Quantcast
Latest Stories

Pedro Calungsod’s story lives on in Iloilo

By

ILOILO CITY—Since she was a child, Ana Calunsod-Arquillo has known well a story told by her father, Cornelio, and handed down to at least eight generations: One of their ancestors—a young boy—had died with a priest on a Pacific island centuries ago.

The story goes that a 7-year-old boy disappeared after he boarded and hid in a Cebu-bound Spanish ship docked near what is now Molo District in Iloilo City. When he was discovered by the crew, a priest took him under his care.

The Calunsod clan of Molo believes that this boy was Blessed Pedro Calungsod, who is being canonized at the Vatican Sunday as the second Filipino saint.

Arquillo, the seventh of 11 siblings, says Pedro was the son of Rufo Calungsod, a goldsmith. Rufo is a namesake of her great-grandfather, who was also a goldsmith. She also has a brother named Rufo.

Ancestral claim

“We know that there are several other claims on Pedro’s roots, but we know deep in our hearts that he was from here and he was our ancestor,” says Arquillo, 63, a retired businesswoman.

The claim is supported by a Western Visayas historian, lawyer Rex Salvilla.

“The information that I have gathered and the circumstances during Pedro’s time point more to the claim that he was from Molo,” Salvilla said.

Salvilla, past president of Iloilo Historical Association and president of West Visayas Historical Research Foundation Inc., researched the background of the Visayan martyr in the late 1990s at the request of then Molo parish priest Felipe Parian.

Parian had been directed by the late Jaro Archbishop Alberto Piamonte to conduct inquiries among the Calunsods in Molo about their possible relationship to Pedro Calungsod.

The other possible origins of Calungsod in Iloilo are the towns of Leon, Tigbauan and Oton.

Priest’s account

Salvilla confirms the account of Fr. Catalino Arevalo in the pamphlet “Pedro Calungsod, Young Visayan Proto-Martyr” of an oral tradition passed from generation to generation among the Calunsods in Iloilo.

A “Calungsod boy went from Iloilo to Mactan Island in Cebu, joined the Jesuit missionaries who left for some island in the Pacific, and was killed with the Fathers,” Arevalo’s account goes.

Family elders told Salvilla that the family name of their ancestors during the Spanish time was “Calungsod.” This was confirmed by birth certificates at Molo Church, according to Salvilla.

The elders explained that the spelling of their last name was changed to avoid conscription into the Spanish colonial army and the guardia civil (national police).

Salvilla said the conscription was done through quintos, an annual raffle where the names of native males aged 18 and above were listed and drawn. Those whose names appeared in the fifth draw were recruited.

“To avoid being recruited, people slightly changed their surnames, like ‘Salazar’ to  ‘Salarza’ or ‘Salard’ to ‘Saladar,’” Salvilla said.

The elder Calunsods said many of their ancestors fled to neighboring Negros Island to avoid conscription.

Migrants

Salvilla said it was possible that children of the early Calungsods migrated to Cebu and Bohol islands from Negros. The change in the spelling of their surname from “Calungsod” to “Calunsod” could also have been the result of the corruption of names that stemmed from the difficulty the Spaniards had in pronouncing “ng.”

He cited the renaming of places in Panay, including of Ilong-Ilong (Iloilo), Ogtong (Oton), Batang (Batan), Jamindang (Jamindan) and Pangdan (Pandan).

Salvilla’s research showed that many members of the Calunsod clan lived in Barangay San Antonio in Molo. There is a road in the village called La Compania Street, believed to be originally named La Compania de Jesus (Society of Jesus) where a Jesuit mother house may have once stood.

The Jesuit presence in Iloilo during the early years of the Spanish rule was also well established. Salvilla cited the first school for boys in the country, built in Tigbauan town in 1652 by Fray Pedro Chirino, a Jesuit.

Salvilla said Pedro Calungsod could have been taken by the Jesuit priests to Cebu, being the religious center at that time covering the Visayas and Mindanao, before he went with the mission to Guam.

Quest for truth

Arquillo said she hoped that the truth about Blessed Pedro’s roots would be settled one day. “But we are happy all the same that we will have a saint so close to us Visayans,” she said.

Arquillo bought plane tickets to attend the canonization ceremony at the Vatican, but a pressing business engagement forced her to drop her plan. Three of her cousins from Iloilo and four from the United States, however, are in Rome for the event.

Arquillo also plans to install a life-size statue of St. Pedro in a chapel on Barangay San Antonio Street that she herself had donated. The image will be similar to the one she gave to the Molo church six years ago and displayed at the compound.

“My father, who had always believed in the story of our boy ancestor, would be happy now,” she said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Ana Calunsod-Arquillo , Iloilo City , Molo district , Pedro Calungsod , Rufo Calungsod




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. US teacher fired over comment on black president
  2. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  3. Filipinos, Dane re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  4. Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  5. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Massive infra spending set
  8. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  9. Easter crucifixions draw huge crowds
  10. Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
Advertisement

News

  • Pope sends condolences for S.Korea ferry victims
  • Drone kills 15 ‘Qaeda,’ 3 civilians in Yemen – security
  • Palace expects Gigi Reyes to tell all on pork scam
  • MH370 search at ‘critical juncture’–Malaysia
  • 16 workers in Batangas sugar cane factory hurt over toxic chemical shower
  • Sports

  • MLB pitcher donates $100,000 for Sewol ferry victims
  • Hamilton takes pole at Chinese Grand Prix
  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • 5 Filipinos with MERS in UAE reported in stable condition
  • PH boosts MERS monitoring after UAE nurse scare
  • Canadians back PH plea to take back waste
  • We treasure our Sierra Madre
  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement