Saturday, October 19, 2019

Cebuano Governors and their Connections

Based on the 2018 financial report of the Commission on Audit (COA) covering all 81 provinces in the Philippines, Cebu has once again been named the richest province in the country, with over PhP35 million worth of total assets. This recent accolade for the province, coupled with the recent research I have done on the Hispanic ancestry of Governor Gwen Garcia, has led me to once more take on the challenge of connecting all Governors of Cebu.

Counting from the time of US colonization, Cebu has already had 27 governors, although two of these, Governor Osmundo Rama and Governor Gwendolyn Fiel Garcia, have served twice, so technically there just have been 25 unique governors in Cebu.

While some local historians have insisted that General Arcadio Maxilom and / or Luis Flores are considered as the first governors of the province, the provincial government itself and most Cebu academics have yet to agree with this. Until such time that we accept this notion, Don Julio A. Llorente remains the official first governor of Cebu.

This write-up bears the same goal as that of RP Politics: Still A Family Affair, where I successfully connected all Philippine Presidents and other political and social personalities. So, like a microcosm of Philippine society, the genealogies of Cebu’s governors reflect the amalgamation of races that is descriptive of the Filipino genetic makeup. Majority of the province’s governors are mainstream Filipinos. That is, they are those whose ancestors are described as indios in Spanish-era records. But there are a few with other racial classification.

Julio Llorente, Buenaventura Rodriguez, Pablo Garcia, and Gwendolyn Garcia have proven peninsulares Spanish antecedents, while Vicente dela Serna is of mestizo Spanish stock. Juan Climaco, Arsenio Climaco, Sergio Osmeña, Sergio Osmeña, Jr., and Emilio Osmeña, Jr. have mestizo Chinese ancestry. All the rest are racially classified as Filipino.

While all governors of the province have at least 3 generations of genealogy available, not all have extensive family histories available for now. Among the more recent governors, Hilario P. Davide III can trace his family tree seven generations up, while Pablo and Gwendolyn Garcia's Spanish lineage goes back 11 and 12 generations, respectively, to Ciudad Real, Spain. Her earliest traceable ancestor, Francisco Garcia, lived sometime in the 1550s. Some, like Hilario Abellana, can be traced only to his parents. 

An interesting aspect of Cebuano politics is the inter-relatedness of several governors. We have the father-daughter tandem of Pablo and Gwendolyn Garcia and the father and son tandem of Mariano Jesus Cuenco and Manuel A. Cuenco. Then we have the uncle-nephew Juan and Arsenio Climaco. There is also the father-son / grandfather - grandson situation of and Sergio Osmeña Sr. and Jr. and Sergio Sr.'s grandson Emilio "Lito" Osmeña, Jr.

Aside from these blood relationships, there are also other connections among the governors of Cebu.  There are at least 2 major gateway families in the genealogies of the governors of Cebu; that is, families that allow us to connect various lines to one another. The first is the Chiong-Veloso family, to which many governors can be connected. One of the daughters of Don Nicasio Chiong Veloso, Estefania, married Governor (and later President) Don Sergio Suico Osmeña. Their son was Governor (and later Senator) Sergio Osmeña, Jr. and their grandson was Governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeña, Jr. A sister of Estefania, Tomasa, married Senator Pedro Rodriguez whose nephew was Governor Buenaventura Rodriguez. Another sibling of Estefania was Januario Chiong Veloso. He went on to marry Encarnacion Garcia whose brother, Antonio, is the grandfather and great-grandfather of Governor Pablo Garcia and Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia, respectively. One other daughter of Nicasio, Hermenegilda, was the mother of Lourdes Velez, wife of Governor Jose Leyson.

