April 2013 – A Blessed Month For Reunions

by Sonny Asuncion Rayos
Sometimes plans go awry and dreams of reunions, even years in the making, do not materialize. Blame it on unfavorable timing, exorbitant plane fare or just plain and simple: flights are fully booked. Legitimate excuses. The reality is Asuncion family reunions are scheduled in late December or January are tough for travelers.
From out of nowhere, I received an email from Lota about an Asuncion family reunion on April 6. It was meant to be! This is perfect timing. I already have my plane tickets for travel to Manila in late March. Maybe I was trying to mask and contain my excitement because the only reply I sent was “I will be able to make this reunion.”
An old cliché comes to mind – “Pictures are worth a thousand words” and “To make a long story short,” here are some of the pictures taken during the Asuncion reunion.
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But wait! There’s more!! Attached is a photo with Manong Gabriel Asuncion with daughter Jo Anne. Manong Gabby has been my source of almost anything Asuncion . I must admit, this is my first time I’ve met Manong, although we talked often via telephone or email. Gabby’s brother the late Eugenio was  instrumental in reminding me that I am an Asuncion . I knew vaguely of this fact (other than it being the surname of my maternal grandmother) and the historical importance of what it meant – so thanks Eugene and may you rest in peace. Manong Gabby’s lineage is Leoncio Asuncion, then Hilarion Asuncion, then Jose Maria Asuncion.  My maternal grandmother, Feliza, is the youngest sister of Jose Maria.
A reunion with Santa Cruz Church ?  Could one consider this a reunion? I must say YES. I am getting reunited with the two commemorative plaques of my great, great, (how many more great?) uncle and grandfather Justiniano and Leoncio Asuncion. These are located on the west side of the SC church (on your right hand part if facing the façade of the church). Herewith are the photos of each marker
It can’t be better than this: Asuncion-Paterno reunion! Our common ancestry starts with a china man named Ming Mong Lo. He is considered a sanglay; a spanish colonial term for pure chinese immigrants who are in the Manila to conduct commerce.  It comes from the Chinese word “Seng-Li” meaning business. Family records described him as an “apothecary of Mandarin descent.” He had his named changed to Jose Molo when he was baptized. It is well documented in archives that Jose Molo is the progenitor of the Paterno family – with one of the sons, Paterno Molo de San Agustin, eventually changing the surname Molo (and those of his siblings following suit) to Paterno. One of the daughters of Jose Molo is Maria de la Paz Molo de San Agustin. Maria de la Paz married Mariano Cagalitan. The Cagalitan surname was later changed to Assumpcion then finally to Asuncion .
The reunion and reunification of blood siblings of Ming Mong Lo – the Asuncions and the Paternos is considered one of the highlights of April. This is about seven or eight generations of pinsans from the progenitor Ming Mong Lo. Attached are photos of this event. The setting for this historic event couldn’t be more perfect – at the Orchid Garden Suites – a beautiful hotel (excellent staff, wide choice of food, clean and wholesome hotel) across the Century Park Sheraton in Vito Cruz St. Malate, Manila .
The last reunion for this blessed month of April is the most special and personal. This is my reunion with the ivory sculpture of baby Jesus by Leoncio Asuncion. Attached are several photos. This sculpture is the one that my mother, Juanita Asuncion-Palileo, takes out during Christmas and New Year for all of us kids to kiss. This is a known work of Leoncio with good provenance – a hand me down from generations.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed my Asuncion family stories and photos. Until the next Asuncion reunion or better yet a joint Asuncion-Paterno reunion.

13 thoughts on “April 2013 – A Blessed Month For Reunions

  1. Wow, a lot of great information here. Thank you for sharing this with us and thank you for the call describing the reunion. All of this makes me so very proud of our ancestry.

    • Thank you Sonny for your article. The plan of an Asuncion-Paterno reunion sometime in the future is great! This would be like meeting the other side of the coin.

