Do You Know Your Roots?

I have always been interested in the family tree. When I was young, we used to go to one of our grandfather’s home, Arsenio. He had our family tree painted on his walls. I thought it was amazing to see all these people coming from one tree. From then on, it got me curious.

I was in grade school when I interviewed a great grandfather in our family. He was called Lolo (Grand father) Marcial. His wife was my great-grandfather’s (Lamberto) youngest sister, Paula.  I had a little notebook where I wrote down the names of my ancestors and how people were related to each other. The journal is no longer in my possession for years now. I will definitely look for it when I get back to the Philippines. For now, I only rely on asking family members.

Not everybody is interested to get to know their family members especially the new generation. The past may not be of their concern right now.  We tend to be very busy in our own little worlds. However, I believe a time will come when they will see the value or delight in tracing their roots and recognizing blood ties or blood relations.

I am writing this for the generations to come especially for my children and their children, and to all my descendants. With this, they can have a glimpse of the past, where they come from, where they belong, and have an appreciation of being part of a big family.

I am always amazed when I think about the many lives, families, and generations that come to life from two people who chose to start a family. I wanted to trace four sides (blood lines of my grandparents from both Father and Mother’s sides) but it would certainly take a lot of time and work. Maybe in the future I will be able to do so. For now, I am going to write about my grandfather’s line (father’s side), the Lazaro clan.  Below is an old photo shared by my Auntie Victoria (Arsenio’s daughter) which she got from Lola  Zeny (daughter of Marcial and Paula).

family

This is the portrait of my great grandparents (at the center) named Paulina Cuevas Guinto and his husband, Lamberto Lazaro with their five sons.

THE GREAT-GREAT-GREAT- GRANDPARENTS

Sebastian Cuevas and Gregoria Javier  are the names of my great- great-great-grandparents or third great grandparents. Their daughter is Petronila Cuevas, who is my great-great grandmother or second great-grandmother. Her daughter is Paulina Cuevas Guinto, my first great-grandmother (the one in the photo above). I remember their names (Petronila, Paulina, and all the grandfathers on the photo above) whenever we would visit their graves on All Souls’ Day in Bacoor Catholic Cemetery in the Philippines.

I just found out a few days ago from my Uncle Edgardo (Felicisimo’s son) that Petronila Cuevas, my second great grandmother,  is the sister of Datu Kalun, a man known in Philippine history particularly in Basilan (in Mindanao). Datu is the title for chiefs, sovereign princes, and monarchs in the Visayas and Mindanao regions of the Philippines.

datu lolo

I googled him and found this:

“Pedro Javier Cuevas “Datu Kalun” was Born in Bacoor, Cavite Province on May 6, 1845 to Sebastian Cuevas and Gregoria Javier. Pedro was a hard-working, pious, and patriotic young boy. He was an expert in arnis, a Filipino martial arts which emphasizes in the use of wooden stick, bladed weapons & bare hand. At the age of 27, he was sentenced to death along with his two friends for their anti-Spanish activities which took place during the Cavite Uprising of 1872. They were charged for the death of a Spanish officer of the Guardia Civil. His punishment was commuted to life imprisonment for his non-direct involvement in the murder. He was exiled to San Ramon Penal Farm in Zamboanga, a place for political prisoners. The harsh treatment he received from the Spanish jail guards in San Ramon Penal Farm led him and six other inmates to stage a successful revolt and then escaped towards the mountains of Ayala, a nearby barangay. They crossed the Basilan Strait with a stolen vinta and landed in Malamawi Island, Basilan, only to find out that they had to face three hostile forces: The Spanish authorities, Yakans, and Sulu forces. The group led by Pedro had no choice but to fight in order to survive. His strong leadership, and his skills in diplomacy and combat earned him the respect of the natives and his fellow escapees. Spanish Colonial authority’s efforts to capture him were unsuccessful. Joined by Yakan fighters and military mutineers, Pedro’s group grew in numbers and they became an effective fighting force against the Spanish authority as well as Sulu slave-traders and pirates who frequented Basilan to collect tributes. Over the years, his group gradually conquered 26 villages – almost the entire Basilan Island, but he wittingly spared the Spanish military garrison in Isabela, which he and his followers saved from the Sulu pirates in the late 1870’s. In 1880, Fr. Pedro Llausas, a Spanish Jesuit priest in Isabela facilitated the request for the amnesty of Pedro and twenty of his fellow escapees and mutineers. He was pardoned by the Spanish Crown on July 21, 1882, during the term of Fernando Primo de Rivera, Governor General of the Philippine Islands. During a duel in the early 1880’s, Pedro Cuevas defeated Datu Calun, a leading Sulu warrior, who was sent to challenge him. Sometime in 1884-1885, the title Datu was vested on him by Ali Ud-din. He then assumed the name of Calun. Since then, Pedro Javier Cuevas came to be known in Philippine history as Datu Kalun, the undisputed ruler of Basilan and nearby islands. In 1894, he led a successful expedition to Bohe Lebbeng, a coastal village in the eastern part of Basilan against the forces of Sulu General, Datu Djulkanayin, who came all the way from Jolo in May of 1894, with his armed followers to collect tributes and assert control over the people of Basilan. The peaceful settlement of this incident showed his brilliant skills in diplomacy and strategy, thereby, affirming his position as Teniente Absoluto of Basilan. Datu Kalun’s strenuous physical life from his teenage days drained him of vigour. He passed away in Lamitan, Basilan on July 16, 1904 at the age of 59. He was succeeded by his nephew Gabino Cuevas Pamaran known as Datu Murusalun. Among Datu Kalun’s significant achievements in Basilan were the imposition of justice system, introduction of efficient farming method, economic and social development, consolidation of the Basileños, and freedom from Sulu pirates, slave traders and Spanish incursions. These made him a great leader of his time. Datu Kalun was a patriot to his countrymen, a hero to his followers, and an icon to his family. Edwin F. Pamaran

datu

Other links where you can find information about him:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Basilan#Conquest_of_Lamitan

http://lgulamitan.page4.me/47.html

http://www.lamitancity.gov.ph/html/historicalplaces.html

Credit to my history teacher, Fernando Santiago for sharing the next link:

