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The Life & Times Of Encarnacion Janduquile y Gumban vda de Himatay, 1904-2004
A Brief Portrait & Family History

The story of Encarnacion Janduquile y Gumban vda de Himatay is one of trials and triumphs.  She was born 30 June 1904, the only daughter of Pablo Janduquile y Ledesma* and Fernanda Gumban y Confesor.  She actually had two sisters and a brother, but they all died while still children.
 
Her mother died young.  And to take care of her, her father took employment as a manager in Negros of the Spanish Gomez interests, whose vast holdings at one time in the early 19th century included the Hacienda San Pedro in Makati before it was eventually purchased by the Zobel de Ayalas.  As a result, he was often away on business, and she was left in the care of her Gumban relatives in Pavia.  By her own recollection, she was a spoiled child.  Then while in her teens, her father also died, which left her an orphan.  But she was left some properties in the care of her relatives.

When she came of age, she discovered that most of her inheritance was squandered away; apparently it was common among the propertied class of the day to gamble away fortunes, and bets were often backed by titulos, or land titles.  She felt exploited and hurt.  But instead of feeling sorry for herself, she demanded from her guardians that she be given at least a parcel of land and some work animals so she could be independent.  She was given the land, and seven head of carabao (water buffalo).
 
For her security, she married her first love, Arsenio Himatay y Joqueno**.  He was from the town
of Jaro, and had volunteered in the U.S. Army Corps.  (Though not rich, the young man came from
a respectable family, whose mother had been cabeza de barangay during the last gasps of Hispanidad in the Philippines.  It was tradition during the Spanish colonial period for the post to be held by members of the native Filipino elite who came from the family of datus.  The post, though prestigious, came without any government funds.  This brought many a cabeza to financial ruin, as they had no choice but to use their own money to fund local public work projects!)  On her own now, she promised to redeem herself and recover her lost inheritance.
 
Small of frame and almost austere in appearance, the young Encarnacion was as resourceful as
she was entrepreneurial, and soon made most of her agricultural produce, selling them profitably
at markets.  She also made use of her family connections -- there was always a cousin who was a governor or mayor, who had a soft spot for their orphaned relative, and were helpful in introductions.  (A cousin who was particularly fond of her was then-Iloilo governor Patricio Confesor, whom she regularly visited and had long chats with.)  Eventually, she won numerous government contracts with the Bureau of Prisons and the Provincial Hospitals.
 
She made good on her promise to redeem herself and recover her inheritance.  Single-mindedly and almost single-handedly, she began to re-purchase choice properties in Pavia and neighboring Santa Barbara.  But it was the properties around the town plaza that meant the most to her.  She was a Gumban on her mother's side, after all, and to old-time Pavianhons, they were always considered taga-poblacion, literally, "from the town" or "of the town center".  (Her accomplishments were impressive for a woman who was left with only a piece of land and some work animals, since it was a time when even men could hardly own their own properties, and this holds true to this day.)  One of the properties was the site of her ancestral home, which she bought from a distant Ledesma relative.
 
In the style of the late 19th century principalia families, she soon had her own pew in the parish church, which was reserved for her family's use.  In thanksgiving, she donated two large statues of
Our Lady of Fatima.  These statues can still be seen both inside and outside the church, near the entrance.  In due time, Christmas became an occasion to share her family's blessings, and the town's children would form lines at her home to receive free goody bags.  Also a regular visitor to her home was her good friend the then-Iloilo governor Mariano Penaflorida (who held office from 1948-1959), who had a particular craving for her plump turkeys.  Immediate family and close friends still recall the hospitality and abundance of the Himatay household during this period.  "Mrs. Himatay" as most Pavianhons would call her, was known for her lunches after the Sunday High Mass where her cooks prepared for her table lechon de leche (baked for her in a panaderia oven) or roasted calf, 
as well as premium fish like lison or apahap, cooked frito, or sinugba style.***
 
