Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cebu Politics Philippines: Cebu's Cuenco Family in 1932

Cuenco Family, photo taken 1932 when Mariano Jesus Cuenco was Governor of  Cebu
My mother, Concepcion, is standing far left

My cousin, Manny Gonzalez, found a cache of Cuenco family pictures including this family picture of Mariano Jesus and Filomena Cuenco.  Manny's and my mother are in the picture. His mother Teresita is the youngest one, standing between Filomena and Mariano Jesus. Mine (Concepcion) is standing, far left.

The other members of the family are: seated left, Consuelo, seated right, Carmen; standing beside my mother is Manuel, and to his left is Lourdes.  The photo was taken in Cebu City in 1932. At the time, my grandfather was Governor of Cebu; my mother had been Cebu's Petit Carnival Queen in 1931, a coveted title.

What people don't know is the story of vindication behind the glow of success.

Mariano Jesus' father, my great-grandfather, Mariano Albao Cuenco 1, was a poet-teacher from Capiz, who had run for governor in Cebu but had lost. He seemed more of a writer who started the Imprenta Rosario and who had a literary pseudonym, Asuang (Cebuano for "witch" or "warlock").

Mariano Albao had also been the Court of Clerk in Judge Lyman Judy Carlock's court in Cebu, and had taught Carlock Visayan and Cebuano ways. Mariano Albao died at the age of 39 leaving behind his wife, Remedios Diosomito, with the press, a respected name, but not a lot of money. Fortunately, Remedios had a good head for business and invested in real estate, which kept her family together. The oldest son, Jose Maria, became an archbishop of the Catholic Church. The second son, Mariano Jesus,  became governor, senator, and senate president at the height of his political career. The third, Miguel, became a congressman.  They were all writers, including the daughter, Remedios.

Perhaps because Mariano Albao had been a teacher, writer, and intellectual, his children were well-educated. Jose Maria 3, attended schools in Manila and the United States (as a pensionado). Mariano Jesus attended the Colegio San Carlos in Cebu and obtained his law degree from the Escuela Derecho in Manila. Miguel Cuenco attended Colegio de San Carlos, University of Santo Tomas, Georgetown University and Harvard in the United States. Remedios most likely attended convent schools.

In becoming governor of Cebu, my grandfather, Mariano Jesus, fulfilled his father's wish. This was a posthumous vindication for Mariano Albao who lost his bid for governorship in the early 1900s.

Mariano Jesus Cuenco 2 was 42 years old when he was elected Cebu's governor in 1931. He became the President of the League of Governors in the Philippines, and at the height of his political career became Senate President. He had started his political career in 1912 when he was elected a member of the Philippine Assembly (fifth district). The year 1912 was when my mother was born, and my grandfather reportedly considered her his good luck child.

Except for Teresita, all of the people in the picture are gone. Many of their stories are also gone. I wish I had been more attentive when I was young so I could have asked them questions. But it's too late for that now, and I just have to piece together history with family stories to try and imagine how things might have been.

L-r: Carmen, Concepcion, Filomena, Manuel, Teresita (child), Mariano Jesus, Lourdes (in back), and Consuelo
Biographies from Resil Mojares' Cebuano Literature: A Survey and Bio-Bibliography with Finding List (San Carlos Publications 1975):

1 Mariano Albao Cuenco - 1861-1909
Poet, journalist, grammarian. Born in Kalibo, Capiz, on December 6, 1861. Family moved to Sogod, Cebu, when he was 6. Graduated at 19 from Normal de Manila. Taught in the public schools in Sogod and Catmon. In 1889, he moved to Baybay, Leyte, and quit teaching for agriculture and business. Returned to Cebu and became a journalist, writing for various papers. Ran for Cebu governor but lost. Died on July 9, 1909. Wrote verse and prose in Spanish and Cebuano. Pseudonym: Asuang 

2 Mariano Jesus Cuenco - 1888-1964
Born in Carmen on Jan. 16, 1888: brother of Jose Ma. Studied at Colegio de San Carlos and Escuela de Derecho in Manila. Became a lawyer in 1913. Founded La Juventud and Luz de Visayas and was involved with Tingog sa Lungsod, An Camatuoran, and others. Publisher of El Precursor. Wrote Ang basahon sa lungsoranong Pilipinhon, a civic guide. Pen name: Lauro Katindog. Member of Philippine Assembly (1912-16), four-term Cebu representative, two-term Cebu governor, Senate President and Cabinet member.

3 Jose Maria Cuenco - 1885-1972
Born in Carmen, Cebu, on May 19, 1885. Earne AB (Bachelor of Arts) at Colegio de San Carlos; LL.B and PhD at Georgetown University (1907). Taught at the Cebu High School (1907-09), entered the seminary and was ordainted in 1914. Archbishop of Jaro. Founded El Boletin Catolico and Veritas, an English-Spanish weekly. Published travelogues, sermons, speeches, and religious writings. Did translations, authored an English-Cebuano dictionary. Died in Jaro, Iloilo on October 8, 1972.

Read also
ROOTS - Pictures of my Mother and More
Cebu, Philippines: The Old Families of Colon Street

Tags: Cebu, Philippines, politics, history, Cuenco, Mariano Cuenco
This is all for now

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