Posted by: vip | April 12, 2010

The mestizos Sangleys of Carcar

The mestizos Sangleys of Carcar The mestizos Sangleys were the Chinese-descended residents of Parian y Lutaos, then an independent town and parish, which was later abolished (ca. 1850) by the Spanish authorities, and incorporated into the existing Cebu City.

The Parian-Tinago river. On the Cebu shoreline, ships could only anchor off it, and you would need other smaller boats to be able to come ashore.  But camouflaged by mangroves (tinago, hidden), the Parian Tinago river, then still wide enough to be navigable, was practically the more natural entry for boats ferrying goods from Chinese junks as well as local produce boats from various places in the Philippines, to reach Cebu. Most cities and civilizations were founded on banks or mouths of rivers and bays, rather than seacoasts.

Presumably due to the place being the trading point, the people in Parian became much wealthier than the native “indios”. This upward mobility continued until even the Spanish church and military authorities began to fear them somewhat. The origin of the term Sangley is not known up to this time. Neither is that of the term Parian. But such was the acknowledged influence of the trade between the Philippines and Mexico that there is named a Parian Plaza in Mexico City.  Sangla is used in Tagalog to mean “to pawn”.

Although the “race” mostly congregated in Parian, but since the racial classification mestizo Sangley would include everyone born of a Chinese father and the generations after, the table is open to families who had originated from outside Parian. Examples that may possibly fall in this category are the well-known Escalona, Escario, Mansueto, Manzanares, Yap and Ybañez–and maybe others–families of Bantayan island.

Anyway, as soon as they arrived in Carcar, the mestizos Sangleys, with their commerce and their connections to provincial officials in the city and to the first Filipino priests who were mostly mS (owing to their group’s access to higher education) — and their fair skin — soon took over the reins of government, agriculture and commerce, society, maybe even the cream of Carcar womanhood.

As a matter of fact, from the 1840s, as they slowly commingled with the native families, Roman Sarmiento, Domingo Gemperoso, Narciso Barcenilla, Andres Ximena Avila, and the Carcar-born mestizo Español Gregorio Silva alternated as gobernadorcillos with the local elites — until 1867-1896 and 1898-1940s, when they run Carcar entirely.

And as politics always go, rivalries were now built between mestizo Sangley personalities and, maybe, families. One other noteworthy observation. The abolished Parian’s old patron saint was St. John the Baptist but although the mestizos Sangleys arrived in quite a number in Carcar, there’s no evidence there ever was a soltitial ritual or tradition they ever initiated anywhere in the town or is still existing today.

Scope. Since the parish books still intact in Carcar start only around 1800, we cannot claim with certainty that there were no mestizos Sangleys already in Carcar, from Parian, before that time.  It is indeed puzzling why it would take them two hundred years to discover the potential of the town. Even the records below are not water-tight. Since this is evidently taking us into the pre-Claveria era, there may be earlier records for some families that just have not been found yet due to the difficulty in sifting through the pre-Claveria names. The mS families that reached Carcar were Alcorcon, Alcudia, Aldocente, Alo, Avila, Barcenilla, Cui, Cuico,  Florido, Gantuangco, Garces, Gemperoso, Jaen, Medalle, Mercado, Navasquez, Noel, Nuñez, Rayla, Regis, Sagolili, Sarmiento, Solon, Urgello, Vasquez, Velez, Villarosa, Yap, and maybe some others.

There is not a record labeling them as mestizo Sangley but records of their having originated from Cebu City at that time may attest to their being also mS, and I mean the Alegrado and Poncardas families.  Even though I did not include them here, Alegrado records certainly predate those of the mestizos Sangley in the table below.

The richer of the mS of the earlier period had to be the Regis, Gantuangco and Sarmiento families. Politically potent were the Barcenilla, Cui, Jaen, Noel and Mercado. But of course, power begets wealth, and vice versa—it all depended on the natural inclinations of an individual. The following is a short table of some Sangleys and their available (readable) earliest records in Carcar.  I also included the five mestizo Español families with records in Carcar: Silva, del Corro, Fortich, Rodriguez and Barredo. Meanwhile, a son of Donato Regis below, Catalino, was married to Anacleta Noel and the Baptism of their daughter, Martina Regis (3-Feb-1861) is thus the oldest record I’ve seen yet of any Noel in Carcar. B – Bautismos (Baptisms), C – Casamientos (Marriages), E – Entierros (Burials)

