Welcome to My Site

If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my late-70's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Six Feet Under-TV Drama Series, 2001-2005


Six Feet Under is the second TV drama series that I had enjoyed a decade and 5 years ago. It is one of the greatest and enjoyable TV drama series written during the last decade. I started watching this Series again just recently. Like, Queer as Folk, it made me cry, laugh, angry, disturbed and illicit dozens other emotions because the drama is well acted and written and discussed controversial but true to life story lines and topics. May I have the pleasure of introducing it you my dear readers in case you have not watched this very entertaining and award-winning TV series. Enjoy!

Six Feet Under is an American drama television series created and produced by Alan Ball. It premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on June 3, 2001 and ended on August 21, 2005, spanning five seasons and 63 episodes. The show was produced by Actual Size Films and The Greenblatt/Janollari Studio, and was shot on location in Los Angeles and in Hollywood studios. The show depicts members of the Fisher family, who run their funeral home in Los Angeles, and their friends and lovers. The series traces these characters' lives over the course of five years. The ensemble drama stars Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick, and Rachel Griffiths as the show's seven central characters.

Six Feet Under received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its writing and acting, and consistently drew high ratings for the HBO network. Regarded by many as one of the greatest TV dramas of all time, it has since been included on TIME magazine's "All-TIME 100 TV Shows", as well as Empire magazine's "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" list. It has also been described as having one of the finest series finales in the history of television. It won numerous awards, including nine Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and a Peabody Award.

The show stars Peter Krause as Nathaniel Samuel "Nate" Fisher, Jr., whose funeral director father (Richard Jenkins) dies and bequeaths to him and his brother, David (Michael C. Hall), co-ownership of the family funeral business. The Fisher clan also includes widow, Ruth (Frances Conroy), and daughter, Claire (Lauren Ambrose). Other regulars include mortician and family friend, Federico Diaz (Freddy Rodriguez), Nate's on-again/off-again girlfriend, Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths), and David's long-term boyfriend, Keith Charles (Mathew St. Patrick).

On one level, the show is a conventional family drama, dealing with such issues as interpersonal relationships, infidelity, and religion. At the same time, the show is distinguished by its unblinking focus on the topic of death, which it explores on multiple levels (personal, religious, and philosophical). Each episode begins with a death – the cause of which ranges from heart attack or murder to sudden infant death syndrome – and that death usually sets the thematic tone for each episode, allowing the characters to reflect on their current fortunes and misfortunes in a way that is illuminated by the death and its aftermath. The show also utilizes dark humor and surrealism running throughout.

A recurring plot device consists of a character having an imaginary conversation with the deceased; for example, Nate, David, and Federico sometimes "converse" with the decedent at the beginning of the episode, while the corpse is being embalmed, or during funeral planning or the funeral itself. Sometimes, the characters converse with other, recurring deceased characters, most notably Nathaniel Fisher, Sr. The show's creator, Alan Ball, avers that this represents the living characters' internal dialogues expressed in the form of external conversations.

http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/Six-Feet-Under/8153365854895881112/full-episodes#episode=6636654083398196112

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Queer as Folk-TV Drama Series( 2000-2005)


The recent news on gun violence on a gay night club in Florida reminds me that homophobia still exists today. This also reminded me of a TV series that I had enjoyed 16 years ago. Just recently, I started watching the series in my PC and again, I must say it is one TV series that made me cry, laugh, angry, disturbed, concerned and most of all entertained because the variety of the subjects it has portrayed. Queers as Folk had received 34 nominations and 8 awards. However, if you are homophobic this TV drama is not for you!
http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch/Queer-as-Folk/7415223650357422112/full-episodes#episode=7323481961721158112
Controversial story lines which have been explored in Queer as Folk have included the following: coming out, same-sex marriage, ex-gay ministries, recreational drug use and abuse (cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, cannabis); gay adoption, artificial insemination, vigilantism, Autoerotic asphyxiation, gay-bashing, safe sex, HIV/AIDS, casual sex, cruising, "the baths," sero-discordancy in relationships, underage prostitution, actively gay Catholic priests, discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, the internet pornography industry, and bug chasers (HIV-negative individuals who actively seek to become HIV-positive).

