Bunso

“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 After reading the historical documents (informant was a family member and the address matched), it would be safe to say, I found another San Diego grandaunt!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 And of course, there are those puzzling times when historical documents find their way to the desks (or in this case, the smartphones) of those who are paying attention.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.

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The Search for Juan: The Constabulary School, Part 2

Lolo Juaning was a skilled horseman and served as a Cavalry officer for the Philippine Scouts.

Several weeks back, my aunt clued me in on the fact that my Lolo Juan worked with Jorge Vargas (how closely, I am unsure) in the administration of Manuel Quezon in the 1930s.  Jorge Vargas was the executive secretary of President Quezon, and eventually, the head of the Philippine Commission after the country was invaded by the Japanese forces in World War II.  After a bit of googling, I learned that Jorge Vargas’ private papers and photographs are housed at the Vargas Museum in UP, Diliman.  I sent an email to the Librarian, Maricel Raynesa, and we set a date to view the collection.  The gracious Ms. Raynesa even asked her student interns to start reading through the volumes to look for any mention of Juan Anderson Hernandez, which facilitated the search.

This week, my Tita Inday, my cousin Nota (an anthropologist from ADMU) and I poured through the delicate volumes of Vargas’ “scrapbook” — which had newspaper clippings, protocol papers, theater tickets, notes from Japanese administrators, sweepstakes tickets, among others.  Amazingly enough, from this 70-year old goldmine, we were able to reconstruct a part of my great-grandfather’s professional life:

1.  In July 1938, Juan Anderson Hernandez was among 198 officers of the Philippine Army who were transferred to the newly-formed Philippine Constabulary, the national police organization.  Captain Hernandez’ responsibility was “commanding headquarters troops”.  Considering the timing, it seems that he held this post a short time before or at the same time as his job as the sergeant-at-arms of the Second National Assembly.

2.  Shortly after World Ward II broke out, the open city of Manila was occupied by the Japanese in 02 January 1942.  The Japanese-controlled government inagurated the new Constabulary Academy at the site of the former Araullo High School in Intramuros, Manila by June 1942.  They also created branches of this school all over the country.  I found multiple references to Assistant Superintendent JA Hernandez participating at the graduation of  Constabulary Academy that year — he was a speaker at the graduation of 01 November 1942 , then he read the roll of graduates at the 20 December 1942 rites.

3.  Juan must have been promoted some time earlier, as I found a document (a guest list for a dinner given by the Director General of the Japanese Military Administration, held at the Winter Garden of the Manila Hotel on 28 December 1942), which referred to him as “Major Hernandez” of the Constabulary Academy.

4.  In July 1943, Juan left the Constabulary Academy for his new assignment as the Senior Inspector of the Philippine Constabulary in Samar.

This is as far as I got.  It would be interesting to understand the circumstances around his promotion to Colonel.  I am now updating the biography of Juan Anderson Hernandez to reflect the new details above.

Continue reading “The Search for Juan: The Constabulary School, Part 2”

The Search for Juan: The Philippine Senate

The Philippine Senate Building, in the early 1900s

According to family stories, Juan Anderson Hernandez was a decorated soldier even before World War II.  The undated obituary clipping my aunt sent me alludes to a connection to President Quezon and the Philippine Senate.  My dad recalls, with much regret, that some of his military memorabilia were sold off by older relatives after his death.   So our side of the family has very little information on him — only the tales from my Dad, my uncles and my aunts,  exchanged over the dinner table.  My earlier attempts to find Juan in written records have proven futile.  Until today.

Juan’s Bio

Owing to serendipitous googling, I found a book that mentions his name.  Yet another search led me to the Heritage Library (now my favorite library!), where a copy of the book is in active circulation.  Towards the end of the chapter covering the Colonial Senate (1916-1935), I found, to my utter joy, a brief biography of my great-grandfather:

Assisting the Senate as Sergeant at Arms was Juan Anderson Hernandez.  He was born in Lipa, Batangas in 1885.  He had a colorful career during the American period, serving as officer of the Philippine National Guard, a captain in the Reserve Corps of the US Army, and a brigadier general of the National Volunteers of the Philippines — an organization he helped organize before serving in the Senate.

Need I spell it out?  Eureka!

Continue reading “The Search for Juan: The Philippine Senate”

The Search for Juan: The Constabulary School, Part 1

Juan Anderson Hernandez is my great-grandfather and one of the “dead ends” in my genealogy study. I penned an article about him in 2005, documenting all I had been told of his colorful life.

Copyright E. Murray Bruner Family

Among the details I have been trying to look into is my dad’s memory of him being a Superintendent or Commandant of the Philippine Constabulary School, the precursor of the Philippine Military Academy, headquartered at the Cuartel De Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Barracks) in Intramuros, during the Japanese occupation.  My dad remembers how his father, Segundino Magno, was given a job as a school cook by his father-in-law Juan.  There is a sense of family pride in the lore that Segundino unlocked the armory at night for the guerillas to loot — his tiny contribution to the war effort.  On the flip side, Juan was supposedly tried after the war, together with Laurel and other leaders, for his complicity to the Japanese invaders.  So much data to verify!  I need materials that will collaborate the oral histories.  So off I went to the National Library of the Philippines in TM Kalaw St. Manila today.

