The late nineteenth century (1886-1889) was Lipa’s glorious era when for a short period of time, the town became a center of coffee cultivation and trade in the world.
Lipeños were known for intermarrying among themselves, not so much to keep wealth within the family, but because parents did not want for their children to get married to people who were not from the town’s social circle. There was a very high incidence of marrying relatives even first cousins, particularly among the Solis, Katigbak, Luz, Roxas, Kalaw, and Dimayuga clans.
Teodoro M. Kalaw , in his Aide-de-Camp to Freedom, described the first class families of Lipa (the Aguileras, Solis, Katigbak, Africa, and Luz) as “inaccessible like the stars“. Such appellation was given because of their snobbish and aristocratic attitude. These clans prided themselves with their Spanish Ancestry. They spoke and wrote in the Castilian Language.
THE SOLIS, AGUILERA, OLAGUIVEL and LOZADA FAMILIES
“The Lipeño aristocracy in reality belonged to only one family group, all sired by Don Celestino Solis in a succession of three wives. Solis had about three times as many daughters as sons, which daughters had other many more daughters. They were said to be the richest family in Villa de Lipa that their lives seemed to be like fairy tales.” – Maria Kalaw-Katigbak
The Solis clan was considered the richest family in Lipa and perhaps in the whole Batangas province. This family descended from Don Celestino Solis, born to Juan Solis, said to be a mestizo of Spanish-Mexican ancestry, and Irene de los Santos whose ascendants were Indios from Malabar (now Northern Kerala, India) who together with the ancestors of General Miguel Malvar were shipwrecked in Luzon and settled in Santo Tomas, Batangas. Celestino originally came from that town and initially worked as a clerk for the municipio.
Though Celestino was of humble beginnings, his industry, thrift, and luck saved him great fortunes and soon he owned vast tracts of estates in Lipa, Rosario, San Pablo, Laguna and Dolores, Quezon. A court record, in fact, shows that he owned 991 hectares, 41 acres and 46 centiares of land in Pinagsibaan, Rosario, Batangas.
He finally resided in Barrio San Andres in Lipa to venture in the town’s budding coffee industry. He became a member of the town’s principalia starting as the barrio’s Cabeza (village chieftain) and then elected as the town’s gobernadorcillo (city/town mayor) for three terms in 1843, 1848, and 1860-1861.
He successively married three times.
In 1840, Don Celestino married Patricia de San Miguel Luz, daughter of Don Tomas de San Miguel Luz to his second marriage to Doña Juana Malabanan Inciong (widow of Don Leon Africa). Their daughters were Maria Luz Solis (1841-1877) and Justa Luz Solis (1843-1878).
Maria Solis married the Spanish mestizo, Don Gregorio Aguilera y Esguerra, who was assigned in Lipa in 1858 as a tax collector. From Malate, together with his two sisters, Romana (second wife of Don Catalino Dimayuga) and Rufina; and his parents Don Juan Gabino Aguilera and Doña Prudencia Amada Esguerra moved to Lipa to personally run their hacienda in Batangas.
Maria and Gregorio had two children, Gregorio and Soledad.
Gregorio Aguilera y Solis (1869-1921) studied in Spain together with Rizal. He took up Law at the Universidad Central de Madrid. He was a reformist and supported all the activities of the Asociacion Hispano Filipina where he served as treasurer. As a literary man, he contributed to La Solidaridad with a pseudonym Kikil.
Gregorio was one of the members of the Malolos Congress and one of the signatories of the Malolos Constitution. He served as Presidente Municipal in his hometown Lipa in 1902-1903 where he led philanthropic, patriotic, and cultural activities. During his incumbency as Batangas governor in 1904-1907, he promoted development on agricultural projects and education. He also served as the director of the local newspaper in Lipa called the Columnas Volantes de la Federacion Malaya and then took over the position of director of the town’s secondary school Instituto Rizal. Teodoro Kalaw enrolled in that school and as written in his biography, Aguilera Solis was one of his great mentors and that to him he owed his literary taste.
Soledad Aguilera Solis was the President of Cruz Roja De Damas (Red Cross Society) which was established by Gen. Miguel Malvar in Lipa during the Philippine Revolutionary Government under President Emilio F. Aguinaldo. This association was tasked to provide assistance to wounded Filipino soldiers, sick or injured civilians, orphans, and widows.
Justa Solis married Don Norberto Kalaw Katigbak, recipient of the grand cross of the Order of Queen Isabel La Catolica of Spain which he received for his major contributions in the development of the wealth of Lipa during its heydays as the coffee producing center. Two of their children were linked with Dr. Jose Rizal. Mariano Solis Katigbak was his best friend during their student days at Ateneo. Mariano’s sister Segunda Solis Katigbak was the national hero’s first love interest.
Doña Patricia died after giving birth to his son Isidro. He later died in infancy.
In 1847, Don Celestino married another mestiza de sangley by the name of Jacoba Bernardo Metra (Mitra), daughter of Don Manuel Metra (Mitra) and Doña Clara Bernardo y Villapando. Jacoba’s sister, Gertrudes was married to Don Jose de San Miguel-Luz (brother of Patricia Luz, the 1st wife of Don Celestino Solis)
Don Celestino and Doña Jacoba had several children: Salvadora, Filomena, Marcelina, Catalina, Germana and only son, Bernardo.