Other topics and story lines in this series are political corruption ( local level), platonic love between two homosexual men, brotherly and sisterly love, comics, making movies in Hollywood, fund raising scams, bisexuality, closeted gay men in sports, acceptance and non-acceptance of sons and daughters sexual orientation by their parents, testicular cancer, Proposition 14, bombing of a gay night club, and cosmetic surgery. There are several episodes with classical music (violin concertos) and art exhibits.

Queer as Folk is an American–Canadian co-production. The series ran between December 2000 and August 2005 and was produced for Showtime and Showcase by Cowlip Productions, Tony Jonas Productions, Temple Street Productions and Showtime Networks in association with Crowe Entertainment. It was developed and written by Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, who were the showrunners, and also the executive producers along with Tony Jonas, former President of Warner Bros. Television.

It was based on the British series created by Russell T Davies. Queer as Folk was the first hour-long drama on American television to portray the lives of gay men and women. Although it was set in Pittsburgh, PA, much of the series was actually shot in Toronto and employed various Canadian directors known for their independent film work (including Bruce McDonald, David Wellington, Kelly Makin, John Greyson, Jeremy Podeswa and Michael DeCarlo) as well as Australian director Russell Mulcahy, who directed the pilot episode.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

US Presidential Museums and Libraries


My last posting about the Lopez Memorial Museum and Library reminded me of Presidential libraries and museums in the US. There are 13 federally operated presidential libraries and museums in the US. Macrine and I have only visited four of them. The first library we visited was the Lincoln Library in Springfield, Illinois. The second and third were the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri and the Eisenhower Library in Abilene, Kansas. The fourth library was the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. For the list of the other 13 presidential visit the website: https://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/visit/

Here are some information from Wikipedia on the four libraries that we have visited:

1. LINCOLN: The museum contains life-size dioramas of Lincoln's boyhood home, areas of the White House, the presidential box at Ford's Theatre, and the settings of key events in Lincoln's life, as well as pictures, artifacts and other memorabilia. Original artifacts are changed from time to time, but the collection usually includes items like the original hand written Gettysburg Address, a signed Emancipation Proclamation, his glasses and shaving mirror, Mary Todd Lincoln's music box, items from her White House china, her wedding dress, and more. The permanent exhibits are divided into two different stages of the president's life, called "Journey One: The Pre-Presidential Years", and "Journey Two: The Presidential Years", and a third, the "Treasures Gallery". Temporary exhibits rotate periodically. Past exhibits have dealt with the Civil War and Stephen A. Douglas. As of February 2014, a collection of Annie Leibovitz's photography, including photos of Lincoln's items, is on display.

2. TRUMAN: The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum is the presidential library and resting place of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States (1945–1953), located on U.S. Highway 24 in Independence, Missouri. It was the first presidential library to be created under the provisions of the 1955 Presidential Libraries Act, and is one of thirteen presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.

History: Funeral services in 1972 for Harry Truman—president of the United States 1945—1953. His wife opted for a private service rather than a larger, state funeral in Washington, D.C.
Built on a hill overlooking the Kansas City skyline, on land donated by the City of Independence, the Truman Library was dedicated July 6, 1957, in a ceremony which included the Masonic Rites of Dedication and attendance by former President Herbert Hoover (then the only living former president other than President Truman), Chief Justice Earl Warren, and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Here, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare Act on July 30, 1965. On December 11, 2006, Kofi Annan gave his final speech as Secretary-General of the United Nations at the library, where he encouraged the United States to return to the multi-lateralist policies of Truman.

Truman's office: when Truman left the White House in 1953, he established an office in Room 1107 of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City at 925 Grand Avenue. When the library opened in 1957, he transferred his office to the facility and often worked there five or six days a week. In the office, he wrote articles, letters, and his book Mr. Citizen. In 2007, the Truman Library Institute announced a $1.6 million preservation and restoration of his working office to preserve the artifacts it contains and allow for easier public viewing. The three-stage project completed in 2009 and features an enclosed limestone pavilion for better access and viewing and an updated climate control system. The office appears today just as it did when Harry Truman died on December 26, 1972.

