SOME NOTES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE CHINESE CHRISTIANS OF THE PHILLIPPINES
1. THE NAME ‘LOCSIN’
An old resident of Manila’s China Town, whose name we forgot, explained to me, during a conversation I had with here in 1980 on a sidewalk of Calle Ongpin, why the name SINLOC did not sound to her as one that purely originated in China. But SIN LOC she said, on second thought, may be a name of possible Fukien origin but disfigured by Spanish, or Visayan, phonics. To her, this name is really CHIEN YUC in Chinese and it means “something that has acquired the brightness from a light or from the sun.”
Inspite of these appreciations and since China has so many languages, the name SIN LOC could be established as Fukienwa in its very Emuy or Amoy form. In Mandarin, SIN LOC could possibly be CHIEN YUC.
2. FROM ‘SUN TUA’ TO ‘TUASON’
The next question we raised before the old Chinese teacher was: How come SIN LOC suffered an exchange in its two syllables resulting in the name LOCSIN. She then recalled the case of SUN TUA (meaning firsy grandson) which was also interchanged to TUASON.
These interchange of syllables, or metathesis, in the order of these two words is due to a Chinese custom that was in vogue during the time of Agustin Locsin. Metathesis in surname and name is resorted to by those who become “ex-Chinese” because they have abandoned China, their land of origin.
This old Chinese custom is some kind of a law that considers as ex-Chinese those who could no longer render in their land the filial homage due to their dead ancestors. Chinese culture features as one of its essences the due homage to ancestors, a factor of Chinese clannishness.
This is why those who left behind their land also abandoned the grave of their ancestors. That is the reason why those who left China were no longer Chinese. They became “deserters” so to speak. And as such they also lost the right to cary their family surname as well as the name given to them by their immediate parents.
But the “deserters” that reached the Philippines refused, on the other hand, to completely erase and cut all the traces of ties which they have with their original name and surname. Thus SINLOC, upon Christianization and Hispanization, becomes a new surname: LOCSIN.
It is also a fact that not all Chinese emigrants to the Philippines retained their original surnames or names. Many of them have adopted names and surnames that are purely Spanish since they had decided to stay in these Islands forever.
3. SOLEDAD LÁCSON DE LOCSÍN
Doña Soledad (Tía Chóleng) Lácson de Locsin, an historian and a cultured lady given to literature and history, born and raised in Silay, Negros Occidental, would also tell us that “all those who retained as their surnames the name and surname of their Chinese grandfather would add the suffix “co” to them. The suffix “co” has something to do with belonging to a Gremio, or a trader”s Guild, related to the Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade. An example of such names are: Tansingco, Tantiongco, Cojuangco, Sangco, Quilayco, Suansingco, Goco, Yuchengco, and so many others.
Belonging to a Gremio, or to a fraternity, of business workers and traders with relation to the mentioned Manila Galleon trade, is apparently what popularized surnames ending in “co’. We are told that such surnames are non-existent in China.
4. CONCEPCIÓN GANTUANGCO de BRIONES
In the Parián of Cebú, according to the illustrious writer Doña Concepción Gantuanco Briones, there used to exist “Gremios de Mestizos” y “Gremios de Chinos” for trade and commercial purposes. Those interested should read her interesting book titled: “Life In Old Parian”.
According to Spanish writer and Filipinologist, Wenceslao Retana, in his work “Diccionario de Filipinismos” (Manila, 1894) the classification of “Mestizo” was applied to the Chino Cristiano and his descendants in these Islands. The classification for Spanish half-breeds was “Criollo” or “Creole”.
This is why the Parianes of Malolos and Vigan are called “Sector de Mestizos”.
5. SURNAMES DERIVED FROM THE FIRST TEN CHINESE NUMBERS
There are also surnames derived from the first ten Chinese Fukien numbers. But these surnames are more frequent among Filipinos and literally unknown in the Chinese mainland.
The Chinese Fukien numbers we refer to are: it (one), di (two), sa (three), si (four), go (five), lac (six), chet (seven), pué (eight), cao (nine), chap (ten).
