Tuesday, April 29, 2008


A KAPAMPANGAN FAMILY. Emilio del Rosario y de Ocampo with his ‘titulado’ sons (by 1st wife Josefa Valdez). L-R. Fernando Odon (Medicine), Pablo Jesus (Dentistry), Bienvenido Conrado (Law), Dioscoro Arsenio (Dentistry). Seated : Msgr. Manuel (Secular Clergy). Ca. mid -1930s.

The only picture we have of my maternal grandfather, Ingkung Milyu, is this faded reproduction taken with his sons. The grandfather I never knew is shown seated primly with his 5 “titulado” sons, all half-brothers of my mother. My mother remembers her father as a very strict and stern figure; yet, in this picture, there is a hint of a gentle smile on his furrowed face, which, most definitely, comes from the feeling of accomplishment and pride at having raised his children well.
Ingkung Milyu comes from the very large Del Rosario clan of Angeles. He would carry on that tradition by fathering 20 children in all, from 3 different wives. But that is getting ahead of the story. Emilio del Rosario y de Ocampo was born on 2 September 1878, the 4th child in a brood of 10 of Cornelio del Rosario and Juana de Ocampo y Henson. Cornelio’s grandmother, Maria Arcadia Del Rosario (nee Henson) was the youngest child of Severino Henson and Placida Paras.

Severino was a Chinese mestizo who became a gobernadorcillo of San Fernando in 1815, while Placida’s family name suggested that she belonged to a pre-colonial ruling class. Maria Arcadia’s only brother Mariano, the 1st Filipino Lay Doctor of Laws, was married to Juana Ildefonso de Miranda, daughter of the founders of Angeles, Angel Pantaleon de Miranda and Rosalia de Jesus. Maria Arcadia would marry twice, first to Maximo Feliciano, then to Anacleto del Rosario of Culiat, a union from which sprung the overextended Del Rosarios of Angeles City, which included the katipunero, Isabelo del Rosario, his cousin.

This pedigree didn’t mean much as Ingkung Milyu led a difficult and challenging life, beginning with his first marriage to Josefa Valdez y Clemente. He settled in Sapa Libutad where he earned his income from his small farmlands. Quickly, the first set of children—9 in all—came in succession, only to end with the untimely death of Josefa. It was not long that he married again, this time to Felicisima Castro y Samia (my mother’s mother), resulting in 7 more children. Again, tragedy struck with Apu Simang’s death at the young age of 28. For the 3rd and final time, Ingkung Milyu sired 4 more children with Florentina Sanchez. Obviously, family planning was not in my grandfather’s vocabulary!

There is a story that has come down to us, about Ingkung Milyu’s brother chiding him for being so prolific—and so poor! Angered but challenged by his brother’s insensitive remark, he dared to work even harder so he could send his first set of children to the best schools. After years of sacrifice, his sons finished their studies with flying colors. Perhaps, to prove his point that nothing is insurmountable and that there is strength in numbers, he had this picture taken as a visual proof of his singlehanded achievement and his children’s triumph over adversities, a copy of which, I am certain, was sent to his brother!

And now, a few words about my uncles in the picture, standing left to right. Fernando Odon (Tatang Anding) was a Doctor of Medicine and practiced his profession in Angeles until his death. Pablo Jesus (Tatang Pabling) finished Dentistry and for years, also had a thriving private practice in the city. He was also at one point, a city councilor of Angeles and ran unsuccessfully for Vice Mayor. Bienvenido Conrado (Tatang Dadong), the youngest, graduated with a Law degree from the University of the Philippines. He married Perla Gutierrez, the eldest daughter of Justice Jose Gutierrez David and settled in Abacan, Balibago, where he held office and also owned and managed the popular Del Rosario Compound Swimming Pool. Dioscoro Arsenio (Tatang Kuring) graduated with a degree in Accountancy. Seated with Ingkung is Manuel (Tatang Maning), who rose to the rank of a monsignor and who became a parish priest of San Roque Church in Sta.Cruz for over 30 years. The only girl –and the eldest child was the noble Emilia, who, at her deathbed, married Patrocinio Feliciano.

Ingkung Milyu died 5 days after his birthday on 7 September 1947. It was to my surprise that I found his crypt at the Mount Carmel Church in New Manila, next to Tatang Anding’s, only this March. All my other uncles have departed this earthly life too, but I am almost certain that father and sons find time to huddle every day for their special bonding moments, just like in this picture!

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