My name is Ramon Jose Moreno, Jr. I am Spanish and reside in the Philippines. I am searching for my family and writing a book about the 'Moreno' family.
My great-grandfather, Â‘Don Francisco Moreno y SanchezÂ’ and my great-grandmother, Â‘Dona Rosario Sebastia Y GuanzotÂ’ were residents of Â‘BarcelonaÂ’ and Â‘Alcala de Guadaira, SevillaÂ’. My great-grandfather also had relatives in Â‘SantanderÂ’. They came to the Â‘PhilippinesÂ’ in the late 1800's to early 1900Â’s to engage in the flourishing Â‘sugar tradeÂ’ in the southern island of Â‘NegrosÂ’ in the Â‘VisayasÂ’ region of the Â‘PhilippinesÂ’.
My great-grandfather worked in a sugar mill which was called Â‘Central Azzucarera de la CarlotaÂ’ in Â‘Bais, Negros OrientalÂ’.
Apart from being involved in the sugar industry my great-grandfather was also engaged in the manufacture of horse-drawn carriages and coaches in the Â‘QuiapoÂ’ district of the city of Manila.
He had a partner in the business whose surname is Â‘PaderesÂ’. Their shop was located near the present presidential palace, Â‘MalacanangÂ’ which in those days was the residence of the Spanish governor general. The carriages and coaches are now part of the collection of the Â‘national museumÂ’ in Manila
My great-grandfather had two sons Â‘Juan JoseÂ’ (my grandfather) and his brother Luis who also came to the Philippines. My grandfather was an artist and jeweler by profession but he followed his father's footsteps and was also engaged in the sugar trade. Together with an American named Â‘EkslineÂ’ they managed the operations of the Â‘Central Azucarera de ManaplaÂ’in Negros Occidental. The sugar mill and plantations were owned by a Spanish family surnamed Â‘OssorioÂ’. They later moved to Â‘San Jose, MindoroÂ’ where my grandfather also ran a sugar mill owned by the Â‘YangcoÂ’ family and by the Â‘LobregatÂ’ family.
His brother Luis worked for the famous British Trading firm of 'Macondray' as the product manager of the 'flour and feeds division'.
He was also a popular soccer player in his time and twice represented the Philippines in the Olympics one of which was in Shanghai, China in the early 1900Â’s.
They had a sister Â‘RosarioÂ’ whom they left behind in Spain. Unfortunately, we donÂ’t know much about her except that she was
seperated from the family during the civil war in Spain.
My grandfather married my grandmother, Â‘Manuela Busto y ManzorroÂ’(or Manzanno) on the 19th of December 1918 at the Â‘Parish of ErmitaÂ’, which is just outside the walled city of Â‘IntramurosÂ’ in Manila. She is from Â‘Chiclana dela FronteraÂ’, Cadiz in Andalucia, Spain.
My grandmotherÂ’s parents were Â‘Don Nicolas Busto y RamosÂ’ and Â‘Dona Francisca Manzorro(or Manzanno) y TorresÂ’. She is Â‘CatalanÂ’, and has a brother whose name we donÂ’t know. All they remember is that he was a soldier who had a photograph wearing his uniform with a hat that looked like a Â‘Moroccan FezÂ’.
A few years later my grandparents returned to Spain to settle down permanently. They then had five sons, Â‘JuanitoÂ’, Â‘FranciscoÂ’, Â‘RamonÂ’ (my father),Â’AlfonsoÂ’ and Luis. They had a baby sister but she died shortly after birth. They lived in Â‘Calle Morillo de los Rios # 5Â’, Â‘Alcala de GuadairaÂ’, Â‘SevillaÂ’, in Â‘AndaluciaÂ’. Unfortunately in 1936 the civil war broke out in Spain. My father remembers the bombing of homes in their town and the killings everywhere. Since my grandmother was Catalan the family in great fear for their lives were forced to flee Spain as refugees and that is how they ended up living permanently in the Philippines. They never saw Spain and their families, relatives and friends again.
Sad as the circumstances were they tried hard to endure the bitter sufferings of starting a new life after they lost nearly everything that they possessed. The arrival of the Japanese during the second world war (WWII) was a second blow to the family for they lost everything dear to them including vital documents, photographs of their loved ones and the only remaining remembrances from Spain that they were able to bring to the Philippines.
As the years went on my grandfather worked in a Â‘SwissÂ’ jewelry store, Â‘La Estrella del NorteÂ’ in fashionable Â‘EscoltaÂ’. This was the central business district of Manila in those days. Later on he became the partner of the famous Spanish jeweler Â‘Rafael RebullidaÂ’. It is here that my father began his apprenticeship as a jeweler. Following in the footsteps of his father who was very known and respected in the profession.
During the years that passed my grandparents refused to let the children and grandchildren speak in Spanish. They refused to talk about Spain or their families. My grandparents were so frightened from their experience of the civil war that they were afraid that the Philippine immigration department might discover their Spanish identities and deport their entire family back to Spain.
I have been doing my research for the past three years now. Since the archives system in the Philippines is quite backward, obtaining information is very difficult. I am doing this quest so that my children and the other children in our families may know their roots and be proud of their Â‘Hispanic heritageÂ’. I am also doing this to honor Â‘SpainÂ’ my mother country, which my grandparents so loved. They suffered the pain of never being able to go home to where their family and roots are from. This broke my grandmotherÂ’s heart. My grandparents died never seeing their homeland even for just one last time. I am also doing this so that our family may be reunited with our relatives in Spain and wherever else they may be today. For my love of country and family.
Ramon Jose Moreno