Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Cebu, Philippines: Ines S. Villa Gonzalez, Filipina Woman Suffragette #womensrights

A researcher, Tichie Carandang, was recently in touch asking for information about Cebuana Ines S. Villa-Gonzalez, a supporter of the women's suffrage movement who had accompanied the 1922 Philippine Commission to the US.

(Note: It was the Cebuano, Congressman Filemon Sotto, who filed the first bill on women's suffrage in 1907 in the Philippines. The women in the Philippines were granted the right to vote on April 30, 1937.)

The above card is part of "Cebuana Trailblazers Sugboanang Tag-Una" a 2008 Cebu Provincial Government's project. I quote:

"Ines S. Villa-Gonzalez was among the earliest known advocate of women's vote in the Philippines.

The only woman among four awardees of the Premio Zobel, she got this award for excellence in Spanish writing for her book, Filipinas en el Camino de la Cultura, published in 1932.

Dr. Villa-Gonzalez was a writer, journalist, educator and social worker, aside from being a women's suffrage advocate ..."


My friend Louie Nacorda interviewed Villa-Gonzalez's grandnephew Mario Villa, and Louie forwarded the following information about this accomplished woman.

1. She had a PhD from a university in Spain but Mario doesn't know on what and where exactly;
2. Ines worked as the secretary of Gen Carlos Romulo when he was UN Secretary General;
3. Ines met and married a Cuban in New York named Antonio Gonzales
4. After her UN stint, the couple settled in Cebu but the husband could not adjust to life here so after a few years, he left for Cuba and never came back. The couple was childless.
5. Ines then stayed with her nephews, until she decided to live with her younger brother, Juan Suico Villa, the father of my friend Mario, in Mabini Street.
5. Ines adopted four grandnephews, children of her nephews.
6. She was also a Premio Zobel awardee, for what, Mario doesn't know.
7. Ines died in 1988, at about 90 years old (Mario was 10 years old only at that time so he could not be sure of her age).
8. As a retiree, she took to playing mahjong with her close friends. Mario intimated that she was a bad loser! (My late mother is an acquaintance of Ines and I remember my mom telling us that she did not want to play mahjong with Ines because she would throw away the tiles in every game that she would lose.)
9. There is no street named after her in Cebu, as far as Mario Villa knows.
10. She is buried in Queen City Memorial Park in Cebu.

This is all the info I gathered from Mario. His elder cousins would probably know more but they are in their 80s now, and are nearing senility so Mario doubts if we could get more details on Tia Ines.

Mario thinks she might have been born in 1900, give or take one or two years.


The following 1921 Passport documents relating to Ines Villa Gonzalez are courtesy of Tichie Carandang. I've taken the liberty of posting them for the benefit of the many students and researchers who visit my blog:

Read about other accomplished women from Cebu, Philippines:
Felicidad Climaco, Suffragette and Nationalist from Cebi
Estrella D. Alfon, Prolific Filipina Writer from Cebu
Lina Espina Moore - Cebuana Writer
Talking about Living Ghosts with Lina Espina Moore

Tags: Cebu, Philippines, Cebuano, Visayan, Bisaya, Sugbo, writers, women, Lina Espina Moore, Ines Villa Gonzalez, Estrella Alfon, suffrage, suffragette, women's movement, women's liberation, #womensrights

This is all for now,

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