“Bunso” is a Tagalog term meaning lastborn. It is derived from the Malay term “bongsu” with the same meaning.  It continues to be a common term of endearment for little children and babies.

Earlier this week, my Family Tree app flagged a record where the names of both my maternal great-grandparents appeared. A birth record for “Luisa San Diego” who I have never read before; but who seemed, looking at the dates, was the youngest of my grandfather’s siblings. After a quick search on my phone, I saw another record that suggested she died barely two months later. After reading the historical documents (informant was a family member and the address matched), it would be safe to say, I found another San Diego grandaunt!

This felt strange and a little sad, because when I interviewed Lolo Nicanor’s “youngest” sister Concordia in the 1990s, there was a wealth of information on the family; but never any mention of a younger sister. I checked my interview notes, nothing! Then again, she would have only been around a year old at her sister’s death. Even after having spoken to my grandaunt about her family, it was foolish of the genealogist in me to assume there were no other details to be discovered.

I have written in the past of the “forgotten” babies in our family. There are no family anecdotes about them. No one remembers their smile or laugh. They never made an appearance in family portraits. They don’t even have resting places we can visit. I lament how my grandparents could not maintain plots for their babies — either due to poverty or war. With so many children to feed or keep safe, perhaps they were expected to move on after a child’s death … maybe even forget.

But chance and choices have a way of helping the next generations remember. My mom’s brother born 13 years and 1 week after Baby Luisa died was named Luis. And my sister Bernadette, our family’s “bunso” was born 44 years from the day Luisa became a cherub. And of course, there are those puzzling times when historical documents find their way to the desks (or in this case, the smartphones) of those who are paying attention.

Please join me in saying a quiet prayer for my relatives who were never corrupted by age or time — forever babies — my Tito Edilio Magno, Tita Chrysantema Magno, Tito Efren San Diego and … Lola Luisa San Diego.

Distant Ancestry: My Mom’s Mom’s Mom’s … Ina

After getting my paternal ancestry test results, I am now all gung-ho about hunting via the DNA route.  This time, I found my mom’s mom’s mom’s … mom’s mom.  Maternal lineage tests are derived from mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) which is passed from a mother to her children — both male and female.  This test is a powerful investigative tool for researching the maternal line and identifying one’s maternal ancient ancestry.

From Africa, through China, to the Americas.

I am blown away at how I share DNA similarities with a group that has literally roamed the earth!  Haplogroup B is also referred to as THE JOURNEYERS.  I entered the values into Mitosearch, and compared my DNA makeup with many others on record.  I found that I share ancient maternal ancestry with people from Argentina, Barabados, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Korea, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Samoa, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

I am looking forward to reading a novel called “The Seven Daughters of Eve” by  Brian Sykes, which is describes the lifestyle of the Journeyers in a rich narrative surrounding their ancestral mother, whom the author called “Ina”.  It is so cool how that means mother in Tagalog.

If you are my San Diego, Porcincula, De Leon or Concepcion relative,  give me a holler if you want a copy of the full report.

You belong to the Journeyers, Haplogroup B, which emerged around 50,000 years ago during an initial migration from Africa into Asia. The Journeyers most likely mapped this migration directly through Central Asia. About 12,000 years ago some of the Journeyers migrated into the Americas across the Bering Straight land bridge. Because of this migration, the Journeyers have been associated with Native American populations at rates of about 24%.

Many of the descendants of the Journeyers are found among Native Americans in the southwestern United States, known for its cactus-covered, arid desert. Native tribes of the American southwest include the Apache, Hopi, Navajo and Zuni, among others.

The people known as Apache are actually a gathering of different tribes who have, over time, become regarded as a single group. There are significant differences among the Apache tribes, but there are also notable similarities. Among the broad Apachean cultures shamans play a key role, although the ceremonies they lead and participate in may vary.

The Hopi people are called Hopituh Shi-nu-mu in their language, which translates to “The People of Peace.” Peace is central to the Hopi’s cultural and religious beliefs. A matrilineal tradition gives structure to the Hopi society and means that when a man marries, he joins his wife’s family. Kivas, square spaces used for spiritual ceremonies, have been used by Hopis since ancient times for ritual prayers, dances, and sacred chants.

There are also many Journeyers in the southern Siberian regions, and in and near present-day Mongolia and China. Your ancient ancestors may have lived in these regions as well. Among these people are the Tuvans, a nomadic people who live in yurts and herd reindeer, yaks and cattle and are known for their enchanting throat singing. The Buryats and the Altay also live in this general region and have notable rates of Journeyers among their populations. There is evidence that the Altay mastered metalwork almost 2,000 years ago.

