Rizal’s Baptismal Record

Today, Filipinos are commemorating Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s 119 death anniversary. A doctor, a novelist, a poet, a painter, a sculptor, a teacher. Rizal was a Renaissance man, a great Filipino hero.

On 28 September 1862, the parochial church of Calamba and the canonical books, including the book containing Rizal’s baptismal records, were burned. Here is a transcript of Rizal’s baptismal certificate issued by Father Leoncio Lopez originally written in Spanish.

“I, the parish priest of the town of Calamba, whose signature appears below, certify that as a result of inquiries, which with the proper authorization were made for the restoration of the canonical books (that were burned) on the 28th of September 1862 and are found in the file of baptisms, book n 1, page 49, it emerges according to the declaration of competent and sworn witnesses that Jose Rizal Mercado is legitimate son from the legitimate matrimony of Don Francisco Rizal Mercado and Dna Teodora Realonda (that) he was baptized in this parish on the 22nd of June 1861 by the parish priest Reverend Father Rufino Collantes, and his godfather was the Reverend Father Pedro Casanas. And I sign this as true. -Leoncio Lopez.”

JoseRizal_B_12-0869_PH-PAM__00228 - Copy






Andrés Bonifacio

Today, we commemorate the 152nd birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio. Often dubbed as the Father of the Philippine Revolution, he co-founded the Samahang Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (KKK). His namesake St. Andrew‘s feast day falls on November 30. His name was most probably assigned from the Calendar of Saints, as was customary back in those days.


“Presidente” Bonifacio in La Ilustración Española y Americana, February 8, 1897

Not much is known about the genealogy of Bonifacio, as pre-1900 Catholic Church records from Tondo, his hometown, are very scarce. The records might have been damaged when Manila was bombed during the Japanese occupation. Santiago, his father, was a boatman from Taguig. His mother, Catalina de Castro of Zambales, was a mestiza born of a Spanish father and a Filipino-Chinese mother. Both died due to tuberculosis in 1880 and 1881 respectively.

The book “Bones of Contention:The Bonifacio Lectures”(1998:90-91) by Ambeth Ocampo, provides an account of the marriage of Santiago and Catalina, where the grandparents of Bonifacio are named. It reads:

“On the 24th of January 1863 …Saturnino Buntan, parish priest of Tondo, authorized the marriage contracted between (Santiago Bonifacio) the son of Vicente Bonifacio and of Alejandra Rosales…and Catalina de Castro, single, mestiza espanola, a native of the province of Zambales and resident in this pueblo of Tondo… daughter of Martin de Castro and Antonia Gregorio… in the presence of Don Severino Ampil and Dona Patricia Trinidad as sponsors…”

Yes, the First President of the Philippines had Spanish and Chinese blood running through his veins. The blood of the tyrants whom he fought against, and the blood of the people  who’s country is bullying us at present in our own backyard. Nevertheless, Andres Bonifacio is a Filipino in every aspect of the word, and one of the greatest Filipino at that.


Pedigree of Andres Bonifacio, generated from FamilySearch.org.

Elpidio Quirino

On November 16, 1890, Elpidio Quirino was born in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. He was the sixth President of the Philippines and the second President of the Third Republic.

from Wikipedia

The scarcity of early records from the province of Abra makes the tracing of his paternal ancestry extremely difficult, if not impossible. At least one more generation can be found on his mother’s side, since records in Agoo, La Union go back to 1867.

Elpidio Quirino Family Tree

Elpidio Quirino’s family tree gereated from Familysearch.org

More info:

Quirino was a practicing lawyer until he was elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1919, and in 1925, Senator. He collaborated with President Manuel L. Quezon in securing the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act in the United States Congress in 1934. After serving with the Constitutional Convention of the same year, he became Secretary of Finance and then of the Interior in the Commonwealth Government. After the war, in which most of his immediate family were massacred, he was elected Vice President, serving as the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs in the Roxas administration, and becoming President after Roxas’ sudden death in 1948. Quirino saw his mission as restoring the people’s faith in government, as well as solving problems of agrarian unrest.
Learn more about President Elpidio Quirino:
View photos of President Quirino on the Presidential Museum and Library Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/govph/sets/72157635082169232/
(Photo courtesy of the National Library of the Philippines.)

Source: Malacañan Palace Facebook page

Gregorio del Pilar

Gregorio del Pilar y Sempio was born 140 years ago today, the 14th of November of 1875 in Bulakan, Bulacan. He is 1/4 Chinese as his maternal grandfather is a full-blooded Chinese. This is based on the records found of his uncles and aunts, which indicates Jose Sempio (grandfather) as Sangley Christiano, born in Fujian, China.