The second gateway family is the Veloso family. This was that produced the line of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the same family whose one member, Don Mariano Veloso, stood as godfather to Don Nicasio Chiong and which turned Nicasio's last name to Chiong Veloso. This same Mariano Veloso's granddaughter, Gliceria, married Valeriano Climaco whose son was Governor Arsenio Climaco. Valeriano's brother was Governor Juan F. Climaco. Gliseria's third cousin, Tarcela Veloso Gandiongco, was the mother of Governor (and later Senator) Rene Espina.  Another descendant of Mariano Veloso, his 2X-great-granddaughter Beatriz Duterte, married Ramon Durano whose sister Elisea married Josefino Almendras whose wife was Rosita Dimataga. Rosita's mother, Leoncia dela Serna, was the sister of Candido dela Serna, the grandfather of Governor Vicente dela Serna. A first cousin of Beatriz Duterte, Ramon Duterte Diores, had a son, Luis, who married Vicenta Cueva Fernan whose first cousin twice removed, Wenceslao Lepiten Fernan, married Margarita Ancajas Briones whose first cousin once removed was Jose L. Briones. Jose Briones's father, Manuel C. Briones, was the second cousin of Governors Sotero and Fructuoso Barte Cabahug. Another great-granddaughter of Mariano Veloso was Milagros Veloso who married Governor Manuel A. Cuenco, son of Governor Mariano Jesus D. Cuenco.

The Osmeña connection with the Climacos opens up the tree to some minor gateway families. Governor Arsenio's marriage to Januaria Cabrera Osmeña gives us our "Argawanon" gateway. A first cousin of Januaria was Pedro Lucero whose great-grandson, Dr. Procopio Lucero, Jr., married Gliseria Gullas, sister of Governor Eduardo Gullas. Another first cousin of Januaria Osmeña was Juana L. Villanueva whose husband, Salvador Aballe, was the brother of Martina Aballe, mother of Cebu's first governor, Julio A. Llorente. A first cousin of Martina was Francisco Aballe whose wife's own first cousin, Juliana Vismanos, was the grandmother of Governor Francisco Famor Remotigue. Still another first cousin of Januaria, Jose Lucero, married Ambrosia Bayot. Ambrosia's sister, Lutgarda Bayot, is the 3X-great-grandmother of Governor Hilario P. Davide III. Ambrosia's own great-grea-granddaughter, Fely Lucero, married Alexander Sales, whose grandmother, Carmen Legaspi, had a child with Julio Jakosalem, a brother of Governor Dionisio Jakosalem. Sergio's father, Don Antonio Sanson, was the son of Jose Maria Sanson whose first cousin, Valeriano Sanson y Rodis, "married" Cenona Rama, the mother of Senator Vicente Rama whose own son was Governor Osmundo Rama.

For now, I have only connected 22 of Cebu's 25 Governors. Perhaps there are researchers who can help expand this tree to include Governors Jose Delgado, Hilario Abellana, and Manuel Roa.


  1. Parish Records of Argao, Cebu
  2. Parish Records of Bogo, Cebu 
  3. Parish Records of Carmen, Cebu
  4. Parish Records of Dumanjug, Cebu
  5. Michael Cullinane. "The Myth of the Portuguese Ancestor: The Veloso Family of 19th Century Cebu", PCQS Vol. 43, Number 3-4. Cebu City: USC Press, 2015.
  6. Michael Cullinane. "A Chinese Life in Late Spanish Era Cebu City: Nicasio Veloso Chiong Tuico, 1838-1903", PCQS Vol. 43, Number 3-4. Cebu City: USC Press, 2015.
  7. Concepcion G. Briones. Life in Old Parian. Cebu City: USC Press, 1983.
  8. Victoriano D. Diamonon. "A study of the Philippine government during the Spanish regime." MA (Master of Arts) thesis, State University of Iowa, 1919.
  9. The Cabahug Family Tree of Mandaue, Cebu
  10. The Dela Serna Family Tree of Opon, Cebu (Private copy)
  11. The Fernan-Pedroza Family Tree
  12. The Sanson Family Tree courtesy of my prima, Gavin Sanson Bagares.
  13. Various Newspaper articles from Sunstar Cebu and The Freeman

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Are You a Lakandula Descendant?