Over the 50,000 years since your ancestors emerged, they have traveled around Asia, and descendants of the Journeyers can be found in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Polynesia and Micronesia.

Antonio San Diego and Ana Bernardo

This record of my great-great-great-great grandparents’ marriage in 1812 was taken from the Registros Matrimonios in San Pascual de Obando Parish in Bulacan, Philippines.

Transcript: “En el año del Señor de mil ochocientos y doce, en veinte y nueve de Mayo; haviendo presedido las tres denunciaciones del Santo Concilio de Trento sin resultar impedimento alguno, El Pueblo de Don Miguel Fernando con Lizardo del […].  Cura de este Parroquioa del Pueblo de Obando solemnizo el matrimonio […] Antonio de San Diego, soltero, hijo de Roque de San Diego, y de Ana Bernardo, naturales y residentes de este Pueblo del Barrio de Don Juan Martin; y Dorothea Candida, dalaga, hija de Don Juan Candida y de Doña Maria de la Concepcion, assim[…] naturales y residentes de este […] Pueblo del Barrio de Don Victorino de Mendoza; Los quales expresaron su mutuo consentimiento ante mi, y los testigos que fueron Don Teodoro Avendaño y Santiago Evangelista inmediatamente recivieron los bendiciones nupciales y to firme – Fr. Casimiro […]”

Translation:  “In the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and twelve, on the 29th of May, having presided over three condemnations of the Holy Council of Trent;  having found no impediments in the District of Don Miguel Fernando with Lizardo del […].  The parish priest of this town of Obando solemnizes […] the marriage of Antonio de San Diego, bachelor, son of Roque de San Diego, and Ana Bernardo, natural (parents) and residents of this town of the District of Don Juan Martin; and Dorothea Candida, spinster, daughter of Don Juan Candida and Doña Maria de la Concepcion, assim[…] natural (parents) and residents of this […] town of the District of Don Victorino de Mendoza who expressed their mutual consent before me, and witnessed by Don Teodoro Avendaño and Santiago Evangelista, immediately received the nuptial blessings and signed – Fr. Casimiro […]”

My thoughts …

1. This record takes me back one more generation and defines the names of two sets of my great-great-great-great-great grand parents, Roque de San Diego and Ana Bernardo, on one side, and Juan Candida and Maria de la Concepcion on another.

2. What is the abbreviated term that precedes “naturales” (assim[…]) and describes the relationship between the bride and her parents?  It is the first time I have come across this term.  Typical descriptions would be “naturales” or natural parents, and “legitimos” or parents from a legitimate marriage.  Some Philippine towns are more rigid about defining this, while others are not.

3. Why did the bride’s parents carry the titles of Don and Doña; while the groom’s parents did not?  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.  It would be interesting to know how the Candida Family attained their social stature — perhaps that will be key to sourcing where the wealth of the later San Diego generations were rooted.

4. Where did these families live?  Typical of the practice of the times, where the couple and their parents lived are described in the document, not in actual street names; but by the name of their cabezas del barrio or barrio captains.  I would need more information before I could plot this out in a map.

5. Note the use of abbreviations in this record.  I am not certain if these are considered standard clerical shorthand of the times or if these are unique to the person who wrote the record.  Nonetheless, similar abbreviations can be found in the volume set from which this record was lifted.

Continue reading “Antonio San Diego and Ana Bernardo”

The San Diego Family


Pronounced [san-di-ye’-go], the family was named after Saint James — most likely, Saint James the Greater (not St. James the Evangelist), who brought Christianity to Spain and is the nation’s patron saint.  The spelling variations of this surname include Santiago, de Santiago, Santyago, de Santyago, Sandiego, San Jaime, Yago, Yagüe, Yague, Yagües, Yagues, Yáguez, among others.  This name was first found in Galicia, an important Christian kingdom of medieval Spain.

Our Line

The San Diego’s name predates the Claveria Decree of 1849, as we have found documentation on the lineage up to the early 19th century.  The San Diego’s ancestral home is Obando, Bulacan, Philippines; where the earliest known patriarch, Roque de San Diego was born in the late 17oo’s.

In the 1880s, Mariano Avendaño San Diego migrated to Parian, Cebu and settled there.  The home that Mariano and his wife, Maria Yap, still stands today and is reputed to be the oldest residential structure in Cebu.  His descendants took the conjugated version of the family name, Sandiego.