Baptismal record of Gregorio del Pilar. 17 Nov 1875. Bulakan, Bulacan

Baptismal record of Gregorio del Pilar. 17 Nov 1875. Bulakan, Bulacan


Del Pilar’s Family Tree generated from Familysearch.org

The “Boy General” was so called because he was one of the youngest to have earned that rank at 22 years old. He studied at the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1896. Arguably one of the most celebrated heroes of the Philippine Revolution, del Pilar and his life story is rumored to be the subject of the next film by the same team that produced the blockbuster movie Heneral Luna.




Jose Rizal’s Pedigree

On this day, 154 years ago, José Protasio Mercado Rizal y Alonzo Realonda was born in Calamba, Laguna. He comes from a prestigious family of Chinese, Malay, Japanese, and Spanish descent. This is a representation of his family tree which I made in 2008.

Rizal AncestryUsing Geni.com, one could see his/her relationship with some famous people like Rizal. Just for fun, I checked whether I was genealogically connected with our national hero. Here is what came up:

Dr. Jose Rizal is Felvir Ordinario’s wife’s first cousin thrice removed’s wife’s second great nephew’s wife’s great uncle!

Felvir Ordinario
You → Sariah Ordinario
your wife → Jovencio Araneta Guanzon
her father → Andres Guanzon
his father → Domingo Guanzon
his father → Jose Guanzon
his father → Paulino Guanzon
his brother → Agapito Guanzon
his son → Juana Tuason Rodriguez
his wife → Matea Tuason Rodriguez
her sister → Florencia Rodriguez Sioco
her daughter → Javier “Javing” Sioco Gonzalez
her son → Vladimir Mercado Gonzalez
his son → Cruz
his wife → Mauricio Rizal Cruz
her father → Maria Alonso Cruz
his mother → Dr. Jose Rizal
her brother

Check if you’re a cousin of his too!


Tracing the Ancestry of Felix Manalo

I am a Mormon, digging up Catholic records, for an Iglesia ni Cristo leader. My hope is that this research will draw hearts closer together, despite religious differences.

This year marks the centennial of the founding of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ). This home-grown religion has flourished from its humble beginnings in Santa Ana, Manila, to about 5,545 congregations worldwide in the span of a hundred years. Its founder and first Executive Minister Felix Y. Manalo is revered by the members as “the last messenger of God.” For such a prominent 20th-century figure, it is surprising that not much is known about the lineage that produced the great “Ka Felix”. This post summarizes my attempt on searching for Manalo’s ancestry, going further back in time than where most writings on his life start off from. I used mostly online resources, and microfilmed records provided by FamilySearch. Felix Manalo commemorative stampFelix Y. Manalo featured on a commemorative stamp. (source: m.philstar.com)

I began in Taguig, his birthplace. Felix was said to be born on May 10, 1886, in a sitio called Calzada in Tipas, Taguig. All accounts agree that he was born Felix Manalo Ysagun, son of Mariano Ysagun and Bonifacia Manalo. He carried the last name Manalo later on at about after the death of his beloved mother. A lot of years are missing in the church records of the Parish of St. Anne. They were probably damaged at the height of World War 2. The whole period of 1880 to June of 1886 which should contain his baptismal record, is missing from the registry. My assumption is that he was christened on May 18, which is the feast day of St. Felix, his most-likely namesake. It was a common practice in the early days (even towards the mid-1900s) to name babies after saints whose feast dates fall on the day of the child’s birth or christening. So, with the impossibility of verifying his parentage based on records, the next best option was to trace his only full sibling on record – Praxedes. This younger sister is said to be a year younger than Felix. I started searching from March of 1887 (10 months after Felix’s birth), and found Praxedes Ysagun’s baptismal record: Baptismal record of Praxedes Ysagun, daughter of Mariano Ysagun and Bonifacia Manalo, 1887

Herein are recorded the names of Mariano Ysagun and Bonifacia Manalo as parents. Note that the cabeza de baranggay (equivalent of the modern-day Baranggay Captain) at this time was Clemente Mozo, the same Clemente whom Bonifacia married after Mariano’s death. Note also that Praxedes was christened on July 23, and was dos dias nacida or two days old, meaning she was born on Jul 21, the feast day of St. Praxedes.

Typically, the grandparents are named in catholic baptismal records. This is not the case with Praxedes’ baptismal register though. It says ignoranse los abuelos which means “grandparents unknown.” I have not come across accounts that give the parents of Mariano and Bonifacia either, so I took this as a research challenge and opportunity to contribute to written history. I then started searching for Mariano and Bonifacia’s marriage record. Felix is said to be their eldest, and if he was born in 1886, his parents would most likely have been wed the year before (1885). Unfortunately, the marriage registers are also missing entries between May 1883 to Feb 1900. It is known that Bonifacia married a certain Clemente Mozo sometime after Mariano’s death, but again, we have no record of this marriage because of the missing years in the registers. Many blogs erroneously put the death of Mariano to be around the time of the Philippine Revolution (1896), and suggest that Mariano could be a Katipunero killed in battle. Fortuitously, my friend Todd Sales, who happened to be also researching Manalo’s genealogy, showed me a page from the padrones or taxation record of Taguig showing Clemente and Bonifacia already together in 1890. 

