Thursday, February 23, 2012

Argao Families: Lucero Lines and Legacy


The Lucero family of Argao, Cebu, Philippines is one of the three Lucero branches in the country, the other two from the Luzon (Bulacan-Ilocos) branch and the Samar branch. While all three families claim relatedness, the dearth of records makes it impossible to trace just how related these three families are.
The history of the family begins with the Lugo fanily of Spain, which claims descent from Aurora, the goddess of the dawn in Greek mythology. This is an interesting because the Lucero surname, which is a later branch of the Lugo family, is a Hispanic version of the Latin word LUCIFEROUS, itself transliterated from the Greek name HESPEROS, who was the Greek god of the evening star, and in turn the son of Aurora, the dawn goddess.
The farthest known Lucero is history is Don Diego Diaz Lucero, an infamous Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition during the reign of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabela of Spain in the fifteenth century. The farthest traceable direct lineal ancestor of the Luceros of Argao, Cebu, is Don Vicente Ignacio Lopez de Lucero, who came to the Philippines in 1597, roughly thirty years after the colonization of the Philippines by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. He and his wife, Doña Maria Catarina de Aragon, had just one child, Don Juan Lopez Lucero, who in the 1630’s to the 40’s led a successful campaign against Moro forts in the southern part of the archipelago.
A child of Juan Lopez Lucero, Francisca Alfonsa Lucero, found herself in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, sometime in the mid-1600’s, and it is there that she met and had an affair with Fr. Matias Villanueva. She gave birth to fraternal twins Francisca Yldefonza and Mariano Francisco Lucero. According to unverifiable oral history, Francisca Alfonsa later abandoned her children and apparently left for the United States. What became of her, no one knows.
Her son, Mariano Francisco Lucero, was left in Vigan, Ilocos Sur and is the forebear of Senator Santiago E. Lucero, a Philippine senator during the 1920’s. One of Senator Santiago’s great-grandchildren is Carmen Mercedes Beatriz Lucero-Lhuillier, popularly known as Bea Lucero.
Meanwhile, Francisca Yldefonza Lucero found her way to Argao, Cebu. There is a little problem in the establishment of the date of arrival of the Luceros in Argao. A poem by Francisco S. Geverola, which he claims has been handed down from generation to generation in his family, says that the first gobernadorcillo of Argao was Don Felipe Lucero, who allegedly came to Argao in 1608, during the town’s founding (the author is currently in the process of getting a copy of the records of Argao’s founding as a town from the National Archives in order to ascertain this claim).
Oral history in the Lucero family states that Francisca Yldefonza Lucero was the first Lucero in Argao, who came to the town around the early 1700’s. She married Don Agustin Francisco, a member of Argao’s principalia, or native nobility. This allowed her family and descendants to hold the positions of gobernadorcillo, cabeza de barangay, and even church positions.
Like his father before him, Don Hermenegildo became a cabeza de barangay. His children, in order of birth, were Don Justiniano Francisco, born in 1779; Don Tomas, born in 1786; Don Eustaquio, born in 1787; Don Juan, born in 1791; Doña Mauricia, born in 1795; Doña Micaela Francisca, born in 1797; and Doña Leoncia, born in 1807.
In the early 1800’s, Don Justiniano Francisco Lucero married Doña Casimira Manuela Cabrera, the daughter of Miguel Manuel Hernaez and Escolastica Francisca Cabrera. Don Justiniano and his wife Casimira had sixteen children who all grew to ripe ages, an astounding feat considering the high infant mortality rate of those times. Don Eustaquio Lucero married Doña Eustaquia Albrando and had two daughters: Maria Lucero, who married Jose Ordaneta (who also later became a cabeza), the son of cabeza de barangay Don Juan Ordaneta, and Juliana Lucero, who married Casimiro Panerio. Don Juan had two daughters; Carmelina, who died very young, and Maria, who never married.
