One of the most popular issues in the study of our nation’s history is that of the struggle for social reform. In his book “The Women of Malolos”, noted UP scholar and professor, Nicanor G. Tiongson wrote how the group made their mark as reformists at a time when the social and political sphere was viewed as a male’s turf.
The women of Malolos was a group of twenty – one (only twenty signed the letter, however) people of Chinese ancestry and the majority of them were from the Tiongson clan. One of them, Alberta Santos Uitangcoy is the grandmother of my Uncle, Paulino Santos Santos. Uncle Paul, as we call him, is married to Anita “Annie” Quirit Santos, my mom’s younger sister.
The Chinese mestizo merchant elite of Malolos was composed of a number of prominent families during the 1880s. Up to the present however, the Tiongsons, Tantocos and the Reyes-Uitangcoys among many other equally prominent clans are viewed as integral to the upper rungs of the socio-economic ladder. Most of them are of the landed gentry and have retained their influence through local politics.
Auntie Annie is the fourth of eight siblings and my mom, Concepcion Quirit De Leon, is the eldest. Uncle Paul was working in Ateneo when he met Auntie Annie who was then teaching there in the late 60s. Their names appear on the last few pages of Tiongson’s voluminous research. The grand matriarch of the Santos family was the one who personally handed the letter of the women of Malolos to Governor-General Valeriano Weyler. Lola Iding, as Uncle Paul called her was an excellent homemaker, landowner and buisinesswoman. She is credited for spreading the techniques in making ensaymada, empanada, pianono and other popular “panaderia” products of Malolos, Bulacan. Uncle Paul and Auntie Annie now reside in Cagayan De Oro. They sent me this Tiongson book a few years ago and I am grateful. The erstwhile Dean of UP Mass Communication, Nicanor G. Tiongson is a faculty member there and he obliged to be guest speaker when we invited him to speak about Filipino films during a PATCA conference at PNU. Tiongson did his research upon the encouragement of the late Estefania Aldaba – Lim, founder of Women of Malolos Foundation Inc., among other institutions.
Tiongson, Nicanor G., The Women of Malolos, Ateneo de Manila University,NGTiongson & Women of Malolos Foundation Inc., 2004