Blues For Ma

(For my dearest mother Pacita)
(Blues in E major /by jun asuncion)

Verse 1:
I’ve been searching high and low,
For the place where my mama lays,
I’ve been traveling far and wide,
Through the nights and through the days.

It’s been a long, lonely journey,
Trying to find my mama’s grave,
But I finally found today,
The place where she rests in peace.

Verse 2:
It’s been three long years of pain,
Since the day that she passed on,
And I’ve been searching ever since,
For the place where she is gone.

It’s been a long, lonely journey,
Trying to find my mama’s grave,
But I finally found today,
The place where she rests in peace.

Verse 3:
I’ve been walking through the rain,
And I’ve been walking through the storms,
I’ve been searching high and low,
For the place where she would go.

It’s been a long, lonely journey,
Trying to find my mama’s grave,
But I finally found today,
The place where she rests in peace.

Verse 4:
Now I stand here at her grave,
And I feel a sense of peace,
For I know that she’s in heaven,
And her soul has found release.

It’s been a long, lonely journey,
Trying to find my mama’s grave,
But I finally found today,
The place where she rests in peace.

I’ll always cherish the memories,
Of the love that she gave to me,
And I’ll never forget the journey,
That brought me to where I need to be.

Find Our Wings And Learn To Fly

(Jazzblues Ballad in F major7/ jun asuncion
jazz& blues album)

In life, we all have family ties,
Togetherness that we hold so dear,
But when respect is lost things can go awry,
And loved ones can become unclear.

The bonds we shared can slowly fade,
As time and events take their toll,
And we’re left feeling so betrayed,
As we try to keep our hearts whole.

But we must learn to let them go,
And find the strength to move ahead,
To find our own path, make it so,
And let the past remain unsaid.

For letting go is the key,
To finding peace and happiness,
And though we may feel lost and free,
We’ll find our way through this mess.

We’ll take control of our own fate,
And let our spirits soar up high,
And though it may be hard and late,
We’ll find our wings and learn to fly.

Our family ties may never mend,
But we’ll find love in other ways,
And in the end, we’ll learn to bend,
And find the strength to face new days.

So let us hold our heads up high,
And face the moment with a smile,
For though our family ties may die,
We’ll find our own path, all the while.

Love So Great From Above

(slow blues in A major / jun asuncion)

A man went to a clan reunion
Ignored by his kin, he left badly broken
He longed for fairness and peace
Only to get more stabbed behind his face.

In disbelief, he longed for explanation
But this struck against an icy destination
He felt alone, outcasted and in pain
As insults were hurled by exclusive kin.

But he remembered the lessons of his youth
From his parents’ and grandparents’ truth
He learned to accept the fact of his fate
And found comfort in their love so great

Now he stands tall and proud
His living kin’s words no longer loud
For he knows that he is loved
By those who matter most, from above


This prized Amorsolo portrait of Rizal’s cousin is a peek at how super rich Filipinos lived

by Augusto Marcelino Reyes Gonzalez III | Nov 21 2021

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Her name is Leonila Mercado Yatco–Yaptinchay, or Doña Ilay to some, the Chinese mestiza matriarch of the affluent Yatco and Yaptinchay families of Biñan town in Laguna. She is the lady visitors of Leon Gallery’s Eurovilla address in Makati have been inquiring about the past few days, and understandably so. A portrait of her, done by the great National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, hangs in the space that displays the highlights of the upcoming year end auction. And it’s an impressive work—in size, in intricacy, in its depiction of a lady of affluence, so different from the rural lasses we are used to seeing from the master’s oeuvre. 

Fernando Amorsolo's
Fernando Amorsolo’s “Portrait of a Lady in Maria Clara Dress”. Portrait of Doña Leonila Mercado Yatco-Yaptinchay, signed and dated 1955 (lower right), oil on canvas, 70″ x 52″ (178 cm x 132 cm)

The finery she is wearing alone will have one spending an inordinate amount of time inspecting the portrait. She is dressed in an elegant “traje de mestiza” of the 1880s with a traditional camisa and panuelo of very expensive, fully–embroidered “pina” textile. She wears these over a skirt of shimmering turquoise French Lyons silk, overlaid with a “sobrefalda,” or tapis, of black French Chantilly lace. She is also wearing a large gold “tamborin” necklace of the 1890s type, matching earrings of large filigree gold beads, a bracelet of Isabel II 4 P gold coins, and hanging from her waist is a “porta abanico” (fan holder) of alternating Isabel II 4 P gold coins and gold beads.

The Biñan rich have a lot of exquisite gold medallions containing miniature paintings of religious figures and scenes by the talented Justiniano Asuncion y Molo aka “Capitan Ting.” The lavish ensemble of gold jewelry in the Amorsolo portrait is just among the many gifts of Ysidro Yatco and Bonifacia Mercado to each of their three daughters of which Leonila is the second. Much of the Spanish colonial gold jewelry of Binan’s “principalia” families are sourced from the famous Paterno Molo de San Agustin atelier in Santa Cruz, Manila.

Photograph of an unidentified client of Amorsolo with the half-done portrait behind him.
Photograph of an unidentified client of Amorsolo with the half-done portrait behind him. Photo courtesy of Leon Gallery

Apart from the finery previously mentioned, Leonila is also wearing embroidered silk gloves from Paris in the painting, and holds an exquisite French ivory piercework fan with handpainted silk and lace. The predilection for all things Parisian and elegant was inherited from her father Ysidro, the first in the family to travel to Paris in the 1880s. He brought home French creature comforts, not least of which were Cristal Baccarat chandeliers and table lamps, decorations, and furniture for the family’s Biñan residence.  

The imposing oil portrait, however, was commissioned by Leonila’s youngest and favorite daughter Flora Yatco Yaptinchay–Evangelista, or Flory. She asked Amorsolo in 1955, following the commission of her own portrait in a Ramon Valera wedding dress the year prior. Leonila’s granddaughters recalled Amorsolo arriving and staying for most of the day, from lunch to merienda, as the artist discussed lengthily the new portrait commissioned by their Tita Flory, who was as loquacious and demanding as could be. The young girls aged 7 to 10 were tasked by their Tita Flory to serve Amorsolo lunch and merienda.

Exterior corner of the Yaptinchay-Yatco ancestral house
Exterior corner of the Yaptinchay-Yatco ancestral house in Binan, Laguna, 1960s.

The painter enjoyed his weekend visits to the Yaptinchay–Yatco ancestral house in Biñan as it was a perfectly preserved time capsule from the 1800s, the way Flora’s good friends top collector Luis Araneta and heiress Chito Madrigal regarded it. The artist charged Flora 5,000 pesos for the full–length portrait of her mother, a very considerable amount at the time. It was based on a small, hand–colored studio photograph of Doña Ilay from the 1880s (the antique photograph remains in the possession of a very knowledgeable Manila collector).  

The patriarch Ysidro is representative of Binan’s oldest Chinese mestizo fortune derived from ricelands, sugarlands, and dry goods trading. His wife Bonifacia Mercado, meanwhile, was reputedly an elder sibling of Francisco Mercado (son of Juan Mercado and Cirila Alejandro;  the name Bonifacia does not appear in that listing so perhaps she had another name, or was a half–sister, a first cousin, or a second cousin), the father of our National Hero, Jose Rizal.

Both Ysidro and Bonifacia were closely related by blood to Francisco Mercado, hence the relations to the Rizals were twice over. The pretty Leonila was the favorite daughter. She always acknowledged that Pepe, Paciano, and the sisters were her cousins as well as uncles and aunts, albeit not as rich as she was. In her parents’ memories, cousin Pepe was an unusually intelligent, rather smart–alecky, talkative, and “malikot” child, at least when he wasn’t sick with something.  