Salvadora Solis was very obsessed with diamonds that these precious stones almost embellished her from top to bottom. She was married to Don Toribio Katigbak. Their marriage produced eleven children however only four survived to mature age. The eldest, Rosenda, fondly called “Senday” married her first cousin Gregorio Aguilera y Solis. They did not have any children. Sinforosa married veterinarian Dr. Jose Honorides Alberto of Pasay, Rizal. Gregorio Katigbak y Solis was a bachelor who died of Tuberculosis at the age of 24. The youngest, Macaria Catigbac married Perfecto Rodriguez Salas of Molo, Iloilo, a law partner of Rafael Palma.
Filomena Solis married Don Catalino Dimayuga. In 1889, Catalino entrusted their son, Lauro Solis Dimayuga, to Dr. Jose Rizal to personally advise him concerning his studies and in matters affecting his health. Lauro joined the indios bravos, a group that Rizal organized in Madrid. He was chosen to challenge to a duel Wenceslao Retana, who had written offensive remarks against Filipinos. For this, he earned the title “The Fearless Batangueño”. He was very active in the propaganda movement and wrote two articles criticizing the friars and the Spaniards on the way they looked at the Filipinos. These were entitled “Las Bellas Lipenses” and “Una Frase de Amor”. These articles were sent by Don Benito Katigbak Reyes, however, these were intercepted and came to the hands of the frailes of Batangas. They made a plot against him by falsely accusing him of sacrilegious handling of the sacred host. The guardia civil arrested Lauro. He was imprisoned in the Batangas provincial jail and subsequently executed without a fair trial in 1897.
Marcelina Solis was the second wife of Don Juan de Olaguivel y Tagle (widower of Maria de Guivelondo y Tagle), son of Don Nicolas de Olaguivel Esnal and Doña Feliciana Teresa de Tagle of Cebu. The Olaguivels (Olaguibel) were Basques from Vizcaya, Spain. Juan’s son, Nicolas Solis Olaguivel (named after his grandfather) was successively married to his first cousins, Pia and Salustia Solis (both are sisters). After the coffee boom, he ventured into the sugar industry and abaca trading but with unsuccessful results. Faced with business reverses, Don Nicolas sold many of Salustia’s treasured objects such as jewels, rosaries, and missals made of precious materials just to save mortgaged lands and to pay off his debts. Despite the reverses, his wife still remained the richest woman in Lipa. During the term of President Manuel Quezon, she was a member of his kitchen cabinet.
His only son, with Salustia, Eleno Bernardo Solis Olaguivel was an opera singer who performed in Rigoletto and other operas in pre-war Metropolitan Theater. He later became a secular priest. Eleno’s sister, Criselda “Didi” Cecilia Solis Olaguivel, married Alberto Luz Katigbak, a career diplomat. He became a Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican. Their children are Nicolas, Hilda, Mario, Gerry, and Miriam.
Don Celestino Solis’ only son, Bernardo Solis (c.1855-1912) became a gobernadorcillo for two terms in 1881-1882 and also in 1894-1895. He was a poet, a playwright, and a journalist. One of his written plays was the “Simoy ng Kaparangan”. He was very patriotic and in fact, he helped Rizal in the clandestine publication of his “Noli me Tangere.” During the war against Spain, he became a Lieutenant Colonel in the Reserva del Ejercito Filipino.
Don Bernardo’s wife was Guillerma Africa y Macarandang. Their family maintained a European lifestyle and reportedly dined off golden plates and cutlery on special occasions. He insisted that all meals be served formally. Diners were serenaded by a pianist and a soprano in residence. Siesta followed lunch. All were lulled to sleep by a pianist who only stopped playing when his patrons fell asleep.
Martin Tinio, in his article entitled Angkan from the book Batangas Forged in Fire , mentions that in 1880 Bernardo went to see the Paris Exposition, for which the Eiffel tower was built. There, he went on a shopping spree, buying furniture, gilded mirrors, bronzes, statuary, porcelain, silver, and other luxury items. He even bought an entire mirrored wall of the Brazilian Pavilion on which the story of coffee was painted in reverse. They say he had to charter a ship to bring home all his purchases. In Paris, he told his wife to wear her biggest diamonds to the opera. They were so huge that they made her uncomfortable. Midway through the performance, she started removing them, one piece at a time, until all her jewels were resting on her lap. After returning to Lipa, while arranging their French purchases, Guillerma slipped on the highly polished floor. The next day, Bernardo ordered Persian carpets for the entire house, beginning from the bottom of the staircase to the bedrooms above.
Don Bernardo and Doña Guillerma’s had several children: Emilio Celestino (died in infancy), Leonor Teresa, Juana Amanda, Emilia Benita, Pia Adelina, Maria Germana, Maximo Bernardo, Salustia Guillerma, Maria Rosario, and Casimiro Jose.
The eldest daughter, Leonor Teresa Solis, a spinster, was very much involved in social works that she joined Asosación Feminista Filipina – the first women’s club in the Philippines which encouraged the participation of women in public affairs during the early 1900s.
Juana Amanda Solis married the lawyer, Herminio Kalaw Silva. As an inheritance from her father, she was given a gold set which survived World War II.
