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Sugarcane Juice for Health and Energy

Posted by Andrea Lizares Si on November 26, 2010 at 8:44 AM Comments comments (4)

One of the treats that my Chinese husband looks forward to when we're anywhere near Ongpin is a refreshing ice-cold glass of sugarcane juice. Freshly squeezed cane juice is a very popular drink in India, China, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and other places where sugarcane is grown. Fresh cane juice is even available in Great Britain, which doesn't produce sugarcane at all. Given this healthy juice's demand in other countries, it is sad that most Negrenses have not tried sugarcane juice, although more than 60% of the province's land area is planted to sugarcane.

Cane Juice Display in Ongpin. Photo from

The last time Manuel and I were in Ongpin, our cane juice vendor celebrated its 10th or 15th anniversary by giving a free glass of juice for every glass purchased. While draining our two glasses of ice cold juice, we saw many tall, athletic types dropping in one after the other to buy 4 or more one liter bottles of frozen cane juice. Their fondness for cane juice can't mean anything except that they know by personal experience how good the juice as a source of instant energy, and to maximize endurance and performance in sports. Being a fan of ice cold cane juice after long hot walks in Manila, it's easy to see why athletes also prefer to have a bottle of cane juice for rehydrating. I'm not a nutritionist but Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have long known about the benefits of sugarcane juice. The internet has so many references on its health benefits that we really should be drinking sugarcane juice instead of soft drinks and other artificial drinks. So you'll know, I've listed some of the benefits that sugarcane juice is known to have, together with links to the source so that you can do your own research.

Calories and Nutrients: Sugarcane juice has 36 calories per 100 g. compared with 55 calories for Apple and Grape juice, 58 for Mango, 52 for Pineapple, and 44 for Orange juice. The juice is also rich with iron, phosphorus, potassium, vit. A, B1, B2, B3, & C, Calcium, & Chromium. Beverage Calories (KCal) /100g 55 Apple Juice 55 Grape Juice 58 Mango Juice 48 Orange Juice 52 Pineapple juice 36 Sugar Cane juice 17 Tomato Juice (Source of info on calories

As early as the first century, Chinese court officials documented how cane juice helps in the rapid metabolization of alcohol. Buddhist texts translated into Chinese in the 4th and 5th centuries described the pharmacological properties of the eight juices, one of which was sugarcane. The 12th century Thang Shuang Phu claimed that sugarcane dissolves phlegm, quenches thirst, and relieves fevers and headaches. The Pen Tshao Kang Mu (16th century) says sugarcane can replenish the spleen, is beneficial to the large intestine, and is thirst quenching. Sugarcane juice, boiled with grain and made into gruel, when taken on an empty stomach was said to cure cough, fever, dry mouth, dry tongue, thick and sticky nasal mucus, vomit, and other ailments. (Science and Civilization in China, Volume 6, Part 3)

In Taipei, heated sugarcane juice is vended as a cure for sore throats and colds during the winter months. (Ibid)

To cure Jaundice, Ayurvedic medicine says: Plenty of this juice can be given to the patient, to promote more urination as well as for nutrition and general health. ( Liver: Sugarcane juice is recommended for the nutrition of the liver and for general health (Food for the Liver:Good Food to Cleanse Your Liver Naturally) A website on Diet, Nutrition, and Exercise mentions that sugar cane is one product that will help to strengthen the liver. Because it is alkaline, sugarcane juice helps maintain low acid levels in the body, making it particularly useful for those who are suffering from liver disease. Furthermore, the liver that is infected benefits from the revitalizing energy obtained from a natural, harmless and strong product such as sugar cane juice. Those who need to be on a diet with extremely limited carbohydrates, can also use sugar cane as one of their sources of carbohydrates and energy. (Sugarcane Juice and Treatment for Jaundice Bilirubin Levels)

On Hypothyroidism the great Ayurvedic physician named ‘Charaka’ said hypothyroidism does not attack those who consume adequate quantities of milk, old rice, barley, green grams, Bengal grams, sugarcane juice, cucumber and other milk products. (from Hypothyroidism - an Ayurvedic Approach by Raj Kumar)

