Hi, Lorenzo. What a small world indeed. I visited my Mom at the nursing home yesterday and asked her if she has heard of a Mariano Tan. Guess what....without a moment's hesitation...she immediately said "yes". She said Mariano Tan was my Oyong's (Tan Pico, a.k.a. Ruperto Tan) cousin. Interestingly enough, a few days ago....she was telling me of an incident involving a certain Juliano Tan. She said Mariano was Juliano's father. She added yesterday that my Oyong himself told her that Mariano was his cousin. Mommy said Mariano had other children with nicknames of Balbing and Nating (she says Juliano was often called "Yanni"). Mommy says Nating has children in California.
Well, going over the names of your Chinese greatgrandpa's children as you wrote, I notice that the nicknames above in fact correspond to your grandmother's and grandauntie's and granduncle's names!
Looks like we are in fact related afterall! Now, I have a bit of tsismis to tell you about Juliano but which, obviously, I can not post here. So, better give me your email address if you want to know what this is )))
Further, if Tan Ngai and Tan Pico were close relations (as my Oyong had intimated)....how big do you think is the probability that they came from the same village in Guangzhou? Your family might just be able to help mine finally solve the mystery of our Oyong's circumstances when he returned to China in 1948, like where and when he died, if we are able to trace his direct relations, possibly through your family's help.
Dearest Cousin Richard,
You asked me where Lolo Mariano was from, I will answer your question here. He was from Conghua, which is a very small farming community in Guangdong, it is some 40 miles northeast of Guangzhou. It is a mountainous community, that enjoys plentiful rivers and lakes. Your Oyong [Tan Pi Ko] was the 1st cousin of my great-grandfather. There is a large Tan community in Conghua, and I want you to know that Lolo Mariano left Conghua with a lot of relatives. Several cousins. Your Oyong was , indeed, related to my great-grandfather.
Your Oyong was forced to adopt a Spanish name , which was part of the assimilation procedure , which was forced on all Chinese coming to the Philippines during that time. He picked "Ruperto", hence he is known in public records as Ruperto Tan. During this time, the Colonial Government in the Philippines had a very racist policy towards Chinese.
Your lolo is actually my great-grand uncle. As he is the 1st cousin of my great-grand father. That means that we share the same great, great, great grandparents. (pure na pure nga inchik to sila hehehe )
To answer your second question, the way peopled in China back then was different to how it is now, people were not known to move from town to town , in fact, the diaspora of Chinese to the Philippines was due to political instability that China had been experiencing during that time (this is a topic worthy of another thread he he he
Anyways, people of the same clan used to live in the same village. So, your Oyong was indeed from the same village as my great-grandfather, and i would say that i am 95% confident of this assumption. The reason why my great-grandfather left with several cousins was because to ensure: 1) safety (in numbers) 2) ensure success , 3) to make sure that no one gets lost.
Your Oyong left for China in 1948 because he had constant communication with his relatives in China at the time and even before the 1940's. My great-grandfather, tho he was based in Valencia for several years, wrote prolifically to his mother, his father, and to his relatives in Conghua. He actually left for Conghua in the 1930s and lived there with his wife (my great-grandmother, who was a Filipina-Mestiza , and a native of Valencia) they brought with them their 4 children. So it was actually very common for the original Chinese to travel back and forth from Bohol to China and back again. Lolo Mariano left in the mid 1930s, thank goodness, because the Japanese invaded china and would initiate a brutal war there. Your Oyong left in 1948 and that was during the Great Revolution , when the Nationalist forces of Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai Shek) were ousted by the Communist Forces led by Mao Zedong. The reason why you did not have communication with your Oyong afterwards was because Maoist China did not have open communication with the Philippines or opened borders until the 1970's. By then, your Oyong most probably had already passed away. As my Lolo Mariano had passed away in the mid 1960's.
Lolo Mariano was unable to visit China again because the Communist government in China did not allow open travel for Chinese or Filipinos to China during that time. "Closed Door Policy" during that time.
I would like to know also what happened to your Oyong, si Lolo Tan Pi Ko. I am sure, that he probably retired in Conghua. He would have had still a lot of relatives there. He is probably buried in Conghua in our family's funeral plot.