Elegant “caida” or entrance hall of the early 1800s Yaptinchay-Yatco ancestral house in Binan, Laguna. A young Jose Rizal—cousin Pepe—used to run and play all over his cousins’ big house. Photo courtesy of Lito Ligon

Relations between the Yatco sisters and their younger Mercado–Rizal cousins were close and cordial. As children, the cousins played in the Yatco–Mercado “azotea,” “cocina,” and “antecocina,” right beside the “comedor” dining room and “caida” entrance hall.  They liked to sit on a long bench and gather around the “dulang,” a low dining table. 

Leonila related to her children that after cousin Pepe’s execution in December 1896, his younger sisters had come to the house requesting financial assistance; the Rizal family’s assets having been confiscated by the Spaniards. The sisters had to pass surreptitiously through the “voladas” (galleries) of the house like servants to avoid the attention of the household staff and possibly of the roaming guardia civil.

Leonila’s parents did extend financial assistance to their beleaguered Rizal relations, but they did so at great risk to their lives, livelihood, and reputation. 

Lavish interiors of the Yatco-Yaptinchay ancestral home
 Interior shots of the Yatco-Yaptinchay ancestral home. Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery

Cordial relations between the families continued up to the prewar, with the younger Rizal sisters visiting their affluent Yatco–Mercado cousins in Biñan. 

During World War II, Leonila’s son Isidro (“Sidring”) offered the hospitality and relative safety of the house to his good friend Jesus Amado “Amading” S. Araneta and his family, including an eccentric aunt who did not like to be kissed nor touched. Amading’s youngest daughter Maria (“Baby”) brought her beautiful American and European dolls, to the delight of the young Yaptinchay granddaughters.    

The Ysidro Yatco–Bonifacia Mercado residence (which later became the Pablo Yaptinchay–Leonila Yatco residence) was composed of the original 1820s bahay–na–bato connected by a commodious stone azotea to a newer, larger, 1840s bahay–na–bato which served as the residence’s principal façade. Another story went that the couple had built the 1840s house in front and then purchased the old 1820s house at the back to connect the two properties, a common practice at the time. In any case, the residence was large, composed of two houses connected by a stone “azotea.”    

Lavish interiors
Interior shots of the Yatco-Yaptinchay ancestral home. Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery

Leonila and her two sisters lived in then unheard–of luxury as the daughters of Binan’s preeminent citizens at that time (1870s and onwards). Imported French, English, American, and Chinese furniture graced the reception rooms. Elegant furniture from the redoubtable Chinese cabinetmaker Ah Tay in Binondo, Manila appointed the various rooms (there were four marbletop “lavadoras” (washstands) and four “peinadoras” (dressers) in the house when the usual grand residence usually had only one of each. European crystal chandeliers, hanging lamps, and table lamps lit the rooms.  

The “caida” entrance hall was furnished with comfortable local and imported armchairs, round marbletop tables and side tables; memorable was a French Empire–style completely gilded marbletop console supported by an eagle. There were tall mirrors over the console tables. An American Victorian gasolier hung from the painted ceiling secured with buttonlike discs. There was also a tall German grandfather’s clock. Casually placed everywhere, on tables and on the walls, were the family’s travel souvenirs from times past.

Sala of the Yaptinchay-Yatco ancestral house
Sala of the Yaptinchay-Yatco ancestral house in Binan, Laguna (after 1955, when the F Amorsolo portrait was commissioned). Photo courtesy of Lito Ligon

In the commodious sala, large, lifesized oil portraits of Ysidro and Bonifacia by Antonio Malantic y Arzeo of Tondo hung on the far walls; a seated oil portrait of Pablo Yaptinchay y Gana by Justiniano Asuncion y Molo of Santa Cruz, Manila hung on one narrow wall. The walls were covered in canvas painted with arcadian scenes of trees and forests, hills and mountains by theater artists. A large grooved marbletop table with C–scroll legs occupied the center of the “sala,” with marbletop console tables in the same style along the walls set under large mirrors.

Seating in the sala was originally of traditional “Luis Quince” and “Carlos Trece” style armchairs and sofas as well as the erstwhile fashionable Thonet “Vienna” bentwood chairs of the 1800s. These were, however, replaced during the prewar with sturdier chairs and sofas in the geometric Art Deco style by Gonzalo Puyat. A big Eastern rug covered the center of the floor. A pair of Cristal Baccarat chandeliers hung from the painted ceiling, matching the sconces on the walls; they were purchased by Ysidro in Paris in the 1880s. A pair of antique Chinese Ch’ing dynasty ceramic Foo dogs sat on the console tables; in a nod to Chinese ancestral traditions, the pair was brought to the Yaptinchay–Yatco family mausoleum as decor every first of November.

Lavish interiors
Interior shots of the Yatco-Yaptinchay ancestral home. Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery

The bedrooms had elegant 1840s tester beds in “kamagong” wood as well as ornate 1870s tester beds in “golden narra” wood, not to mention the prestigious “calabasa” beds of Ah Tay. There were many “aparadores” of various styles to store personal possessions; one aparador contained Leonila’s old issues of “La Moda Elegante,” an 1800s fashion magazine. The master bedroom had a grand matrimonial bed elaborately carved with swallows, cranes, incense burners, phoenixes, and dragons with solomonic testers. This was fronted by a comoda–altar with a magnificent tableaux of the Crucifixion in ivory encased in a kamagong urna, and flanked by ivory images of “San Jose Patriarca,” “San Roque de Montpelier,” and “Santa Barbara, virgen y martir.”  Most of the ivory santos in the Yaptinchay–Yatco house were by the Biñan crowd favorite, Leoncio Asuncion y Molo of Santa Cruz, Manila, brother of the painter Justiniano Asuncion y Molo.  Several of the “aparadores” were by Ah Tay of Binondo.

solid ivory santos
One of the magnificent 18th century, solid ivory santos of the Yaptinchay-Yatco family of Binan, Laguna. Photo courtesy of Lito Ligon

The Yaptinchay–Yatco “antecocina” and the “cocina” had an “aljibe,” a stone water cistern.  A plain “aljibe” was a common feature of a bahay–na–bato. It was usually part of an azotea, and at that time of no running water, it stored rainwater necessary for household chores. However, to have an elaborate “aljibe” with a stone turret concealing the well, tiled roof, and an earthenware pineapple finial as part of the water filtration system was entirely another matter of finances altogether. Few Filipino bahay–na–bato had elaborate “aljibes,” among them the Yaptinchay–Yatco house in Binan, Laguna, and the Constantino house in Bigaa, Bulacan. 

To contextualize these domestic, seemingly trivial matters, one should understand that well–off Filipino houses were sparsely furnished up to the end of the Spanish period in 1898. Fine furniture, both imported and local, were expensive, and imported lighting and decorations much more so. To have a houseful of European luxuries was a great economic and social feat up to the end of the Spanish regime. The Yaptinchay–Yatco residence in Biñan, with its neoclassical architecture and elegant furnishings, represented an ideal example of the Filipino “bahay–na–bato” by the high standards of the late Filipiniana authority Martin Imperial Tinio Jr.        

Leonila married Pablo Gana Yaptinchay in the 1890s and they had three sons and four daughters: Jose “Pepe,” Francisco , Isidro Sidring, Nicasio Chiong–Veloso Osmena (“Nick”) Trinidad “Ate,” Tita “Tating,” Macaria “Nena,” and Flory who married the eminent Teodoro Evangelista Sr. the Executive Secretary of President Elpidio Quirino; Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Secretary of Education; and Far Eastern University President. The high–profile Sidring, meanwhile, parlayed his inheritance to a large fortune in the heavy machinery business, had his offices in Hong Kong, and lived at The Peak. The house was designated as “comunidad” in Leonila’s last will and testament but Flora paid off her six siblings and it became solely her property.  

