eK! is electronic Kabalen, a web-exclusive Kapampangan journal of ideas

alex r. castro
alex r castro THE ONLY picture I 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 five "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, with 3 different wives. But that is getting ahead of the story. Emilio del Rosario y de Ocampo was born on 2 September 1878, the fourth 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 first 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 third 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 points 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!

A KAPAMPANGAN FAMILY. Emilio del Rosario y de Ocampo with his titulado sons (with first 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. [Photo from the Alex Castro Collection]
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; he was unsuccessful, though, when he ran 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 monsignor and who became 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!

[About the author. Alex R. Castro has been an adman all his professional life. Presently, he is a business director of Makati-based Jimenez Basic Advertising. His job has taken him around the world, training in New York, London, working in Asia and Australia, and living in Bangkok for 4 years. Yet, Mabalacat, his hometown, continues to be his favorite place on earth. So much so that in January 2006, he singlehandedly researched, wrote, designed, and published a book of his town's history, titled Scenes from a Bordertown & Other Views/Views from the Pampang & Other Scenes. The twin book also featured Pampanga-themed pictorial essays that previously saw print in his column for Sun.Star Pampanga. When not writing advertising copy, he does consultancy work for the Center for Kapampangan Studies at Holy Angel University, collects antiques and books, and tends to his two cats, Uma and Pikachu. A true nerd, he received his Communications degree from St. Louis University in Baguio City and was named as one of the Philippines' Oustanding Students of Communications by the Broadcast Media Council and KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Broadcaster sa Pilipinas).]

-Posted: 12:04 AM 4/12/07 | More of this author on eK!

Norma T Del Rosario (of Angeles City, Philippines) writes...

Do have knowledge about the roots of Anacleto Del Rosario who married Maria Henson? Kasi po i have this book of the Nepomuceno family tree and Anacleto's parents or grandparents were not indicated there. I was researching kasi the Del Rosario geneological tree. I am the grand daughter po pala of Rafael S. del Rosaio Sr. Thank you po and God Bless.

-Posted/Via Email: 2008-06-12 01:44:33 PDT

Rosemarie Campos del Rosario-Josue (Philippines/US) writes...

Hi Alex! I am fascinated by your account of the Del Rosario clan in Pampanga. How is this your clan related to the ones in Bicol - Jose Panganiban, Albay, and Camaribes Sur- Batangas, Laguna and Bulacan? I am a granddaughter of the late Don Felipe del Rosario, once Judge of the Court of First Instance, ca. 1930's, in Jose Panganiban - one of his books in law published in Spanish and had translations in English in his own handwriting is in my possession. I recall my late father told me that Don Felipe earned his degree in laws from UST (that must be before or ca. 1920's?). His oldest son, Rodolfo (1927-2007), my late father, still has siblings in Tondo,Manila and Novaliches, Q.C. Thanks.

-Posted/Via Email: 2009-11-14 12:00:30 PST

Rich Tinneny writes...

Alex: I enjoyed reading your article about the DelRosario family of Angeles City. Your uncle the Monsignor looks just like Ranato DelRosario the husband of Luna who live in front of Raphael Lazatin's home. Otto and Luna were very good friends. Gov Lazatin and his wife were the godparents of our son who was born there in 1967. I know Otto has passed away but if Luna is still alive please tell her that Dick and Lee Tinneny said helo and send their very best. They were wonderful friends.

-Posted/Via Email: Sunday, January 24, 2010, 9:25 PM

post Publish your comments...