Don Tomas Lucero, who was next to Don Justiniano, had one son, Don Jose Lucero. His branch of the family later became known as Lucero-Villanueva, a matter which shall be explained in the next chapter. His descendants include Gaudencio de la Peña, a former provincial board member of Cebu as well as the puppet mayor of Argao during the Japanese occupation, Edsel A. Galeos, another modern mayor of Argao, and Azucena Minoza Sesaldo, a 3-term Vice-Mayor of Argao.
The eldest daughter of Don Hermenegildo, Doña Mauricia, married a half-Spaniard from Cebu City by the name of Don Geronimo Luis Hernaez Taguenca. They had four children: Don Filomeno Taguenca, Doña Simeona, and a set of twins by the names of Doña Maria and Doña Enrica.
The eldest son, Jose, was a cabeza de barangay and is the ancestor of two town Mayors, Jose and Jesus Lucero Kintanar. Another descendant of Jose Lucero is the late Monsignor Sincero Lucero, who was Bishop of Borongan, Samar.
The next son, Felipe Lucero, held the position of Sacristan Mayor of the church until his death. His only son, Numeriano, also held the same position. A great-granddaughter, Vicenta Saniel, became a nun in Manila; another descendant, the most Reverend Monsignor Agripino Gregorio Elias M. Matarlo, was named a Bishop of Cebu and head of the Pope John Seminary in Cebu City. His Kintanar descendant, Simeon Lucero Kintanar, was a representative of the second district of Cebu to Congress. Simeon’s brothers, Roman and Quintin, served as heads of PAG-ASA and BFAD, respectively.
The third son was Lucas Lucero. One granddaughter, Concepcion Lucero, was one of the very few of her generation to retain the title of Doña. She later married Don Vicente Lozada, a member of a prominent landholding family in Dumanjug, Cebu. Another grandchild was Arsen Calledo Lucero, who was a Vice-Mayor of Dumanjug. Another descendant is Professor Samson A. Lucero, a history professor at the University of San Carlos and a renowned historian and columnist in Cebu City. And another is Jezrael Lucero, a visually-impaired child who has won the Perlas Award and has traveled around the country enthralling audiences with his haunting voice and his magical piano performances.
The fourth son, Pedro, has several prominent descendants. He has several descendants serving the Church like Father Filomeno Lucero, Father Paul Arnel L. Lucero, Sister Dolores, Sister Pilar, and Sister Rose Mary L. Lucero. The last, Sis. Rose Mary, founded the Sisters of the Blessed Trinity Congregation. Father Filomeno Lucero opened the Colegio de la Medalla Milagrosa in Jagna, Bohol. Sis. Pilar Lucero became Mother Superior and later Superior-General of Sta. Rita, Manila. A great-grandson, Don Aquilino Lucero, became the first Municipal President or Mayor of Ronda, Cebu. Three of his sons Felicisimo, Fermin, and Santiago succeeded him as Mayor in Ronda. A granddaughter, Socorro Gabuya Gabriel, also became mayor. Santiago later became Representative of Cebu’s second district while Felicisimo’s son, Doctor Felino Lucero, was a Mayor of Badian, Cebu. Another descendant was Ramon Lucero delos Cientos who was the former Mayor of Bansalan, Pagadian and later Governor of Davao del Sur. A granddaughter of Mayor Socorro Gabriel is Amanda Griffin, an international celebrity.
The fifth son to leave descendants is Antonio Lucero, who migrated to Sibonga in the middle of the 1800’s. A descendant is Casimiro Madarang Jr., who was a former Councilor of Cebu City and a former COMELEC (Commission on Elections) Commissioner. Another, Vicente Madarang, served two terms as a barangay captain of Pahina Central in Cebu City. A son of Casimiro Jr., Casimiro Madarang III, is the current Bureau of Immigration Alien Control Officer of Cebu City’.
The sixth and last son with descendants today was Juan Lucero. Comedian/Impersonator Jon Santos, Monsignor Rommel Kintanar, a Bishop in Cebu, and Maila Gumila, an actress and TV host in the 90’s, are three of Don Juan’s descendants.

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References

1. Todd Lucero Sales. The Luceros: A Portrait of a Filipino Family, 2010.
2. Church records of Saint Michael the Archangel church.
3. Various archival documents from the Philippine National Archives.

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