Thursday, August 25, 2016
Vignettes on the Life of Benito Lopez of Jaro, Iloilo, Philippines
The following is a repost of the article written by Nereo Cajilig Lujan and posted in his Face book page just recently. I enjoyed reading it because I was born in Jaro, Iloilo and was curious about Roca Encantada- a summer house of the famous Lopezes clan of Jaro. The two well-known Lopez brothers are Eugenio and Fernando. Eugenio was an industrialist and philanthropist whereas Fernando was well known for his political achievements having been elected vice president in three presidential periods in Philippine History. According to Nereo Lujan, our blood relation to the Lopezes is thru the wife of Fernando, Mariquit Lopez.
Nereo and I share the same ancestry with the Javellana clan of Iloilo. He has a blog www.javellana.wordpress.com. Read it if you want more details on the Javellana clan of Iloilo. Here's a repost of his very informative and popular article that had been shared by 160 readers, 466 likes, and 33 comments as of today.
" HISTORY 101. On 27 December 1907, Governor Benito Lopez was shot four times in his office at the Casa Gobierno (Casa Real de Iloilo) by Joaquin Gil, a supporter of Francisco Jalandoni who he defeated in the gubernatorial elections two months earlier.
Lopez died 24 days later on 20 January 1908 at the Iloilo Mission Hospital and his assailant was executed for his crime while Gil's patrons were exiled for their role in the governor's assassination.
Mourning the death of her husband, Doña Presentacion Hofileña Lopez retired to her native town in Navalas (now Buenavista) in the island of Guimaras and built for herself a house there.
The Lopez widow left her two sons Eugenio (born 1901) and Fernando (born 1904) to the care of his sister Elena who married her late husband's brother, Vicente Lopez (who built the elegant Nelly Garden in Jaro in 1928).
Doña Presentacion's house, constructed on top of a huge coral rock in Barrio San Miguel overlooking the north eastern coast of Panay Island, was completed in 1910.
While residing in Guimaras, Doña Presentacion took fancy on a baby girl born in 1909 to a peon (unskilled farm worker) and an American soldier stationed there. She adopted her and named her Julieta.
The mestiza Julieta Lopez was crowned Miss Iloilo in 1927 and on 19 June that year married Vicente Arenas. Their son Ramon became the husband of socialite Rosemarie Bosch Jimenez, popularly known as Baby Arenas.
Sometime in the mid-1920s, Doña Presentacion married Daniel Evangelista but they were childless. She contracted pneumonia and her condition quickly worsened, resulting to her death in February 1930.
In the 1950s, the Lopez brothers had the house in Buenavista renovated, turned it into their summer home and called it La Roca Encantada as it is perched on a rock.
On 21 April 1967, after inaugurating the Iloilo Airport in Mandurriao, President Ferdinand Marcos and party had lunch at La Roca Encantada, becoming the first Chief Executive to set foot on Guimaras soils.
La Roca Encantada, which quickly became a tourist attraction, was declared a National Heritage House by the National Historical Institute on 14 August 2002.
Benpres, the holding company of the Lopez family that was incorporated in 1993, was coined after the names Benito and Presentacion. It was renamed Lopez Holdings Corporation in 2010 ".