the Beautiful Marinduque Island -Our Second Home
This is the continuation of the series, The Ancestry of the Nieva Clan of Marinduque written by Rene Nieva. Chapter 3 of this series was posted in my blogs July 27, 2015. Enjoy.
NIEVAS SETTLE AND RISE IN MARINDUQUE: In subsequent centuries, the 1600s and 1700s, a good number of the more adventurous and ambitious of the Nievas of Camalig went westward towards the Southern Tagalog region in search of better business opportunities. Many of them settled in Tayabas (as Quezon used to be known), Marinduque and the adjacent island of Mindoro. In effect, the Nievas were among the pioneers in Marinduque and Mindoro, which, by their not being contiguous to the big and more progressive island of Luzon, were still in relatively primordial state.
Marinduque, like Albay where the Nievas originally came from, was inhabited even in pre-historic times by people who were pagans and animists who worshiped the spirits of either deceased ancestors, nature-spirits, nymphs and fairies. They were engaged mainly in farming and fishing which is still the case up to now, although some industries have started developing including mining for a while until it was banned after a horrendous environmental accident took place. Tourism has also started growing in the last few decades and is expected to expand even further in the years ahead.
Marinduquenos have also already been long trading with other islands and even with the Chinese as evidenced by the exploration of Marinduque in 1881 by Frenchmen Antonie-Alfred Marche which found numerous Chinese urns, vases and gold ornaments dating back from long before the Spanish era.
For much of the Spanish colonial regime and even well into the American Commonwealth period, Marinduque was just a minor island, probably because of its small size and its separation by sea from the Luzon mainland. It was just a part of Balayan province (now Batangas) in the 16th century and then of the much bigger island of Mindoro in the 17th century. When the Americans arrived at the turn of the 18th century, they declared it as an independent province but only still just a sub-province of Tayabas. It was not until 1920 when, through a law passed by the Philippine Congress, Marinduque finally became a full and independent province.
It was in Marinduque where the Nievas mainly rose into prominence. Being entrepreneurial and natural leaders, they grew in wealth, influence and power. This was borne out by the research of a Nieva relative that throughout the 1800s, many of the Gobernadorcillos of Boac, the capital of Marinduque, were surnamed Nieva. These were Carlos Ma. de Nieva in 1825, Espiridion Ma. de Nieva in 1831, Juan Ma.de Nieva in 1847, Ruperto Ma. de Nieva in 1859, Calixto Ma. de Nieva in 1867 and Francisco Nieva (the first not to use the prefix "de" before Nieva) in 1885. From among these, it was Calixto Ma. de Nieva through whose line we can definitely trace the lineage of the the current members of the Nieva clan.
Indeed, we can call Calixto (he has also eventually dropped the prefix "de") Nieva the Founding Father of the Nievas of Marinduque. And now, not just of Marinduque but of parts beyond the island and even the country throughout the world, seeking their fortunes and destinies as the Nievas have done since time immemorial.
Personal Note: Five years before my retirement from US FDA in 2002, my wife, Macrine Nieva Jambalos-( great grand daughter of Calixto Nieva) and I built our retirement home in Amoingon, Boac. Since then it has grown into a small beach resort and conference center we named Chateau du Mer. Here's the web site in case you have not visited it. Mabuhay and mga Nievas from Maruinduque.