Posted by: vip | May 4, 2009

Family Search: A Barili Family Tree crosses to Carcar 2

First impressions on the pre-Claveria surnames of Barili, Cebu

Before Claveria, most Filipinos (indios and mestizos Sangley) did not have surnames. Researches by Cebu historians show that even the richest and most influential mestizo Sangley families in Parian (Cebu City) then were not yet using surnames*.  Gabino Veloso was still Gabino del Rosario and Severino Osmeña was Severino Agaton.  With that background, I was indeed pleasantly surprised by what the records of the town of Barili had in store for the world to see.

Pre-Claveria church records there greeted me with families using Abad, Cañete, Carrion (the old spelling in the books), Causen/Causing (from Barotac), Dandan, Estrada, Florez (old spelling), Guzman, Mercado, Montemayor, Paraz (old spelling), Trinidad (de la Trinidad), Vergara, and I suppose others I had not taken up.

I have yet to come across any notation indicating the Paraz family of Barili originated elsewhere.  [Nor did I subsequently come across any in Carcar that showed the Paraz family there came from Barili.]  While the Barili family was already using Paraz, the Carcar family still had no fixed surname, using Paraz** only after Claveria.  However, Carcar has retained Paraz to this day even as Barili has switched to the less problematic Paras.  For what reason, the family genealogist should be able to unearth.

The Claveria decree did provide that families that had been using a common second name as a surname for some generations already may continue with the name.  That’s well it should be because the purpose of the decree was precisely to rationalize the usage of such names.  Thus, these families carried on with the surnames and in fact remain very influential families in Barili.

The non-surname second names.

A backgrounder. Until Claveria issued the decree, Filipinos without surnames used second names as if to ape (for lack of another word, pardon the connotation) the Spaniards who had two names, but the second one being the surname. The difference was that the Spaniards’ surnames were family names and were thus handed down the family–children and then to grandchildren.  Our second names did not get handed down and so never functioned, and could not be called, as family names.

Now, these second names can be broken down to two groups: one, another first name and the other, a name with a religious connotation. The first group is characterized by two straightfoward first names. A factual example would be Jorge Ynosencio (who would later be Jorge Ricablanca).  In the second group would belong de Santa Ana, de la Cruz, de Espiritu Santo and others, or else, persons would be baptized with the full name of the saints themselves:  Juan Climaco, Juan Evangelista, Pascual Baylon, Tomas Villanueva, Tomas Tolentino, Domingo Guzman, etc.

Barili. In the case of Barili, religious second names cannot get more Catholic than the Trinidad family.  But the family was using “de la Trinidad” for some generations already before Claveria. Somehow–I can’t place when–it was shortened to just Trinidad.

Abad, as their family legend says, is supposed to be a family started by a priest.  Perhaps the family should also ask themselves why the surname Abad and not, say, Presbitero, or Sacerdote, which was the more generic and more commonly-used term for priest; Abad connotes the more ascetic abbey and its head priest.  Where in Cebu or the neighboring provinces was supposed to be this abbey that late in the religious history of Cebu?

The Cañete, Guzman and Mercado “surnames” were sometimes commonly used by thoroughly unrelated persons.  There was a whole branch who were using either Cañete (probably the most numerous) or Guzman but were later surnamed Tegley. Thus, it remains to be investigated whether the present Cañetes of Barili are all related to each other.

By the way, my own great-great-grandmother was baptized Prisca Cañete with the father as Ysidro Cañete. Year was 1839.  But other records before and after this date gave his name as Ysidro Vergara.  The child next to Prisca was baptized (1841) only as Ma. Juliana but the father’s name there was Ysidro Vergara.  The reasons for these now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t  may either prove quite interesting from an academic standpoint, or it could have been just apnea by the clerk, too. But usage of Vergara by the family was generally consistent.

Anyway, it is also possible that people working in canefields (if that was extensive in Barili), even if not related by blood, invariably used the second name Cañete for themselves. If that is so, Cañete may be one of the rare occupation (or locality) “surnames” that managed to creep into Philippine genealogy.  The Barili Cañete can thoroughly qualify as an evolved surname–be it either an occupation or locality one–because it was handed down by families (i.e., used as a surname) already even before Claveria.  But then its very circumstance of being an occupation or locality surname would also mean the name was commonly used by people living or working there, and the families that did use it may not have been related by blood at all. Again, an investigation is needed.