Todd also showed me an article by Joseph J. Kavanagh entitled The “Iglesia ni Cristo” (published in Philippine Studies vol. 3, no. 1 (1955): 19–42.) where it says that:

“Felix’s father died when he was only two or three years of age.”

This makes Kavanagh’s statement the more accurate account, as it is supported by this taxation record. With both of Bonifacia’s marriage records missing, and no abuelos recorded in her daughter Praxedes’ baptismal record, I went back to check whether I could chance on finding Mariano’s and Bonifacia’s birth records. Logically, one would search around 20 years back from the eldest child’s birthdate for the parents’ birth accounts. Sadly, the books are also missing the baptismal records of the 1860s. This is another major roadblock. At this point, I read through accounts again and found out that Bonifacia reportedly had five children with Don Clemente Mozo. So I commenced the search for baptismal records from May 1888 (10 months after Prexedes’ birth), hoping that one of the Mozo children’s files will give Bonifacia’s parents. With a quick scan through the microfilm number 1209189, I was able to find two of them: Baldomero (b. 1900) and Simeon (b. 1902).

Baptismal record of Baldomero Mozo, son of Clemente Mozo and Bonifacia Manalo, 1900.

Baptismal record of Simeon Mozo, son of Clemente Mozo and Bonifacia Manalo, 1902.

Kavanagh, who is the only source on my list to have checked the actual records in Taguig, said that Baldomero’s record is missing from the registry. This find proves otherwise. The two records provides an interesting discrepancy. Baldomero’s baptismal record indicates the abuelos maternos (maternal grandparents) as Andres Manalo and Maria Cruz, while Simeon’s gives Maria Santos as the grand mother’s name. The other siblings’ files would be good to check regarding this matter, and I’ll look for them at a later time. Regardless of that, this is one additional generation to Felix Manalo’s existing family tree.

Now going back to Mariano Ysagun. I could not find his birth record, and there is no mention of his parents in Praxedes’ baptismal register. His registro de matrimonio with Bonifacia is also nowhere to be found. This is where luck struck and with the following two records I found, I propose two hypotheses:

Hypotheses #1: The same Mariano Ysagun married Jacoba Pasco in 1861.

Marriage record of Mariano Ysagun to Jacoba Paseo (or Pasco), 1861

Here are a couple of points to consider: First is the age gap. If indeed this Mariano is the same as Bonifacia’s husband, he would have been in his early 40s in 1885 and Bonifacia was about 21. BUT, remember that Bonifacia married Clemente who was 18 years her senior. The age gap then should be a non-issue. Second: two Mariano Ysagun of Baranggay Calzada? Baranggays in those days were not as populated as they are now. Brgy. Calzada, where most of the Ysaguns apparently originated, lists around 150 tributarios (tax-payers, 18 years old and above) in the early 1890s. In my opinion, chances are slim that there was another Mariano Ysagun in Baranggay Calzada between 1861 and 1887. If this is so, this Mariano could be Mariano Sr., but that cannot be proven with the data found so far. This record indicates that Mariano is the son of Salvador Ysagun and Teresa Villanueva.

Hypothesis #2: The same Mariano Ysagun had an earlier marriage to Magdalena Maglipon, and fathered a child with her named Pedro in 1880.

Baptismal record of Pedro Ysagun, son of Mariano Ysagun and Magdalena Maglipon, 1880

This is again from the same hamlet along the coast of Laguna de Bay. Mariano may have been widowed, and married a certain Magdalena who gave birth to Pedro Ysagun on February 22, 1880. This record, however, does not provide any mention of the abuelos. I’ve noticed that rather consistently, the baptismal registers in the 1880s in this parish omit naming the abuelos. Ignoranse los abuelos was all over. A lazy scribe perhaps?

So, from the marriage record of Mariano and Jacoba, we now can add to Ka Felix’s paternal ancestry. It could go like this: Salvador > Mariano > Mariano > Felix, or it could also be Salvador > Mariano > Felix. By gut feel, I would hold on to the latter for now. Here is what I’ve come up thus far.

I am continuously working out on this in collaboration with Todd Sales, author of the Filipino Genealogy Project blog. I have added only one generation, but it is great to know that we now can give credit to THE people whose loins produced the great Ka Felix, founder of the Iglesia ni Cristo, of which centennial is celebrated this year. To all my INC friends, happy centennial! To God be the Glory.

To be continued…

20 June 2015 Update:

Todd Lucero has added a couple more generations to Felix’s maternal line. Check out the details here.

Felix Y. Manalo’s Ancestry by Todd Lucero Sales