From one (it) come the surnames Itson or Ichon;
From two (di), Dison, or Dizon;
From three (si), Sison;
From four (sa), Sason, Sazon or Siason;
From five (go), Goson or Guzon;
From six (lac), Lacson;
From seven (chit), Chéson, Quéson, Quiézon, Quízon or Quíson;
From eight (pue) Puson, Puéson, Puzon or Puézon;
From nine (cao) Cason or Caoson;
And from ten (chap), Quiapson, Capson, Chason, Chapson, Jopson, Quiápson or Quiánson.
The surname “Suntua” also means first son or grandson and it begot the prominent surname of Tuáson (legitimate) or Tuázon (illegitimate). A changed from “S” to “Z” would change the status of a surname holder.
6. THE FILIPINO SOCIETY TO WHICH SINLOC GOT INTEGRATED
SINCE THE 1750s WAS THAT OF
THE CHINOS CRISTIANOS
AND THE “EL PARIAN”
As it is obvious, all these surnames belong to Chinos Cristianos, or Chinese Mestizos residents of the “Sectores de Mestizos”, “Pariancillos” or “Parianes” that used to be found in the rich districts of the different cities of the Philippines such as Manila, Malolos, Vigan, Iloilo, Cebú as well as in almost all the provincial capitals of these islands.
The word ‘parian’, just as it is pronounced and spelled, means a “Chinese Mission” for the Spanish missionaries. It is the place where the Spanish friars would go to teach cathechisim to the children of the local Chinese traders. This is according to the famous Ylongo judge known as “el Juez Pío Sian” from Molo, Iloilo. The root of this word is ‘padre’ which upon indigenization in both Visayan and Tagalog becomes “pari” to which the ending “an”, which denotes place, is added.
The Spanish missionaries known as ‘padres’ in Las Islas Filipinas used to frequent the place which was the “Sector de Mestizos”, meaning the neighborhood of Chinese Mestizos, to Christianize them or serve them in their practice of Catholcism.
7. UNION OF CHRUCH AND STATE
During Spanish times in these islands, the State and its Government system was united with the Catholic Church by virtue of Hispanic tradition and the Royal Patronage (Patronato Real). In other words, the union of Church and State was the norm as it is up to now in the case of Muslim countries where the Koran is even the country’s basic law or Constitution. In the United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Wales there is also union of Church, Anglican or Episcopalian, with the State, although it is not the Christian bible that serves them as their basic law.
Thus, the union of Church and State, prohibited today by both the Constitutions of the U.S.A. and the Philippines, was the reality in these islands since the founding of the Filipino State in June 24, 1571 with Manila as the Capital City by Miguel López de Legaspi in representation of the Crown of Spain and its King.
With this politico-legal backdrop, those Chinese who decided to stay in the Philippines, fell under Spanish sovereignty and voluntarily Christianized themselves in order to become devout Catholics as well as loyal Spanish citizens or subjects.
8. SPANISH CITIZENS
The Spanish Democratic Constitution of 1812 included as Spanish citizens all the Chino Cristiano residents of the Philippines along with all the indigenous (Indio) or native Filipinos. This explains why the Chinese traders and their respective families adopted Spanish as their maternal language since Spanish was naturally the Official Language of both the Government, Education and Society in general. Even the 1898 República Filipina under Aguinaldo, a Chinese Mestizo himself, adopted Spanish as its main Official Language together with Tagalog. This explains why enlightened Filipinos, the Ilustrados, who were also rich businessmen and agriculturists spoke Spanish even if they were of Chinese descent.
It simply is a fact that the Chinos Crisitanmos became Spanish citizens upon desiring to stay in the Philippines and contribute to the development of what is Filipino.
9. THE PRECEDENT EXAMPLE IS
THE CASE OF TUÁSON
There is the previous example of the first José María Tuáson (originally Sun Tua Co). Tuáson even married a Spanish Peninsular woman of noble linage. And Tuáson himself was awarded the title fijodalgo of a Spanish nobleman as evidenced by the coat of arms that this surname exhibits among many of the Tuáson descendants. Thus, Tuáson, from Chinese, became an authentic Spanish surname that in time, also became, Filipino. It is in this same manner that all the other surnames of Chinese origin, particularly those ending in “co” as well as those derived from the first ten Fukien numbers, also became Spanish, and later, Filipino surnames in these Islands.