It has become a badge of pride for Cebuano and Bol-anon families to claim descent from Lapu-Lapu, Tupas, or any of the other Visayan rulers who fought the Spaniards. The same is true for those in Luzon whose pride it is to be known to be descendants of the pre-Hispanic noble and royal families of Central Luzon.

Because his descendants outnumber any other prominent pre-Hispanic family in Luzon and many of the names in his tree have become distinguished men and women in history (with some become infamous), descent from the pre-Hispanic royal families of Central Luzon has become almost synonymous to being a Lakandula descendant. Even the record keeping of the Spaniards lumped all royally-descended families into a file called Descendientes de Don Carlos Lacandola and when there was a need to put them all into one barangay in pueblos where descendants of pre-Hispanic royal families were found, this barangay was called the Gremio de Lacandolas

It thus stands to reason that in many documents, a "Lakandula descendant" is not necessarily a direct descendant of the famous ruler of Tondo, but rather an indication of descent from the other royal personalities like Rajahs Matanda and Soliman or any of the names mentioned in the Rulers of Central Luzon family tree. In the same manner, while the title of this article is "Are You A Lakandula Descendant", the Lakandula descendant here will mean all other pre-Hispanic royalty descendants.

This article is simply an introduction to the 4 main qualifications for being a Lakandula descendant. Separate future articles will be released for each qualification.

First Qualification: The Surname

Many families today claim a tenuous link to pre-Hispanic royalty just because of the surname they carry. This is the easiest way to claim descent from Lakandula, just because their surname is the same as one of the acknowledged "royal" or "noble" surnames.

So which surnames are these? First, we look at the most obvious list of surnames: the Claveria decree of 1849. The decree mentioned 4 very specific last names that should not be adopted by people without any business using these surnames: Lacandola, Mojica, Tupas, and Rajah Matanda. The reason given for the special protection for these surnames is, as the decree stated, to "avoid confusion which might result to the prejudice of those who with their surnames inherited from His Majesty certain benefits".

The portion in the Catalogo listing Lacandola etc.
Lacandola and Rajah Matanda of course refer to our kings of Tondo and Manila. Mojica, on the other hand, refers to the "patrician house of Don Pedro de Mojica (also spelled Moxica) of Silang, Cavite. In 1677, Don Pedro and "his wife, children and descendants" were exempted by the Spanish crown from "tributes, forced labor (polo) and personal services of the general and particular kind.” To be sure, besides the descendants of Lakan Dula, the Mojicas of Cavite were the only indio clan which was able to maintain and preserve its special prerogatives till the end of the Spanish era. In fact, its vested rights surpassed those of the Lakandulas for they applied to both the male and female lines of descent whereas those of the Lakandulas were limited to the male line. Not even the proud progenies of Rajahs Matanda, Soliman, and Tupas were able to keep up a similar entitlement (Santiago, 1992).”

It is thus a safe assumption that people who carry the surname Lacandola, Raja Matanda (or simply Matanda), and let us add Soliman, are most likely descendants of the Lacandolas. Most likely, but it cannot be definitive for several reasons, chief among these is the fact that while these were "protected surnames" the compilers of the catalogo alfabetico de apellidos or the alphabetical catalog of last names still included these supposed protected surnames. The surnames Lacandola, Mojica, and Tupas are found on pages 71, 87, and 132 of the Catalogo, respectively, while Matanda appears to be not found in the catalog.

The next list of Lacandola surnames comes from the disputed will of Fernando Malang Balagtas. These are: GATBONTON, MONMON, GATCHALIAN, GATMAITAN, MACARALAGA, GATMAITIM, MANDIC, GATDULA, and DUMANDANKapampangan historian Mariano Henson further said that “Kapampangans and Tagalogs with the surnames MUSNGI, DUMANDAN, LUMANLAN, MADLANGBAYAN, SALALILA, GATBONTON, GATMAITAN, GATDULA, CAPULONG, SOLIMAN, LAKANDULA, and MACAPAGAL  are descendants of Pansonum, who was christened Francisco Malang Balagtas and a direct descendant of the Madjapahit rulers of Luzon (Henson, 1955).

