‘Ownership’ of the Hacienda de Angono

General Don Domingo Antonio de Otero Bermudez consolidated a number of properties, the Hacienda de Angono[1], along with other lands and estancia (farms) of Binangonan and the lime quarries of San Guillermo. Señor Don Juan de Ozaeta y Oro, special judge of the Land Commission in 1699, pronounced the documents produced by Don Domingo as ‘good’. He was a member of His Majesty’s council, oidor (Associate Justice) of the Real Audiencia of Philippine Islands.  He also saw the record of proceedings instituted by the natives of the town of Binangonan before the Superior Government, claiming that some of the lands allegedly belonging to the estancia were theirs.

The original objection to the townspeople’s claims was that no one said or did anything to the contrary when the tape passed through their town that marked its boundaries. It was argued that no one pointed out a different stream or river from Mabalan. Rivers or streams separated the lands and traditional practice often used the stream as an unwritten kind of boundary. The people who revolted were subsequently forbidden to work the lands that they occupied without Don Domingo Bermudez, the owner’s consent. Otherwise, they were subject to penalty:  the gobernadorcillo officials and cabezas de barangay  (local native government leaders/heads) were to be deprived of their offices and to be confined with hard labour in the Cavite prison on ration and without salary.

The oidor favoured the claims made by Bermudez and approved the titles and the boundaries of the property based on the demarcation and survey that had just been made.

As an expression of gratitude for his blessings, Don Domingo formed ‘four capellanías (pious trust funds) with a capital of 2,000 pesos each ‘between 1733-1736. Three of these were offered to the Archdiocese of Manila and one to the Order of Preachers. Santiago (2002:30) wrote that ‘all four foundations are still extant.’ Professor Ligaya G. Tiamson Rubin pointed out that Justice Calderon Enriquez found a fake survey in Silang, Cavite that was undertaken in 1743, claiming that the lands belonging to the Binangonan townspeople were already given to the Dominican Order. The Clerk of Court of the Audiencia, Juan Monroy was suspended for two years and asked to pay a penalty of P2,000.[2]

The Royal approval was issued on the 16th December 1749. A comment associated with the issuance of the title was: it was issued ‘without prejudice to third persons who might show a better right’. I interpret this comment to mean that Don Andrés Blanco Bermudez’s (Don Domingo’s nephew) ownership and possession were not ‘absolute’. In 1745, the natives of Binangonan led by their town officials occupied the lands belonging to the hacienda by force of arms —  ‘several towns mutineed and revolted.’  Special Judge Don Pedro Calderón Enriquez, Ozaeta’s successor investigated the Binangoneños’ grievances.

In 1745, the following were recognized as the owners of Hacienda Y Estancia de Angono: General Don Domingo de Otero Bermudez; Alferez Don Andres Blanco Bermudez; Josep Blanco Bermudez; Don Miguel Cacho of Manila. According to Santiago, Don Andrés presented the certificate of the title issued by Judge Ozaeta in 1699 and thereupon, a re-measurement of the dimensions and retracing of the hacienda’s boundaries as described in the certificate were apparently painstakingly undertaken. The landmarks (natural — e.g. huge trees and boulders, and man-made — boundary stones) were still in place. Hence, in 1749, the judge declared the documents ‘genuine and legitimate’.

Don Pasqual de Sta. Ana of Pasig, after two years of negotiation, bought the Hacienda y Estancia de San Clemente de Angono y Lagundi measuring over 3,000 hectare on 14 September 1818 from Don Miguel Cacho of Manila for 12,000 pesos.

Don Pasqual, by oral tradition, belonged to the pre-hispanic nobility of Caintá and Pásig. Santiago referred to the Jesuit chronicler, Chirino who pointed out that at the time of the conquest, Caintá was one of the rare vast towns ruled by a rajah (Sanskrit root: ‘to rule’ — referring to ‘king’, ‘Chief’). During Don Pasqual’s growing up years, his family had ‘gone down in the world’ apparently as a result of the ‘devastation wreaked in these parts by another invader, the British military (1762-64)’. The Sepoy (from India) soldiers in the British army decided to settle in Cayntá, and Don Pasqual and his descendants employed them and their children with native women, in their farms. Although Don Pasqual’s grandfather lost their ancestral lands and his own parents were unable to redeem these lands, through hard work and entrepreneurialship, he and his wife were able to buy back the lands his grandfather lost. Don Pasqual bought two haciendas: Isla de Talim and Hacienda y Estancia de San Clemente de Angono y Lagundi.

As experienced by the other hacenderos, Don Pasqual ‘inherited from his predecessors the wearisome problem of tenants refusing to pay the customary fees (terrasgo) for their houses and fruit-bearing trees inside the estate (Santiago 2002: 32).’ On 22 December 1819, Don Pasqual filed a suit against the tenants at the Royal Audiencia. The outcome of the case was not available.

Don Pasqual’s granddaughter (a Spanish mestiza), Doña Dominga de Sta. Ana Lara of Pasig inherited the Hacienda. Doña Dominga’s father, Don Jose de Sta. Ana married a Spanish lady from an illustrious criollo clan of the city, Doña Maria Escalante, daughter of Don Mariano Escalante and Doña Clara Miranda. Doña Maria Escalante was the young widow of Don Jose Matheo de Rocha, son of Don Luis de Rocha, the owner of the Malacañang estate (the future site of the presidential palace). She was first married in 1842 to the Licenciado Don Benancio Gonzalez de Lara, a lawyer from Toledo, Spain. They had a son, Don Eugenio Gonzalez de Lara (1844-1896). When Don Benancio died, Doña Dominga and her son, returned to Angono to live in the casa hacienda for good. In 1852, the hacendera next married Capt. Francisco Guido, another Spaniard who hailed from Villafranca del Berzo, Leon Province, Spain. Doña Dominga and Don Francisco Guido were my great-great-great grandmother and grandfather, and the next owners of the Hacienda.

The State granted absolute ownership through the real cédula (certificate) on 15 October 1754 to those who legally acquired the estate under the Spanish regime: Don Domingo Antonio de Otero Bermudez, Don Andres Blanco Bermudez and their successors: Don Miguel Cacho, Don Pasqual de Sta. Ana, Doña Dominga de Sta. Ana and Don Francisco Guido.

The boundaries of the property were formed with important towns: in the South were with the town of Binangonan; in the Southeast, with the town of Antipolo; and in the North, with the town of Taytay (where my grandfather, Hermogenes Guido and his wife, Aquilina brought up their ten children — Esperanza, Alfredo, Eufronia – my mother, Gliceria, Priscilla, Rosa, Profetiza, Buenaventura, Buensuceso and Carlos).[3]

Based on the outcome of a court case [4] in relation to the Hacienda de Angono between Justo Guido et. al., plaintiffs and appellees and Agustin de Borja et. al. (defendants and appellants),  the de Borjas were tenants of the Hacienda until 1903. A judgment of the Court of First Instance of Rizal supported their claim that they were the owners of the Hacienda. The Guidos (Justo, Buenaventura and Juliana and others) appealed against that judgment and won their case. Consequently, the de Borjas were asked to return the property to the Guidos, pay the legal cost and pay in money and paddy (rice field) as owed them, considering that the fruits, crops and plantings on the Hacienda were not theirs. Justo Guido of Singalong, Manila, who had the Hacienda de Angono titled in his name under the Torrens System in 1909; Joaquin, Victoria, and Benito, children of Justo Guido who had the Hacienda subdivided and sold to different owners.

According to Professor Tiamson Rubin, it wasn’t clear whether the entire territory of Hacienda y Estancia de Angono owned by the heirs of Dona de Sta. Ana had been declared ‘Public Lands’ that, in due course, were given to various people who had constructed under their own names their titles through the Torrens Title System. She speculated that due to the scarcity of documents pointing to legitimate Deeds of Transfers concerning the estate, it could be construed that the heirs of Doña Dominga had not shown sufficient interest in asserting their ownership of the property.

[1] Santiago distinguished the hacienda from an encomienda. The hacienda formed boundaries with entire towns and ‘comprised a whole barangay or barrio or a combination of barrios and sitios which eventually developed into a town itself.’ An encomienda was a royal grant of the tributes (not the land) ‘of a particular locality’. The encomenderos’ privilege lasted for two or three generations of the beneficiary’s family (see Santiago, L.P.R.1990.‘The Filipino encomenderos’, Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 18: 162-84)

[2] Tiamson Rubin, L.G. 2003. Angono Rizal: Mga Talang Pangwika at Pagkasaysayan. Espana, Manila: UST Publishing House, p. 63.

