” his interpretation of an Italian Madonna.  It was acquired by the architect-collector Luis Ma. Araneta who hung it over his bed;  it was acquired from Araneta in the early 1980s by the ubercollector Paulino Que.

In the town of Mexico were many portraits and paintings by Simon Flores.  I will never forget the Simon Flores portrait of the buck-teethed Saturnino Hizon y David, dressed in a blue and white striped “pina” barong;  I could never get over his buck teeth which could have used the services of a good orthodontist.  He married three times because he was widowed twice:  first to Maria Cuison, then to Adriana Tizon, and finally to Cornelia Sison.  His third wife was also painted by Simon Flores.  The portraits, expensively restored, are now with Hizon descendants in Manila.  Saturnino Hizon y David and his three wives had many children and many descendants.  I remember seeing his very beautiful and exquisitely chased silver “platilla para buya” / “buyera,” marked “S H D ,” in the bedroom of an important Makati collector.

Also in Mexico town, Simon Flores painted a diminutive full-length portrait of the long-haired — as in floor length — Miguela Henson in front of her Isabelina-style dresser.  It is now in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas collection.  I was always amused by the little portrait of Miguela Henson since she looked so much [ almost a carbon copy! ] like my Mommy’s good friend, Tita Belen Henson-Lazatin Garcia-Diokno [ a pioneering Filipina psychiatrist ], who, somewhere along the way, must be a relative of  Miguela Henson through the Hizon-Henson-Lazatin line of Mexico town.

In the town of Santa Ana, Simon Flores painted the pretty Andrea Dayrit.  Her portrait hung in the 1840s Dizon house, famous in its time for its late Neoclassical and English Regency architectural details.

In Arayat town, Simon Flores painted the Spanish mestizo hacendero Jose Berenguer y Flores and his wife Simona “Munit” Linares y Reyes;  they are with Berenguer descendants in Manila.  He also painted the Spanish mestizo hacendero Lino Cardenas Reyes of Arayat and his wife Raymunda Soriano of Malabon.  “Capitan Lino” and “Capitana Munda” Reyes were famous in their time during the 1880s – 90s for their “fiestas” — elegant meals [ “desayuno,” “almuerzo,” “cena” ], “bailes,” and gambling — which lasted for weeks on end where the Spanish mestizo elite of Pampanga and Manila were invited [ remnants of their affluent life like Limoges china, Baccarat crystal, and silver “paliteras” toothpick trees in the form of birds amidst shrubs are still with Reyes descendants in San Francisco, USA ].  The Simon Flores portraits were destroyed when the Reyes-Soriano house in the poblacion burned down in the great fire that devastated Arayat in 1928, when all of the “bahay na bato” mansions lining its “Calle Real” were turned to ashes.

Adjacent to Arayat, in Candaba town, Simon Flores painted two doyennes of the “principalia” landowning class:  the severe-looking Severina Ocampo de Arroyo and the corpulent Quintina Castor de Sadie, nicknamed “Fat Woman from Candaba.”  They were in the collection of technocrat banker Manuel “Manoling” Martinez Dizon but he sold them to the Central Bank in the early 1980s because he wanted to concentrate on contemporary Filipino art.

In the southernmost town of Apalit, in the affluent barrio of Sulipan,  Simon Flores executed several portrait commissions from the richest families in that town.  In the Escaler-Sioco house, there was a pair of portraits of Matea Rodriguez y Tuason wearing a black “traje de mestiza” with considerable jewelry and her second husband Juan Arnedo Cruz y Tanjutco wearing a silver encrusted “salakot.”  There was a portrait of her elder daughter Sabina Sioco y Rodriguez [ 1858 – 1950 ] as a young lady wearing a “traje de mestiza.”  The three portraits disappeared in the early 1970s and presumed stolen and sold;  they were supposedly brought to the Escaler hacienda in Barrio Cansinala, Apalit  but they disappeared while in transit.  There was also a portrait of the Sioco progenitor Josef Sioco aka “Joseng Daga” [ 1786 – 1864;  father of Maria de la Paz Sioco y Carlos de Arnedo, Sabina Sioco y Rodriguez de Escaler, and Florencia Sioco y Rodriguez de Gonzalez who spawned the 3 richest families of Apalit in the 1800s ] in his 40s by an early painter, thought to be by Severino Flavier Pablo of Manila;  it is with Gonzalez descendants in Manila.  In the Arnedo-Sioco house, Flores painted the two daughters Maria Ignacia “Titay” [ 1872 – 1964 ] and Ines [ 1876 – 1954 ] as children wearing “traje de mestiza” in the 1880s.  It disappeared in the mid-1960s and presumed stolen and sold.  In the Gonzalez-Sioco house, there was a portrait of the matriarch Florencia Sioco y Rodriguez [ 1860 – 1925 ] as a young lady wearing a “traje de mestiza.”  The portrait was destroyed when the house was bombed by the Americans on 01 January 1942.