Truman's funeral services Funeral services for Truman were held in the Library auditorium and burial was in the courtyard. His wife, Bess Truman, was buried at his side in 1982. Their daughter, Margaret Truman Daniel, was a longtime member of the Truman Library Institute's board of directors. After her death in January 2008, Margaret's cremated remains and those of her late husband, Clifton Daniel (who died in 2000), were also interred in the Library's courtyard. The president's grandson, Clifton Truman Daniel, is currently honorary co-chair of the Institute's board of directors.

Exhibits and program: Two floors of exhibits show his life and presidency through photographs, documents, artifacts, memorabilia, film clips and a film about Truman's life. The library's replica of the Oval Office is a feature that has been copied by the Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush libraries. In an educational program called The White House Decision Center, school students take on the roles of President Truman and his advisors facing real-life historical decisions in a recreation of the West Wing of the White House. The mural Independence and the Opening of The West by Thomas Hart Benton adorns the walls of the lobby entrance. The mural, completed in 1961, was painted on site by Benton over a three-year span.

3.EISENHOWER: The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home is the presidential library, museum, and resting place of Dwight David Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States (1953–1961), located in his hometown of Abilene, Kansas. The museum also includes his boyhood home, where he lived from 1898 until being appointed to West Point in 1911. It is one of the thirteen presidential libraries under the auspices of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Admission to the Visitor Center, Boyhood Home, Place of Meditation (gravesite), and the archives is free. Admission
to the museum is $12 for adults. The complex is open every day except New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

4. REAGAN:
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Center for Public Affairs is the presidential library and final resting place of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States (1981–1989), and his wife Nancy Reagan. Designed by Hugh Stubbins and Associates, the library is located in Simi Valley, California, about 40 miles northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and 15 miles west of Chatsworth. The Reagan Library is the largest of the 13 federally operated presidential libraries. The street address, 40 Presidential Drive, is numbered in honor of Reagan's place as the 40th President.

When the Reagan Library opened it was the largest of the presidential libraries, at approximately 153,000 square feet. It held that title until the dedication of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Arkansas, on November 18, 2004. With the opening of the 90,000-square-foot. Air Force One Pavilion in October 2005, the Reagan Library reclaimed the title in terms of physical size; however, the Clinton Library remains the largest presidential library in terms of materials (documents, artifacts, photographs, etc.). Like all presidential libraries since that of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Reagan Library was built entirely with private donations, at a cost of $60 million (equivalent to $137 million in 2015. Major donors included Walter Annenberg, Lew Wasserman, Lodwrick Cook, Joe Albritton, Rupert Murdoch, Richard Sills, and John P. McGovern. For fiscal year 2007, the Reagan Library had 305,331 visitors, making it the second-most-visited presidential library, following the Lyndon B. Johnson Library; that was down from its fiscal year 2006 number of 440,301 visitors, when it was the most visited library.

On March 6, 2016, Reagan's widow Nancy Reagan died at the age of 94 of congestive heart failure. After the funeral, she was buried next to her husband at the library on March 11, 2016.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Lopez Memorial Museum and Library


During my search for interesting and relevant sites related to my Javellana-Lopez ancestral roots, I found several sites that were interesting and informative. The first three sites I have already posted in my blogs: Stevan Javellana's novel, Without Seeing the Dawn, Old Families of Jaro, Iloilo and their Mansions and my Ties with the Katigbak Surname during the Japanese-American War in the Philippines. This 4th site is the Lopez Memorial Museum and Library, located in Pasig, Rizal, Metro Manila. Here's a summary from Wikipedia for your information and reading pleasure:

"The Lopez Memorial Museum (LMM) was founded on 13 February 1960 by Eugenio Lopez, Sr in honor of his parents, Benito Lopez and Presentacion Hofileña. Eugenio Lopez built the museum to provide scholars and students access to his personal collection of rare Filipiniana books, manuscripts, maps, archaeological artifacts and fine art.

Eugenio Lopez is known to many as a leading industrialist of post-World War II Philippines. With resources that came from sugar production, he pioneered in diverse fields of business including transportation (bus, taxicab and air transport operations), mass media (ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation and The Manila Chronicle), energy (MERALCO) becoming one of the first Filipino successes in business in a then largely American dominated economy.

A staunch nationalist, Eugenio Lopez believed that by preserving and promoting the Filipino heritage, his country men would eventually develop sense of national pride and enable the country to develop a unified spirit ultimately resulting in ensuring a strengthening of a collective national soul in the succeeding generations.

