Sunday, January 1, 2012

*276. MARIA AGUSTINA HENSON: Grand Matriarch of the Nepomucenos of Culiat

GRAND DAME OF ANGELES. 10th year memorial picture of Maria Agustina Henson, wife of Pio Rafaeel Nepomuceno, forebears of the Nepomucenos of Angeles. Dated 25 May 1915, Personal Collection.

One cannot talk about the city of Angeles without talking about the Nepomucenos, the large, super-extended family that is acknowledged today as having helped transformed a sleepy pueblo called Culiat to a teeming, progressive city of over 315,000 Angeleños who are certainly proud of what their home had become. Thanks to the enterprising Nepomucenos, their early businesses shaped the community’s landscape--providing education while generating employment, bringing new technology while infusing money into the local economy, developing commercial lands while expanding the town’s boundaries and spurring the growth of new business.

The Nepomucenos of Angeles are descended from the union of a Tagalog, Pio Rafael Nepomuceno (b. 11 July 1817), and a Kapampangan, Maria Agustina Henson. Maria Agustina was born on 26 August 1828, the feast day of San Agustin, in Culiat (then part of San Fernando), one of the 9 children of Mariano Henson and Juana Ildefonso de Miranda y de Jesus. Maria Agustina’s father, Mariano, earned a doctorate from the Univerity of Sto. Tomas, the first Filipino doctor of laws. His parents, Severino Henson and Placida Paras were among the original settlers of Culiat. Mariano’s wife, Juana Ildefonsa, was the only surviving daughter of the recognized founders of Angeles, Angel Pantaleon de Miranda and Rosalia de Jesus.

Maria Agustina was baptized by P. Macario Paras, who would be known as the 1st parish priest of Angeles town. When she came of school age, she was educated in missionary-ran parish schools, and then became a colegiala at Santa Catalina where she learned practical and domestic arts.

Meanwhile, Sta. Cruz, Manila-born Pio Rafael Nepomuceno was enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas in 1839. Here, he met Agustina’s eldest brother Jose Simplicio where they easily became steadfast friends. Jose extended an invitation to Pio to visit Angeles, and it is in one of these visits that he met the very young Maria Agustina, whom he courted right after she finished school. The two were married at the Angeles Church on 26 November 1847 by P. Macario Paras; Pio was 31 and Agustina was just 19.

The newlyweds lived in the bale matua built by Agustina’s parents, and they would start a family that would include six children: Ysabelo, Juliana, Juan Gualberto, Ramona, Nemesia and Maria Graciana. Pio became quite settled in his new adopted town that he even served as a gobernadorcillo in 1952. He and Agustina grew their agricultural business and expanded their landholdings by acquiring more lands, some of which they generously gave back to the town (as in the case of their land donation in Talimundoc to serve as the new marketplace of Angeles which had burned down in 1855).

Pio would leave Agustina a widow at the age of 30. He passed away on 30 April 1856; he was not even 41. Agustina, pregnant at that time, delivered her last child, Maria Graciana. In widowhood, Agustina was well-provided for, moreso when she inherited more property from Dña. Carlota de Leon, her godmother who had named her as foster daughter. In her golden years, Agustina was noted for her philanthropic acts, and was known to have donated substantial amounts in the 1877 construction of the Santisimo Rosario Church. She died on 27 July 1905 and was interred at the Roman Catholic Cemetery, although it is believed her bones were transferred to the parish church much later.

The Nepomuceno children and their descendants would go on to leave their own marks in different fields of business. Ysabelo’s descendants would expand to include the Panlilios, Manankils and Dayrits who were well known land developers and medical professionals. Juliana gave us the prominent Tayags of Angeles while Juan Gualberto’s children, led by Juan de Dios, gave us Holy Angel the defunct Reyna Softdrinks, Angeles Electric, Nepo Mall, Nepo Mart and a host of other real estate ventures including Villa Teresa and Holy Angel Village. Ramona’s children include Ramon Nemesio, who became one of Angeles’s early photographers. Nemesia married a Henson and their children begat more Hensons, Valenzuelas and Singians while Maria Graciana became a Pineda. Maria Agustina, the grand dame who started it all with husband Pio Rafael would be proud to know that their legacy lives on in the prosperous Nepomuceno businesses and commercial ventures that continue to help propel the city to newer heights.

SOURCE: The Nepomucenos of Angeles City and Their Relatives, by Marco D. Nepomuceno. ©1987, privately printed.

1 comment:

Jaime Tayag said...

My grandmother was Carmen Nepomuceno Dayrit-Tayag. I didn't know we had Panlilio relatives. That's all.