Emilia Benita Solis married the lawyer, Orestes de Marcaida y Chuidian.
Pia Adelina Solis was the first wife of Nicolas Solis Olaguivel (first cousin). When she died, Nicolas married her sister, Salustia Guillerma Solis.
Salustia’s hair was so long that it literally swept the floor. Every day, after her morning bath, her tresses were spread out over the handrail of her bedroom to dry. Her valued possession was an etui – a small box made of carved ivory –which contains a sewing kit with scissors, thimble, needle-case, and spools made of solid gold. She wrote her letters with a golden feather specked with diamonds. She was so sentimental that when her mother, Guillerma Africa, died, the only thing she wanted was her mother’s favorite piña handkerchief.
Maximo Bernardo Solis (Max Bernard) married the heiress, Leandra Baldovia Espinosa of Sariaya, Tayabas. As a tradition, the wedding had to be held in the bride’s hometown. Sariaya was known for livestock and rustlers. In order to encourage the Lipeños to attend the festivities, the fiancee’s family said, “Come to Sariaya, and you will see our streets filled with carabaos.” But the Lipeños countered, “Come to Lipa, and you will see our streets paved with silver!” Max Bernard contributed to the Lipa newspaper Columnas Volantes and to the leading Manila Spanish broadsheet, La Vanguardia. Maximo and Leandra had two children, all named after their favorite operas by Wagner and St.Saens: Samson and Dalila.
Max Bernard’s other children were: Carmen, Rosario Violeta “Charito”, A FAMAS and Gawad Urian award-winning Filipino film actress who died in 1998, Tristan, and Yolanda who married Emilio Tiongco, one of the Tiongco Singing brothers from Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Maria Rosario Solis, the youngest daughter, married Don Jose Lopez y Castelo of Balayan.
Bernardo and Guillerma’s youngest son, Casimiro Jose Solis, married Miguela Subol. Their son was Bonifacio Carlos S. Solis, the most outstanding Mayor of Lipa (1972-1986) who was recognized for the successful implementation of the economic, social and physical development of the city in 1977. During his term, he approved the establishment of the Lipa City Water District in 1974, worked for the establishment of the Lipa City Science Highschool and through his efforts the present municipal building was built and completed in August 1989.
Doña Catalina Solis was the second wife of Don Gregorio Aguilera y Esguerra, owned the largest house in Lipa, with a vast dining room that could seat eighty guests. Dinners were always the talk of the town as the entire table service, including the plates and huge-sized platters were of solid silver. The cutlery was said to have been made of solid gold. Upon her death in 1935, she bequeathed her large mansion to the Church, to be used as a diocesan residence. The house, together with the other palatial houses in Lipa, was destroyed during World War II. Catalina and Gregorio’s children: Vicenta, Remedios, and Luis all remained single. All their wealth was divided between the Church and their 21 Solis cousins.
Germana Solis married Don Jose Aguilera Lozada (Batangas Governor, 1907-1908), son of the Spanish sea Captain Don Domingo Lozada and Doña Segunda Aguilera. He was originally from Tondo but was assigned to Batangas as attending physician during the cholera epidemic of 1880. He was one of the first in the province to earn the medico titular and subsequently his profession assured him of immense wealth. Dr. Jose and Germana’s house in Lipa was famous for its stairway with gilt bronze balusters. When the Luna brothers came to Lipa in the 1890s to solicit contributions for the patriotic campaign that La Solidaridad was wagering, the Lozada couple accommodated them in a nipa-shingled guesthouse set in an orchard at the back of the main house. The walls were of woven sawali and the floors of split bamboo, but the bahay kubo was luxuriously appointed with crystal chandeliers, gilded mirrors, Persian carpets, and blackamoors. The following day, the guests were awakened for breakfast by a string orchestra. In gratitude for the couple’s financial contribution and hospitality, the Lunas gifted their hosts with a fine pair of large, gilded Satsuma vases which still exist today.
The Lozadas had only one child, Consuelo Solis Lozada, who married Reynaldo Medina Lardizabal, son of the first Filipino governor of Marinduque, Don Martin Lardizabal. Consuelo reportedly did not touch money and meets guests by appointment only. Doña Consuelo and Don Reynaldo had two sons, Reynaldo Jr. and Jose Martin. Jose was active in performing arts. He was the artistic director of the Bayanihan Dance Troupe and was with the Cultural Center of the Philippines during the Marcos era.
Don Celestino’s third marriage was to Guillerma Maralit Manguiat. They got married in 1862. From this marriage came Petra Solis (married to Don Clemente Leyesa) and Gliceria Solis married twice to Don Apolonio Sales and second to Ramon Dizon of Pampanga. According to Salustia Solis, her Tia Gliceria possessed the rare beauty that no other Solis had ever produced.
Petra had 9 children: Nicolas, Alberto, Narciso, Potenciana, Agapita, Clemente Jr., Arsenio and Angel.
Alberto’s grandson was former Lipa Mayor, Ruben Leyesa Umali.