[The Amorsolo portrait in this story is open for viewing from November 27 to December 3, Saturday to Friday, from 9 AM to 7 PM, at León Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City. The Kingly Treasures Auction 2021 is co-presented by, the urban man’s guide to culture and style, and the lifestyle website of the ABS-CBN News Channel. 

For further inquiries, email or contact +632 8856-27-81. To browse the catalog, visit For updates, follow León Gallery on their social media pages: Facebook – and Instagram @leongallerymakati.]

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In eulogy for daughter, Henry Sy Jr. describes Jan Catherine’s spirited life

( – March 21, 2021 – 2:16pm

Equestrienne Jan Catherine Sy, daughter of SM Prime chairman Henry “Big Boy” Sy. Jr. and granddaughter of late tycoon Henry Sy, passed away on Thursday night, March 18, 2021.

She suffered from a serious infection that caused sepsis, a condition that damages the tissues and potentially lowers blood pressure to a life-threatening level. She was 29.

Besides being a competitive horse-rider, Jan served as assistant vice president at SM Development Corp. the real estate arm of her family’s vast holdings linked to the SM brand.

I wish to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support, prayers and striving beside me and my family, the doctors and medical teams, in the effort to save the life of my eldest daughter, Jan Catherine Sy. Many of you responded to the timely need for transfusions over and over. For this we are deeply touched and grateful.

Jan being on lockdown with us during the past year in this pandemic was truly a gift.

She took care of us her parents as most young people do especially of our health and well-being, our IT needs and driving for us whenever needed, making sure we exercised as she skated beside us on our daily walks.

She bought us bikes and helmets, encouraged us to swim, herself being such a disciplined health buff and athlete. She nagged us to eat healthily and sleep early. She was joyful, kind and patient with us her parents and the most wonderful to be around especially in the past few months even as she prepared for her wedding to Jack.

I cannot begin to explain the extraordinary turn of events that struck my family.

All I can say is, it has broken me.

The proud man that I was was focused on three things of this earth.

  1. Money, which always was my main concern.
  2. Relationships—perhaps my intense attachment to my family was also another form of idolatry.
  3. Prestige. I took pride and satisfaction in accomplishments and being the best at what I do.

Jan, since she was a little girl, was the one who would keep asking me to come with her to church.

She grew up to be my [executive assistenat] at work and at home, and more so the past year, made life so pleasant under the circumstances we all now face because of the pandemic.

By God’s grace and compassion, He allowed us to speak to Jan moments before she was intubated and she said she was ready to meet Jesus, giving a double thumbs up and then pointing to the sky saying “with Jesus.”

Jan loved God and she loved everyone around her. She had so many plans to build places and spaces where those less fortunate can experience and enjoy things she herself being privileged, enjoyed growing up with.

She often told me how it pained her to see the sufferings of the poor and how she wanted to be able to do her part in alleviating such. She wanted to build hospitals, schools and other facilities for them to help restore the dignity of human life God intended.

At this moment, I cannot see and understand why the Lord took her home at this point in her young life, but God’s message to me these past few days is clear—to trust Him with all my heart [and] not to lean on my own understanding, but in everything and all my ways, to acknowledge Him.

Yes, Jan was never mine to begin with. She was loaned to us for 29 years and what a beautiful gift she was from God.

Her earnest desire was for all to be saved for eternity. To come to personally and experientially KNOW and TRUST in her Saviour Jesus Christ, just as she did, when she accepted His free gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) through the forgiveness of all her sins… through the Cross, believing in the finished work of Christ Jesus. (John 19:30)

Just like myself, during this pandemic, through the GoViral movement, she began leading a number of small groups in Bible study among her co-workers and friends and even in our own family devotions, encouraging others to do the same and get to KNOW the Jesus of the Bible.

We are comforted by the knowledge that she is rejoicing now and safe in His presence in heaven. She had this confidence and assurance from the very start. God took her at the peak of her spiritual life, a life of fullness and abundance and no regrets.

Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me shall live, even if he dies. And everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)

My daughter Jan lives and will never die. We can never lose her because she has eternal life in Jesus and no one can snatch her out of His hand. (John 10:27-30) Her physical body may have died but her soul and spirit now live safely in her new home in heaven where there are no more tears.

In this I and my family rejoice, take comfort and strength, and look forward with expectation to celebrating Jesus together with her someday in His perfect and appointed time.

Meanwhile, being here on earth, the pain of separation, as sudden and frightening as it was, is real and unbearable. If not for the grace of knowing God’s promises, and the love and prayers and support of the body of Christ, we would be completely lost.

Please do continue to pray for me and my family as we go through this difficult time in our lives. Thank you once again and we give all glory and praise to our good God and Heavenly Father. May He remind us truly to number our days and grant us a heart of wisdom. Cherish His blessings of family and loved ones.

He gives, He takes, my heart will choose to say, LORD BLESSED BE YOUR NAME! (Job 1:21)


by jun a.

Over the past six years – and after over thirty years of Karate practice and teaching in Switzerland- I’ve been regularly visiting and training in Okinawa with my Shorin Ryu Seibukan Karate teacher Grandmaster Zenpo Shimabukuro, son of the late Grandmaster Zenryo Shimabukuro, who himself was a direct student of Chotoku Kyan sensei. Chotoku Kyan was a student of Sokon Matsumura, founder of Shorin Ryu karate style, – and many other masters of his time.

The lineage of the Okinawan Shorin Ryu Seibukan Karate is clear and is easily found when one tries to research more about it.

A side note: Karate is Karate, but if you mean or teach and practise Traditional Karate, then you need to have behind and in front of you the family of grandmasters- both past and present that support you, and a Karate Philosophy  that rejects the Japanese approach to it-  which is  sport and competition. The Okinawans are not Japanese, historically speaking.
As Chotoku Kyan sensei had demonstrated, one is free to have several karate teachers of your choice as long as you inform your other senseis. This is possible in Okinawa because the attitude of togetherness is their cultural trait. In this sense, Okinawans help one another and Karate is not viewed as a competition but just as a vehicle for everybody to train their body and spirit.
So, it’s only in Okinawa where you don’t feel this jealousy and competition among the great masters. You often see them working together in seminars and enjoying together a drink of the Okinawan Awamori thereafter. They laugh and dance together and talk about ordinary topics. About Karate, they don’t emphasize the differences in styles and technic, and they don’t compare and judge as to which one is better, but rather respect one another. They don’t even talk about Dan Rankings, etc. What matters to them are your efforts, sincerity and respect to people and tradition. Okinawans of today still hold on to the belief that their land is a “Land Of Propriety”. And this is true also among the masters of Karate, an art refined in Okinawa.

Jun Sensei with Grandmaster Zenpo Shimabukuro. Okinawa, Japan 2018

I am fortunate to have been accepted as a student by Grandmaster Zenpo Shimabukuro (photo above) for it opened to me the way to the authentic Okinawan Karate and also the way to other masters of other schools of Karate and Kobudo, like Goju Ryu, Uechi Ryu, and other Shorin Ryu styles. So I train also with Master Kinjo Shihode of Uechi Ryu Karate, Master Minoru Higa of Shorin Ryu Kyudukan, Master Kyuna Choco of Shorin Ryu Karate  and Master Seiki Takushi of Goju Ryu Karate – and Bojutsu. Not in the photo gallery is Master Morio Higaona of Goju Ryu Karate. Their names, accomplishments and lineage are simply legendary. So, you  really don’t go back home empty handed- or, empty-minded, for that matter- each time you meet and train with them. You gain tremendous knowledge and skills, and lose much of your big ego. This is Okinawan Karate.

Asuncion Paintings at the National Museum of Art

The Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas has loaned its collection of the Asuncion Artists’ Paintings to the National Museum of Art and are now available for viewing until December 2018.

