Showing posts with label demographics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label demographics. Show all posts

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Families Of The "Paris of Negros"

I love genealogy and for the past few years, I have been dabbling in it, trying to make my family tree.  My attempt is amateurish and relies more on data gathered from relatives rather than actual authentication from church or government archives.  Maybe when I have the time and resources, I could get into it more seriously.  My cousin to the nth degree, Ramon Conlu Severino is someone who has decided to make it his life's work.  He published in 2009, the first edition of the Ledesma Genealogy Book and it continues to be a work in progress as more and more descendants are interested in knowing their ancestral history. I learned from Ramon's research (source: Francisco Varona "Negros--Its History And People") that most of the families of Old Silay came from Jaro and Molo, the 2 most important towns then in the Province of Iloilo.  Among the first were Simeon Ledesma and Juan Hidalgo who arrived in Silay in 1860 and established haciendas at Bagacay.  Aside from the Ledesmas, there were the De La Ramas, Jalandonis, Hilados, Severinos, Jaymes, Locsins and in the later years other families followed like the Lopezes, Gamboas, Jisons, Hofileñas.  Each of these families who came to Silay carried their own revered genealogical tree and brought with them the culture of Molo and Jaro in terms of fiestas, balls, food, music and literature. It is no wonder therefore that this very social lifestyle earned for Silay the monicker "Paris of Negros". Intermarriages, was common among these families. It was not surprising to see a Ledesma marry another Ledesma for example, or a union to happen between cousins, of course not to an incestuous degree (although there were uncles to niece and vice versa but these were not common). I think the reason for this besides the obvious one (keeping money within the family) is the fact that taking into consideration the dynamics of society at that time, most families move only within their social class and their sons and daughters mingled only among themselves so that there was little chance to meet, much less know other people outside their circle. So who do they marry but someone in their own social class and most probably a relative either up or down the line. Also according to Ramon, the Jaro natives, the Jareños (Ledesma, Lopez, Gamboa, Golez, Jalandoni, Javellana, Javelona, Jayme, Severino, Hilado, Benedicto, Hechanova, Hofileña, Jereza, Montinola) marry their fellow Jareños while the Molo natives, the Moleños (Locsin, Lacson, Araneta, de la Rama, Yulo, Yusay, Unson, Consing, Maravilla, Montelibano, Regalado, Conlu, Tionko, Tinsay) marry their fellow Moleños. There is only a small percentage wherein a Jaro native marry a Molo native. When they migrated to Silay, a "merger" of families happened.  This is probably how my great-grandmother who was a Locsin-Araneta from Molo happened to marry my great-grandfather, a Del Rosario-Ledesma from Jaro.  Most if not all of the heritage and ancestral houses of the city are still owned by these families but many are no longer occupied by them. A lot of their descendants except for those of us who stayed, either opted to build houses in Bacolod or Metro Manila.  Recently however, I have noticed that a few are returning to live in Silay either to take care of the family farm, retire or just to lead a more laid back lifestyle.

By the mid-80's, the rise of the middle class as well as the many OFW's and Expats married to Filipinas have also brought about new families to Silay society.  People from other places in the country have also settled in Silay, perhaps attracted by the old world feel, country-like living (but with urban amenities) that is forever lost in big cities like Manila and Cebu. Silay demographics is surely changing, but the old families of Silay and their ancestral houses will forever be part of its past and the present glory.


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I am a member of the working class, first and foremost: a daughter, a mom, an auntie, a sister, a physician, a caregiver, the family driver and troubleshooter, house princess, devoted nurturer, concerned meddler, accidental blogger etc. I am not religious but I am a true Roman Catholic. I have great faith and trust in God's love and mercy.

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