Potenciana, married Justa Solis’ grandson, Benigno José Macarandang Katigbak (son of Don Mariano Solis Katigbak and Doña Ysabel Ramirez Macarandang). Benigno is one of Lipa’s unsung heroes. At the age of 27, he was slain while performing his duty as the town’s chief of Police. He left Potenciana with three children: Artemio, Rita, and Carlos. Carlos Katigbak became Lipa’s Vice Mayor in 1960. He was affectionately remembered by his fellow Lipeños as a pro-poor public servant who sponsored laws that benefited the impoverished people and depressed communities in Lipa.
After 6 years of widowhood, Potenciana married Gregorio Mayo Katigbak who was the delegate for the Third District of Batangas in the First Philippine Assembly of 1907-1909. He was also the Colonel of the Philippine Army in Batangas during the revolution against Spain.
Two of Gliceria’s daughters married two Katigbak first cousins. Vicenta Solis Sales married Pedro Roxas Katigbak and Maria Juana Solis Sales married Bartolome Mendoza Katigbak.
THE KATIGBAK CLAN
The earliest known ancestors of the Katigbak clan were Don Juan Catigbac and Doña Nicolasa Concepcion. Their son, Tomas Catigbac, married Juana Masongsong. Their union produced ten children: Maria, Rita, Eustaquia, Pasqual, Agustin, Juliana, Magdalena, Micaela, Josef, and Felipe.
Pasqual M. Catigbac married twice. His son (from the second wife, Andrea Manguiat), Exequiel Manguiat Catigbac, married Aniceta de los Reyes, daughter of the famous Lipa gobernadorcillo, Don Gallo de los Reyes. (Don Gallo spearheaded the widespread cultivation of coffee in the town.)
The son of Bernardino Reyes Catigbac, a teniente primero, married Rosela Metra Mayo. Their son Gregorio Mayo Katigbak, a revolucionario and a well-known politician. He became Batangas’ delegate during the First Philippine Legislature in 1907-1909. With his strong desire to provide education to the youth, he led the establishment of the Instituto Rizal in 1899 which produced Lipa’s great men of caliber. Later on, his son, Dr. Jose Maria Braceros Katigbak (Presidente Municipal 1945-1946), carried on his father’s mission and thus founded “The Mabini Academy” of Lipa.
Josef M. Catigbac became gobernadorcillo in 1827. He married Andrea Aguila Calao. They had seven children: Mateo (1m. Petra Mendoza, 2m. Dominga Gonzales), Maria (married to Alejandro Altamirano) Cayetano, Francisco, Lino, Norberto, and Susana (married to Manuel Mayo).
Eldest, Mateo Catigbac, became Lipa gobernadorcillo in 1858.
Cayetano became gobernadorcillo in 1865. He married Fausta Tapia who owned large tracts of undeveloped land, which were all cultivated by the time she died. They had four children: Toribio, Leoncia, Petra, and Maria. When Don Cayetano remarried, the children transferred their mother’s properties to their names.
Toribio (Presidente Municipal, 1901-1902), said to be the richest person in town during the coffee boom, married Salvadora Solis y Metra. Of all their children, only Macaria Solis Catigbac had heirs. She married Perfecto Salas of Molo, Iloilo, a law partner of Rafael Palma. They had two sons and one daughter, Adela Catigbac Salas (now Adela Salas Gatlin). Adela’s brothers horrifically died during the Second World War. Their estate was divided between her and a nephew. She was so rich that from just the proceeds of molasses-by-product of the sugar harvest – she could travel around the world annually. Don Toribio’s descendants are the only remaining family who uses “Catigbac ” instead of the one spelled with K which is now presently used by the “Katigbak” family. This was due to his instruction never to Filipinize their surname and all his heirs should be proud of their Spanish heritage.
Lino Catigbac became gobernadorcillo in 1869 and married three times. The names of his three wives were: Eufemia Mendoza, and the sisters, Jacoba and Vicenta Roxas. His marriage produced descendants such as singer, Minda Azarcon; composer, Rosario Africa Unite; bankers, Enriqueta Katigbak-Castillo and Fe K. Dimayuga-Medalla; doctors, Teodoro K. Villa and Arturo K. Dimayuga; jeweler, Antonio Katigbak; and consul Eva K. Luz-Costa.
The most accomplished among Don Josef’s son was his youngest, Norberto Katigbak ( Lipa gobernadorcillo in 1862). In 1887, Norberto received the second class Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel La Catolica in recognition of his outstanding services for the encouragement and development of agriculture and commerce in Lipa and also the whole Batangas province during his tenure as the head of the board of Agriculture. During this year too, Lipa was elevated to the status of Villa because of the flourishing coffee industry.
Norberto married Justa Solis y Luz, daughter of Don Celestino Solis. Their eldest son, Mariano Solis Katigbak (Capitan Municipal, 1896-1897), was Jose Rizal’s classmate and best friend while studying at the Ateneo. He married twice first with Ysabel Ramirez Macarandang and when the latter died he married Rosario Mercado Luz, half-sister of Manuel Metra Luz, his brother in law.
Mariano’s eldest son, Jose Petronio M. Katigbak, graduated with a degree of Qualified Civil Engineer and certificate of Distinction in King’s College of the University of London in 1903. Petronio then obtained his BS in Engineering at the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard University in June 1904. To practice his profession, he came back to the country and worked with the Bureau of Public Works as a Transitman in 1905, laying out the city of Baguio in a plan prepared by Architect Daniel Hudson Burnham, and in 1914, he became First Assistant City Engineer of Manila. Aside from his distinguished career, he was a visual artist and poet. The incessant strain of his work had undermined his health that at the young age of 36 he succumbed to a disease and died on May 16, 1916. Such was his contributions that the Municipal Board of Manila, during his death, decided to name one of the principal streets, facing the New Luneta, Katigbak Boulevard (now Katigbak Pkwy).