Conversations about: Justiniano Asuncion y Molo aka “Capitan Ting”, 1816 – 1901, painter

During one of those madly delightful and delightfully mad evenings high up on Ayala Avenue…

“See, even the ladies are happy to see you!!!”  Teyet declared as we walked through his “bibliothek” with its antique leatherbound books, ivory “santo” hands for wall sconces, and oil portraits of society doyennes plastered on the ceiling.  Finally, we had come upon the celebrated portrait of the beautiful Filomena Asuncion de Villafranca, painted by her uncle Justiniano Asuncion y Molo, sometime from the 1850s-60s, which conventionally hung on the wall just before his bedroom door.

In a gesture of overexcitement, “Filomena Asuncion de Villafranca” jumped off the wall and crashed to the floor.  Oh-my-God.  Jo Panlilio and I gasped in distress.

“See, even Filomena is excited to see you!!!”  Teyet declared.

Ever nonchalant, Teyet casually picked up the celebrated masterpiece, banged it on the wall before hanging it, and told “Filomena”:  “Behave!!!”

Some of the most beautiful and alluring mementos of 19th century Manila came from the hand of maestro Justiniano Asuncion.  The surviving oil portraits of the Asuncion ladies Romana Asuncion de Carillo, Filomena Asuncion de Villafranca, and of the Paterno ladies Carmen “Carminda” Devera Ignacio y Pineda, Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda, Agueda “Guiday” Paterno y Devera Ignacio, and Dolores “Doleng” Paterno y Devera Ignacio all speak of a long-gone Manila of affluence, grace, refinement, and elegance which in actuality coexisted with the greater truths of poverty, squalor, struggle, and desperation of the late Spanish colonial period.

While it was only natural that maestro Justiniano Asuncion painted the female members of his family, other portrait commissions came by way of extended family, as in the case of the several (Paterno) portraits commissioned by his maternal first cousin, Capitan Maximino Molo Agustin Paterno.  Justiniano’s mother, Maria de la Paz Molo, was a daughter of Ming Mong Lo, the progenitor of the rich and prominent Paterno and Asuncion families of Binondo and Santa Cruz.  The latter’s son and Maria de la Paz’s brother, Paterno Molo de San Agustin, married Miguela Yamson y de la Cruz.  Paterno Molo de San Agustin became a very successful entrepreneur and he laid the business foundations of the Paterno fortune.  One of their sons was the exceedingly Hispanized Maximino, who became “capitan” of barrio Santa Cruz and nearby barrio San Sebastian.  Maximino adopted the compound surname Molo Agustin Paterno and was followed by his siblings.  He had the fate of marrying three times and burying all his wives, all of whom were related by blood and belonged to prominent jewelry manufacturing and trading families of barrio Santa Cruz, Manila.  Capitan Maximino Molo Agustin Paterno y Yamson first married Valeria Pineda, then her paternal first cousin Carmen “Carminda” Devera Ignacio y Pineda, and last, Carmen’s younger sister Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda.  Teodora passed away in 1895, Maximino followed 5 years later in 1900.

Justiniano Asuncion y Molo aka “Capitan Ting” passed away at 85 years in 1901 at the home of his son Zacarias Asuncion in Bulan town, Sorsogon.

[ Acknowledgments:  Santiago “Jack” Albano Pilar;  Jun Asuncion { descendant of Justiniano Asuncion };  Sonny Rayos { descendant of Leoncio Asuncion };  the estate of Adela Paterno y Devera Ignacio;  the estate of Teodora Devera Ignacio y Pineda. ]

The Families of Old Binondo, Manila

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!!!   😛   😛   😛


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