10. TOOLS OF CHRISTIANIZATION
The convertion into Catholicism and into Spanish subjects of the Chinese emigrants to these Islands also explains the existence, as tools for that purpose, the publication since 1593 of the Doctrina Cristiana by Juan de Vera Ken Yong in Chinese language and characters with its accompanying Spanish and Tagalog translations. Aside from this Doctrina Cristiana written in Chinese by a Spanish Dominican friar, Fray Blancas de San José. There is also that other book called Shilu in Chinese, or “La Apologia de la Doctrina Cristiana” that explained what Catholic doctrine really meant. These tools explain, in the long run, why the First Filipino Saint is a Chinese Mestizo in San Lorenzo de Manila and a Chinese Mestiza is the founder of a Religious Order called “Reverendas o Religiosas de la Virgen María”.
11. DELIBERATE OMMISION OF TRUTH
These historical data that we point out is not popularly known among Filipinos nor among the local Chinese because the so-called education system imposed here by American colonialism in English, and even Tagalog, has deliberately ommited these facts in the current teaching of local history. Philippine History as taught in present-day schools have one single cliché which says that the Americans are our good Liberators and the Spanish our usual oppressors. And the role of the Chinos Cristianos in the development of what is Filipino is likewise deliberately ommited with the Chinese derided as mere alien intruders.
In summary, it is enough to know that when the Philipines used to be part of the Spanish national territory, first as a Capitanía General and later as a Provincia de Ultramar (oversea Spanish province), all the native indigenous along with all the Chinos Cristianos were made Spanish citizens or subjects.
12. THE FIRST AND ORIGINAL FILIPINOS
All those historians supposedly educated today in English under U.S. WASP colonialism are even incapable to define what is Filipino. The so-called “State Historian” in one Teodoro A. Agoncillo, in his required history textbook for our public schools called “A History of the Filipino People”, or words to that effect, admits on page 6 of this same book that “it is difficult if not impossible to define what is Filipino” when this is the easiest thing to do if the History being taught were only the true one and not the revised and falsified one under U.S. WASPo orders.
The first Filipinos were, of course, the vassals of King Philippe the Second of Spain and the Philippines (el Rey Felipe Segundo de España y de Filipinas). Among those vassals were the Peninsulares that settled in these Islands called “Felipenos”. Aside frpm the Spanish Peninsulares there were the Chinos Cristianos that were paying tribute and taxes to El Rey Felipe Segundo for which they were also called “Felipenos” or “supporters and tax-payers of Felipe. Thus, the Chinos Cristianos like Sinloc were “Felipenos”, that is to say Filipinos, since they paid tribute and taxes to El Rey Felipe Segundo after accepting him has their natural sovereign (soberano natural) jointly with the indigenous Tagalogs, Visayan, Ilocanos, Pampangos, Mindanao Lumad, etcetera who also accepted El Rey Felipe Segundo de España in a Synod-Referendum Organized in Manila during the years 1598 and 1599.
It is ironically a WASPo historian who, grudgingly, admits this truth as fact. In his book “The Hispanization of the Philippines”, John Leddy Phelan, in pages 23 and 25 of his doctoral thesis points out that the local chieftains “were ferried to Manila” where they were individually asked if they accepted the King of Spain as their soberano natural (natural sovereign). Among those tribes was the tribe of the Chinese settlers in Baybay (San Nicolas) and Binondo. To this question all the tribal Chieftains answered Sí (Yes). Only the twenty five tribes of the Cordillera, the so-called Ygorrots, said No. What is curious is that even the Moros, or semi-slamized tribes of Mindanao and Sulú (Joló) also said Yes although they did not always keep their word.
After this 1599 synode-referendum, the Chinese tribe of Baybay, or the Mayi-in-ila Kung Shing Fu, played a pivotal role in the great Galeon trade between Manila, Acapulco and Seville. The Chinese here were the ones who went home to China and bring back the principal products of the said Galleon trade such as silk, sandal wood, porcelain, jade, etcetera.
On the other hand, the U.S. WASPs, after duping Presidente Emilio Aguinaldo in HongKong, with false assurances that they, the Americans, were his allies against Spain, later waged a treacherously unjust war against the 1896-1898 República de Filipinas that had declared its independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12 1898. And during that unjust War, the U.S. WASPs massacred, according to writer Gore Vidal, three million defenseless Filipinos who were merely defending their freedom along with their newly founded Republic and country. And upon winning that unjust war, the U.S. WASPos never admitted the Filipinos as American Citizens nor allowed the Philippines to be a U.S. State as promised to the Partido Federalista organized by Pardo de Tavera, Legarda and Luzuriaga.
And while Filipinos were never made American Citizens by their new masters, Chinos Cristianos like Don Carlos Palanca, Don Severo Limtuaco and Afonso Dy Buncio continued being Spanish Citizens up to the end of the Japanese occupation of Manila. But let us go back to the history of Sin Loc.
13. WHO WAS SIN LOC?
What we know about Sin Loc is, more or less, what most of his descendants know about him today, such as Don Manuel Locsin, Don Aurelio Locsin and his learned wife, the already mentioned Doña Soledad Lacson de Locsin.
Everybody also knows that SIN LOC arrived at Iloilo around 1750 and called himself “Agustin” upon baptizing himself a Catholic in order to later marry Cecilia Junsay y Martínez from Molo, Yloilo, who was a Mestiza Terciada, that is to say a mix of Chinese, Visayan and Spanish.
And Tía Chóleng (Doña Soledad Lácson), wife of Tío Iyo (Don
Aurelio Locsin), happened to be a good historian and was acclaimed as a cultured woman ( “culta literata de la provincia de Negros”) according to the Laureled Prince of Ylongo and Spanish Poetry from Yloilo, Don Flavio Zatagoza Cano in his book “Cantos a España” (1936, Ciudad de Yloilo). It was then Tía Chóleng who made studies on the culture and old trade in Arévalo and in Molo, old Yloilo municipalities, and explained to this writer that SIN LOC was a silk merchant dealing with other weaves from China. There is the mental picture of SIN LOC as a cloth merchant settled in Molo.
After knowing this personal circumstances of SIN LOC, it became possible for us to piece together his life in the ambiance that was existing in old Molo and Yloilo. And history, as recorded in Spanish, can give us the 1750 ambiance of the Philippines of that time.
Upon writing SIN LOC’s story in the form of an illustrated novel, all the details that possibly influence his life can be easily reconstructed so that his descendants today may be enabled to appreciate his greatness based in his personal humility and in his work aside from his bravery and heroicity.
14. THE SUPPOSED SPANISH MASSACRES OF THE CHINESE IN THE PHILIPPINES
To anger the Chinese against the Spanish Conquistadores in the Philippines, the Sino-Spanish relations in the past were deliberately poisoned by the intervening U.S.WASP colonialists by deliberately misrepresenting historical facts related to these incidents.
For colonial reasons of their own, the U.S. WASP colonizers of these Islands have always tried to paint themselves as “the good guys” and the “liberators” of the Filipinos, including those of Chinese descent, from the so-called abuses and cruelties of the Spanish conquistadores and their frailes. Among these so-called abuses and cruelties is the so-called “massacre” of the Chinese in the 17th century in Manila and environs. In so-called Philippine History books written in English by U.S. WASP lackeys, the Spanish massacred the Chinese in Manila without any justification and in great numbers reaching twenty thousand up to thirty thousand and even up to sixty thousand victims.
But this so-called massacres are instantly belied when we count the true number of Spaniards living inside Intramurso when such massacres occurred. While there were hardly a thousand Spaniards inside Intramuros, the Chinese residing in Binondo, Santa Cruz and tondo usually numbered thirty thousand. The question that immediately comes to mind is how can one thousand Spaniards in Intramuros, including women, children and old people, “massacre” twenty thousand, or more, Chinese rebels outside the walls of Intramuros. While the Chinese in Manila where in the tens of thousands, there were never more than thirteen thousand Spaniards all over these Islands during the first two centuries of their government.
This is why the story of SINLOC, the NOBLE CHINO CRISTIANO, becomes relevant and should be known by his descendants and the entire Filipino people, if not the entire world if only to expose the innacuracies that come with the teaching of so-called Philippine History in our schools to our unaware children.
The story of SIN LOC is also relevant because it shows the true role and participation of the Chinese that came to these Islands to contribute to the development of what is Filipino.
Guillermo Gómez Rivera
Locsin Número 1407.