The Mercados of Barili have no record–change that, I did not come across a record of the Mercados of Barili as being related to Mercados from elsewhere–from Carcar or Cebu City or Negros–or of them originating from another place. Like Cañete with its connotation of the canefield, Mercado also connotes the marketplace, and thus the name could also have been used as a locality or occupation name and, like Cañete, even the Mercados of Barili may not be blood-related to each other. Again, further investigation.

Investigations of this sort need only involve tracing back the Cañete (or Mercado or Guzman) lines to determine if they are or not actually related to each other. But we can go only as far as the records on the books can tell us.

Meanwhile, I can determine right off that the Guzman surname in Barili can only have come about as a religious name.  Thousands of Filipinos must have been baptized Domingo or Dominga (de) Guzman and the name and/or surname was in vogue even before Claveria.  Domingo Guzman was as much favored everywhere else in the country, maybe due to the fact that Santo Domingo de Guzman***—St. Dominic—was the founder of the Dominican order.

I said right off, not meaning to be prickly, but because it is so improbable that the Barili family (or families) using Guzman were related to St. Dominic.  St. Dominic’s Spain family is just so original grandee and the probability that a personage that high in the aristocratic echelons could have descended on Barili is just so… (next only to a Prince Harry landing unescorted in Dumanjug) … I doubt a single Guzman of that ilk ever got to sully his tight-fitting boots of Spanish leather even in capital Manila–as I always inject, so far-off were we in the Spanish firmament and scheme of things.  Filipinos must learn to accept those last two facts.****


* my hunch, for which I surely will get much flak, about the fact of mestizo Sangley families not having a surname is that these mestizos most probably started as illegitimate children, else they would have been using their father’s Chinese one which were actually in use even before Claveria–Gantuangco, for one–because the Chinese already had family names way before the Spaniards in Spain did. Their illegitimacy was a result of the father’s not converting to Catholicism and being impeded from  marrying the mother, or his simply refusing to marry her at all.  ( see  Yap: The Yap families of Carcar )

**Although the earliest Carcar Paraz used Alejandro Paraz, the surname was not consistently carried by his children. There is also an 1832 baptism wherein Alejandro was the padrino, and the child was baptized Pablo Paras, although later on the family took Alcoy.

*** who was himself named after Santo Domingo de Silos who rebuilt the Benedictine Abbey later named after him, as was the town where it is located.

**** the starting person in my Duterte family tree, Bernardo Duterte, an Español or mestizo, was also married to a Dominga Guzman in Cebu City late 1700s and I had some convincing to do with my own kin and others who were of the opinion that her Guzman was a family name and her having it that early pointed to her being Spanish-descended. I hope I disabused their minds by my position that the possibility of a nubile Guzman braving our frontier country was even more far-fetched than a male one.



  1. […] Without the “y”, it would indeed take a while to sort out that a Leoncio Fernandez de Gregorio Alvarez de Toledo was actually Fernandez de Gregorio y Alvarez de Toledo.  Succeeding his mother, he is the 22d duke of Medina Sidonia, the premier dukedom of Spain which descended from the Perez de Guzman family (see Family Search: A Barili Family Tree crosses over to Carcar 2). […]

    • The Abad family in Barili did not derive their family name from the Claveria edict but rather from the real surname of the priest. That is the reason why we use the surname Abad, instead of Sacerdote or other generic term for priest.

      • dear michael, i am also gathering barili families and thus am very interested what was the name of this priest surnamed abad? my starting person for my abad file is constantino roman abad, in whose marriage (1832 to lucia paras), the record said his parents as padres no conocido (usually indicating illegitimacy) and that he was born in barili. it may not mean the priest surnamed abad was assigned in barili just that roman was supposedly born in barili.

  2. I must say, the Cañetes that I thought could be our relatives in Cebu could possibly not share my blood.

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