This is a sensation as it includes the portrait of our patriarch Ming Mong Lo, also known us Jose Molo, a Chinese immigrant whose daughter, Maria de La Paz, became the wife of Mariano Asuncion, Sr. Ming Mong Lo is the common ancestor of the Paterno and Asuncion families of today. This portrait was done by Severino Flavier Pablo (1805- 1875), a contemporary of our own Justiniano Asuncion (1816-1896).

Here is the pdf. list  artworks to be showcased in this exhibition as provided to us by REGINA MERCEDES C. CRUZ ,Special Services Group Corporate Affairs Office
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas A. Mabini Street, Malate, Manila 1004

BSP Coll Asuncion paintings at NM

‘Ownership’ of the Hacienda de Angono

This is a repost of an article containing the researches of the blogger debrwall. This article was discovered by our cousin Christine Eustaquio, an Asuncion cousin coming from Romana Asuncion line, daughter of Antonio Asuncion (born 1794) , an older brother of Justiniano Asuncion (born 1816). Romana was married to Andres Trinidad Carrillo of Binãn. This is part of the interesting finds of my increasingly passionate cousins who work day and night as ancestry investigators. It’s nice to have such cousins. This article is to help us understand Antonio Asuncion, a painter, who married Remigia Sta. Ana whose family is mentioned in this article. We give our thanks to debrwall for this very valuable information. / jun asuncion
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General Don Domingo Antonio de Otero Bermudez consolidated a number of properties, the Hacienda de Angono[1], along with other lands and estancia (farms) of Binangonan and the lime quarries of San Guillermo. Señor Don Juan de Ozaeta y Oro, special judge of the Land Commission in 1699, pronounced the documents produced by Don Domingo as ‘good’. He was a member of His Majesty’s council, oidor (Associate Justice) of the Real Audiencia of Philippine Islands.  He also saw the record of proceedings instituted by the natives of the town of Binangonan before the Superior Government, claiming that some of the lands allegedly belonging to the estancia were theirs.

The original objection to the townspeople’s claims was that no one said or did anything to the contrary when the tape passed through their town that marked its boundaries. It was argued that no one pointed out a different stream or river from Mabalan. Rivers or streams separated the lands and traditional practice often used the stream as an unwritten kind of boundary. The people who revolted were subsequently forbidden to work the lands that they occupied without Don Domingo Bermudez, the owner’s consent. Otherwise, they were subject to penalty:  the gobernadorcillo officials and cabezas de barangay  (local native government leaders/heads) were to be deprived of their offices and to be confined with hard labour in the Cavite prison on ration and without salary.

The oidor favoured the claims made by Bermudez and approved the titles and the boundaries of the property based on the demarcation and survey that had just been made.

As an expression of gratitude for his blessings, Don Domingo formed ‘four capellanías (pious trust funds) with a capital of 2,000 pesos each ‘between 1733-1736. Three of these were offered to the Archdiocese of Manila and one to the Order of Preachers. Santiago (2002:30) wrote that ‘all four foundations are still extant.’ Professor Ligaya G. Tiamson Rubin pointed out that Justice Calderon Enriquez found a fake survey in Silang, Cavite that was undertaken in 1743, claiming that the lands belonging to the Binangonan townspeople were already given to the Dominican Order. The Clerk of Court of the Audiencia, Juan Monroy was suspended for two years and asked to pay a penalty of P2,000.[2]

The Royal approval was issued on the 16th December 1749. A comment associated with the issuance of the title was: it was issued ‘without prejudice to third persons who might show a better right’. I interpret this comment to mean that Don Andrés Blanco Bermudez’s (Don Domingo’s nephew) ownership and possession were not ‘absolute’. In 1745, the natives of Binangonan led by their town officials occupied the lands belonging to the hacienda by force of arms —  ‘several towns mutineed and revolted.’  Special Judge Don Pedro Calderón Enriquez, Ozaeta’s successor investigated the Binangoneños’ grievances.

In 1745, the following were recognized as the owners of Hacienda Y Estancia de Angono: General Don Domingo de Otero Bermudez; Alferez Don Andres Blanco Bermudez; Josep Blanco Bermudez; Don Miguel Cacho of Manila. According to Santiago, Don Andrés presented the certificate of the title issued by Judge Ozaeta in 1699 and thereupon, a re-measurement of the dimensions and retracing of the hacienda’s boundaries as described in the certificate were apparently painstakingly undertaken. The landmarks (natural — e.g. huge trees and boulders, and man-made — boundary stones) were still in place. Hence, in 1749, the judge declared the documents ‘genuine and legitimate’.

Don Pasqual de Sta. Ana of Pasig, after two years of negotiation, bought the Hacienda y Estancia de San Clemente de Angono y Lagundi measuring over 3,000 hectare on 14 September 1818 from Don Miguel Cacho of Manila for 12,000 pesos.

Don Pasqual, by oral tradition, belonged to the pre-hispanic nobility of Caintá and Pásig. Santiago referred to the Jesuit chronicler, Chirino who pointed out that at the time of the conquest, Caintá was one of the rare vast towns ruled by a rajah (Sanskrit root: ‘to rule’ — referring to ‘king’, ‘Chief’). During Don Pasqual’s growing up years, his family had ‘gone down in the world’ apparently as a result of the ‘devastation wreaked in these parts by another invader, the British military (1762-64)’. The Sepoy (from India) soldiers in the British army decided to settle in Cayntá, and Don Pasqual and his descendants employed them and their children with native women, in their farms. Although Don Pasqual’s grandfather lost their ancestral lands and his own parents were unable to redeem these lands, through hard work and entrepreneurialship, he and his wife were able to buy back the lands his grandfather lost. Don Pasqual bought two haciendas: Isla de Talim and Hacienda y Estancia de San Clemente de Angono y Lagundi.

As experienced by the other hacenderos, Don Pasqual ‘inherited from his predecessors the wearisome problem of tenants refusing to pay the customary fees (terrasgo) for their houses and fruit-bearing trees inside the estate (Santiago 2002: 32).’ On 22 December 1819, Don Pasqual filed a suit against the tenants at the Royal Audiencia. The outcome of the case was not available.

Don Pasqual’s granddaughter (a Spanish mestiza), Doña Dominga de Sta. Ana Lara of Pasig inherited the Hacienda. Doña Dominga’s father, Don Jose de Sta. Ana married a Spanish lady from an illustrious criollo clan of the city, Doña Maria Escalante, daughter of Don Mariano Escalante and Doña Clara Miranda. Doña Maria Escalante was the young widow of Don Jose Matheo de Rocha, son of Don Luis de Rocha, the owner of the Malacañang estate (the future site of the presidential palace). She was first married in 1842 to the Licenciado Don Benancio Gonzalez de Lara, a lawyer from Toledo, Spain. They had a son, Don Eugenio Gonzalez de Lara (1844-1896). When Don Benancio died, Doña Dominga and her son, returned to Angono to live in the casa hacienda for good. In 1852, the hacendera next married Capt. Francisco Guido, another Spaniard who hailed from Villafranca del Berzo, Leon Province, Spain. Doña Dominga and Don Francisco Guido were my great-great-great grandmother and grandfather, and the next owners of the Hacienda.

The State granted absolute ownership through the real cédula (certificate) on 15 October 1754 to those who legally acquired the estate under the Spanish regime: Don Domingo Antonio de Otero Bermudez, Don Andres Blanco Bermudez and their successors: Don Miguel Cacho, Don Pasqual de Sta. Ana, Doña Dominga de Sta. Ana and Don Francisco Guido.