  2. Wow, your article gives me a clearer view of my ancestry as well. Maria de la Paz Molo was my direct ancestor! She was the wife of Mariano Kagalitan. One of their sons was Antonio, brother of Justiniano and father of Romana Asuncion-Carrillo. I had the privilege of viewing Romana’s portrait a month ago and i was in awe at the mastery of Capitan Ting and how he painted his niece with such skill and love. It was a magical moment for me to see it person and i am grateful to the family who has her portrait in their private collection. It is a cherished painting i was told. The owner kept it in her dressing room so she could see Romana’s image everyday. I wish i could attach a photo here, i would post the photo i took of that particular painting.

  3. I meant one of their sons, Antonio, brother of Justiniano and father of Romana, was my great great grandfather.

  4. Dear Jun,

    Antonio’s wife was named Remigia Sta. Ana. Romana and Valentina were 2 of their daughters, I understand they may have had 9 children in all. Would anyone know their names? I know that this blog has more to do with Justiniano’s descendants rather than Antonio’s but it would be good to know more about the family history through this blog.


    • Dear Christine,
      It’s wonderful that you bumped into our door, a door which actually leads you home to your or to our ancestors. So welcome home!

      I appreciate your passion for your own story, a passion which I and many of us can relate to. This passion burns ever more every time someone from one of us from out of nowhere loops in. For it brings excitement about the new story to be shared.

      This blog is about all the Asuncions. We started with Justiniano because he’s quasi within our reach. But as you may have noticed, we kept on expanding every time somebody like you came in. A tree grows with new branches.

      Antonio (1794), married to Remigia Sta. Ana was an older brother of Justiniano (1816). They had ten children:

      1. Valentina (married to a Yatco),
      2. Juliana (married to a Bartolome
      3. Ambrocio
      4. Francisco
      5.Valeriana (married to Jose Arcinas)
      6. Placida (married to a Pascual)
      7. Luis (married to Paula Bartolome and to a Teodora)
      9.Romana (married to Andres Carillo Trinidad
      10. Victoria (married to santos Jose)

      You descend from our famous portrait Romana whom you met last month in your friend’s dressing room!

      Romana and Andres Carillo Trinidad had eight children:

      1. Petronilla (married to Fermin Yatco)
      2. Josefa (married to Engracio Quintos)- your line.
      3. Joaquin
      4. Eutiquio
      5. Angela (married to a Eugenio)
      6. Irene
      7. Filomena (married to a Castrillo)- also a famous portrait!
      8.Anicia (married to Habacon Hipolito)

      Going back to your line:

      Josefa and Engracio Quintos had six children:

      1. Eduardo (married to a Lopez)
      2.Maria 8married to Antonio Soriano
      3.Isidra (married to a Criss)- your line
      4. Teodora (married to a barromeo)
      5. Leonila (married to Mariano Syap)
      6. Jose.

      Now, the branches of Isidra and Criss are missing in the tree that we have. So we are lucky to have found you for you could fill up these missing entries with whatever you know.

      There are names that I like to give you and hopefully you could say something about them:

      Mary, Lulu, Nellie, Manuel and Concepcion.

      Mary, Lulu and Nellie could be children of Isidra??? Manuel and Concepcion could be of Maria and Antonio Soriano??? Or the other way around?

      I’m not sure about this. But since Isidra is your grandmother, I know you could provide us some answers that are “within your reach”, – and it would be of great help, Christine!

      So, bye for now and I hope my letter finds you well.

      jun asuncion


      By the way, you can send me the photo of Romana per e-mail:


      Thanks and till next time.

      • Thank you for quick reply, Jun! Now i know Lola Romana had 9 siblings! I “met” a descendant of Lola Valeriana –Cezarina Alzona who is based in the US. She put up a family tree at http://www.myheritage.com.