Segunda Solis Katigbak was José Rizal’s first love interest and probably the best known of her clan. While studying at Colegio de la Concordia in Santa Ana, her brother, Mariano brought her with him to a party where she met José. Smitten, Rizal showered the fourteen-year-old lass with flowers, poems, and sketches. Unfortunately, this romance was short lived because when she turned sixteen she went back to Lipa and married her uncle, Manuel Metra Luz, a wealthy planter. José never forgot Segunda. It was said that one time he visited Lipa to solicit funds for La Liga Filipina, Rizal met Manuel Luz and played chess with him and when he lost, he said, “I not only lost the game but my heart, as well.”
Leon Mendoza Katigbak ( Presidente Municipal 1916-1922), the son of Don Norberto from his second wife Macaria Latorre Mendoza, had two children with Paz Luz Roxas whose mother, Doña Alejandra Luz y Metra, was the eldest sister of Don Manuel Luz y Metra. Don Leon’s only daughter, Imelda Roxas Katigbak, married Aurelio Limjuco Dayrit of San Fernando, Pampanga. One of their daughters, Carmen (Menchu) headed the National Commission for Culture and the Arts under Presidents Aquino and Ramos. Leon’s only son, Jose Roxas Katigbak, married Maria Kalaw, daughter of Teodoro M. Kalaw. They had four children: Marinella, Josefina (Pinky), Purisima, and Norberto. Marinella married Armand Fabella of Pagsanjan whose family owns Jose Rizal University in Manila.
The land of Don Norberto Katigbak in Batangas spanned “fifteen barrios”. From his two marriages, he had 20 children but only fifteen survived to mature age. Each one received 145 hectares of land as their inheritance.
THE LUZ CLAN
The Luz clan was descended from Don Tomas de San Miguel – Luz (gobernadorcillo, 1807), a mestizo de sangley and his two marriages with Ysidra Maderazo and Juana Malabanan Inciong.
Don Tomas changed their surname from de San Miguel to Luz. This transition was in compliance with the decree issued by Gobernador General Don Narciso Claveria y Zaldua in 1849. (This was also applied by the Metra or Mitra Clan who also used the de San Miguel surname).
Tomas and Ysidra had only one son, Lucas de San Miguel Luz, (c.1799-1883) who became gobernadorcillo in 1833 and three daughters, Eustaquia ( 1m. Juan Malabanan, 2m. Pablo Macarandang), Petronila (married to Felipe Librea), and Ygnacia (married to Santiago Aranda). Ygnacia is the ancestor of Bishop Alfredo Aranda Obviar whose cause for beatification is already underway.
Lucas was married twice. First, he married Florentina Latorre. Their children include: Pablo Luz (married to Micaela Mayo), Segunda Luz (married twice, first to Eulalio Mayo Malabanan and second to Pedro Advincula de los Reyes), Pedro Luz (married to Juana Maño), Baltazar Luz (married thrice: Cecilia Quizon, Petrona Dimaano and to Monica Mayo), Catalina Luz (married to Silvestre Reyes), Petra Luz (married to Mariano Lopez) and Margarita Luz (married to Macario Dimaano).
Pedro Latorre Luz is the great-grandfather of Dominador “Dadong” Sangalang Luz who was mayor during the Japanese occupation (1944-1945). He married Carmen Ignacia Katigbak Katigbak.
Lucas second marriage was with Maria Asuncion Mantuano, a daughter of Don Francisco Mantuano, who was gobernadorcillo in 1784. He reportedly brought the first coffee seeds in Lipa.
Lucas and Asuncion’s son, Honorato Luz, married Ynocencia Maralit. They willed a vast land property to their daughter, Gabina (married to Patricio Arellano Recinto). According to her descendants, the Japanese invaders forcibly took that land and made it their landing field during World War II. It is now known as the Fernando Air Base.
But it was José de San Miguel Luz (1820-1882), Don Tomas Luz’ son from his second wife Doña Juana Malabanan Inciong (widow of Don Leon de Africa), who was considered the patriarch of most of the Luz descendants in Lipa. He had a succession of three wives namely: Gertrudes Metra, Filomena Mercado, and Antera Tolentino. José became a gobernadorcillo of Lipa in 1844 and again in 1854. He was a poet and agriculturist known for his advanced idea and foresight. The descendants of José were very wealthy and had the passion for culture and the arts. In fact, they have produced painters, sculptors, musicians, scholars, and writers in every generation.
