OpinionReconnecting family ties

Reconnecting family ties


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This week, I’d like to share with you two emails from abroad which I received after they read online at least two articles under this column for the MetroPost, written about five or six years ago (Santiago de Compostela and my Galician Roots, Oct. 28, 2018; and Finding My Galician Family, Dec. 8, 2019).

One reader who wrote me an email from Florida linked our family history after reading my article.

My grandfather, Jesus Montenegro, had an only sister, Carmen.  Carmen Montenegro married a Bocanegra. The Bocanegras had lands and a farm in Pondol, Amlan. My grandfather had his plantation in Bio-os, Amlan.  I also remember visiting this big house in Cambuilao in Bais, as a teenager.

My mother, Milagros, is the daughter of Jesus who had five children. Only two are around now: my mom Mila who is 93, and Jesusa (Susie) who is 91.

We must have been practically neighbors before with these MetroPost readers who just emailed me; also, we must have visited one another when we were growing up. We were just kids then.




Hi Esther,

I am contacting you because while searching about my family roots, I found your article in your local newspaper.

I have found a lot of information, but my sister and I are still trying to find some part of the family that is hard to find.

I am so happy to tell you that we are family. My great-great grandmother was Angela Montenegro, and I was born in Vilaxoan, Spain. And yes, we have a little chapel in the cemetery.

We know some siblings from the Philippines like Angie Montenegro, Caroline Montenegro, Celi, etc.

Also,D. Joaquin Montenegro, my great-great uncle when he returned from the Philippines, he had a big house with a chapel inside, which my grandmother and my father used to go to everyday.

My sister’s name is Maria Joaquina, but we call her Mariquina. Just to let you know, you still have family in Vilaxoan and in Vilagarcia, Spain.

Rosa Cores-Burr





Hello Esther,

I think you are my cousin.

I really was intrigued by your article in the local newspaper because my son went to Spain and traveled that route to Santiago de Compostela from Portugal. That is still in my bucket list.

I am trying to trace my roots as well. My paternal great-grandmother is the twin sister of Felix Montenegro. Manuela Montenegro married Jose Bocanegra from Bais; they once owned Cambuilao,  now only Hacienda Tamoggong.

It would be so nice to connect.


What a wonderful surprise to find your email. Thank you for responding. The world is truly small after all. How exciting it is to find a relative through reading and research!

On the by side,  I grew up in South Cotabato in Mindanao, and immigrated to New York in the 80s.  I’ve lived here in NY for the past 35 years (married a native-NYer, so they say).

Going back to our roots, so your grandfather’s sister (Carmen Montenegro) married a Bocanegra from Amlan, and they had one son, Joaquin (Nene) Bocanegra, whom I met when I was in college at Silliman University.

Lolo Nene married, and had four children: three boys and a girl: Uncles Ching Bocanegra, Chic Bocanegra, and Choy Bocanegra, and Tita Baby (Sagrario) Bocanegra-Tinio.

The ones I caught up with are Tito Chic’s children, Chuchi and Chito.

My great-grandmother is Manuela Montenegro- Bocanegra who married my great-grandfather Jose; they had seven children who ran Hacienda Cambuilao, and after some time, also Tamogong in Bais.

So there are two Bocanegras from the Montenegro lineage: one married Manuela Montenegro (my great-grandmother), and the other, Carmen Montenegro-Bocanegra from Amlan.

Carmita Bocanegra-DePasquale

New York


Author’s email: terryneemwindler@gmail.com



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