        Lolo Engracio and Lola Josefa had 7 children in all:
        1) Domingo, who married Segunda Custodio;
        2) Isidra (my lola) who married Ernest Criss;
        3) Leonila, who married Mariano Syyap;
        4) Maria, who married Antonio Soriano;
        5) Eduarda, who married Enrique Lopez;
        6) Teodora, who married Fulgencio Borromeo;
        7) Jose, who married Luz Borromeo.

        My grandmother, Isidra, married an American, Ernest Minerva Criss of Lawrence, Kansas. They had 5 daughters:
        1) Mary
        2) Lulu (Maria Eloisa)
        3) Minnie (Alicia Minerva)
        4) Nellie
        5) Virginia Ernestine (my mother)

        Maria (daughter of Engracio and Josefa) married Antonio Soriano and they had 3 children:
        1) Manuel who married Florencia Julita;
        2) Concepcion, who married Pedro Danao;
        3) Tomas, who married Josefina Pabalan.

        Eduarda (Lola Danday) married Enrique Lopez and they had 3 children:
        1) Geronimo
        2) Rosario
        3) Antonio.

    • Hi Christine,

      I’m Geoffrey, distant relative from Mariano de Sta Ana (brother of Remigia de Sta Ana-Asuncion). I was wondering if you had any contact with Cezarina Alzona. I saw you mentioned that she created a family tree on myheritage. Unfortunately, I do not have a premium account on that website, otherwise it would all me to contact her. But I would really love to see the Asuncion family tree. I think you mentioned to me before that there was a display of the family tree in a museum which I unfortunately was not in the Philippines at the time.


  5. p.s. So the other lady in the portrait, Filomena, was Lola Josefa’s sister! Wow! I am so amazed to be getting all this information through your blog!

  6. Hi jun its Teody asuncion again I just spoke to my father and said my great grandfather was originally from Ilocos moved to Silang Cavite because he was a soldier of Magdalo under Aguinaldo, he married our great grandmother who’s surname is Solucia and originally from Binondo Sta Cruz area. just wanna know who’s among 12 Asuncion’s siblings ended up in Ilocos and that will answer my question..thank you.

    • Hi Teody!

      I’m also at a loss as to who among them migrated to Ilocos.The Claveria decree of 1849 showed that families who were already carrying Spanish names and surnames for at least four generations were allowed to retain them after the introduction of the decree in November 21, 1849.
      Besides Ilocos, there are also many Asuncions from Cavite and Samar, and maybe in many other parts of the Philippines. Now, I’m beginning to consider the idea that the Asuncion of Binondo is not necessarily the source of all other Asuncions. If it were, it would be great, too, and we would be very proud of it. But my search is telling me that this assumption cannot explain the complexity. So it could be that some Filipinos already adopted the Spanish name or surname Asuncion and then retained it even after 1849 and until this day. This could explain the numerous Asuncions coming from other places. Assuming that all indigenous people were carrying only non- Spanish names before the Claveria Decree and that there were no pure Spanish residents with the family name Asuncion throughout this colonial period, then we could with certainty say that the Asuncion of Binondo, namely, Mariano (Kagalitan) Asuncion, Sr was the original source of all these Asuncion in the Philippines since Manila was assigned with the letter A to which the natives would refer when changing their names and surnames to Spanish. Unfortunately, this could never be the case. Therefore, I believe that we must be open to the first option I brought out.


      jun asuncion

  7. Hi,

    I am the youngest sister of Gabby and Eugene Asuncion and just would want to let you know that Gabby passed away on April 20, 2016. I had a long talk with him and he mentioned the name of Sonny Rayos. Would appreciate if you could pass on the message of my brother’s passing.

    Best regards,

    Salve Asuncion Martinez

    • May you rest in peace Manong Gabby…. and our heartfelt condolences to you Salve and family.
      Sonny Rayos has a huge respect to his Manong Gabby.
      Long live the Asuncions!

      jun asuncion + family
      Zürich, Switzerland

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