The boundaries of the property were formed with important towns: in the South were with the town of Binangonan; in the Southeast, with the town of Antipolo; and in the North, with the town of Taytay (where my grandfather, Hermogenes Guido and his wife, Aquilina brought up their ten children — Esperanza, Alfredo, Eufronia – my mother, Gliceria, Priscilla, Rosa, Profetiza, Buenaventura, Buensuceso and Carlos).[3]

Based on the outcome of a court case [4] in relation to the Hacienda de Angono between Justo Guido et. al., plaintiffs and appellees and Agustin de Borja et. al. (defendants and appellants),  the de Borjas were tenants of the Hacienda until 1903. A judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal supported their claim that they were the owners of the Hacienda. The Guidos (Justo, Buenaventura and Juliana and others) appealed against that judgment and won their case. Consequently, the de Borjas were asked to return the property to the Guidos, pay the legal cost and pay in money and paddy (rice field) as owed them, considering that the fruits, crops and plantings on the Hacienda were not theirs. Justo Guido of Singalong, Manila, who had the Hacienda de Angono titled in his name under the Torrens System in 1909; Joaquin, Victoria, and Benito, children of Justo Guido who had the Hacienda subdivided and sold to different owners.

According to Professor Tiamson Rubin, it wasn’t clear whether the entire territory of Hacienda y Estancia de Angono owned by the heirs of Dona de Sta. Ana had been declared ‘Public Lands’ that, in due course, were given to various people who had constructed under their own names their titles through the Torrens Title System. She speculated that due to the scarcity of documents pointing to legitimate Deeds of Transfers concerning the estate, it could be construed that the heirs of Doña Dominga had not shown sufficient interest in asserting their ownership of the property.

[1] Santiago distinguished the hacienda from an encomienda. The hacienda formed boundaries with entire towns and ‘comprised a whole barangay or barrio or a combination of barrios and sitios which eventually developed into a town itself.’ An encomienda was a royal grant of the tributes (not the land) ‘of a particular locality’. The encomenderos’ privilege lasted for two or three generations of the beneficiary’s family (see Santiago, L.P.R.1990.‘The Filipino encomenderos’, Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 18: 162-84)

[2] Tiamson Rubin, L.G. 2003. Angono Rizal: Mga Talang Pangwika at Pagkasaysayan. Espana, Manila: UST Publishing House, p. 63.

[3] Santiago, L.P.R. ‘Don Pasqual de Sta Ana (1762-1827): ‘Indio Hacendero.’ Philippine Studies, Vol 50 (2002): 23-49 First Quarter, Ateneo de Manila University Press, p. 29

[4] Philippine Reports, Vol 12, February 4, 1909; case no 4013

Old Master found again: He had fun

by: Eric Torres

from The Times Journal, Sunday, October 26,1975


Any one who wants to study the works of early Filipino painters will find a small if lacklustre collection in our National Museum to start with. The real glories, unseen by many and unknown even to connoisseurs, hang in ancestral homes – or are kept in the garages – of some of the premier families of Manila and neighboring provincial towns. Just to see these masterpieces in a house –to-house quest is a matter of such Odysean resourcefulness and frustration to make one imagine that a camel’s passage through the eye of a needle simpler.

The relative obscurity today of painters born in the early decades of the 19th century is undeserved though explainable. Perhaps the cultist attention to those late 19th-century laureates who made it to the fashionable salons of Europe, Juan Luna and Felix Resurrection Hidalgo, has made many lose sight of the genuine, and no-less-brilliant, achievements of such artists who stayed home and contributed to the development of a native aesthetic tradition as Antonio Malantic, Lorenzo Guerrero, Simon Flores, and the legendary Justiniano Asuncion, alias Capitan Ting.

At the peak of his creative life Capitan Ting enjoyed a reputation matched only by that Master of Tondo, Malantic. A work done in his prime, which has been in the possession of the Castrillo sisters of Biῇan, Laguna, for generations, is an oil portrait of his grandniece, Romana Asuncion Carrillo, dated 1870 and signed “J.A.” is a florid script. It is as sophisticated as one could ask for, in late Renaissance style characteristic by a mirror-image illusionism, classical clarity of outline, and veristic modelling. It is certainly more full-fleshed than any portrait by Damian Domingo, the mestizo who directed the first school of fine arts in Manila; by comparison, Domingo’s portraits look like whimsical dolls or mannequins.

Idealized Rendering

The portrait of Romana tells us much about the conventions of portraiture at that time. The subject is idealized: forehead, nose and mouth are rendered with pearly smoothness; no trace of epidermal imperfection is allowed to appear; eyes peer at the beholder in a manner piercingly limpid and alive; not one strand of the well-combed hair is out of place.

One convention demanded that the appearance of the sitter be impeccably correct, in unimpeachable taste, for the portrait was meant not merely to decorate the growing expanse of the walks in the house of Indios whose wealth derived from trade and commerce. It was also a cachet of status for the rising ilustrado class eager to win the respect of everyone and to perpetuate an image of superior education and breeding in the best possible light.

As in Renaissance icons of European nobility, the portrait of a lady was calculated to show the comfort and leisure of her class, and to show these by her putting on the finest and most expensive clothes – fulsome panuelo and camisa of piῇa, billowy skirt of brilliant silky stripes and such accessories as perfumed lace handkerchief and ivory fan. Sitting for a portrait also provided a splendid excuse to deck herself with the treasures of her jewel box, and these consisted of comb, petache (a hair ornament), earring, tamburin (pendant) or rosary – all studded with pearls and diamonds – and rings on most fingers (three for each hand was a standard number). Each exquisite detail of rococo embroidery and filigree was delineated with a virtuoso precision designed to astonish.
Above all the artist was expected to capture an ambience of decorum and highmindedness, which among other things meant keeping the sitter’s mouth shut.

Delicate tension

What gives pictorial clout to early portraiture by painters of Capitan Ting’s calibre was a certain delicate tension created between the exuberant linear and textural details of finery on one hand, and the rather plain Pilar expression of the face on the other – and again between the stiff transparent planes of dress and the roundly sensuous modelling of the face, hands and sometimes forearms, if shown at all. Evident in Capitan Ting’s best portraits is a wide-eyed, provincial curiosity about the status-seeking attitudes and material splendour of his ilustrado patrons, whom he saw at their Sunday best – a curiousity mixed with just the right measure of enthusiasm and detachment, which accounts for the crisp sentimentality in the portraits he did of the women in the Paterno family of Quiapo.

Capitan Ting was born in Sta. Cruz, Manila, on September 23, 1816 to a family of Chinese extraction. (In a double portrait he did of his parents, his father strikes a pose which clearly displays his Chinese queue.) He was second to the youngest of 12 children. Five of his brothers were all-around painters and sculptors, the most gifted of whom was Leoncio, who carved fine religious images in ivory and baroque furniture as well.

Barrio captain

About 1855 he served as barrio captain for Santa Cruz, and was well liked for his worldly wisdom and congeniality. That he had a stone house built on Calle Quiton is a sign that he enjoyed some measure of economic prosperity from commerce. There he lived most of his long life, raised six children, and supported a number of relatives. In his late years, he retired to Bulan, Sorsogon, where two of his sons, also painters, had settled down. In his Bicol retirement, he raised some of the best fighting cocks in the region. He died in Bulan in 1896 at the age of 80.

A self-taught artist, he painted for pleasure rather than for money. Like the other masters of his time, he applied his prodigious skill to all kinds of art work, including colourful genre illustrations depicting such local types as a mestiza cooling herself by the river, a vendor of mats, an aficionado of the cockpit coddling his gamecock, and so on, which must have delighted foreign visitors.

Miniatures, too

He did works of monumental scale as well as miniatures no larger than the size of one’s palm. His one magnum opus of imposing dimensions depicting bigger-than-life figures of four saints, Jerome, Agustin, Gregory, and Ambrose, painted on the pendentives of the Santa Cruz church, was destroyed by fire, before World War II.