In reference to the PMA’s transfer to the Baguio Campus, I found this communique from the American administrators in 1908:

Bureau of Constabulary
Manila, PI
August 1, 1908
General Orders No. 24

1. The following named officers of the class graduated July 31, 1908, at the Constabulary School, having been recommended by the school staff and superintendent for their conduct, application, and proficiency in the course of study, are announced as honor graduates:

Third Lieutenant Bernabe Nicolas.
Third Lieutenant Jose V. Agdamag.
Third Lieutenant Maxon S. Lough.
Third Lieutenant Oliver Soow.

2. The station of the Constabulary School is changed from Santa Lucia Barracks, Manila to Baguio, Benguet.  Santa Lucia Barracks will be used as a station for general service companies and band, quarters for unmarried officers on duty in the city, and casuals.  Detachments from the provinces heretofore directed to report to the adjustant of the Constabulary School will hereafter be ordered to report to the commanding officerm Santa Lucia Barracks, Manila.  The supply officer and supply sergeant of the Constabulary School is discontinued.  Such supplies and property pertains to the school as are considered necessary by the Chief Supply Officer will be shipped to Baguio in time to be available for the term beginning September 1, 1908.  Upon completion of business pertaining to this transfer, officers and employees of the school will proceed by first available transportation to Baguio for duty.  The travel enjoined is necessary for public service (21808-G).

By order of Colonel Harbord:
RALPH W. JONES
Acting Executive Inspector

From this, I confirmed what is written on the historial marker at the ruins of the Sta. Lucia Barracks — that the precursor of the PMA moved to Baguio in 1908, a good 35 years before World War II.  Combine this tidbit and the confirmation from PMA that Juan’s name does not appear on the list of PMA superintendents, of Corps of Professors and of Commandants of Cadets, I am ready to disprove one of the family myths and conclude that Juan was never part of that organization.

So, what was the Santa Lucia Barracks used for during the war? My dad remembers it as the Constabulary School; but with the PMA fully transferred to Baguio, who were training there?  This excerpt from the memoirs of an American who served in the Philippine Guerilla Movement clarifies a lot:

In an effort to deal with the guerillas, who were passing from nuisance to menace, the Japanese organized a new Philippine Constabulary. This body should not be confused with the old prewar Constabulary which, along with the Philippine army and Philippine Scouts, had been closely linked to the American army. The new Constabulary was composed, in part, of civilian volunteers and of men who simply needed jobs to feed their families. The core of it, though, consisted of Filipino prisoners taken after the fall of Bataan and Corregidor. These men were gradually released by the Japanese with the proviso that they join the new Constabulary. Nominally, there were then to perform ordinary police duties. Actually, the Japanese planned to train them to become a new army to help defend the Philippines against a possible future American attack. The commander of the new Constabulary was General Guillermo Francisco, a Filipino officer who had served in Bataan and whom the Japanese put though a de-Americanization program before his “promotion”.

So, it seems that my great-grandfather’s Constabulary was Japanese-run and was not part of the Philippine military.   My search for details on Juan continues.

Continue reading “The Search for Juan: The Constabulary School, Part 1”

Eduardo Alvir Pacheco

Eduardo Alvir Pacheco was born on 04 January 1936.  He married an Hernandez clan member, Maria Lourdes H. Marqueta.

Ed Pacheco

A competitive athlete since his youth, he played varsity basketball and football for San Beda College and the University of Sto. Tomas in the 1950s.  Eddie was a member of the RP Football team to the Asian Games in 1954 and in 1958 and the Asian World Cup in 1963.  Eddie was voted the most outstanding basketball player in 1962 by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA), and was nicknamed “Mr. Basketball” (and “Mr. Football”).  He was part of the RP National Basketball Team that competed at the 1960 Rome (finished 11th of 16 teams) and 1964 Tokyo Olympics (6th place).   He was also on the team that represented the country in the 1961 Asian Basketball Confederation Championship, the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta (Gold Medal), the 1963 World Basketball Championships in Manila and the 1966 Asian Basketball Conference in Taiwan.

In the late 1960s, Eddie played jersey number 6 for the YCO Red Painters, a charter team that played in the Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association.  The MICAA was the forerunner of the Philippine Basketball Association, the country’s professional basketball league.

Eddie continued to be active in Philippine sports long after his playing days,  as one of the longest-serving consultants of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).  As a football star player and pioneer of the sport in the country, Eddie received a special achievement award from the Philippine Football Federation in 2007.

He passed away on 09 December 2009, after an apparent heart attack, at age 73.  He was among the late sports greats honored by the Philippine Sports Association in their annual awards night in 01 March 2010.

Explore Ed Pacheco’s family tree: http://bit.ly/2Cb4JpL

Continue reading “Eduardo Alvir Pacheco”