Two other surnames, TALANGPAZ and PAMINTUAN, are also considered ancient and most enduring Tagalog surnames and are believed to be descendants of pre-Hispanic Central Luzon roaylty (Santiago, 1989). 

It is the belief of many that these names or portions of these names in modern Filipino surnames are true indication of descent from ancient Filipino blue-bloods. Unfortunately, just like Lacandola, Soliman, Tupas, and Matanda, carrying any one of these names isn't an immediate proof of being a descendant of Filipino nobility. The Claveria catalogo shows that these surnames were also found in the list: Macapagal (page 79), Magat (page 80), Salamat and Salonga (page 115), Dula (page 41), and the "Gat" names all found in page 54 of the Catalogo. As such, having Dula or Gatdula or Macapagal as a last name does not mean these people's ancestors did not simply pluck these names from the Catalogo. Mere stories of descent cannot prove validity of the claim.

Second Qualification: Empadronado in the Gremio de Lacandolas

The second list of names who are most likely descended from the Lacandolas are those whose names appear in the Gremio or Barangay de Lacandolas. The so-called gremio de Lacandolas was an administrative grouping of proven Lakandula descendants to simplify the administration of the Spaniards of the privileges received by the Lakandulas. This was established after 1758 when the Audiencia declared that only the descendants of Maestre de Campo Don Juan Macapagal and his brothers were to enjoy the benefits of the privilege given to their ancestors.

Very few pueblos had a large number of Lacandolas, so most of the names are those found in San Simon, Arayat, Apalit, San Luis, and Candaba. These surnames were SIMBULAN, PAGUIO, CAPULONG, PUNZALAN, ALFARO, MASIBAC, LALU, PUYAT, MACAPAGAL, UMALI, AGUIRRE, MATIC, TABORA, QUINTO, BUCIS, TIGLAO, CANLAS, GUEVARRA, PANGAN, TAYAG, SALONGA, and LUBAO. 

Third Qualification: Listed in the Reservados por Privelegio de Lacandolas

Other than the gremio or barangay de Lacandolas, we can also find other sources of Lakandula's descendants through the various lists of reservados in towns in Central Luzon. The Reservados was an accounting of individuals in every pueblo who were exempted from doing polo y servicio and from paying tribute. In most towns these were normally three: reservados por edad (exempted due to old age), reservados por enfermedad (exempted due to infirmity), and reservados por privilegio (exempted due to privilege, usually because the individual was a local functionary and their wife). In other towns, there were also exemptions given to primogenito or the eldest sons of cabezas de barangay; to mestizos espanioles; to church workers like cantors, sacristanes, and porteros; and soldiers, retired soldiers, and their spouses. But for a few towns in Central Luzon, they also an additional reservado called reservados por Lacandolas or reservados por merced de Lacandolas. On a rough estimate using existing records on these exempted individuals, it can be seen from the chart on the left that a bulk of the descendants of Lakandula could be found in the pueblos of Apalit and San Simon, both in Pampanga. There were also a few found in Macabebe and Mexico and a smattering few in other towns, most in Pampanga but also in others outside the province of Pampanga like Tarlac, Calumpit, and Cabanatuan. Many of the names found here like BUNDOC, TIGLAO, PUYAT, VERGARA, PAGUIO, DANGCA, PANIMOG, GALCINA, CAPULONG, YUMUL, YUMBA, LACANDOLA, BINUYA, BAYANI, MANALO, NOCOM, MANANGQUIL, BACANI, PINILI, LAPIRA, ANINAGAN, PAYQUITAN, DE QUIROS, BALAGTAS, DE LEON, LOZANO, DE TORRES, PANGAN, MACAPAGAL, MALDONADO, MANGUNAY, TUMOL, GUEVARRA,MUTYA, BATAC, CORTES, LOBO, CUYUGAN, SOLITAN, PUNSALANG, and RUEDA.

