Monday, May 24, 2010

Glimpses of Old Cebu: Images of the Colonial Era


"Glimpses of Old Cebu: Images of the Colonial Era" is a 276-page coffee table book of nearly 600 of the best photographs, postcards, stereoviews and lantern glass slides of Cebu and its many towns taken between 1870-1945. More than just a mere showcasing of rare, never-before-seen images, the book also provides a treasure trove of information accompanying nearly every picture.

The author, Lucy Urgello Miller has been collecting vintage Philippine postcards and photographs for over 20 years, the thrust of her collection being Cebu. She acquired 90% of her Cebu collection in the United States where she is living with her husband Richard. Most of the collection was bought at antique postcards shows. Lucy has about 1,000 pictures and postcards on Cebu but she selected only the best and most interesting for this book.

A blue-blooded Theresian, Lucy spent her entire education from kindergarten to college at St. Theresa's College here in Cebu. She obtained her Bachelors of Arts degree with minors in English and Mathematics in 1970. During her college days, she contributed poems and articles int The STAR, the Theresian student publication.

Her great grandfather (Harriolfo Rita Osmeña Espina) and my wife's great grandfather (Asterio Rita Osmeña Espina) were siblings.

The patriarch of the Osmeñas, Don Severino, (d. ca. 1860), survived his wife , and he himself- like many of his wealthy contemporaries- took a second wife, Dona Paula Suico. His children of the second marriage were Don Lazaro Osmeña and Juana, the beloved mother of President Sergio Osmeña (1).

My wife is a direct descendant of Don Severino Osmena's first marriage with Doña Vicenta Rita.

Don Severino Osmena and Dona Vicenta Rita, who owned the largest trading company in 18th century Cebu, the Osmena-Rita Co., had four sons- Tomas, Guillermo, Victoriano and Pedro and four daughters- Eduviges, Inocenta, Basilia and Claudia (3). The eldest daughter Eduviges Osmeña married an Espina and bore three children- Nicolasa (unmarried), Asterio and Harriolfo.

Asterio Espina married a Mercado. Their only daughter Maria Mercado Espina, married Paciano Cui Bondoc (son of Miguel Bondoc and grandson of Don Lucio Bondoc of Tarlac). They had one daughter Sagrario "Gingging" Espina- Bondoc, who married Nestor Morales Morelos (nephew of Marcos Morelos- former Cebu City mayor from 1936-1937) (2). They have only one daughter, my wife, Grace Espina Bondoc Morelos. Asterio later married a second wife, Balbina Villamor. They had four children- Manuel, Mariano, Jacinta (unmarried) and Maria (unmarried).

Harriolfo Espina, the brother of Asterio Espina married Vicenta Veloso. Their marriage produced eight children- Visitation E. Urgello, Remedios E. Noel, Dr. Salud Espina (unmarried), Soledad Espina (unmarried), Dr. Luis Espina, Mercedes E. Madarang, Asuncion E. Peralta and Jose Espina.

One of Harriolfo's daughter, Visitacion Espina married former Cebu Congressman Vicente Sarmiento Urgello. They had seven children - Manuel Urgello, Nenita U. Tagorda, Lourdes U. Teves, Pilar U. Arcenas, Milagros Urgello (unmarried), Angeles U. Tongoy and Vicente Urgello Jr. One of their son, Manuel Urgello married Milagros Valenzuela, a Cebu carnival queen in 1937. They had five children and Lucy Urgello is the fourth child.

Lucy's mother passed away when she was two years old and she was adopted and raised by her fathers unmarried sister, Milagros Espina Urgello. She also grew up with her three older siblings who were raised by Vicente and Visitacion much to the disappointment of her maternal grandparents who wanted to raise their deceased daughters children. The youngest, Bob, who was a week shy of six months was raised by the two unmarried sisters of Visitacion, Dra. Salud Espina and Soledad Espina. Her father had promised a baby to them if they could make him live. they kept a 24/7 watch over him and saved him several times because of their vigilance.

Lucy was formerly married to former Senator John Henry Renner Osmena and had a son John Gregory who was a former Cebu vice-governor.

In 1974 she moved to the United states were she got her teachers credentials and became a teacher in 1984. She met her future husband, Rick, at the school were they were teaching and got married in 1983. Both retired from teaching in 2006 (4).

Above picture- the author with my wife and her mom during the book signing at SM City Cebu

(1) Life in Old Parian by Concepcion G. Briones page 21
(2) Cebu, More than an Island by Resil B. Mojares page 24
(3) Life in Old Parian by Concepcion G. Briones page 22-23
(4) Glimpses of Old Cebu: Images of the Colonial Era by Lucy Urgello Miller