Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Jimenezes of Sorsogon

Map of Sorsogon showing the location of MagallanesImage via Wikipedia
With the Philippines under the rule of Spain for 300 years, it is not surprising that the majority of Filipinos had descended from a Spanish ancestor.  I am no exception.  Jimenez is a family name of Spanish origin and is very common in Asturias, Castile, Navarre, Extremadura, Murcia and Andalusia.  It first appeared in the mountainous borders of Spain's Basque lands.  Jimenez is a patronymic form of the name Jimeno plus the Spanish suffix "ez" meaning "son of" derived from the parents' given names, thus, Jimenez means "son of Jimeno".

I am the eldest child of Ramon and Thelma Jimenez.  My father was born and raised in Sorsogon, Sorsogon, now Sorsogon City, the capital of Sorsogon province.  The question now is who is the ancestor of the present generation of Jimenezes of Sorsogon?

According to history, the first Jimenez arrived in Sorsogon sometime between 1565 to 1570.  It was during this time that the then Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi who was based in Panay dispatched an expeditionary force to gather provisions for the starving Spanish force in Panay and at the same time evangelize the natives that they would chance upon.  This force was headed by Capt. Luis Enriquez de Guzman and joined by their chaplain, the Augustinian friar, Fray Alonso Jimenez.  They stumbled upon the fishing village , Gibalong, at the mouth of the Ginangra River in what is now called Magallanes, Sorsogon.  The village Gibalong is the very first Christian settlement in Luzon.  It was here that the first Mass in Luzon was celebrated by of course, Fray Alonso Jimenez.  Aside from Sorsogon, Fray Jimenez visited other places in Luzon trying to preach the Gospel.

My father and my uncle, Arturo Jimenez claim that Fray Alonso was quite a ladies' man. They said that with his forays to the different parts of Luzon as a man of the cloth, that could account why Jimenezes are scattered throughout the country.  Is it safe to assume that the Jimenezes of Sorsogon descended from this friar, Fray Alonso Jimenez?  That Jose Rizal's Padre Damaso is no fiction after all?

Jimenez' Coat of Arms,_Sorsogon,_Philippines

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