But the miniatures have survived as heirlooms among fourth generation Asuncions. These are portraits in oil or watercolour on thin, flat pieces of ivory whose texture was used to enhance the luminescent quality of his hues and to give the superfine rendering of the skin and hair the highest degree of verismo.
A branch of the Asuncion family tree, the Gomezes of Ongpin street, has a few examples which clearly reveal the miniaturismo method. This consisted of first polishing the surface of the ivory to a fine sheen and then drawing the outlines of the figure in pencil. The last stage, the most painstaking, called for the application of paint by means of a tiny brush (which appears for all intents and purposes to have had no more than three or four hairs) in a pointillistic system of dots, or points.

The result was a pellucid illusion of the model which no mere photography could possibly achieve.
“He must have had a sense of humor,” comments one of his descendants, Mrs. Corazon Galang of Cubao, Quezon City. Compared to Capitan Ting’s, Malantic portraits look glum, somber and unsmiling. A quiet cheer or optimism pervades the canvases of the Master of Santa Cruz, especially when he painted women of all ages, of which the portrait of Dolores Paterno, the composer of the languid “Sampaguita,” in the Carmen Gabriel collection, is a fair example.

Good cheer

This optimism radiates with an inspired luster in a portrait of a favourite niece, Filomena Asuncion, a moon-faced beauty whom he painted with a robust sensuousness and a discreet smile ready to break out from her moist lips – a relief from the general uptightness of portraits by his contemporaries. This one, signed “J.A.” and dated 1860 carries a matter-of-fact notation, “A los 22 aῇos y 10 dias de edad,” as if to twit the vanity of human wishes, especially for recuerdos of one’s youth. In doing her portrait, perhaps the best he ever did, Capitan Ting raised the quality of lifelikeness to the level of trompe l’oeil.

His facility for the fool-the-eye lifelikeness was once put to a severe test when he chose for a model the image of no less a celebrity than Our Lady of Antipolo. The final version he did, now in the possession of a descendant who lives in Paco, is in pencil and opaque watercolour. Earlier versions were dismal failures. Each time he painted her the trompe l’oeil turned out gloriously for the rich gold embroidery of the cape and gown and the numerous diamonds that studded her apparel and the gold jewelry she wore from head to fingers. But he just could not get the cool, aristocratic face right. Somebody suggested the reason why she was so elusive was that he was not approaching her properly enough. He had better paint kneeling down, he was told. And that was how he painted the face in the final version, on his knees.

Two anecdotes show Capitan Ting’s humor to advantage, and both deal with his reputation as a magician of visual effects.

Gasps and giggles

He used to hang an oil painting on a wall in his house facing the street and visible to pedestrians (through an open door). Its purpose? To gull the unwary passerby into seeing a baby falling off a split-bamboo bed, or papag, as much as to draw gasps of amazement from the unsuspecting witness of the “accident” – and giggles from the painter and his household who were in on the joke, of course.

Another Capitan Ting fool-the-eye steals a leaf from the Zeuxis, that hyper-realistic painter of ancient Greece who was said to have painted a bunch of grapes so accurately that birds came to peck at them. For want of something better to do in his late years, he painted on the flat top of a wooden trunk, or baul, a scattering of coins painted with such finicky fidelity to the real thing that house guests would try to pick them up.

Did he leave any self-portrait?

Mrs. Galang recalls one which he painted of himself as a gaunt-looking old man with thinning gray hair, deep-set eyes, and mouth unceremoniously open. The children of her sister, who inherited the autoretrato, used to play with it as a means of scaring other kids in the neighbourhood with cries of “Mamaw!” When last heard of, it lay in the basement of her house, a rolled-up piece of canvas gathering dust. And now this sister thinks it might have been inadvertently thrown away.

Tracking them down

One of these days, a great grandnephew of Capitan Ting, Rafael Asuncion, a painter in his own right (whose father, Jose Asuncion, a painter of prewar renown, was the grandson of Leoncio Asuncion), intends to carry out an ambitious plan: a family reunion of all living Asuncions in an attempt to track down and recover extant works by their illustrious ancestor. “None of Lolo Ting’s relatives ever paid very much attention to his paintings,” confesses Mrs. Galang. “None of us ever imagined he would be historically important someday.”

What might yet turn up, if ever the project pushes through, is that missing self-portrait of an artist who is all but forgotten in our time and who, in his peak years, painted masterpieces which now deserve to be declared National Treasures.

A tale likely to be recounted in this planned grand reunion has to do with the last years of Capitan Ting in his Bulan retirement, the best I have heard yet.
His fighting cocks proved to be such persistent winners in the pit that in time (so the story goes) nobody wanted to put up a fight against his champions, as though they had charmed lives. So he decided to employ a little cunning. He changed the colors of his champions by dyeing (one version says “painting”) their feathers so nobody could recognize them, and this way managed to con his fellow cockers – a master of illusion, or deception, to the very end.


Transcribed from the clipping by Anna Rojas, September 28, 2017.

Art & Family: The Asuncion Legacy

Ayala Museum, with the support of Bench, DivinaLaw, Araneta & Faustino Law Offices, and AuraStrat, will be presenting an exhibition of 19th century paintings, illustrations, and sculptures by preeminent Filipino artists of the time, the brothers Justiniano, Leoncio, and Mariano Asuncion.

Entitled Art and Family: The Asuncion Legacy, the exhibition will be on display at Ayala Museum’s Third Floor Galleries and will run from 8 August 2017 to 14 January 2018.

Justiniano Asuncion
Portrait of Filomena Asuncion
Oil on canvas
81 x 61.5 cm.
Dr. Eleuterio Pascual Collection

Selected works include paintings and sculptures, miniatures, medallions, portraits, and watercolor illustrations by the aforementioned artists loaned from both private and institutional collections.  Many are commissioned by the artist’s patrons and families and showcase both popular religious and secular motifs of the time.





The union of Mariano Asumpcion and Maria dela Paz Molo de San Agustin of Manila produced 12 children: Manuel (born 1732); Antonio (1794); Victoria (1796); Mamerta (1789); Justo (1800); Mariano(1802); Epifanio (1806); Ambrosio (1808); Pascuala (1811); Leoncio (1813); Justiniano (1816); and Canuta (1819),  who had devoted their lives to the arts through paintings and sculpture.  As a big family, art kept them a closely knit clan. Many of the original works of the Asuncion family have been lost through fire, earthquakes, floods, and wars.

The descendants hold regular meetings and reunions and have initiated this exhibition to honor the memory and legacy of the Asuncion family, whose works are held in high esteem in Philippine art history.

Mariano Asuncion (1802-1888) is the eldest of the featured artists and enjoyed a wide patronage of religious clientele. His subjects were mostly about the miracles of saints, the Passion of Christ and images of the Virgin Mary. His works are compared to Italian painters of the 13th – 15th centuries. Leoncio Asuncion(1813-1888) is considered as the Father of Modern Religious Sculpture. He is remembered for his santos made of ivory and wood. Justiniano Asuncion (1816-1896), fondly remembered as Kapitan Ting after having served as cabeza de barangay of Sta. Cruz, Manila, in 1853, was a painter known for his portraits. Aside from exposure from practicing artists in his family, he also received artistic training under Damian Domingo (1796-1834) noted painter of portraits, miniatures and religious imagery, who established an art school in Tondo in 1821.

Additional support for this exhibition was provided by Via Mare. Talks and activities will be scheduled during the exhibition run and will be announced through Ayala Museum’s website and social media channels.

For more information, visit or call (632) 759 82 88 or email

Art and Family: The Asuncion Legacy

THE Ayala Museum presents an exhibition of 19th century paintings, illustrations, and sculptures by the pre-eminent Filipino artists of the time, the brothers Justiniano, Leoncio, and Mariano Asuncion. Entitled Art and Family: The Asuncion Legacy, the exhibit will be on display at the museum’s 3rd floor Galleries from Aug. 8 to Jan. 14. Selected works include paintings and sculptures, miniatures, medallions, portraits, and watercolor illustrations. Talks and activities will be scheduled during the exhibition run and will be announced through Ayala Museum’s Website and social media channels.

asuncion legacy



 BULAN, Sorsogon, Philippines (JGL) – In 1943, the Japanese Imperial Army started building an airport in a small sitio of Bulan, Sorsogon so their soldiers can easily escape if General MacArthur were to return with his Allied soldiers during World War II.