He died in July 1975 in San Francisco, California, USA, where he had lived in self-imposed exile since 1972, away from the oppression of martial law. He had led a full life as a leading industrialist and a media magnate, leaving behind him a legacy for the Filipino people.

Eminent historian Renato Constantino was Lopez Museum’s first curator, from 1960 to 1972. Engaged by LMM founder and prominent antiquarian Eugenio Lopez, Sr (Eñing), it was only logical that it would be under his watch that the museum acquired Juan Luna’s España y Filipinas, a seminal work much cited for capturing the image of a country patronizingly led up the rungs of evolutionary colonial tutelage. Such acquisitions complemented the Philippine rare books and antiquarian map collection amassed by Eñing, who in consultation with renowned collector and connoisseur Alfonso Ongpin, further acquired other seminal and technically astute works by Luna, Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, and Fernando Amorsolo. A second key acquisition phase was led by Eñing’s youngest son, Roberto Lopez who was inclined toward Philippine Modernism, thus improving this aspect of the LMM collection with works vetted under the supervision of art historian, Rod Paras Perez.

At present, the character of the Lopez Museum collection has cumulatively morphed with the institution’s shifting concerns. Today, one of the major challenges confronting LMM is the need to continually showcase segments of its permanent collection alongside contemporary Filipino creative expression couched within the frames of increasing inter-disciplinarity and merging communication platforms. It is in this light that curation brings the possibility of infusing context and sub-text to an otherwise private quest for personal roots and a shared locus for nationalist heritage.

The library collection consist with over 19,000 Filipiniana titles by about 12,000 authors, the Lopez Library houses an invaluable collection of Philippine incunabula, rare books, manuscripts, dictionaries, literary works in Western and vernacular languages, religious tracts, periodicals, newspapers, coffee table volumes, academic treatises, contemporary writing, maps, archival photographs, cartoons and microfilms. It remains a critical node in the small network of institutions devoted to ongoing Philippine scholarship produced locally and internationally.

Among its more important holdings are 21 rare titles of Philippine imprints dated from 1597 to 1800, 69 key titles from the 18th century, and 777 titles from the 19th century. The library’s rare books and manuscripts include those of eminent printers, Tomas Pinpin, Raymundo Magysa, Nicolas Bagay, Laureano Atlas, and Juan Correa. The library is home to the first edition of Belarmin-Lopez’s Doctrina Cristiana (Manila 1620) translated into Ilocano (Libro a naisuratan amin ti bagas), Pedro Chirino’s Relacion de las Islas Filipinas, as well as key editions of Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (Jose Rizal’s 1890 edition, Blair and Robertson’s 1904 edition, and W. E. Retana’s 1909 edition).

In addition to a huge aggregate of secondary works on the National Hero, Dr Jose Rizal authored by both Filipino and Western authors, the Lopez Library also serves as steward to 93 of Rizal’s letters to his parents, sisters, brother and brothers-in-law, among other objects which constitute the most priceless items in LMM’s Rizaliana collection.

Among other items worthy of note are a variety of dictionaries, grammar books, and LMM’s collection of devotional literature: sermons, novenas, accounts of the lives of saints that were used as tools in the propagation of Roman Catholicism during the Spanish colonial period. Equally important and indispensable are such primary sources as the manuscripts and personal papers of individuals such as Pablo Pastells, Gaspar de San Agustín, Eulogio Despujol, H. L. Legarda, Manuel Sastron y Piñol, and Justo Zaragosa.

Microfilm copies of the Philippine Revolutionary papers, commonly known as the Philippine Insurgent Records, American Consular Reports (1817–1898) from the National Archives, Washington, DC, USA. and several reels of the British Consular Reports, circa 1844–1898, together with the H. H. Bartlett collection from the American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, are among the significant additions to the library’s growing microfilm collection which also includes the Tribune (1925–1945), Manila Chronicle (1945–1972), Harpers Weekly, and other key periodicals which are already accessible through digitized versions ".

This place is on my bucket list of things to visit, the next time I will be in the Philippines.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

My Ties with the Katigbak Surname

Segunda Solis Katigbak

One of the events I listed of my childhood years during The Japanese-American War in the Philippines that baffled me still until today was the instruction of my Dad, that if a stranger asked us our family name, we should never, never tell the truth, and that we are the Katigbaks not the Katagues.

My Dad who was in the guerilla forces was afraid that our surname could be a target for annihilation by the Japanese forces if we ever got caught in our hide outs in the foot hills of Iloilo in Panay Island. There were rumors that the Japanese were able to get a list of guerillas of Panay and that the collaborators ( Filipino spies) are helping the Japanese kill all families that are in that list. Two events about the Japanese atrocities that I had knowledge of are listed in the notes below.

So for a while, from 1942 to 1944 I had inculcated in my mind that I am a Katigbak not a Katague. I would repeat several times the surname, so if the times comes when we are captured by the Japanese forces, I will not make the mistake of giving our real name. I have asked myself several times all these years why my Dad chose the Katigbak surname. Was it because it start with the letter "K"? Or was he related to the Katigbak clan of Iloilo? Or did he just pick up the name at random? For these reasons, I did some Internet search on the Katigbak clan and here's three excerpts I found interesting. For details visit: https://lipatourism.wordpress.com/culture/lipasoldgentry/

1. Segunda Solis Katigbak was Jose Rizal’s first love interest and probably the best known of her clan. While studying at Colegio de la Concordia in Santa Ana, her brother, Mariano brought her with him in a party where she met Jose. Smitten, Rizal showered the fourteen-year-old lass with flowers, poems, and sketches. Unfortunately this romance was short lived because when she turned sixteen she went back to Lipa and married her uncle, Manuel Metra Luz, a wealthy planter. It was said that one time he visited Lipa to solicit funds for La Liga Filipina. Rizal met Manuel Luz and played chess with him and when he lost, he said, “I not only lost the game, but my heart, as well.”

2. The earliest known recorded ancestors of the Katigbak clan were Don Juan Catigbac and Doña Nicolasa Concepcion. Their son, Tomas Catigbac, married Juana Masongsong. Their union produced ten children: Maria, Rita, Eustaquia, Pasqual, Agustin, Juliana, Magdalena, Micaela, Josef, and Felipe.

Pasqual M. Catigbac married twice. His son (from the second wife, Andrea Manguiat), Exequiel Manguiat Catigbac, married Aniceta delos Reyes, daughter of the famous Lipa gobernadorcillo, Don Gallo delos Reyes. (Don Gallo spearheaded the widespread cultivation of coffee in the town.)

The son Bernardino delos Reyes Catigbac, a teniente primero, married Rosela Metra Mayo. Their son Gregorio Mayo Katigbak, a revolucionario and a well known politician. He became Batangas’ delegate during the First Philippine Legislature in 1907-1909. With his strong desire to provide education to the youth, he led the establishment of the Instituto Rizal in 1899 which produced Lipa’s great men of caliber. Later on, his son, Dr. Jose Maria Braceros Katigbak (Presidente Municipal 1945-1946), carried on his father’s mission and thus founded “The Mabini Academy” of Lipa.

Josef M. Catigbac became gobernadorcillo in 1827. He married Andrea Aguila Calao. They had seven children: Maria (married to Alejandro Altamirano) Cayetano, Norberto, Lino, Francisco, Mateo (Married to Petra Mendoza then to Dominga Gonzales), and Susana (married to Manuel Mayo).

Mateo Catigbac became Lipa gobernadorcillo in 1858.

Cayetano became gobernadorcillo in 1865. He married Fausta Tapia who owned large tracts of undeveloped land, which were all cultivated by the time she died. They had four children: Torribio, Leoncia, Petra, and Maria. When Don Cayetano remarried, the children transferred their mother’s properties to their names.

Torribio (Presidente Municipal, 1901-1902), said to be the richest person in town during the coffee boom, married Salvadora Solis y Metra. Of all their children, only Macaria Solis Catigbac had heirs. She married Perfecto Salas of Molo, Iloilo, a law partner of Rafael Palma. They had two sons and one daughter, Adela Catigbac Salas (now Adela Salas Gatlin). Adela’s mother and brothers horrifically died during the Second World War. Their estate was divided between her and a nephew. She was so rich that from just the proceeds of molasses – by-product of the sugar harvest – she could travel around the world annually. Don Toribio’s descendants are the only remaining family who use the hispanized “Catigbac ” instead of the spelled Letter K which is now presently used by the “Katigbak” family. This was due to his instruction never to Filipinize their surname and all his heirs should be proud of their Spanish heritage.

3. Valeriano Katigbak Luz worked for the Philippine Bureau of Commerce. He was married to Rosario Mayo Dimayuga, also from Lipa, the doyenne of Philippine Interior Designers who after her death was conferred several awards, the most distinguished being, the Lifetime Achievement for Interior Design. Valeriano’s children were: Vicenta, Alfredo, Remedios, and Arturo.

Eldest daughter, Vicenta Luz, married Carlos Cosculluela of Negros. Their son, Rafael, became Negros Occidental Governor in 1998. Alfredo Luz, an architect trained under Frank Lloyd Wright in the U.S.A and a good friend of J. D. Rockefeller, designed: the regional World Health Organization (WHO) building, the Magsaysay Center, and the Los Baños International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) complex – all Rockefeller Philanthropic projects in the country. He married Carmen Montinola of Bacolod. Another daughter, Remedios, married Teodoro Baluyot of Pampanga. Youngest, Arturo Rogerio Luz, was declared National Artist for Visual Arts in 1979.

Here's the link of the Katigbak surname to the Lopez surnames of Iloilo:


4. Maria Kalaw Katigbak was endowed with both beauty and brains. She was certainly the crème of the crop in the springtime of her youth. Born to a noble breed, she showed her humble nature even during her moments of success. In the beginning, her beauty went unnoticed, but fate must really have its own plan for her to become a future beauty queen. As a student at the university of the Philippines, she became the muse of the U.P. College of Law’s Bachelor Club and then a regimental sponsor twice.

In 1931, she eventually decided to up her career by joining the Manila Carnival beauty pageant. Held from 1908-1939, the Manila Carnival was a goodwill event to celebrate the harmonious U.S.-Philippine relations; where the two countries showcase their commercial, industrial and agricultural progress. The highlight of this event was the crowning of the Manila Carnival Queen.

Maria’s mother was the first Queen of the Orient of the Manila Carnival. It was most likely that she too became a beauty pageant competitor. Whether it was in her blood or not did not matter for Maria was her own woman. The queenship of the 1931 Manila Carnival was left contested by her and Alicia de Santos, a mestiza beauty from an affluent family. During that time the deciding factor in a beauty contest lay with the contestant with the highest number of sponsors. At first, Alicia being wealthier, had the upperhand. Maria on the other hand had her father’s mason friends who helped a lot in augmenting her votes. It became a neck-to-neck contest which lasted for 8 weeks. At the end Maria came out triumphant with an insurmountable lead of 1 million votes over her formidable contender. She was then crowned as Miss Philippines of 1931. Not a soul knew then that Maria Kalaw would become the future “original sweetheart” of the Philippine Senate. But the beauty queen turned senator was more than meets the eye for she was also intellectually gifted. Coincidentally her beauty is well-deserved for she was born on the date when beauty and heart are united, this day is known as “Valentine’s Day”.

Maria Kalaw-Katigbak was born on February 14, 1912 in Manila. She is the eldest among the four children of Teodoro M. Kalaw, writer, statesman, former secretary of the Interior, and director of the National Library, and Pura Villanueva, a Spanish mestiza of the prominent Lopez – Villanueva family of Jaro, Iloilo, also a writer, pioneer for women’s suffrage and property rights for women, and first president and organizer of the League of Women Voters.

Notes: Two events of the Japanese atrocities that personally affected me were:

1. The slaughter of the Noel Balleza, Sr. clan of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. The family were relatives of my mother. Their hideouts were not far from where we were hiding during the war.

2. The slaughter of my aunt's family, Adela Catague Guillergan of Binalbagan, Negros Occidental. I just learned of this incident when I was doing research on my ancestry on my father side of the family. Adela is my father youngest sister.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Old Families of Jaro, Iloilo and Silay, Negros Occidental

The old Jaro Cathedral-only a few minutes walk from my Parents residence on Arguelles Street, 1934-1941

During my Internet search relating my to article on my great, great grand parents Don Manuel Javellana and Dona Gertrudis Lopez of Jaro, Iloilo, I found the following three sites interesting reads. I have completely identified with the pictures and articles in these 3 sites. It reminded me of my childhood years. If you love history, these three sites are worth your time, especially if you are an Illongo or have ancestral roots in Iloilo.

1. https://remembranceofthingsawry.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/the-families-of-old-jaro-iloilo/

Here is one interesting excerpts from readers comments in the above site:

"Jaro, they said, was the town then known as populated by residents whose surnames can all be pronounced phonetically as “he,he, he”. Those surnames which began with the letter “J” were first allocated to those living around the Jaro Plaza. Those which started with letter “H” to those who lived across the Jaro River (and towards now Leganes township. Those which started with letter “G” to those who lived south of Ungka creek (now part of Pavia township). To the West was the township of Mandurriao, and they were allocated the letter “M’. Now La Paz district of Iloilo City was intermittently a barrio of Jaro or a separate township and they were allocated the letter “L”. Through time the surnames began mixing through the different areas of Jaro. Iloilo City proper was given the letter “Y” but later evolved as just “I”. The letter “V” was also Iloilo City. Arevalo was letter “A”. Molo was a “miscolansa” as it was the “Parian” or the designated Chinatown, hence there was no fixed first letter, just whatever Chinese surname that was common. Also, if you visit the old churches, you would see “lapidas” of the dead dating as far back as 1860. You would also find many of the surnames mentioned in this blog in those lapidas ".

After reading entries from the above site #1, I concluded that the Javellanas and Lopezes were two of most affluent and influential families from Jaro at that time. Other influential families were the Ledesmas, Hechanovas, Hofilenas, Montinolas and the Jalandonis.

2. http://www.silayheritage.com/2011/10/graciano-lopez-jaena-and-eustaquio.html
Excerpts from the above site:

"Graciano Lopez-Jaena went to live in Negros to escape the fury of the Spanish authorities in Iloilo after he wrote Fray Botod. It was never officially published, but a copy was widely circulated in the region to the ire of the friars, fortunately for Lopez they could never prove that he wrote it. However because he was openly defiant against authorities and fought for justice, he got threats to his life. He decided to leave Iloilo and stayed with relatives in Silay and Saravia. With the help of his cousin Estaquio, Graciano Lopez fled to Barcelona Spain after staying in Silay for two years. While in Spain it was said that Eustaquio sent him regular financial support. Eventually, Graciano feared that his relatives in Negros will be persecuted so, he added 'Jaena' to his surname to separate himself from the them and thereby sparing his family from suspicion. His family through his uncle in Saravia in gratitude for his help, gave Eustaquio a wooden Santo Niño which has since become a family heirloom and has been passed on to my family in 1981. What is ironic is that we only confirmed this as fact more than a hundred years later, when we were able to connect with Graciano Lopez Jaena's descendants - those of his brothers' families. You see, Eustaquio Lopez is my great-great grandfather".

3. http://www.valcaulin.com/article/iloilos-old-houses-and-mansions/1479/comment-page-1/#comment-194629
The Lizares Mansion
Excerpts from the above site:

" Iloilo is known for its Dinagyang Festival, La Paz Batchoy, colonial churches and old houses. And when we speak of this city’s old houses, they are are not just your typical ancestral houses or bahay na bato. This city is home to many mansions built by sugar barons way back in pre-war era. Some are still standing with some old people or caretakers residing while some are now used as schools.

If you are traveling or visiting the City of Love, bring your camera and wear your most comfortable shoes and discover these old houses and mansions in Iloilo. There are many of them in the city and what I have here are just a few of them. I am featuring those famous old houses and mansions but it is easy to spot many old abodes as you explore Iloilo. If you don’t know where to start, just go to the main plazas in the city – Jaro, Molo and Libertad. In accordance to the Spanish status quo, those living close to the plaza are the most affluent ones. So aside from taking shots or visiting old churches, you can also check out these ancestral and heritage houses of Iloilo.

Those located around Jaro Plaza are the grandest and there are still plenty of them. Still, you can see many old houses in Molo and even Arevalo. For this post, majority of these houses are located around the district of Jaro ".

Note: The Lizares mansion and the Nelly Gardens were my two of my most favorite mansions when I was a child in Jaro, Iloilo. My childhood dream of seeing the inside of the house had never been realized, but now I am happy just reading it in the above blog. Thank you for the tour, Valerie!
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