[3] Santiago, L.P.R. ‘Don Pasqual de Sta Ana (1762-1827): ‘Indio Hacendero.’ Philippine Studies, Vol 50 (2002): 23-49 First Quarter, Ateneo de Manila University Press, p. 29

[4] Philippine Reports, Vol 12, February 4, 1909; case no 4013

Controversy over the Church/es in Angono

In Alejandro R. Roces’ column, ’50 years with the Times’ (an undated newspaper article in The Manila Times from a cutting sent to me by my mother), the Angono town fiesta began around the time when that church was built.  Roces wrote:

The Angono town fiesta has at least four main features: First, there is the dancing of the devotees in front of the church after every novena; second, the amphibious procession and parade; third, the band concert; and fourth, the show usually a zarzuela or a modern stage presentation.  

During the aquatic procession, St Clement — this is the same image that Capt. Guido brought from Spain almost eighty years ago  —  is placed in the pagoda. Small boats accompany the pagoda in the river —  with the bands playing and the women in attractive costumes dancing. Shouts of “Mabuhay, San Clemente” rend the air. And after a while a bunch of fish is placed in the hands of the image. These are caught by the paraders wading in the water as they pull the pagoda. The belief is that the more fish caught and placed in the image’s hand, the greater will be the catch of Angono fishermen for the coming season.

Roces claimed that Capt. Guido built the Biga Church around the 1880s. None of the ancestors of the elders in 1931, according to Professor Ligaya G. Tiamson Rubin, could categorically state who actually built the church in Biga and when exactly it was constructed.  Whether other churches preceded the church in Biga was uncertain. Another version compiled by Professor Tiamson Rubin concerning the church was that Biga in its entirety was a resort within the Hacienda, that constituted a chapel, open to the public under the name of the licensed Capellania in Angono. The owner of the Hacienda and a church supporter renovated it later as a house of worship to support the growing population of Angono. It was possible, Professor Tiamson Rubin wrote, that the church in Biga was built in response to the call to strengthen its becoming Capellania of Angono that the Hacenderos had invested in. Another possibility,  she said was that the Church in Biga was established in 1751 with the help of Alferez Don Andres Blanco Bermudez (the first legal owner of the secular Hacienda).

In 1824, the people of Angono submitted a petition to the Archbishop of Manila for permission to establish a new church in Angono because the church in Biga was too old and its roof was full of holes. They wanted a new church built at a more central location. Don Miguel Samson, the Governadorcillo (Little Governor) in 1824 and Don Bernardo Gragera, the Governadorcillo in 1820 and in1825 were in support of that petition. Don Pasqual de Sta. Ana, the owner of the Hacienda since 1818, however, rejected Father Tiburcio Senson’s petition on behalf of the Principales of Angono. On 2 April 1824, Don Pasqual released a document stating that the people of Angono were ungrateful, noting that the church in Biga was established right from the beginning to establish and spread Christian civilization in Angono. He argued that it was better for the people in Angono to help mend the church in Biga rather than construct an expensive church at another location. He said that the Hacienda had dutifully cared for the Capellana since 11 October 1751.

In 1853, Doña Dominga and Captain Francisco Guido who were married in 1852, brought an enormous bell as an offering to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of farmers and of people who tended the flock.

In 1866, the Hacendero and the people of Angono had an argument over who owned the image (statue) of St Clement. The people were devoted to the images of St Clement and St Isidro. They wanted the images moved from the Biga Church and were not predisposed to replacing them with another that they could purchase themselves, as suggested.

An agreement was reached that the fisherfolk could continue their devotion to the image of St Clement (43 inches in height) at the new church whereas the image of St Isidro Labrador (29 inches in height) could be retained at the farmers’ place in Angono where it originally stood (in the old church in Biga). They would like the images to ‘visit’ the homes of the farmers.

In time, a new tradition emerged wherein the image of San Isidro Labrador was not ‘housed’ at any particular church but at the home of whoever became the Hermanos (Brothers).The Hermanos were ordinary farmers, chosen through a straw vote held in May, the feast of San Isidro. The first recognized brother and administrator of San Isidro through this process was Tandang Kalino Diaz.


Tiamson Rubin, L.G. 2003. Angono Rizal: Mga Talang Pangwika at Pagkasaysayan. España, Manila: UST Publishing House.

Santiago, L.P.R. 1990.‘The Filipino encomenderos’, Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society 18: 162-84.

Santiago, L.P.R. 2002.‘Don Pasqual de Sta. Ana (1762-1827), Indio Hacendero’, Philippine Studies, Vol 50.