Ang hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan... Part II  

Posted by Laya in ,

Back to the question: do I know who my ancestors are?

I never met my grandfathers. My father's father died when Papa was a little boy (he was born in 1898, so he must've been really old, whew!) . According to family history (or legend), Tiburcio Adorador (or Adulador) Panogot was born in Iloilo during the Philippine Revolution. The original family surname was supposedly Magbanua, but due to a famous member of the family (Teresa Magbanua was said to be a second cousin) who fought during the revolution, my great grandfather supposedly changed the family name because the Spaniards were trying to get at Nanay Isa through her relatives. Although my uncle has been heard to say disparagingly that our ancestors didn't change the family name back to the original one after the danger had passed because they were having too much fun making bandit raids as ostensible Hukbalahap members. Anyway, I'm not sure when my grandfather married my grandmother, but he was 17 years older than she was (she was born in 1915!). They had nine children, all of whom lived past their adolescence, although only four of them got married.

My paternal grandmother, Scholastica (or Escolastica, we called her Lola Kulasing, like Tamblot's wife in the hilarious Yuhum komiks Tamblot) Cumoda Panogot, lived with us until her death when I was in college. The doctor said she died of old age (she was 73, I think). I have these memories of a tiny old woman with wrinkled shiny skin that looked like rippling water, and long, long gray hair that reached to her thighs and that she always kept in a huge bun pinned by a brown barrette. She loved plants and was always sweeping the yard and grubbing around in the garden, and was likely to chase us with a walis tingting if we misbehaved. She always woke me up if I slept late... for years after her death I dreamed about her waking me up and saying "Neng, neng, bugtaw na adlawon na! (Child, wake up it's late morning already!)" If we took naps in the afternoon, she always woke us before sunset, saying that we should not sleep past sundown because the sun will carry our souls with it when it set! According to my old maid titas, Lola was stingy and strict. She didn't allow them to go out with their friends, even in community activities. Although they could well afford it, my tita said, Lola kept all their good clothes and made them wear the old ones over and over again until they were in rags. She told horror stories of how the three of them (all old maids now) always got picked to be Fe, Esperanza, Caridad (Faith, Hope and Charity) during the annual Santacruzan, and Papa was a member of the marching band playing the trombone, but Lola refused to shell out anything for their costumes or even let them attend, so their friends and teachers had to sponsor them and they had to sneak out of the house when Lola was asleep. Anyway, Lola was not very strict with us grandkids!

Apaprently, despite the disparity in ages, there was real affection between my grandparents. Again, my titas say, after Lolo died, the family migrated to Mindanao, and Lola got sick and almost died. When she was resuscitated, she told stories of climbing up a tall flight of stone stairs and when she got to the top, Lolo was waiting for her but he told her that she had to go back, that it wasn't time yet for her to go with him. He said that he would come for her when it was her time to go. During her last days, she kept saying his name and looking over our shoulders as if someone was standing behind us. When Lola finally went to her eternal rest, she was smiling. I wonder if Lolo really did come for her as he once promised!

My mother's father died about 4 years ago (I never met him because I have never been to Mama's homeland of Antique, where he lived). I don't know much about Epifanio Lavega Panaguiton except that he and my grandmother, Alicia Panaligan Lavega, were first cousins! This usually happened in small, isolated communities where almost everybody was related; despite taboos, people often ended up marrying relatives. In fact, the maternal side of the family is more tangled than a skein of thread that the cat had rolled in. When I was a child, I took it for granted that the same relatives came to every family occasion such as KBLs (kasal, binyag, libing or weddings, baptisms, and funerals)... it was only when I got old enough to think for myself that I found myself questioning why, if these people were on the Panaguiton side and these on the Lavega side, they attended occasions on both sides of the family. Lola Alice is still alive and well, thank goodness. She used to travel back and forth between Antique and Mindanao every so often, so I saw her a lot. Mama used to tease her that she was temporarily divorced from Lolo since she always left him at home to mind the farm while she traveled all over, visiting their children and grandchildren.

My knowledge of family history ends with my sketchy knowledge of my grandparents. I don't know about my great grandparents except my Lola Kulasing's mother, Cristina Legada Cumoda, whom I was named for. And the only thing I remember about her except for her keyring is the implication that she was a binukot. I recently read an article on GMANews.tv about the binukot of the Visayas, but it doesn't tie in with family legend. There's an article on a Capiznon website that is more to the point however.

According to my tita, the same one who melted down her grandmother's heirloom keyring, her mother's mother came from the beautiful hinterlands of Janiuay, Iloilo. She and her sisters were all binukot. This meant that they were so beautiful that they were kept inside the house all the time, away from public view. They were not allowed to do any work and spent all their time making themselves beautiful. When a binukot came of marrying age, she was offered for marriage to the highest bidder. My tita used to say disparagingly that all her grandmother's sisters were bought and married by the sons of rich hacenderos, and that Lola must have been the least beautiful in the bunch because she married someone who wasn't quite as rich as her sisters' husbands! Unfortunately, all I have to go on is a name, so it's hard for me to verify the truth about this legend. I don't even know if my great-grandmother has any relatives left in Janiuay who might remember her or her family!

Anyway, if anyone reads this and knows about the Legadas and/or Cumodas, and may be able to help me piece together my family tree, I would appreciate it if you left a comment on this post.

There's also another family legend, about a how-so-many-greats grandfather who lived sometime during the Spanish era and who was a folk hero somewhat like Juan Pusong, but that's another story!

When I was able to read a copy of the Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos, containing Claveria's order of 21 November 1849 for all Filipinos to change their family names, I found almost all my family's names listed there, which gave me a thrill. When one is looking for one's roots, it's different to know that your family existed now and to know that it was already in existence as a clan way back in the Spanish era (although come to think of it, I wouldn't be here today if my family hadn't existed way back when! haha, silly me!) Based on what I know so far about my family, I might even be able to say that I'm pure Filipino (though highly unlikely, because almost all Pinoys have foreign blood in them somewhere)! Well, that explains my pert nose.

This entry was posted at Wednesday, January 02, 2008 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

1 people cared

my middle name is magbanua. my mother said her father fought the japs in davao and that he was related to teresa magbanua. I forgot the details because she told me that story a long time ago. but our roots are from iloilo and twice so far we went there for reunions

April 20, 2013 at 12:57 PM

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