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.


  1. Thank you for writing this. This will be helpful for those who are digging their roots.
    I am a descendant of Doña Basilia Gatchalian from the House of Gat Chalian/Silayan.
    We have little knowledge about other descendants of Gat Chalian. We hope that we could still find them.

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  3. Wow. I didn't know there's research on this. Kudos!

  4. Macapagal (rare variant: Makapagal; Tagalog: [makapaˈɡal]) is a Filipino surname derived from the Kapampangan language.

    The family claims noble descent from Dola de Goiti Dula, a legitimate grandchild of Lakan Dula, the last "王" or King of Tondo "東都" (Dongdu). It is the only known branch of the Seludong's royal family to have survived the Majapahit Empire's invasion, the Sultanate of Brunei's pogrom against native royals, Chinese warlord Limahong's massacres, and the fallout from the Tondo Conspiracy. The family survived due to Martin de Goiti's giving of his Mestiza (Half Aztec and Half-Spanish) daughter in marriage to Batang Dula, the eldest son of Lakan Bunao Dula of the Lakanate of Tondo. As time went on, they incorporated the descendants from the two other royal houses: the house of Rajah Matanda (ऋअज ंअतन्द) and the house of Tariq Suleiman (سليمان).[citation needed]

    The family then migrated to Pampanga and Northern Samar after the Spanish assumed control of Manila.

    The following are people possessing the Macapagal surname:

    Don Juan Macapagal (d. 1683), former prince of Tondo and first documented bearer of the surname. Great-grandson of Lakandula
    Lazaro Macapagal (c. 1860s), officer of the revolutionary army during the Philippine Revolution. Commanding officer ordered to execute Andrés Bonifacio
    Diosdado Macapagal (1910–1997), former 9th President of the Philippines and 5th Vice President of the Philippines
    Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (born 1947), daughter of Diosdado Macapagal; former Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines, 14th President of the Philippines and 10th Vice President of the Philippines
    Mikey Macapagal Arroyo (born 1969), son of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; served as representative and vice governor of Pampanga
    Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (born 1974), son of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; served as representative of Camarines Sur
    Maan Macapagal, television news reporter
    Jake Macapagal (born 1965/1966), Filipino actor

    The Macapagals are also mentioned in AI Bard of Google:

    From What Royal House are the Kings of the Kingdom of Tondo Coming From?

    Answer #1:

    "The last king of Tondo, Lakandula, came from the House of Dula. He was the paramount ruler of Tondo when the Spaniards first conquered the lands of the Pasig River delta in the Philippines in the 1570s. Lakandula was a wise and just ruler, and he was respected by his people. He was also a skilled diplomat, and he was able to negotiate a peaceful surrender to the Spaniards.

    The House of Dula is one of the oldest and most respected royal houses in the Philippines. It is said to have been founded by a mythical hero named Lakan Timamanukum. The House of Dula has produced many great leaders over the centuries, including Lakandula, Rajah Sulayman, and the Macapagal family.

    The current head of the House of Dula is Sofronio Dulay. He is a descendant of Lakandula and a respected member of the Filipino community. He is also the founder of the United Royal Houses of the Philippines, an organization that promotes the preservation of Philippine culture and heritage."

    Therefore historians who are saying that the Macapagals are not descendants of Lakan Dula because Juan Macapagal did not come from any of Lakan Dula children is wrong.

  5. My mother's maiden name is Lacandula (yes spelled with a "c", she grew up in Camotes island (Island off Cebu which historians believed to be where the battle of Mactan originally took place based on artifacts discovered on that island on a place called Macang). I believe they have relatives from Luzon area. I don't know much about the history of my family on my mother's side other than my grandmother's maiden name was Lacandula and married my grandfather with last name Dalaguit.