My great-grandfather’s diary, dating from 1895, tells us many things. For one, Carlos P. Romulo was born in Intramuros; not in Camiling. (Though he did grow up in Camiling.)
On 14 of January 1898 at 3:45 pm (Friday) my wife, thank God, happily gave birth to a boy in the house Legaspi No. 19 (Intramuros) and nine days after his birth he was baptized, his godfather Don Enrique Llopis y Becerra (lawyer). His baptism was on a
Sunday in the afternoon between 6:00 and 7:00 pm on the 23rd day of the same month. He was named Carlos. Enrique Gregorio Felix, we went to the Parish of Sta. Iglesia Catedral with Mr. Llopis (godfather), Mr. Rodriguez, and Mr. Paredes as witnesses both lawyers, my mother, and my sister-in-law Paz.
On Wednesday 23 of March 1898 at 10 am I had my two children Lourdes and Carlos vaccinated—the first was one year and 10 months old; the second _________ two months and 9 days old. The doctor who vaccinated them was my friend Don Jose R. Torres, recently licensed. And shortly after, 6 days or 7 days later, the four vaccines (two in each arm) all took effect
without any fever, thank the Lord, nor too much inconvenience like the other. He started school in 1903.
Based on this entry and others in the diary, the first three children–Enrique (1895), Lourdes (1896), and Carlos (1898)–were born in Intramuros, Manila, which suggests that the Romulo family lived in Manila at least until 1898. Other evidence includes the fact that my great-grandparents had their wedding photo taken in 1894 at a popular photography studio located on Carriedo Street near Escolta and Quiapo. We also know that Lolo Oyong proposed to Lola Titay at the Manila Cathedral, and that he established a primary school (Colegio de la Nuestra Sra. De Rosario) in 1893 in Trozo, Manila.1
The Battle of Manila Bay (a stone’s throw from Intramuros) took place on May 1, 1898, just three and a half months after Lolo Carlos’s birth. The United States annihilated almost the entire naval force of Spain in this one battle. Spy missions and plans for the attack had been going on for several months prior, and rumblings had long been felt in Manila.
I’m guessing the family moved to Camiling, Tarlac, where it was safer, around April 1898. By the time Lola Choleng (fourth child) was born on July 9, 1900, they were (almost certainly) living in Camiling, and the following year (1901) Lolo Oyong became municipal councilor of Camiling. The Romulos quickly grew in prominence in Camiling as members of the rural gentry similar to the Aguinaldos in Kawit, Cavite, and the Aquinos in Murcia, Tarlac.2 By 1906 Lolo Oyong was town mayor; and from 1910 to 1914 he served as governor of Tarlac province.
Questions and notes:
1. What is casa la Legaspi Nº 19? The street still exists, as does Sta. Potenciana Street. But was this house a clinic or midwife’s house? Is it possible that Lolo was born at home? Why not at the hospital, since San Juan de Dios was just nearby in Intramuros?
2. The 14th of January 1898 was indeed a Friday. The deletion in the diary suggests that my great-grandfather (Gregorio Romulo) might have been confused, so I checked this detail. Note that pretty much all sources, from history books to Wikipedia, lists Lolo’s birth year as 1899. Even CPR mistakenly celebrated his 50th birthday a year late.
3. He was baptized on the 23rd of January 1898 at Sta Iglesia Catedral. Was that in Intramuros? Does anyone know if I can still manage to get his birth and/or baptismal records? If so, where?
4. Enrique Gregorio Felix is Lolo’s older brother, who would have been almost three years old at this time. Perhaps Enrique went with them to the baptism?
5. Gregorio Romulo’s sister-in-law could be Paz Peña, one of Maria Peña’s four sisters.
6. I believe my great-grandfather made an error in calculating the age of Lourdes, la primera de un año y 10 meses, because she would have been two years and ten months old.
2 Nick Joaquin. The Aquinos of Tarlac. Mandaluyong, Philippines: Cacho Hermanos, 1983.
Tags: Aguinaldo, Aquino, Baptism, Battle of Manila Bay, Birth, Camiling, Diary, Enrique Romulo, Gregorio Romulo, Intramuros, Journal, Lourdes Romulo Kipping, Maria Peña, Nick Joaquin, Paz Peña, Romulo Café, Sta. Iglesia Catedral