After the death of my very dear friend Ted Gumila Villarimo, former Tourism Commissioner of Argao, the people I could count on the most, aside from my Lucero relatives, were the Kintanars, particularly the family of Tito Jun and Tita Lee Kintanar and two of their children, Karla Kintanar Fernandez (married to basketball legend Mon Fernandez) and columnist Han Kintanar. Growing up I always thought that the Luceros and the Kintanars were perpetual rivals; true, in many electoral contests we had our fair share of rivalry with this popular family, but after Ted's death I could only think of them as nothing but the dearest and nicest of people.
It shouldn't have surprised me that I have many cousins whose surname or middle name is Kintanar. There are many Lucero Kintanar and Kintanar Lucero families in Argao and Cebu City. Three to five intermarriages are common, especially in a small town where there are less than a thousand families. However, a careful look at the Lucero and the Kintanar family trees reveals an anomaly: that of more than 15 intermarriages between the two families.
As stated earlier, there has always been a rivalry between the two families. Although both families have documented family trees as early as the 1700s, it was only in the late 1880s when the first marriage between the two families occured. This was between Don Antonio Quintanar and Dona Casimira Lucero. A few years later Casimira's first cousin, Dona Fernanda Lucero, married Antonio's nephew, Don Rufo Quintanar. From then on the family continued to marry into each other's family from time to time:
- Don Leon Kintanar married Julia Villar after she lost her first husband, Leandro Lucero.
- Leandro's son, Carlos Lucero, married Candida Kintanar, daughter of Don Leon by his first wife Basilia Villacorte.
- Claro Cagigas married Marcelina Lucero.
- Agustin Kintanar married Pureza Lucero.
- Lourdes Kintanar married Pio Mariano Lucero.
- Guillermo Kintanar Campaner married Teopista Lucero.
- Jesus Lucero Kintanar married Rose Lucero.
- Nestoria Geverola (a Kintanar) married Valerio Saniel (a Lucero).
- Montana Cagigas (a Kintanar) married Bienvenido Saniel, Jr. (a Lucero)
- Simeon Lucero Kintanar married Socorro Villafuerte (a Lucero).
- Vicenta Amatong (a Kintanar) married Jesus Galeos (a Lucero).
- Wilfredo Fuentes (a Kintanar) married Cristina Lucero.
- Ethelbert Kintanar married Milagros Lucero.
- Paterno Kintanar, Jr. married Judy Matarlo (a Lucero).
The latest Lucero Kintanar marriage was between Clark Cagigas and Johnna Kuh Quintana. This is also the most unique of all the Lucero-Kintanar marriages. Clark's grandfather was Claro Kintanar Cagigas, who was married to a Lucero (not Clark's grandmother, though). Johnna's grandfather is Simeon Kintanar, himself a half Lucero. Johnna's grandmother, Socorro Villafuerte, is a Lucero from two lines of descent. This makes their family a product of two Kintanar lines and three Lucero lines.
Although there are clear signs of political marriages in the earlier unions, when learning the stories of these marriages one can glimpse very amazing acts of love and kindness. For instance, when Leandro Lucero died suddenly at a young age, leaving a wife and three children, his very good friend and fellow cabeza de barangay, Don Leon Kintanar, himself a widower, married Leandro's widow Julia. He took care of her young children and raised them as his own. In another case, Teopista Lucero, who was the daughter of a priest, carried this "sinful" stigma with her. Guillermo K. Campaner stepped into the role of prince charming and married her despite her priestly roots.
I take comfort in the fact that though these two prominent families in Argao may sometimes be at odds in politics, in the end the generations of friendship and love have remained. I am proud to say that I, too, share in the intricate and colorful interconnectedness of the Lucero and Kintanar families.