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


  1. Our connection with the Osmena family.

  2. Please notice one of my maternal grandmother's sister named Juanita, married Gov. Arsenio Climaco.

  3. Hilarion Abellana has Indian heritage with roots in Kerala, same with ex-Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohammad