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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 early-80'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 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.

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