Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Larger Portrait of Remedios Lopez Cuenco by Ceciia Brainard


I made a larger portrait of my great-grandmother Remedios Lopez Cuenco as reference. I had made a smaller study a few days ago. https://ceciliabrainard.com/portrait-of-remedios-lopez-cuenco-by-cecilia-brainard/

Here is an excerpt from my grand-uncle’s biography that touches on the life and background of Remedios, who inspired me to write my third novel, The Newspaper Widow:

“From Archbishop Cuenco Autobiography, pages 1–3:

I was born in the little town of Carmen, Cebu province on May 19, 1885. I received Baptism in the same Church on May 27, 1887, and was confirmed by the Spanish Bishop, Most Rev. Martin Alcoser of the Franciscan Order. My parents were Mariano A. Cuenco and Remedios Diosomito. They did not enjoy a long and thorough education in the school as we understand it today. My father attended classes at the Normal School for teachers in Manila just for one year. This school was directed by the Jesuit fathers. My mother was no more fortunate than my father. While a young girl, she studied in Cebu at the old Inmaculada College run by the Sisters of Charity. There she learned the three R’s. For one reason or another she quit schooling. Hence she just stayed at school for one year. But both of them were gifted by nature with natural talent and ability. They specially possessed a tactical and common sense.

My father moved with dogged determination to become an intellectual and he acquired unusual culture, reading all the books and periodicals he could possess. He was fond of reading the works of Balmes, the Spanish philosopher, the speeches of the late Spanish Parliamentarian, Ramon Nocedal. He was a regular subscriber to “El Siglo Futuro” and “Lectura Dominical”, papers edited in Spain. His constant reading and study of Spanish books and authors made him one of the best Spanish writers of his time. He wrote and published “Ejercicios Practicos de Grammatica Castellana”, in Spanish and Visayan, and he could prepare wills (testamentos), and as a Clerk of Court he was the adviser to American judges the first years of the American regime. As a Catholic he was proud of his faith and did much to defend the Catholic Church. When the followers of the Aglipayan sect tried to introduce in the province of Cebu the new schismatic church, he was their most bitter opponent. By deed, especially by wielding his powerful pen, he unmasked them. On her part, my mother besides sharing with my father the cares of the home, was trying to improve her education by reading Spanish books, especially the Lives of the Saints. She could talk Spanish correctly. She used to teach us in Spanish the prayers, “El Padre Nuestro” and “Ave Maria” (Our Father and Hail Mary). She was very industrious and business-minded. As a matter of fact, after the death of my beloved father on July 9, 1909, we were left not only orphans but also practically in dire poverty. My father died at the age of 48. Due to her hard-working habits and sense of economy, my mother was able to rehabilitate the family, and support her children. My mother died on July 29, 1945, during the Japanese occupation in Cebu City, at the age of 75.

In the family we were 16. I was the oldest. Senator Cuenco was the second. The third was Dolores. The fourth, Jaime. Others died when they were infants. Remedios died at the age of 62. She was a story-teller. Miguel has been a congressman for many years, has been chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs during the time of President Magsaysay, has represented the Philippine Republic abroad in parliamentary congresses. An expert in world affairs, he has been adviser to some of our political leaders. He is married to Remia Ledesma, daughter of Don Juan Ledesma, a distinguished businessman of Iloilo. They have two children: one died, another, Marietta, a talented girl, has always topped her schoolmates at the College of the Assumption in Manila.

When I was five years old, my parents left Carmen for Leyte. We went to the town of Caridad, Baybay, where my grandmother, Dona Juan Lopez, had a great and lucrative business. She was engaged in buying and selling hemp. Our stay in Caridad was short as Don Fernando Escano, then the richest man in Leyte, invited my father to stay in Malitbog. He was to be his accountant, private secretary, and counselor. Our life in Malitbog was most pleasant and peaceful, I well remember that as a child, our ordinary recreation was to climb the little hill, “Calvario.” Calvario was a famous orchard with all manners of fruits especially guavas. The Parish priest of Malitbog was an old man by the name of Fr. Andres Conson. He was handsome and intelligent but he was hot-tempered. He used to shout in church. People were afraid of him. I well remember that at the ceremonies of Easter Sunday at the “Encuentro” — meeting of Our Lord and His Mother (sugat) — because the sacristan failed to bring the incenser, he slapped him on the face. There was a tumult. All ran away and Fr. Andres had to return to the church alone.

From Malitbog, at the age of nine years, on board the steamship Fernando Escano my father conducted me to Manila to pursue my studies at that capital of the Philippines. He first placed me as a boarder at the Colegio of San Vicente Ferrer directed by Prof. Alindada Raymundo. I caught typhoid fever. I nearly died, and I received the Extreme Unction. My stay at this school was short. My father decided to transfer me to the Colegio Sagrada Familia owned and directed by Fr. Mariano Sevilla, contemporary of Fr. Burgos. Fr. Sevilla was related to us on the side of my mother. This school was also a board school. Illustrious Filipinos like Palma and Marcelo del Pilar from Luzon, Jakosalem and Vicente Lozada from Cebu, were among the boarders. Fr. Sevilla, suspected of being one of the conspirators in the Cavite uprising of 1876, which caused the death of Frs. Burgos, Gomez, and Zamora, had been exiled to Guam, but pardoned later on by the Spanish government. At the Colegio Sagrada Familia, I learned my first year Latin Grammar, Spanish, Catechism, Arithmetic, and some other subjects. It was one of those famous Escuelas de Latindad, where many of the Filipino leaders had been educated. In the following year 1896, I became a student and boarder of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran of the Dominican Fathers. At Letran, I pursued my second year Latin, Spanish, Religion, and other subjects. When the Filipino Revolution broke out in 1896, I was studying in Letran. When Rizal was shot, I was in Letran. As since the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution, things were from bad to worse in Manila, my good father thought it was dangerous for me to continue studying in the Capital so he decided to transfer me in the following year to the Colege Seminario San Carlos de Cebu. I finished my studies in Cebu, graduating in A. B. in the year 1903. Upon the advice of the American judge, Carlock, a close friend of my father, I decided to go to the States to study law.

~end of excerpt~

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