The best known among the Luz family was Jose’s son, Simeon Metra Luz (Gobernadorcillo of Lipa, 1879-1880). Capitan Simeon was the first “elected” Governor of Batangas in 1903-1904. He was described by his political enemies as muy americanista, for being the foremost supporter of the American government in the Philippines. Aside from being a famous politician, Don Simeon was popular for being an ardent admirer of beautiful young women. Already 70 then, he married his 16-year-old fourth wife, Enriqueta Recio. There were three(3) children from his first marriage with Cristeta Magcawas namely Maria, Teofila, and Emilio. When he married for the second time with Feliza Macarandang, two(2) sons came about. They were Fernando and Dr.Simeon Jr. From his third marriage with Teresa Rodelas bore (1) child named Blanca. Lastly, from his fourth marriage with Enriqueta Recio came forth Pacita, Cecilia and Clara and a son, Arsenio, who died early in his childhood.
Manuel Metra Luz, the younger brother of Simeon, was one of the supporters of the revolucionarios who provided them with financial and material resources. He hid suspected revolutionaries in his vast properties and used his influence with the Spanish authorities to help those in trouble. He married Segunda Solís Katigbak and had nine children. The nine children were Cristeta, Manuel Jr., Arsenio, Flora, Paz, Julio, Justa, Valeriano, and Fernando. The daughter, Paz Katigbak Luz, recalled that his father’s passion was music. Such inclination was passed to the family that every evening, after dinner, the whole family would gather in the sala for a concert with everyone singing or performing on a different instrument.
Arsenio Katigbak Luz was a businessman and writer. He wrote for El Renacimiento and La Vanguardia; became the editor of El Ideal, and was appointed manager and editor of Philippines Herald in 1922. As a business executive, he managed the first Sweepstakes in 1933; and he happened to be the first Filipino president of the Rotary Club. He was the first director of Manila Hotel and the prestigious Manila Carnival. He married his cousin, Amparo Luz Katigbak. Their daughter, Amparito, was the soprano, Santuzza, in the long-running Italian opera, Cavalleria Rusticana. She was a member of the famed Mossesgeld Chorale Ensemble.
Paz Katigbak Luz was married young to Pablo Dimayuga, the first pharmacist in Lipa. After her husband’s death, Paz was taken back by her mother Segunda, who housed her and her children in the old house (now Casa de Segunda).
Justa Ynes Katigbak Luz married her first cousin, Dr. Isabelo Macarandang Katigbak, one of the first Lipeños to graduate from the U.P. School of Medicine. Isabelo’s practice was so successful that his best friend and a relative, another doctor, stabbed him to death in the feat of professional jealousy, leaving Justa with two young sons: Edgardo and Alejandro. Edgardo was the sculptor in the family and did the bronze bust of his grandfather, Manuel (now in the family memorabilia in Casa de Segunda). He was also with the group of sculptors that made the famous tableau of the Cry of Balintawak.
Valeriano Katigbak Luz worked for the Philippine Bureau of Commerce. He was married to Rosario Mayo Dimayuga, also from Lipa, the doyenne of Philippine Interior Designers who after her death was conferred several awards, the most distinguished being, the Lifetime Achievement for Interior Design. Valeriano’s children were: Vicenta, Alfredo, Remedios, and Arturo.
The eldest daughter, Vicenta Luz, married Carlos Cosculluela of Negros. Their son, Rafael, became Negros Occidental Governor in 1998. Alfredo Luz, an architect trained under Frank Lloyd Wright in the U.S.A and a good friend of J. D. Rockefeller, designed: the regional World Health Organization (WHO) building, the Magsaysay Center, and the Los Baños International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) complex – all Rockefeller Philanthropic projects in the country. He married Carmen Montinola of Bacolod. Another daughter, Remedios, married Teodoro Baluyot of Pampanga. Youngest, Arturo Rogerio Luz, was declared National Artist for Visual Arts in 1997.
THE AFRICA CLAN
Leon Mercado de Africa, a Bauan native, married a mestiza de sangley, Juana Malabanan Inciong in 1798. Leon became Lipa gobernadorcillo in 1805. They had two sons, Atilano ( married to Ysabel Cueto), Gallo (married to Valentina Macarandang) and two daughters, Eulogia (married to Martin Santos-Lantin) and Maria (married to Pedro Macasaet).
Gallo became gobernadorcillo in 1841. His marriage with Valentina produced four sons: Juan Africa, married to Manuela Reyes; Nasario Africa married to Saturnina Katigbak, Lino Africa married twice (first to Maria Mayo Luz, second to Luisa Lescano); Fernando Africa married to Sabina Macasaet, and Benito Africa married to Tomasa Masonsong.
Don Juan Africa and Manuela Reyes’ children include Julia, Eliseo, Timoteo, Delfin, Manuel, and Sixto. Julia Africa was the second wife of Celestino Luz, son of Capitan Jose Luz. She was assassinated at the age of 43. Don Eliseo Africa’s daughter, Teodula Kalaw Africa, discovered the production of Nata de Coco. Don Timoteo Africa married Justa Macasaet. Their sons were: Francisco M. Africa and Candido M. Africa. Francisco was the first dean of the Institute of Arts and Sciences of the Far Eastern University and was an author of Filipino folk tales. Candido was a medical doctor who became internationally known for his research in the field of Parasitology.
While staying in Lipa to study in the school of Maestro Sebastian Virrey, Apolinario Mabini had a crush on Constancia Luz Africa. Her father, Don Lino Africa, was one of the revolucionarios who fought against the Spaniards during the Filipino-Spanish War of 1898. The saber that he used is still being kept by his descendants.
