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Tres Reyes Island view of the Marinduque Mainland

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Ancestry of the Nieva Clan of Marinduque-Chapter 2


The first chapter on the ancestry of the Nieva clan of Marinduque by Rene Nieva was posted in my blogs about five months ago(2/6/15). Today I am posting the second chapter of this very interesting and informative article as follows:

ALBAY: ACKNOWLEDGED ROOTS OF THE NIEVAS: It would have been a source of pride to say that the Nievas of Marinduque descended from the first known Nieva in Philippine history, Fr. Domingo de Nieva. A case can be made for such a connection because a good number of Nievas in the last two centuries possessed the same sterling qualities of Fr. de Nieva such as his religiosity (several have entered the priesthood and nunnery), leadership skills (many have held high positions in both government and the private sector) and facility for speaking and writing (many were good writers and journalists). But no evidence has been found thus far that such a direct or even indirect connection exists. So until such time comes, this would just be a case of wishful thinking.


For the time being, based on oral history passed on to us from generation to generation preceeding ours, the roots of the Nievas can be traced back to the Bicol region, more specifically the town of Camalig in the province of Albay. In fact, there are archaeological findings that our Bicolano ancestors may have even preceeded Fr. De Nieva, who arrived in the Philippines in 1587, and the arrival of the Spanish colonizers in Camalig in 1569 by many centuries, even millennia.

When a Spanish expedition group aboard a ship led by Captain Luis de Guzman arrived in the Camalig area on that year looking for food provisions for the soldiers of Miguel de Legazpi stationed in Panay, they came upon what was already then an established and prosperous native agricultural settlement. Seeing how the inhabitants kept their farm produce in little huts without roofs that they called "camarin", the Spaniards named the settlement "Camalig" (Hispanized version of "camarin"). Captain de Guzman and his men stayed in Camalig for several days collecting their food supplies and went back to their ship. But they left behind Spanish friars accompanying them to start the colonization process by converting the inhabitants to Catholicism. Indeed, Spain conquered the Philippines through the sword and the cross.


The fact that Camalig was already a thriving native settlement would indicate that our Nieva ancestors may have belonged to a local tribe that even preceeded recorded history. This was further confirmed by Fr. Cantius Kobak, a Franciscan priest and archaeologist, who classified a cave in the area which natives called Hoyop-Hoyopan (or "blowing of the wind" through the different openings of the cave) as having been as old as 3000 to 4000 B.C. There were also jars found inside dating from 200 B.C. to 900 A.D. Incidentally, the area where the cave is located belongs to the Nieva family in Camalig which also manages what has become a popular tourist attraction in the Bicol region.

Personal Note: In the late 1970's, my wife, Macrine Nieva Jambalos ( first cousin of Rene) during her one month tour of the Philippines went to Camalig, Albay and visited the Nieva property and the cave, Hoyop-Hoyopan. She was able to talk to the owner and manager of the cave who is a Nieva. The owner was delighted to finally met a relative from Marinduque. Again, thank you Rene for the above article. Looking forward to Chapter 3 of this informative and interesting series.

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