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First President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines Manuel Luis Quezon’s scions

One thing the First President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines Manuel Luis Quezon and I shared was the roots of our youth in two different periods. Manuel was born in Baler, Tayabas (the former name of the province of Quezon), in the northern part while I saw the light and was raised in Lopez, in the southern tip. Still, the bedrock of our beginnings was separated and divided by pursuits of power to control if not to chart or to let free the destiny of its people and society.

From "The Making of Quezon City"

After the Pacific War, Tayabas Province, the longest one in the whole country, was named Quezon Province in honor of the man. In 1951, Quezon had a sub-province which was Aurora.

Meanwhile, in 1979, Quezon Province and its leaders, were not contented with the spheres of their influences, separated and divided it into two: finally, Aurora was declared a separate province which has its provincial capital Baler, the oldest town while the other half has remained Quezon, its current territorial control with its capitol spot located in Lucena City. My town Lopez in the fourth district is within the control of the province which has currently four congressional divisions.

From "The Making of Quezon City"

Because Manuel died early on in 1941, I haven’t had the opportunity to meet him personally fourteen years or so hence. Had I been born, at least, ten years before the Pacific War, I could have thought of ways to boldly get a glimpse of the man or someone could make an amazing move for me to get to him close or from a distance whenever he was around in Lopez because the late president had political friends in my community. One of Manuel’s friends was Vicente Salumbides, a film pioneer, a delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention, future congressman and mayor, and a businessman. In the early 1980s, I would hear an old folk narrated how Manuel would drop by a Salumbides’ house along the National Highway to talk to the film producer, actor and director. I heard that Manuel was riding in a horse with his navy cap and a horsewhip. 

From "The Making of Quezon City"

I only had the chance to hear more stories about him from my parents but they were just flimsy and far and between. I only learned other information about Manuel in my academic classes, Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies during my time), a track in elementary education, Philippine Government in high school and Philippine History in college.

I also had the chance to get to know a multi-generation of the Quezons, one of them a scion, when I taught at the St. Martin Technical Institute in Pasig City. The former SMTI is your University of Life or ULTRA now. I handled three sections in the institute, namely Eagle, Kingfisher and Peacock of Fourth Year high school students. I taught, of all subjects, Speech and Drama sans laboratory.

It was in SMTI that I came face to face with one of Manuel’s grandsons, Gabriel Avanceña, better known in the class as Gaye Avanceña. Gabriel is one of the children of Alberto Avanceña, son of the former Supreme Court Justice Ramon Avanceña and Nini Quezon. Gaye Avanceña has the mestizo features of the Quezons.

From "The Making of Quezon City"

After more than two decades, I met Gabriel at the house of Kevin Delgado, the son of actress Marissa Delgado. Kevin had thrown his hat in the political arena as one of the candidates in the city council of Muntinlupa. The Delgados have a house in Soldiers Hills in Muntinlupa and it was there that Kevin and his friends who included Gaye gathered to discuss the campaign strategies for Kevin. Gaye, incidentally, was one of political advisers of Delgado.

On that afternoon, together with Kevin, Gaye, Marissa, veteran entertainment writer Alice Vergara and all the Delgado’s supporters ventured in a motorcade around the municipality of Muntinlupa especially in the most congested and commonplace barangays of the city.

Kevin won in the elections but he just served one term of his tenure and never ran for reelection anymore.

From "The Making of Quezon City"

I met Gabriel again when we (together with controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel) finally tracked down his older brother Enrique Quezon Avanceña, also known as Ricky Avanceña for an interview for the documentary film “The Making of Quezon City,” an audio-visual for the Quezon City Public Library (QCPL). Incidentally, we first got in touch and attempted to get him on camera, this Manuel Quezon III, also known as Manolo Quezon, a writer and another grandson of the late president. But according to Manolo, he was too busy to go on cam so we also got in touch with Ricky. But I didn’t have his contact point whatsoever so I thought of ways to connect to him. I tried a lot of channels including sending Facebook messages to Gaye who at the time wasn’t my FB friend although until now I haven’t given a time to reconnect with him.

But my request was granted without lifting a finger during the Quezon Day celebration of Quezon City in August of 2017.

Ricky was the special guest during the commemoration for his grandfather and after his speech and the ceremony wrapped up I hurriedly approached him in one corner of the Quezon Memorial Park.

Instead of giving his telephone number which I asked he gave me his email address instead. My initial attempt to write him was successful although he messaged me back one day after which was a prompt answer considering he didn’t know from Adam. “Of course, I will help you out with your documentary film,” Ricky assured me. “Just wait for my advisory.”

And so an appointment was set at their house in Corinthian Gardens along EDSA. After the Quezons left their ancestral house in New Manila, Ricky, with his mom and other brothers, settled in this posh subdivision.

From "The Making of Quezon City"

During the interview, Gabriel was also around. Ricky called on him who had just arrived to see me as his former teacher at SMTI.

The Quezons were very accommodating and generous of the information about their patriarch as the father of Quezon City. There were many juicy tidbits Ricky revealed during the on cam interview, one of them their being grand, grandsons of a Spanish friar and the possible genetic or hereditary influence of tuberculosis which claimed the life of Manuel. Ricky also expounded on his granddad participation in the revolution and his climb to political ladder.

Ricky was too comprehensive on the life and times of Manuel Luis Quezon and he’s very proud of him and their humble beginnings.  

Ricky Avanceña

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