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A Brief Family History: The Mosquera of Antique

In the Philippines, much of family history is passed down in the form of oral tradition.  This is because written histories are not easily available, as record keeping during the Spanish times were spotty (most especially in the provinces).  And during the Japanese Occupation, a lot of records were also lost.  So it is through this oral tradition that most Filipinos know about their forbears and their relatives.  Some elements of these oral traditions can be properly researched and confirmed; otherwise, they simply have to be taken in faith.
Family oral tradition relates that two Mosquera brothers set sail from Barcelona in the late 18th century to seek adventure and fortune in Las Islas Filipinas.  At that time, Barcelona was already becoming an industrial and trading center of importance -- and soon, Spain's chief port and center of import-export activity that fueled much of its commercial and manufacturing industries.  Somehow, the brothers made their way to the Visayas, and one of them eventually established himself in the untamed wilds of Antique (or Hamtik, as
it was known then, and much later, Hantique) Province*, which was under Spanish military administration.  What is certain is that by the latter half of the 1800's, the Mosquera through marriage have become part of
a rising political and hacendero clan, the Manzanilla and the Salvani of Patno˝gon.
The Manzanilla were active in the town of Patno˝gon during the late 19th century, and were reputed to be the largest landowners in the province.  In fact, Ramon Manzanilla was the gobernadorcillo of the town in 1887.  As gobernadorcillo, he had absolute power over the town, and he was the one responsible for having the stone bridge spanning Patno˝gon River built.  He was also instrumental in the building of a new stone church, with Mass first celebrated there in 1896.
The Salvani gave their name to Hacienda Salvani, which, at its most expansive, covered more than 400 hectares.  It still occupies a large area of Patno˝gon, and its muscovado mill in Poblacion Patno˝gon was
still operational even during the 1990's.  The most famous of this family was Enrique Salvani, who married Teopista Manzanilla, a daughter of the formidable Don Ramon.  He started his career as mayor of Patno˝gon in 1898, and eventually became governor of the province from 1922-1931 during the time of the American Governor-General Leonard Wood.  Governor Salvani's close friendship with the governor-general was legendary; Leonard Wood (who was arguably the most powerful man in the islands) even made the arduous trip to the family hacienda.  This was more than just a symbolic gesture, since at that time, it took as much as eight hours to make the trip from Iloilo City over unpaved roads and unspanned rivers, not to mention the lurking dangers from armed bandits!  As a result of that close friendship, Antique was provided with the funds for much-need public works during that period. 
It was during this time that Juan Mosquera y Manzanilla, a grandson of Don Ramon through his son
Juancho Manzanilla, functioned as treasurer, and made his home in the neighboring town of Culasi.  He married Jovita Cadiao y Lacson, who was a member of the town's educated and propertied native elite.
His brother-in-law, Captain Silverio Cadiao y Lacson, headed the famous Company "K" of the Philippine guerilla forces that operated around the area of Culasi during the Japanese Occupation in World War II.  Company "K" successfully resisted the Japanese forces in their area of operations, and assisted in the submarine landing by American naval operatives of ammunition and supplies in Lipata Point for guerilla forces operating in Panay.  A local hero, his statue is located in a place of honor at the Culasi town plaza.
Another brother-in-law, Josue Cadiao y Lacson, became governor of Antique from 1955-1963.  He also served as Commissioner of the Public Service (now the Civil Service Commission) from 1965-1971, and then a Commissioner of the Philippine Sugar Commission (PHILSUCOM) during the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos.
Historically, the name Cadiao entered the history books in the late 16th century, when a Datu Cadiao in Negros Island provided men and material support to consecutive expeditions to neighboring Panay led by the Spanish explorers Mateo del Sanz and Luis de la Haya in 1565 and 1566.  They were part of the colonizers who had sailed from Spain under the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi to re-establish the claims of the Spanish Crown after a long absence, following the failed efforts of Fernando Magallanes (1521), Esteban Gomez (1524), Juan Garcia Jofre de Loaisa (1525) and Juan de Saavedra (1527).  The Spaniards, looking for relief from a famine that affected Cebu, had evidently heard about an island of fertile soil and abundant harvests that provided stable resources far better than Cebu and Negros.
Thus, through marriage with the Manzanilla, the Mosquera became part of an extended clan that also included the Salvani, among others.  While a bit difficult for foreigners to understand, since they are used to small family units, the larger extended family is a uniquely Filipino phenomenon.  It is most evident in the provinces, where the extended family provided, and continues to provide, a social and economic support system; aside from being farmer-politicians, the clan also supplied much of the seasonal sacada manpower needed to harvest the sugarcane in the sprawling haciendas of Negros Occidental in the early 20th century, thus contributing to much-needed job employment among Antique˝os.  The benefits of this extend family arrangement were also clearly seen during election time.  It goes without saying that members of the
Filipino extended family know each other, especially the intricacies of how they are related to one another. 
This is certainly the case with the Mosquera of Antique. 
Only a handful of the new generation remains in farming and politics.  Sadly, the aristocratic and caudillo lifestyle enjoyed by the earlier generations is almost a memory.  Given the bleak option of genteel poverty, most of the present generation have chosen to be entrepreneurs or professionals -- as accountants, doctors, engineers, lawyers, nurses or teachers.  Thus, from their bailiwicks in Patno˝gon and Culasi in Antique, members of the clan have spread out to Iloilo and Metro Manila, and abroad to the United States, Germany, England and China.

Sample family crest; Size=135 pixels wide

S i d e b a r

There is another family story, rarely told, that there were actually seven Mosquera brothers, and not just two, who came from Spain.  Thus, it is said, that there are Mosquera from the provinces of Iloilo, Guimaras, Negros and Palawan who are also relatives.  But the story cannot be properly corroborated nor confirmed.  Unless proven otherwise, this author believes that the story seems highly unlikely, since historically, mainland Spanish families were not in the tradition of uprooting themselves completely and in large numbers of family members to reestablish themselves in the colonies.  Much of these transplanted Spaniards were either impoverished peasants who dreamed of riches and wanted to start fresh lives, or were the third and fourth sons of the hidalguia, who, facing bleak prospects with no inheritance, took on careers as soldiers or monks in faraway lands.

*The other brother was said to have settled down in Iloilo.  Interestingly, there has been contact and even occasional visits to Antique by members of the Mosquera family coming from Pototan, Iloilo, where they are known as a large landowning but low-key family with careers in law and foreign service.  They have been warmly welcomed as "parientes" albeit distant ones.