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Grandfather Crispin Sr.: Tracing Surname Origins Part 2

This is the second part of "Tracing Surname Origins:  Daen of Manito, Albay".  

This also serves as an example for my students at the Community College of Manito on primary and secondary sources of History.

This is the only photo I saw of my grandfather Crispin Daguiso Daen, Sr., smiling.  He's with my grandmother Feliza ? Yumang.  I guess she was the only person who could make him look proud and happy.  Photo was taken outdoors not in a studio indicating the spontaneity of the moment and the display of affection.

Crispin Daguiso Daen, Sr. belongs to the Lawaan clan, one of the four (4) Daen clans.  As explained in the first post Filipino Daens trace their roots from the remote but beautiful town of Manito, Albay.  

The previous post also mentions that Lawaan  is a tall tree and it also means long limbed or tall.  That characteristic might have started him off on his journey through life.

Grandfather standing at the center of the back row with his no nonsense look.  Here he is with other directors of the ALATCO Supervisors' Labor Union.  1957.  You might be able to help identify others in the photo.

Let me give a summary before the longer stories:

  • He is from the Lawaan clan.  Full name, Crispin Daguiso Daen, Sr.  Notice from Part 1 of this post that both his maternal and paternal family names show pure Manito, Albay ancestry, both starting with "Da".
  • His father was Timoteo Dagsil Daen who married Valentina Daguiso.  By marrying another town local looks like his father never left town.
  • His grandfather is a certain Mariano Daen who was married to a Gregoria Dagsil.  This is as far as we can find from church records.  Mother found this info when researching at the local parish records.
  • He was born in 1904 when the Americans were establishing government in the Philippines, just a few years after the Philippine Revolution against Spain.

  • He went to High School in Legazpi on his own and started to carve his future.  He was independent and didn't want to work in the rice fields or coconut plantations in town.

  • He married my grandmother, Feliza ? Yumang.  She is half Bicolana and half Kapampangan, being the daughter of a traveling merchant from Macabebe, Pampanga.  Her father is said to have drowned in one of his travels.  Her mother re-married and established residence in Pili, Camarines Sur. 

  • He died in 1988, two years after his wife was murdered inside their store the day after Christmas in 1986.  They had one of the most, if not the most, prosperous stores in town.  Here is the Supreme Court decision on the robbery-murder case

  • He worked until retirement for the oldest Philippine bus company, the ALATCO, which partly survives today as Philtranco.  ALATCO was established by enterprising Americans in 1914.
  • He rose through the ranks at ALATCO bus company and served various positions like inspector, supervisor and a short managerial post in Ligao, Albay right before he retired.
  • After retirement in the late 1960s/ early 1970s he became a municipal councilor in Manito, Albay 

  • One of the main streets in the town center was named after him.  This is the street where the main elementary school is located.  This is the street where he was able to buy properties out of his own labors.  The Community College of Manito also stands on a piece of land he originally bought and handed down to one of his sons.

He was known to be "maisugun" in our local Bicol language.  An exact translation of the word still eludes me.  It can mean a combination of courageous, strong, self-assertive, fearless, hardhearted and cruel.  Combine that with his physique and you have the raw materials for a self-made and "feared" man. 

 I am a witness to only two encounters with my grandfather.  Both instances weren't really happy ones.  The first was in 1984.  I was only 8 years old visiting Manito for the first time since we moved to a mining community in Benguet province up north.  I was a wide-eyed boy enjoying my first experience of the lowland provincial life and a first taste of being with grandparents.  My maternal grandparents died when I was 2 and 4 years old.

There I was one night in their store, just me, grandma and grandpa for the first time.  Someone walked in and bought something.  I was close to the store entrance so I got the man's money and asked him what he wanted.  I eagerly approached my grandfather with the money and echoed what the man was trying to buy.  My grandfather's reaction in a strong and fearsome voice of an 80 year old was an unforgettable:

"I didn't ask for your help!  Why are you meddling with something that is not your business?!" 

The 8-year old boy was crushed.  I didn't know what to do.  I don't recall what happened next.  I think I just ran away from the store like a whipped puppy.  I do remember grandmother who was known to be the opposite of her husband in character and disposition gently telling grandfather, "He's just a boy..."  

Yes, he was just a boy who would not come back to the store anymore until his vacation was over.  That was in 1984I will see my grandfather again two years later, during my grandmother's funeral.  She was murdered in their store the night after Christmas day of 1986.  Grandfather, the man who built his own destiny and who feared no one would live for only two years more when he lost his wife.  It was said that early in the morning the following day he walked out of the street that now bears his name brandishing a bolo, a farmer's farm tool and weapon, calling out who killed his wife.

So I am not surprised when every story I heard about him was about his being "maisugun".  He was feared in town.  I wonder how he got elected as municipal councilor?  Last year a female retiree from the US told me she liked my grandfather's guts.  It was just that he was too strong for his own good.  He was known to not let anything pass.  He wasn't afraid to confront anyone, anywhere.