starting person in Carcar bk person
Sagolili Mariano Sagolili (Mariano de la Cruz) 1832 B Hilario Juan (son)
Alcorcon Victor Alcorcon (Victor Narciso) 1835 B Dionicia Areopagita (dau)
Alcudia Leon Alcudia (Leon de los Santos) 1836 B Maria Hermitania (dau)
Gemperoso Domingo Gemperoso (Domingo Guzman) 1838 B Baldomera Maria (dau)
Sarmiento Roman Sarmiento (Roman Protacio) 1839 B Gregorio Santiago (son)
Avila Andres Ximena Avila (Andres Avelino) 1843 C Andres Avelino
Barcenilla Narciso Barcenilla (Narciso de Jesus) 1851 B Teodora Barcenilla (dau)
Regis* Donato Regis 1853 B Candelario Regis (son)
Rayla Juan Rayla 1860 C Benito Rayla (son)
Mercado Regina Mercado 1860 C Vicente Mercado (son
Gantuangco Cecilio Gantuangco 1861 B Vicente Gantuangco
Yap  Consolacion Yap  1889  E  Maria Yap (dau)
Silva Pedro Silva 1812 C Mariano Silva (son)
del Corro Carlos Nazareno del Corro 1837 C Luis Beltran del Corro (son)
Fortich Jose Maria Fortich 1850 B Catalino Fortich (son)
Rodriguez Gregorio Rodriguez 1868 B Aurelia Rodriguez (dau)
Barredo Pedro Barredo 1893 E Democrito Barredo (gson)


  1. Tenchavez was also a mestizo Sangley family. first record i have is a baptism of a son in 1880.

  2. how about the valle clan did you heard of this family name from parian? thanks

  3. How about the Lazo family? Can they be considered as Sangley’s too?

    • ive made no file of the lazo family yet but i don’t think i noticed it having had the racial classification of mestizo sangley in the carcar records.

  4. Thanks for the response. Lazo is not Chinese name but the maternal side was Chinese. As Chinese tend to group together, I concluded they assimilated with the Sangleys of Carcar.

    • the mestizos sangleys of carcar and parian were chinese probably only by origin with the trace of physical appearance. these families had been in the country for at least a century and historians say they no longer even knew how to speak chinese. besides, most mestizo sangley families probably descended from illegitimate children of chinese. as to chinese tending to group together, in carcar these mestizos were the political rivals. (ex., noel vs. mercado). i wish you will trace your lazo family from the earliest that you can remember so that we can start the lazo file for carcar.

      • also if from the maternal side, the offspring(s) will no longer be classified as mestizo sangley but rather as indios or mestizo español as the case may be. the classification follows the father.

  5. I can trace my roots to Don Ramon “Damon” Razo of San Fernando. I have the hunch he was a Lazo from Carcar but change to Razo as a requirement to be ennobled and become a cabeza barangay of a San Fernando town. Both my parents are from San Fernando and when they were alive I heard them talking about the names listed as Carcar families e.g. Barcelo, Alcoseba, etc.

    • what gives you the hunch that the razo came from lazo and from carcar. it would be an interesting point to pursue for family history sake. and what is the reason why the surname had to be changed, and why does it have to be ennobled to become a cabeza de barangay? i doubt there was even a single noble of the spaniards who came to cebu.

      • My father said we were once Lazo and was originated by an English pirate and a Chinese merchant.but did not provide further details. So I surfed the internet and found a documented English pirate’s tale which described the chance encounter after their ships got damaged by a violent storm in the vicinity of the Hongkong islands. The English ship which was originally bound for Manila proceeded to Batanes Islands for repairs.. The Chinese merchants who were in the junk were also Manila bound but their smaller boat was not seaworthy after the storm. The Chinese merchants “presumably” requested to hitch a ride on the English ship to Manila. They stayed in Batanes islands for a while(14 days) and had the chance to go island hopping to survey the area. They even gave names to the 5 islands. But another violent storm hit them while in Batanes so violent that the seafarers decided not to proceed to Manila anymore and instead go home to England. The Chinese merchants proceeded to Manila via Ilocos where 9 months later a “daughter” was born to a Chinese woman who was offered to the English pirate in exchange for the ride. The “daughter” eventually married a sailor from Peru named Lazo. These Chinese merchants found their way to the different trading centers of Luzon and finally to Carcar.
        So in effect this is also the origin of the Lazo’s from Ilocos or the North. At this point I have not contacted any Lazo from the North and hear their origin. But I used the Ramirez Clan history as a parallel story as the original Ramirez was also a Peruvian sailor. Interestingly the 2 clans are related by marriage.

        • i’m ignorant of the tale and even around when it may have happened and so i can only bring some points to it, points that are well known. there are lazos most especially from ilocos sur. now, if the surname had come from a peruvian sailor, the family bore that surname even as they arrived in carcar. i’ve kept no record of the lazo family of carcar but if it was a peruvian sailor, the family would probably have borne the racial classification not of mestizo sangley but mestizo whatever of peru or indio.
          are you just making an assumption that the lazos of carcar could have come from that ilocos family? this is very interesting if only we can find the records

  6. Thanks for the response. The records that happened 300 years ago will be very hard to get. I use the preponderance “coincidences” in lieu of hard evidence.And I have strong feeling of a Carcar connection.

  7. On the use of “Don”,I got this from another blog:“In colonial Philippines, these titles were honorific in nature, automatically attached to individuals of significant distinction in the community, rather than reserved for those of noble birth.”

    • there were no filipino nobility of distinction except those cited in the claveria decree lacandola, mogica, tupas, raja matanda whose surnames were reserved only for those who had claim

  8. Affixing “Don” to someone’s name is still being practiced nowadays like my father when a barangay was named after him in the province of Zamboanga del Norte.It was a requirement to have the Don before his name. It seems to be an unwritten practice in the barangay politics.

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