Don Gallo and Doña Valentina six daughters include: Maria, married to Don Marcelo Metra Mayo; Ygnacia, the second wife of Don Cayetano Catigbac; Guillerma, married Don Bernardo Metra Solis; Francisca, the second wife of Don Alejandro Altamirano (their son was Leopoldo who married Ysabel Solis Katigbak – niece of the first wife of Don Alejandro, Maria Calao Catigbac); Germana, a spinster; and Dorotea who married Fortunato Latorre.
Dorotea Africa and Fortunato Latorre are the paternal ancestors of the Queen of Kundiman, Sylvia Latorre.
Other prominent families include the Kalaw, Malabanan, Mayo, and Roxas clans who were known for their intellectual minds.
THE KALAW CLAN
In a historical document of the late 16th century, a few years after the Spaniards, conquered Manila, the name of the first known Kalaw appeared. He was the chief of Tondo who was sentenced to death for leading a rebellion against Spain. It is apparent that the love of freedom ran in the Kalaw blood since way back. Kalaw was derived from the name of a bird, the Philippine hornbill, following a custom of adopting Filipino names. – Purita Kalaw Ledesma
The name Calao (Hispanic spelling) appears also in the registros parroquiales of Lipa, Batangas. On Feb 10, 1800, the name Luis Cornelio Calao was cited. He was married to Yldefonsa Segismundo Aguila. They had several children: Andrea (married to Josef Catigbac), Evaristo (married to Francisca Briones), Gregoria (married to Joaquin Gonzales), Esteban (married to Francisca Villapando), Gregorio (married to Petra Gonzales), and Ramon (married to Romana Inciong).
Luis became gobernadorcillo of Lipa in 1821.
Gregorio Kalaw’s son, Cipriano, was one of the staff advisors of General Miguel Malvar and was vice president and treasurer of the Hongkong Junta- the Filipino Revolutionary government organized by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo to advocate Philippine annexation to the United States. Cipriano was married to relative Feliza Africa Katigbak (granddaughter of Andrea Kalaw). Their daughter, Victoria Kalaw, was the first female physician in Lipa. Considered as one of the first accredited social workers of the country, she served as first Philippine government Social Welfare Administrator Director, supervising the creation and running the Welfare Home for Women and Girls where help was provided to abused Filipina women and young girls in the 1950s.
Another patriotic member of this clan was Ramon Kalaw’s son, Valerio. He was the last capitan municipal (1897-1898) under Spain and was responsible for the surrender and ejection of the Spaniards during the siege of 1898 in Lipa. He became the first president municipal in 1903 under the American Government.
Valerio’s eldest son was Teodoro Manguiat Kalaw, a brilliant lawyer and editor of El Renacimiento, a leading newspaper of those times which revealed the abuses of some of the officials in the American Colonial government. Dean Worcester filed a libel suit against him and won. Teodoro could have been jailed if not for the pardon given by incoming American governor-general Francis Burton Harrison. Teodoro was an assemblyman (1909-1912) and director of the National Library until his death. He married the Ilongga Purificacion Garcia Villanueva, the first Manila Carnival Queen of 1908. Their children are Maria, Purita, Evelina, and Teodoro Jr.
Maria, Miss Philippines in 1931 and a senator (1962-
1967), married Dr.Jose Roxas Katigbak. Purita married Rafael Ledesma of Negros Occidental; their daughters were Rita, Consuelo, Ada, and Lourdes. The latter is single Rita, who headed the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, and is married to Jaime Gonzalez of Pampanga. Consuelo, a former nun, after obtaining Vatican dispensation married Luis Jalandoni, a former priest, and spokesman of the Netherlands-based National Democratic Front. Ada married ambassador to the United Nations, Philip Mabilangan, son of Ambassador Felipe Mabilangan of Santo Tomas. Philip’s sister Maria Luisa, an aide of U.S. president Bill Clinton, married a Haley of Little Rock, Arkansas.
Evelina Kalaw married Ramon Katigbak, brother of Ambassador Alberto Katigbak. Their son, Ramon Jr., was a technocrat during the Marcos administration and a member of the president’s Economic Staff. Teodoro Kalaw, Jr. married Eva Estrada of Tarlac, who was a senator in the 1960s. Their daughter, Chingbee, formerly married to Ricardo Manotoc, Jr. is now married to Roberto Cuenca, whose family was originally from Cuenca, Batangas.
Valerio Kalaw’s eldest daughter, Rosario, married Dr.Manuel Luz Roxas, a famous agriculturist, and son of Capitan Sixto Roxas and Doña Alejandra Luz.
Valerio’s second son, Maximo Kalaw, was a prolific writer and private secretary to Manuel L. Quezon when he was the resident commissioner in Washington. Maximo took up law and was the first Filipino to get a doctorate in Political Science. During the Commonwealth, he was elected to the Philippine Assembly and served two terms.
THE ROXAS CLAN
The ascendant of the Roxas clan, Agustin, was originally from the province’s capital, Batangas. He came to Lipa in 1807 and married Yliodora Ylagan, daughter of Don Simon Ylagan (originally from Taal) who was Lipa’s gobernadorcillo in 1788. Agustin and Yliodora had two sons Manuel and Alejandro. The eldest, Manuel became gobernadorcillo in 1857.