Our branch of the massive San Diego clan moved to Manila City before World War II, but a significant majority still remain in Bulacan.


Hover over thumbnail to view description. Click to see the larger image.

President Magsaysay and the San Diego Clan in Baguio City.  Clockwise from upper left:  Concordia DL San Diego, Nicanor P San Diego, Ramon Magsaysay, Eugenia P San Diego, Apolonio DLC Porcincula, Trinidad P San Diego, Eugenio P San Diego, Felicisima P San Diego and Luis P San Diego. This photo taken on Nicaor and Eugenia's 25th wedding anniversary was a prominent fixture in the living room of "Casa Manana", the family's ancestral home. Luis San Diego and Erlinda Cordero were united in matrimony on 14 May 1967 in Manila City, Philippines. Trinidad P San Diego in 1967. Dominic DR San Diego in 1973.

Continue reading “The San Diego Family”

Mariano Avendaño San Diego

Mariano Avendaño San Diego was born to Rafael Roxas San Diego and Juana dela Cruz Avendaño of Obando, Bulacan. According to oral narratives, he went to the Visayas together with a priest who was assigned to serve in Pari-an, Cebu in the 1880s; and married Maria Yap (1857 – 1947) soon after. The couple made their home in what is now known as the Yap-Sandiego Heritage House.

Mariano served as a cabeza of the Gremios de Mestizos in the Pari-an district of Cebu. According to interment records, he died de muerte repentina (of sudden death) in 1897. His remains are buried in Carcar, Cebu.

Continue reading “Mariano Avendaño San Diego”

The Yap-Sandiego Heritage House

The Yap-Sandiego Heritage House is a 298-square-meter balay nga bato og kahoy (house of wood and stone) located at the corner of Mabini and Lopez-Jaena Streets in the Parian district of Cebu City. It was built sometime between 1675 and 1700 and is one of the oldest existing residential structures in the Philippines.

Spouses Juan Yap and Maria Florido, its earliest known occupants, passed on the property to the Yap siblings: Maria, Eleuterio, and Consolacion. The eldest daughter, Maria Florido Yap, married Mariano Avendaño San Diego in the 1880s.

The house was crafted from narra and other hardwood and roofed with wooden tiles. Typical houses in the Pari-an district were “substantial stone-and-wood houses that followed a distinct pattern: the solid, permanent-looking structure fronting the street, the bodega ground floor and the upper-floor living quarters with the often excessively large rooms, wide windows and azoteas that responded to the need for ventilation and the impulse toward gracious display… that spoke of the Hispanified lifestyle of the local principalia,” writes noted Cebuano scholar Resil Mojares.

As the business center of Cebu in the late 19th century, the Pari-an district morphed into the most prestigious section of the city, where the founding families of Cebu, mestizos of Chinese and Spanish origin, lived and worked. The area was exclusive and patriarchal — its inhabitants dominating the socio-commercial activities of the growing city. In recent history, the Yap-Sandiego house was used as a boarding house for students of nearby schools and universities. It was passed onto noted Cebuano choreographer and art collector Valentin Mancao Sandiego and his wife Ofelia Pacina Zozobrado in 2003. The house is now undergoing careful renovation and outfitting for a museum and art gallery.

Continue reading “The Yap-Sandiego Heritage House”

The Porcincula Family


Pronounced [por-sing’-ku-la], the family name is a derivative of portiuncula. This word is a likely abbreviation of the Italian phrase porzione piccola or “tiny portion”.

Portiuncula is a chapel (also called St. Mary of the Angels) near Assisi, Italy where St. Francis began the Franciscan order in the thirteenth century.  The Portiuncula Indulgence is the first plenary indulgence that was ever sanctioned by the Catholic Church. The indulgence grants to he who visits a church on August 2 and confesses his sins with a contrite heart, freedom from all temporal punishments and purity as after holy baptism. The indulgence was named after the church where St. Francis’ apparitions prodded him to gain Pope Honorius III’s approval.

In 1769, a Spanish expedition in California came across a river that they named El Rio de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula or “the River of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula.” Twelve years later, 12 families settled in the area and named their community El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula, after the nearby river. In later years, the city became known as Los Angeles.

Our Line

The line, as we know it, originates from San Bartolome, Malabon, Philippines — where Cirilo Porcincula was born. At the time, Malabon was within the jurisdiction of the province of Rizal. Physical features of the clan indicate a likely Chinese lineage.  A Eugenia de Leon Porcincula female married in to the San Diego Family in 1933.

Look  through our name database, or request access to the Porcincula Family Tree on Geni.