But because of the extraordinary grit and resiliency of the Filipino guerillas (militias), they were able advance the timetable of MacArthur’s return, which caught the Japanese by surprise.

As MacArthur was carpet-bombing Leyte from the nearby Leyte Gulf, the Japanese Forces abandoned the airport they were building in what is now believed to be sitio Oyango in Bulan that ends up in Ticao Pass, a part of the Luzon Strait that connects the Philippine Sea to the South China Sea (Philippine Western Sea) in the western Pacific Ocean.


(LOLO BOBBY M. Reyes (right) surveys the extend of the runway of the Bulan Airport, which he said he will complete if he were elected Sorsogon governor on Monday, May 9, during his visit to the area recently in Bulan, Sorsogon, Philippines. (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

Several Philippine presidents since Liberation had dreams of reviving the construction of the airport but an independent candidate for provincial governor LOLO Bobby M. Reyes would like to finally help the people of Bulan (Bulanenos) have their own airport if he is elected governor on Monday, May 9, 2016. Government officials who tried to build the airport just put the money for the airport in their pockets that’s why nothing had come out of the airport, Mr. Reyes said.

Mr. Reyes said he could make the Bulan Airport a reality if his patron, Sen. Grace Poe, is elected president on Monday.

Mr. Reyes, who celebrated his 70th birthday last May 1, said the completion of the Bulan International Airport (BIA) is going to be one of the flag-ship projects of his administration out of the ten priority projects to “reinvent” the Quality of Life in Sorsogon and its “Isles of the Future” and create 300,000 jobs.


 Taking a page from Sorsogon’s longest-serving governor, the late Juan G. Frivaldo, who sported the name “Tata (elderly) Juan,” Mr. Reyes said his moniker “LOLO,” which means grandfather in Bikol, stands for “Law and Order, Less Government and Opportunities equally for all.”

As a long-time Balikbayan from Los Angeles, California, where he was a lifelong community activist, LOLO Bobby returned to his boyhood and high school-age home of Barangay Bibingcahan in what he now calls “Bacon-Sorsogon (Bac-Sor) City” with all the wisdom and perspectives he accumulated so that he could pay back his dues to his  province of birth.

Based on his writings from his travels on his own and Facebook posts, LOLO Bobby now wants to put those ideas into practice if he luckily wins the majority vote of the 425,025 Sorsogon voters, who had an 83.71% voting turnout record in 2013.

Bobby decided to run for governor of Sorsogon when he started to urge Senator Poe to run for president, when nobody did, thru his Facebook posts, which generated tens of thousands of likes and followers and when nobody from the crop of candidates for governor in Sorsogon supported Ms. Poe. Bobby was introduced to Ms. Poe by his daughter, who was a classmate of Ms. Poe from grade one in Antipolo City to high school.

Because Bobby is not allowed to host a radio program a few weeks in the run-up of the elections, he asked some of his friends, including this reporter and Bubot Laguna, to sub for him in spreading his message over Catholic radio station (DZGN-FM, 102.3mHz)(11a.m. to 12 noon) hosted by Psalm Geraldino and PADABA (103.9 FM) (4 p.m.-6 p.m.) hosted by Bhem Emmanuel Desabayla.


withfarmersIn his visit to Purok 7-B in Bulan Airport with this reporter, LOLO Bobby told the people, who turned the 10-lane runaway of the airport into palay drying platform, that with the grace of God if he were elected Sorsogon governor, he foresees the airport to be his flag-ship project that could generate hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs.)

“I will make sure that you will earn a minimum of P1,000 (US$22.22) a day in contrast to Manila where P450 (US$10.00) a day is the minimum daily wage,” Bobby told one of farmers who were drying his palay over the ten-lane runway.


(ASIDE FROM THIS Terminal building, only the 10-lane runaway is the only visible task that was constructed from an alleged release of P15-M (US$333,333) to construct the airport in 2007. (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

When asked why he is making Bulan Airport his main project, Bobby said, “I am the son of Cristina Mercado, who hails from Bulan. And I am the only candidate out of the eight candidates for governor, who hails from Bulan.”

It was reported by the Bulan Observer that sometime in 2007, there was funding for the airport in the amount of P15-M (US$333,333) for the parcellary survey, to complete the runway upgrading and right-of-way acquisition that was supposed to be completed by 2008. It did not mention if the terminal building that is the only visible building in the airport was part of the funding.


(HIS EXPANSIVE runway that was started by Japanese Imperial Forces was being rebuilt by every administration after World War II but has yet to be completed. LOLO Bobby M. Reyes, a son of a native of Bulan, Sorsogon in the Philippines, wants to finish this Bulan International Airport if he is elected Sorsogon governor on Monday, May 9. The runway ends in Ticao Pass, a part of the Luzon Strait that connects the Philippine Sea to the South China Sea (Philippine Western Sea) in the western Pacific Ocean. (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

Aside from the airport and the other priority projects he wants to pursue, Mr. Reyes said he wants to introduce economic development in Sorsogon because it is one of the 20 poorest provinces in the Philippines. “It’s about time somebody has to do positive things for the province and of course I want zero corruption. I would handle peace and order under a law and order program that will stop corruption and stop crimes from rising, especially drug epidemic.”

He said his projects have been posted on his Facebook page and website,

Although nobody is bankrolling his campaign, LOLO Bobby likes his chances to be elected governor as he has been rated fourth among the eight gubernatorial candidates by a Sorsogon radio station.


(BECAUSE HE has no money to pay for his own billboard, Independent candidate LOLO Bobby M. Reyes is very pleased to see and thankful that the office of Sorsogon City Mayor  Sally A. Lee and the Sorsogon City Tourism Office have included his name and photo in the billboard of six of eight Sorsogon gubernatorial candidates. LOLO Bobby said that the “catch” of the ad is actually a backhanded endorsement of one of the candidates, Eric Dioneda (PDP-Laban), whose educational attainment was portrayed as a college undergraduate first-year midwifery education. Mayor Lee’s son, Bobet Lee Rodrigueza (Liberal Party), is portrayed as a holder of a BSBA-Management degree while LOLO Bobby Reyes is a college graduate in AB Journalism. (JGL Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

Mr. Reyes said on or before July 1, 2016, the first day of office when he takes over the “Sorsogon Interactive New Government (SING),” he will launch simultaneously 10 or more crash-programmed projects designed to raise dramatically the “Quality of Life (QoL)” of the people of Sorsogon that will lead to eliminate unemployment and underemployment.

 “PROJECT 2021”

 He said ten separate task forces, with at least 100 trained staffers each, will be organized and fielded to implement the projects that will translate into hundreds of thousands of new well-paying and permanent jobs.

All local-government units (LGU’s) will be asked to provide more manpower and support to the task forces.

The priority projects will be classified into short-, medium-, and long-term goals that shall be the vehicles needed to accomplish the so-called “PROJECT 2021.” “They will be treated like items in a conveyor belt of an assembly line, so that a long-term project can become a short-term goal if the circumstances and needed resources are present,” Bobby said.

