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.
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.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Asuncion family stories and photos. Until the next Asuncion reunion or better yet a joint Asuncion-Paterno reunion.