Manuel married Ygnacia Maralit Panganiban. Their son, Sixto, also became gobernadorcillo in 1867. He married Alejandra Metra Luz, the eldest daughter of Don Jose Luz. They had two eminent sons – all in the field of science, Baldomero and Manuel Roxas. Baldomero was a physician and surgeon. He was Dr. Jose Rizal’s intimate friend. Through him, Rizal was able to practice his profession in the country. While Manuel was a famous scientist; cited for his scientific contribution in agricultural chemistry. He was listed in the top ten men of science in 1950.
A daughter, Maria Paz Luz Roxas, married Leon Katigbak Mendoza, the half-brother of Segunda Katigbak y Solis.
Sixto and Alejandra’s other son Sixto Jr., was a physician and became Presidente municipal, 1903-1904. Sixto was the medical director of Batangas Provincial Hospital during the 1930s. He married Lucila Mayo Leyesa. Their grandson, Salvador Roxas Gonzalez ( 1925 – 1991) was a distinguished educator in the field of Mathematics and Physics. He served the Philippine government as director of science and higher education in the Program Implementation Agency under President Diosdado Macapagal. He submitted a report on needed fundamental reforms in the Philippine educational system.
Don Sixto Panganiban Roxas’ granddaughter, Felicia Kalaw Roxas (daughter of Dr. Manuel Luz Roxas and Rosario Manguiat Kalaw), married Arturo Tanco from San Isidro, Nueva Ecija who was the head of National Rice Corporation (NARIC). Tanco’s eldest son is technocrat Arturo Roxas Tanco, Jr. He was President Marco’s Agriculture secretary who solved the perennial shortage of rice and turned the country from an importer to a big exporter of this product. Such contribution gave him an international recognition as elected President of the World Food Council, a reputable honor for the country.
Felicia’s brother, Financier Sixto Kalaw Roxas was one of the founders of Bancom Development Corporation. He married the daughter of World War II heroine Josefa Llanes Escoda, Teresa “Bing” Escoda, who headed the Cultural Center of the Philippines under Presidents Aquino and Ramos.
Sixto’ s siblings: Urbano Roxas, Jacoba Roxas, and Vicenta Roxas all married Katigbak descendants. Don Urbano married Jacoba Mendoza Katigbak, daughter of Don Mateo Kalaw Katigbak (gobernadorcillo – 1858). Jacoba Roxas and Vicenta Roxas, in succession, became the wives of Don Lino Kalaw Katigbak (gobernadorcillo – 1867-1870).
THE MAYO CLAN
The Mayos, according to family tradition, was descended from Anthony Mayo, a British Soldier who landed and chose to stay in Lipa during the short-lived British Invasion of Manila in 1762- 1764. To hide his identity he changed his name to Antonio de la Cruz. He married Feliciana Casilag (Casilda). They had only one child Sebastian.
Sebastian Mayo, 1797 gobernadorcillo of Lipa, married a mestiza de sangley named Maria Pantoja (Pantoxa) and had several children: Cipriano, Genaro, Cecilia, Eufemia, and Paterna.
Cipriano Mayo became gobernadorcillo in 1833. He was married to Ygnacia Metra (Mitra). From their branch came well-known descendants. His son, Petronilo Mayo became gobernadorcillo, 1883-1884. He married Petra Malabanan. Their daughter, Rufina Mayo married Don Pablo Borbon, 1910-1916 Governor of Batangas. Their daughter, Remedios Mayo Borbon is the mother of his eminence Gaudencio B. Cardinal Rosales. While Don Cipriano’s granddaughter Doña Micaela Mayo (daughter of Ariston Mayo and Ysabel Atienza) was married to Don Claro Recto, Sr. of Tiaong whose son is the famous nationalist statesman Claro Mayo Recto. Don Cipriano’s great-grandson Esteban Mayo became Presidente Municipal in 1931-1934,1946 and became First Lipa City Mayor in 1947-1952. His son, Atty. Vicente Mayo became the Governor of Batangas in 1988-1995.
Paterna Mayo married Juan de la Peña Malabanan (gobernadorcillo of 1853). They are the earliest known ancestors of most of the Malabanan’s in Lipa today. This clan was a family of educators and one of the pioneers who put up schools in Lipa. The sisters Tarcela and Emilia Malabanan together with Dr. Jose Ma. B. Katigbak (husband of Tarcela and also a Malabanan descendant through his mother Antonina Malabanan Braceros), grandchildren of Don Juan and Doña Paterna, founded the Mabini Academy of Lipa in 1922.
Genaro Mayo was gobernadorcillo in 1850. He was married to Vicentina de los Reyes. Their son Eduardo Reyes Mayo became gobernadorcillo from 1889-1890.
Angkan by Martin I. Tinio in Batangas Forged in Fire
The San Sebastian Cathedral registros parroquiales of 1778-1958, research by Renz Marion D. Katigbak
Personal interviews with Mrs. Salvacion (Lola Salve) Reyes Africa vda. de Vargas by Renz Marion D. Katigbak
Mariano Solis Katigbak Family Registry 1996 by Robert K. Katigbak
Mayo Clan, a genealogical research by Maricel Claudia Alabastro, a descendant of Don Bernardino Katigbak and Doña Rosela Mayo