Among the “PROJECT 2021” that will take Sorsogon from 20th to the 21st century (2016-2021) are introducing to the province a Health Maintenance Organization that will provide “Patients’ Rights and Responsibilities” (; education reforms, including retraining of teachers, increasing their salaries, lowering teacher-student ratio, school-provided meals to elementary students and acquisition of modern equipment (; inspection and retrofitting of concrete buildings in the province, including churches, followed by school-based earthquake-and-other-disaster-preparation classes and training and fielding of trained volunteer fire-and-disaster brigades;

Organization or re-organization of tree-farming co-ops in all the province’s 541 barangays (barrios) and crash program of planting cacao, coffee and cash crops and their shade trees, including an extensive cultivation of bamboo, so as to double the income of participating families in five to ten years, thereby wiping out poverty;  organization and reorganization of fishing co-ops in all the coastal barrios of the province, including the massive cleaning (every weekend) of Sorsogon Bay, the province’s 50 rivers and numerous springs, brooks and other bodies of water and reforestation of their watershed areas. (;


(LOLO BOBBY M. Reyes (extreme left) paid a courtesy call on Flor Solis (second from left), widow of the late Sorsogon Rep. Jose Solis (whose photo is hanging above) of the second district of Sorsogon, who lobbied for the construction of the Bulan Airport, in the house of Mrs. Solis and her daughter-in-law, Joanne Solis, who is running for provincial board member for the second district of Sorsogon, Bubot Laguna and journalist, Joseph G. Lariosa. (JGL Photo)

The fresh water of Sorsogon’s 50 rivers and other springs, brooks and streams can be harnessed and exported to different parched countries as today clean potable water is more expensive than crude oil or even gasoline. Launching of food-production centers with grain-storage silos, solar-powered refrigerated warehouse and other equipment; Concreting of the runways, aprons parking spaces of the Bulan and Bacon airports, the construction of control towers, with electronic-and-electrical facilities and fuel depots. (; the “New Uber-like Parcel Service and Postal House” (; solving the growing squatter problem; massive tourism development program; launching of a law-and-order campaign with a “reinvented” Sorsogon Provincial Sheriff’s Office and fielding of one law-enforcement officer (LEO) with training of five employees that will compose a security force of 5,000 to safeguard millions  of domestic and foreign tourists.
And many other projects that include development of stock market, title insurance industry, workmen’s compensation industry, crop-insurance and/or health-insurance industry, broadband industry, call centers, water parks, solid waste, waste-water (for the Bac-Man geothermal plant) and sewage treatment plants and other environmental friendly energy projects. (


Joseph G. Lariosa
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Facebook: Joseph G. Lariosa
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CHICAGO (JGL) – Overseas Filipino voters, who are interested to find out if their votes match their receipts, should vote in person, not by mail.

But if you don’t care or if you trust the Embassy or Philippine Consulate that your vote will be counted regardless if you want see the receipt or not, then you may just mail in your ballots for as long as you believe that your mail-in votes will be postmarked on or before the May 9, 2016 deadline.

This overseas voter found it the hard way when the staff in the Philippine Consulate in Chicago, who are deputized by the Philippine Commission on Election, to handle the conduct of voting were not able to properly explain to me the nuisances of the difference between voting by mail and voting by person.

It was only after I learned from a complaint of an overseas voter in Hongkong that there was a receipt that validated her vote after dropping the ballot. The complaint of the overseas voter, which was enclosed in a youtube link (, which went viral, led me to double check with the Philippine Consulate in Chicago how come I did not get a receipt after I filled up my ballot in the voting precinct in the Consulate.

The complainant said although she voted for “Duterte,” the receipt showed she voted for “Roxas.”

This took me aback and I wanted to find out what happened to the ballot that I filled up and informed the Consulate.

Deputy Consul General and SBEI (Special Board of Election Inspectors) Chairman Romulo Victor M. Israel, Jr. belatedly explained to me that according to COMELEC Resolution No. 10087, ballot receipts are shown only to those who voted personally, meaning those who cast their votes by receiving and accomplishing their ballots at the polling center, and feeding their ballots into the Vote Counting Machine (VCM).

Moreover, after verifying his/her votes as contained in the receipt, the voter will be asked to fold and drop it in a designated receptacle or box. Voters shall not be allowed to bring the receipts with them.



FOR THE RECORD: (Just for my record, I asked that a picture be taken of me while I was voting at the Philippine Consulate last Wednesday, May 3.  I never imagined I would be publishing this picture . (JGL Photo)

 When I voted last May 3, I took with me the ballot I received from the mail in the Consulate. I filled up my ballot in the Consulate voting table.

When I asked where I should drop my ballot, I was told the “batch feeding” has been closed for the day.

I was given an option to come back the following day so I will be one to drop my filled-up ballot in the batch feeding. When I asked if my ballot would be deposited with other filled-up ballots, they said in the affirmative.

But there was no mention of a receipt at all by the Philippine Consulate staff. What was mentioned was “batch feeding.”

If not from the complaint of the Hongkong voter that there was discrepancy between her filled up ballot and her receipt, I would just have kept quiet about it.

Technically, because I brought my ballot and filled up my ballot in the Consulate, I really voted in person, not by mail. The Consulate should have told me that because the “batch feeding” is closed, “we cannot hold on to your ballot and you have to come back.”

I would have gladly come back because I wanted to experience the thrill and excitement of seeing the election tools working properly.

Otherwise, I will follow the lead of the Hongkong voter, who had to complaint to media to expose the discrepancy.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I am going to accompany someone, Mr. Marlon Pecson, who has not yet voted.

I would like to find out if the voter will experience the thrill and excitement that the votes in the receipt he took matched with what he had written in his ballot.

Overseas voters have until 4 a.m. , in case of Central Time  in Chicago, Monday, April 9, to come to the Consulate to personally vote.

Those mailed-in ballots postmarked before April 9 and received at noon of April 9 will still be received and counted. (

Joseph G. Lariosa
Journal GlobaLinks
5401 West Lawrence Ave.

Suite 30110
Chicago, IL 60630
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714

E-Mail address:
Facebook: Joseph G. Lariosa
Twitter: @jogalar



CHICAGO (JGL) – A driver at a mining firm, who was suspected of trespassing in a mining concern in Castilla, Sorsogon in the Philippines, was manhandled by Sorsogon Gov. Raul R. Lee in a video clip that is going viral.


Sorsogon Gov. Raul Lee (in red shirt) is shown messing up the face of a mining driver, who turned his back on the governor, who was asking him questions for trespassing in a mining firm for gold and platinum in Castilla, Sorsogon from this screenshot from a video clip that has gone viral. (JGL Photo)

Although, the incident happened a year ago, it was only now, three days before the Philippine election, that the video clip was circulated by an anonymous videographer, who fed it to the critics of Governor Lee.

It was reported that the governor, who is not running for office this time, was pissed off when the driver turned his back to the governor, who was asking him a question.

It was also reported that Governor Lee was asking the driver, who authorized him to trespass in the mining concern and who his financier was. Mr. Lee, who is a lawyer by profession, was also asking what equipment the driver was using.

When the driver could not answer the Governor’s question, he turned his back on the Governor. This prompted Governor Lee to gang up on him and rough the driver up by crashing the driver’s face with his hands and fingers while Governor Lee’s security officers tried to stop the Governor from causing the driver more harm.

Although Lee can still run for the third term, he decided to pass up the election and let his son, Bobit Lee Rodrigueza, run for  governor. His wife, incumbent Sorsogon City Mayor Sally Lee is running for re-election against Jo Abegail “Bem” Dioneda, the eldest daughter of former Sorsogon Mayor Leovic Dioneda, who died from heat stroke two weeks ago.

Rodrigueza, who is running under the Liberal Party, is up against Sorsogon provincial board member Eric Dioneda, son of the late Mayor Leovic Dioneda, who is running under the PDP-Laban, and six other candidates, including Independent gubernatorial candidate and Balikbayan Bobby M. Reyes, who is running under the ticket of Sen. Grace Poe, on the May 9 elections. (

Contributed videoclip:

Joseph G. Lariosa
Journal GlobaLinks
5401 West Lawrence Ave.

Suite 30110
Chicago, IL 60630
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714

E-Mail address:
Facebook: Joseph G. Lariosa
Twitter: @jogalar