The accomplished life of Juan Gualberto Nepomuceno foreshadowed the greatness of his descendants’ collective contribution in accelerating the growth of Culiat town, which, in their generation, they would see transformed into a vibrant city we call Angeles. Like his children, Juan Gualberto was born to lead. He possessed an enterprising spirit and was driven with a sense of purpose: to serve his kabalens and his beloved birthplace, a vision that would become a reality in his midlife.
Juan Gualberto was the third child of Manila-born Pio Rafael Nepomuceno and Maria Agustina Henson, a granddaughter of the founder of Angeles, Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda. Pio, whose original roots were in Lucban, chose to settle and start a family in Angeles. It was here that Juan Gualberto was born on 12 July 1852 ( the feast day of St. John Gualbert), as was the same with his 5 other siblings: Ysabelo, Juliana, Ramona, Nemesia and Maria Graciana.
Juan’s father was so integrated with his adopted town that he even served as a gobernadorcillo of Angeles, beginning on January 1852. Only six months later, he would have Juan Gualberto, who, together with his siblings, grew up in the bale matua (old house) along Sto. Rosario Street, which had been built back in 1824 by his mother Agustina’s forebears, the de Mirandas.
At age 6, Juan lost his father, leaving his 30 year-old widowed (and pregnant) mother alone to raise the brood. Fortunately, the landholdings left by Pio provided her with ample support. Moreover, her mother Agustina was also named as an heir of a childless aunt, Dña. Carlota de Leon, who willed her house and its contents to her.
Juan Gualberto was 22 when he married Josefa Simpao Ganzon on 28 January 1874, in a wedding officiated by Fr. Guillermo Masnou. Their union would produce 6 children: Jose, Pio, Felisa, Maria Zoila, Maria Flaviana and Urbana. Five years into his marriage, Juan Gualberto was elected as gobernadorcillo of Angeles, just like his father before him. He served for two terms, 1879-1880, and around town, he was known as “Capitan Juan”.
On 22 October, 1885, Josefa died, making Juan Gualberto a widower at age 33. A little over a year later, he married Aurea Gomez Paras on 3 November 1886. (It is interesting to note that Juan’s eldest brother, Ysabelo, married Juana Paras, the younger sister of Aurea—making both couples, brothers and sisters-in-law as well! Six more children resulted from their marriage: Vivencia (died in infancy), Mariano, Juan de Dios, Ricardo, Gregorio and Catalina.
Angeles was caught up in the throes of the tumultuous Philippine Revolution in 1898, and when the Philippine Republic was proclaimed by Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, Juan Gualberto found himself being named as the first Municipal Presidente of the town from September 1898-99. At the historic Malolos Congress, Juan Gualberto proudly stood as the official delegate of Pampanga province.
Fate dealt the family a cruel blow with the untimely death of Aurea of tuberculosis, day after the New Year of 1917; she was just 48. Juan Gualberto married for the third time, choosing a paternal second cousin, Eusebia de Castro de Miranda as his companion. Eusebia had been previously married to Jose Maria S. Revelino, a Spanish-mestizo. Juan would die of natural causes on 25 April 1923, and was buried the next day, after a solemn vigil. His remains were later transferred to the right wing of the Holy Rosary Church.
Juan Gualberto’s legacy of public service that was started by his father Pio, continued with his sons Juan de Dios and Ricardo, who both served as mayors of Angeles in 1922 and 1928 respectively. A grandson by his first wife, Francisco, was elected Angeles mayor in 1980 and later served as provincial governor. Francisco’s son in turn, Francis “Blueboy” Nepomuceno, is currently a member of the House of Representatives.