A sampling of Reservados por Lacandolas
Fourth Qualification: Other Archival Documents

The last way to find out if one's family is a Lacandola descendant is through consultation of other archival document other than those mentioned above. One very sure way is going through the Descendientes de Don Carlos Lacandola which is a treasure-trove of Lakandula descendants.

Other samples of relevant documents that can be found in the Archivo General de Indias include the documents entitled Carta de José Joaquín MerinoCarta de Pedro Calderón EnríquezPetición de Juan Macapagal para que se le conceda encomienda, and Pleito promovido contra los Herederos de Lakandola.

The last document, which translates as Record of Case Filed Against the Heirs of Lacandola, show a sprinkling of names of Lacandolas from various towns in Bulacan:

Summing Up Everything

It is not enough that one finds one's last name listed among those mentioned above. For all you know, your Salonga or Lacandula surname was adopted only in 1849 in accordance with Claveria's decree. So the first thing one must do is to establish the origin of one's "Lakandula" family name. Roots to Pampanga, Bulacan, and nearby Central Luzon towns would give someone an 80-90% chances of being a Lakandula descendant.

But the most important step to take is to stitch everything together by making sure that one's possible Lakandula descent can be traced to any of the names mentioned in the gremio de Lacandolas or reservados por Lacandolas list. Only when one can trace one's family to these individuals using church and state records can one truly say that one is a Lakandula descendant.

The journey to discovering if one is a Lakandula descendant will be long and difficult, but it would be a great feeling when one is able to do so. 

  1. National Archives of the Philippines. Tributos (Bulacan), 1849-1874.
  2. National Archives of the Philippines. Tributos (Pampanga), 1792-1873.
  3. Indiferente General (1667, February 6). Meritos: Juan Macapagal. INDIFERENTE (121,N.81). Archivo General de Indias, Spain.
  4. Audiencia de Filipinas (1667, March 7). Petición de Juan Macapagal para que se le conceda encomienda. Filipinas (43,N.27). Archivo General de Indias, Spain.
  5. Audiencia de Filipinas (1751, August 30). Orden sobre reservas de los régulos Lacandola y Rajasolimán. Filipinas (335,L.16,F.176R-178V). Archivo General de Indias, Spain.
  6. Ministerio de Ultramar (1185 / 1892). P. Mallari pide heredar privilegios del régulo C. Lacandola. ULTRAMAR (5282, Exp.9). Archivo Histórico Nacional, Spain.
  7. Mariano A. Henson. "Genealogy of the Rulers of Central Luzon as Related in the Will of Fernando Malang Balagtas." The Province of Pampanga and Its Towns (A.D. 1300-1955), 163-168. Manila: Villanueva Book Store, 1955.
  8. Luciano P.R. Santiago. "The Houses of Lakandula, Matanda, and Soliman (1571-1898): Genealogy and Group Identity." Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, Volume 18, No. 1, 39-73. Cebu City: USC Press, 1990.
  9. Luciano P.R. Santiago. "The Lineage of Mojica : the Super-Principalia of Cavite, 1677-1898." Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, Volume 20, No. 2. Cebu City: USC Press, 1992.
  10. Luciano P.R. Santiago. "Talangpaz: The Foundresses of the Beaterio De San Sebastian De Calumpang (Now the Congregation of the Augustinian Recollect Sisters) 1691-1732." Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, Volume 17, No. 3. Cebu City: USC Press, 1989.
  11. Domingo Abella. Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos. Manila: Government Printing Office, 1973.
  12. Historical Conservation Society. The Christianization of the Philippines. Manila: M. Sanchez, 1965.