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/p/philamer/ACX1716.1903.002/1228?rgn=full+text;view=image;q1=datu+kalun

THE GRANDFATHERS

Lamberto Lazaro, my first great-grandfather, has four other siblings: Maria Inocente, Isidro “Idong” Lazaro, Antonio “Toyong” Lazaro, and Paula Lazaro Reyes. I could not trace anymore Lamberto’s parents, my great-great grandparent.

Lamberto as shown in the picture above has five sons: From Left to Right, Dominador, Francisco, Amado, Arsenio (beside Paulina), and Felicisimo (beside Lamberto).

Amado died during World War II and I do not know any information about Francisco. Dominador, Arsenio and Felicisimo were lawyers in profession. Felicisimo was the youngest of the brothers and has been known to be a living legend. He was a sharpshooting police colonel and famously known as the “Tulisan.” http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/8187/the-true-value-of-war

tulisan

Dominador was the eldest among the five brothers. He is my grandfather. He was a criminal lawyer and later on worked as Legal Counsel to the Police District. Dominador’s children are (from eldest to youngest): Lourdes, Hermoso, Dominador Jr., Aurora, Adelaida, Reynaldo and Rosalina.

Hermoso is my father. He was a lawyer and he worked for the National Bureau of Investigation and retired as a Deputy Director. He has three children: Khristine (me), Hermoso Jr., and Kathrine.

For the future generation, you can write your own family tree story. Dedicated to Andrei Santino, Kirsten Ava, Julianna Louise, Carmillia Nicole, Hermoso Dominador III, and Celestine.

To each of you who is part of this big family, remember that you are precious in the eyes of our ancestors. Indeed, we have grown in different branches, different directions. Some of us may not be close emotionally due to circumstances or physical distance.  But keep in mind that we will always be related by blood! We are family.

 

family like branches

 

Prayer for Healing
the Family Tree
Rev. John H. Hampsch, CMF

Heavenly Father, I come before you as your child, in great need of your help; I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs, and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg your forgiveness, Lord. But I also ask you to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, behavior patterns and defects in body, mind and spirit. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders.

With your help I sincerely forgive everyone, especially living or dead members of my family tree, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of your divine Son, Jesus, and in the power of his Holy Spirit, I ask you, Father, to deliver me and my entire family tree from the influence of the evil one. Free all living and dead members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of your precious Son, Jesus, I beg you to extend your blessing to me and to all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in future generations of my family tree.

I symbolically place the cross of Jesus over the head of each person in my family tree, and between each generation; I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify the bloodlines in my family lineage. Set your protective angels to encamp around us, and permit Archangel Raphael, the patron of healing, to administer your divine healing power to all of us, even in areas of genetic disability. Give special power to our family members’ guardian angels to heal, protect, guide and encourage each of us in all our needs. Let your healing power be released at this very moment, and let it continue as long as your sovereignty permits.

In our family tree, Lord, replace all bondage with a holy bonding in family love. And let there be an ever-deeper bonding with you, Lord, by the Holy Spirit, to your Son, Jesus. Let the family of the Holy Trinity pervade our family with its tender, warm, loving presence, so that our family may recognize and manifest that love in all our relationships. All of our unknown needs we include with this petition that we pray in Jesus’ precious Name. Amen.

+++++++++++++++
St. Joseph, Patron of family life, pray for us

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

photo 5 (2)

Christmas time is in the air again! You will definitely know it because of these: busy stores, people shopping for gifts (I do mine online. It is hard with the kids!), Christmas trees, colorful ornaments, holiday decor, mistletoe, Christmas wreaths, socks for the tree, peppermint, hot cocoa, elves and nutcracker soldiers (my favorites),  sweaters, jingle bells, and jolly Christmas songs. It is all wonderful! This is one of the children’s favorite holidays because Santa is going to give them presents. We savor the magic and spirit of Christmas.

photo 1 (2)

This year is better for me. I am happier. I was struggling (emotionally) with something through the years. Now I am free, the more that I aim to give my children the holidays and traditions they will never forget. I am more focused. I desire to build happy childhood memories for them. I want them to have a better life. My childhood was not perfect. My memories of Christmas is just fine. We had a unique family set up and it made a lot of things complicated. Maybe I will share this to you one of these days. I am just saying that we all have our journeys, our struggles in the past. Now, we have the chance to focus on the present. We make the best out of NOW with eyes hopeful for the future. Especially this time of love and sharing, we try to remember all the good things in life.

It is one tradition that my husband and I made. This is our second year. We buy fresh pine tree the week after Thanksgiving. We enjoy its presence and its smell in the house. With our kids, we decorate it. We want to keep it simple and fun. We found some chocolate balls they sell in COSTCO now. These are colorful and very pretty. I hang it on the tree but our toddler kept on eating them, and she won’t stop. She started crying when we won’t give her some more! She wanted to get them all. In the end, we had to take all the Christmas balls down from the tree (edible and glass). We will have to skip it for this year. We have three more weeks left before Christmas! Enjoy with your loved ones!