She was so successful, that former Iloilo City mayor and senator of the Republic Rodolfo Ganzon knew her well enough to tease her in public that the native marketing bag that she carried was full of money.  And by the time her eldest daughter got married in 1950, one ninong (godfather) in the entourage was none other than the then-governor Mariano Penaflorida.  She managed to send all of her children to college, all of whom became professionals -- as teacher, businessman, lawyer, dentist, nurse.  Yet through it all, she has remained simple and unaffected by her recovered affluence.  Financially secure, she finally slowed her pace down and settled in retirement with the death of her husband in the 1970's.  She contented herself with visiting her children in Manila and the United States, and stopped travelling only when she hit her nineties.
 
She always had a marked devotion to the Roman Catholic Church, and constantly supported the local church with donations of money, and bottles of perfume for the statues of saints.  Her devotion and friendship with clergy was also freely returned in her old age.  A favorite priest who was also a close family friend, Monsignor Domingo Nebres**** (who also happened to be the one who ministered to the Marcos family until the death of the disgraced dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Hawaii), was a regular visitor, playfully teasing and embarrassing her no end by passing noisily through town with a police escort.  ("The people might think I'm being arrested," she would admonish the good monsignor.)  Pavia's parish priest of more than two decades, Monsignor Juan Tuvilla, was also close to her not only as a distant relative (his grandmother was a Gumban), but a good listener and adviser as well.
 
On her 98th birthday, Encarnacion Janduquile y Gumban vda de Himatay remains the well-loved matriarch of a family that has spread its roots beyond the confines of Pavia to other towns and cities in the Philippines, the United States and Germany.  In fact, the family now includes not only Filipinos, but also Germans, Mexicans and American citizens.  While none in her family has so far followed in her entrepreneurial footsteps, her long life continues to serve as an example and inspiration to three generations on three continents -- a story of Belief in One's Self, Hope and Perseverance in face of Life's Challenges, Success in Hard Work, Pride in Family and Heritage, and most important of all, Faith in God.

Sample family crest; Size=135 pixels wide

Note of Surnames

As far as my research has shown, "Himatay" is a uniquely Ilonggo surname.  There is a curious, if not obscure, family anecdote that relates that the Himatay surname was originally Robles.  Supposedly, members of the Robles family who were disaffected by Spanish misrule in the late 19th century decided to revert to a Hiligaynon surname in symbolic protest.  It is said that there are some Robles oldtimers in Jaro who acknowledge that the Himatay and Robles are one and the same.  If true, then this could be one reason for the rarity of the Himatay surname as used in Iloilo.
 
"Janduquile" has also shown up spelled as "Jandoquile".
 
As the website builder program has no Spanish "enye" character that is characteristic of the Spanish usage of the letter "n", the following surnames in this website are spelled with just the regular "n":  Joqueno; Penaflorida; Cana.

*Pablo had two brothers who moved to Negros Occidental.  Their descendants married into the Ereneta and Manaloto families.
**Arsenio himself had two half-brothers.  Among those of his direct kin who have kept in touch with his branch of the family are the children of a niece who married into the low-key Flores family, reputed to be large landowners from Oton, Iloilo, but who are now based in the United States.
*** Almost without fail, she would have her maid deliver food to the parish priest during these Sunday feasts.  On a more personal level, the author has fond memories as a child of his Lola Encar preparing for him, usually for breakfast, ripe yellow mangoes, freshly picked from the family orchard, which were deftly sliced and carved then attractively presented like a flower in full bloom, and served with sticky ibus.   
****The monsignor also baptized the author as a child into the Roman Catholic faith. During the Marcos family's sojourn in Hawaii, Monsignor Nebres was attacked in the Philippine press for equating, during one of his homilies, the former dictator's "persecution" in exile to Christ's  persecution and passion on the cross. Sometime early 2007, local dailies carried a discreet obituary announcing the passing of the good monsignor.