Posted by: vip | March 4, 2007

Stuff of (family) legends

HISTORY: Reading microfilms of Carcar parish records for my family tree project, I just two days ago came across the 1870 Burial record for my great-great-grandfather Apolinario (sometimes also as Hilario) Aleonar. The record said his father, already deceased, was Vidal Francisco/Ygnacio, a resident of Carcar but a native of Bohol.

That was the first time I knew of my Bohol roots. By golly, I am a ‘sano. There was no town mentioned and thus, I think I have hit a dead-end in my family search. Anyway, when the 1849 Claveria decree ordaining surnames for Filipinos was implemented, his three or five sons (Apolinario, Tomas and Pedro, along with Francisco and Claudio) became the first Aleonars of Carcar. But the fact that they were assigned this thoroughly Carcar surname (“Al-“) could be taken to mean they did not know what name the family members back in Bohol had been given. Or if they even had any contact anymore. Or, were hiding something. Like I said, a genealogical dead-end big-time. Along with the Aleonars may have been a dozen or more families who had also settled in Carcar from Bohol.

So be it, but with that snag being no great story for telling, it’s now up for me to make my family history a bit more interesting by turning it to fiction—albeit historical fiction.

HISTORY: An American historian has apprised me that 16th- and early 17th-century Spanish historical reports of Cebu mentioned a group of war-like, very tough people living in Sialo. This coastal area later became the site of Carcar’s first poblacion, for a time called Daanglungsod (now Valladolid), when the center was moved. At least one account referred to those people there as Sialos. No one can say whether the place got the name from the people or the people from the place, but, anyway, as such they were what could be considered a separate ethnic group.

But what makes for an interesting turn is that the Sialos disappeared—migrated–from this area at around the same time that the “Boholanos” emerged as the next gangstahs in the Visayas and beyond. In fact, there is a growing sense that many of the so-called “Moro raids”—even as far north as the Bicol coastline–were actually the handiwork of these Boholanos.

Against those two backdrops, I can now weave a tapestry, a family folktale about my ancestors being originally part of the 16th-century Sialo crowd who migrated to Bohol and from there became the Boholano marauders.

Who is to say, Bohol’s illustrious Francisco Dagohoy gained many successful skirmishes because of the martial support of this marauder tribe. Or he may even have been one of them.

Long story short: Finally in the early 19th century, my Vidal Francisco/Ygnacio — in constant aggravation just trying to hide his true identity as a descendant of Francisco Dagohoy–led the group back to Carcar, where their forefathers had originally been living in the 16th century until the Spaniards arrived with superior firepower and a bad memory of what happened to Magellan, turned Sialo inside out, rudely interrupting their warrior lives. By the time of his “return” though, and with Carcar having moved to a new poblacion, Vidal had decided on being just a good Catolico and raising a family of God-fearing men. Four generations after him, a priest, and still another, in the next.

There is a Dagojoy family from Bohol who migrated to Carcar in the early 1800s , too, even as by this time that heroic Dagojoy’s family name had been changed to Sendrijas.

First version: 22-Feb-2007:



  1. Many more records after the first one tend to name Vidal as Vidal Ygnacio. Second names were very loose and probably they just depended which religious order was running a parish or province. So if the Jesuits were tops in Bohol, he was Ygnacio. If it were Agustinians, Vidal would probably have been entered in Carcar as Vidal Agustin. In my family tree, I will use the more numerous, Vidal Ygnacio. AMIG

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