How did this self-made man from an obscure Bicol town rise to his stature?

Early years in a bus company

Here's one very interesting story related by my mother of his early beginnings with the ALATCO bus company, the oldest bus company in the Philippines.  It was started by American partners in Iriga, Albay in 1914.  I guess grandfather was employed starting in the the 1920s since my father was the second child and he was born in 1935.  Bus transportation was then in it's infant years.  People in the provinces were still very new to the experience.

Conference of Inspectors, Checkers & Dispatchers.  2nd row, left-most.  Even bus inspectors and checkers were given conferences then.  Notice also the design and decor of the room.

Crispin Daguiso Daen was a Lawaan.  He was relatively taller than most natives.  With his characteristic "isug" and physical features, ALATCO made him a troubleshooter.  During the time it was not uncommon for people to hail a passing bus and then force the driver and other passengers to wait for them as they were still taking a bath or preparing some other things for their bus trip.  This is unthinkable now but mother said it was common then.  It obviously cost ALATCO delays in trips and probably loss of income.

Grandfather was sent to problematic routes like this.  In one instance, mother related that the following incident happened.  There were two locals who hailed the bus.  Instead of boarding, they asked the bus driver to wait while they were still doing some personal necessities.

Imagine the next scene:  Grandfather goes down the bus, grabs the two men by their shirt collars, dragged them up the bus and threatened:

"The next time you hail a bus be sure that you are already going to leave.  Don't force everyone to wait for you!"

Now that's one anecdote for "the customer is always right" business philosophy.  That didn't seem to sit well with him.  Even years and years later, people who had no other choice but to buy or incur debts from them were ready to get scolded for any reason such as for women wearing pants.

I don't find the story unbelievable.  Look at the photos on this page.  Notice Grandfather's physique and no-nonsense stare.  Look at the other short uniformed locals.  I can imagine him pulling two men like them by their collars and dragging them up the bus.

I guess that became a pattern.  He became the bus company's troubleshooter until he rises to inspector, supervisor, labor union leader and finally manager before retirement.  I have doubts about his managerial promotion in Ligao since I haven't seen any photos or documents attesting to this despite my mother and brother's insistence.

Crispin Daguiso Daen, Sr. in front wearing light polo with law enforcers.

With the same group of Supervisors' Labor Union.  Grandfather standing at center back row with his no-nonsense and defiant stance.  This time in the 1960s.

Photo of a bus accident in grandfather's album.

At center with a handcuffed man in what seems to be a police precinct.  He just can't let pass anything or anyone doing wrong.

Third from left.  I guess this was taken in the late 1950s because the sign on the bus reads "Manito".  Vehicles reached Manito, Albay only in the 1950s.  The only means of transportation prior to that was across the Albay gulf/ Poliqui bay on a boat they called "parao".


Upon retirement they moved from Pili, Camarines Sur back to Manito, Albay.  They bought lots, partitioned them and built their own two storey house with their store downstairs, allotted the next lot to the eldest son Jose, then the next lot for his junior Crispin who is my father, then to his youngest Rogelio.  Thus there are now four residential lots beside the elementary school in the order mentioned.

Father married first, hence they built their house first.  Mother was a young elementary teacher assigned in Manito.  That was in the early 1960s.  Crispin Sr. and grandmother Feliza (Pesing) built their house and store later after grandfather's retirement.

Upon retirement, the couple built one of the most, if not the most, progressive stores in town.  Photo is from 1974.  He is standing third from right with other officers of the Federation of Albay Grains Retailers.

Together the couple built their growing store and continued to acquire a few more lands.  It does not appear that grandfather's family owned any lands.  If they did, he didn't inherit any.  All the properties the couple owned were purchased by them.

Their three sons were well provided for as they grew up in Pili, Camarines Sur and were given the privilege to study in Manila.  He was a great provider but apparently wasn't great at parenting.  The oldest son, Jose, became a retired military man while Crispin Jr., my father, and the youngest, Rogelio didn't finish their college.  They did not lack anything, not money, not support, not intellect. More about my father with this post and this post.

Below are some letters of indebtedness kept by my grandparents.  This partly shows how they ran their store and how they were able to purchase a few pieces of land.  These are records not only of debts but it shows a glimpse of how mature people in the rural past also dealt in formal and business-like manner.  These were written in English and in Bicol.

Letter hinting at selling land in payment for their accumulated debts.

Letter asking help for children in college

One of the detailed lists of items like 20 kilos of rice which was then only P43 pesos.  Now that can only buy 1 kilo.

Another letter detailing why the debtor needs the money for her son

This has been a long post.  The third part of this series will focus on the Daen family tree from our earliest remembered ancestor down to myself.  It also tries to trace the origin of the clan divisions among the Daens and who first used the family name.



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