For Urinary Infection, among the home remedies recommended is a diet that should include lime juice, orange juice, sugarcane juice, apple, grapes, pineapple and other fresh fruits. Replacement of aerated/carbonated drinks with fresh juices is advised. Lemon juice, carrot juice, tender coconut water and sugarcane juice consumed on a regular basis can help control urinary infection. Half a cup of radish juice two times daily can also help. Liquid food (not carbonated drinks) in almost all forms is beneficial to treat urinary infection. (Urinary Tract Infection: Precautions and Ayurvedic Remedies)

Constipation can be naturally cured by drinking sugarcane juice. Besides, one can also regularly take the vegetables and papaya, to contain constipation. (Digestive System "Chronic constipation" Causes, Treatment, Symptoms, and Dietary Regimen.) The cane and the juice serve as a mild laxative because of the potassium content.

Goitre patients should consume plenty of the following foods: Old rice, barley, moong dal, patola, drumstick, cucumber, sugarcane, juice, milk and milk products. Also, one should refrain from heavy foods such as meats or breads that are more difficult to swallow, and will cause pain. Goitre Remedies/Natural Cure/Ayurvedic Goitre Treatment

For Wrinkles - Sugarcane Juice and Turmeric: Take two teaspoon of sugarcane juice and add pinch of turmeric into it. Apply this on the face and keep for about ten minutes. This is very effective way of curing wrinkles. (Home Remedies for Wrinkles, SBM Ayur Care)

In Health & Nutrition Benefits of Eating Sugarcanes as well as in many other blogs, among the benefits of sugarcane and cane juice which are listed are:

* Sugarcane has a low glycemic index (the effect a carbohydrate has on blood glucose levels), which means it is good for keeping the body's metabolism healthy and for maintaining a healthy body weight. Even diabetics can enjoy sugarcane juice without fear, although type 2 diabetics must limit their intake.

* Sugarcane juice has been found to be good for those who are suffering from febrile disorders (responsible for causing fevers), which can result in a great amount of protein loss from the body. Liberal consumption of sugar cane juice provides the necessary protein and other food elements to the body. (Other references: Sugar Cane Juice is a Natural health Drink.

* Being alkaline, cane juice moderates and neutralizes the body's acidity, enhancing immunity and helping the body against cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.

* Sugarcane is believed to strengthen stomach, kidneys, heart, eyes, brain, and sex organs. It helps the kidney perform its functions smoothly and is said to be beneficial for patients suffering from gonorrhoea, enlarged prostate, cyctitis and nepthritis.

Antioxidants: A study mentioned in indicates that sugarcane has good antioxidant properties and has the ability to scavenge free radicals, and inhibit lipid peroxidation, possibly explaining why sugarcane juice is so good for the health.

Making Sugarcane Juice Available in Negros: Chinese everywhere are big fans of sugarcane juice so Manuel purchased a juicer so he could share his favorite juice with Negrenses. As we're not yet producing very much, Manuel himself washes the cane and cuts away roots and dirty, open, or damaged parts. He does not remove the rind although this will result in juice that is lighter in color. Not only is cutting off the rind time-consuming, research shows that the majority of valuable sugarcane extracts, including antioxidants, are concentrated in the rind (Source: Anti-oxidants and Other Functional Extracts from Sugarcane).

After cleaning the cane, Manuel passes cane stalks through our juicer's stainless steel rollers. The pure, unadulterated juice collects in a stainless steel pan under the rollers and is immediately bottled or placed in a jug then refrigerated or frozen to keep the juice from spoiling.

Serving Sugarcane Juice: Manuel's friends love their cane juice with a lot of ice to cool and dilute the juice. My Kapampangan sister-in-law freezes the cane juice in a wide mouthed container (a used ice cream plastic container will do) and enjoys sugarcane slush when the juice is partially frozen. I don't mind drinking the juice cold and pure in a small juice glass that makes every drop of the juice ever so tasty and refreshing. Another sister-in-law can't have cold drinks so she dilutes the juice with water. I've tried adding calamansi in a proportion usual for calamansi juice. Nice and a chemical reaction occurs so that the cane juice turns orange. The juice ends up tasting like calamansi juice, though so instead of having a glass of sugarcane juice and a glass of calamansi, after all the work of juicing the sugarcane and the calamansi, all I had was a glass of calamansi juice. What should be interesting to try is cane juice with calamansi and ginger. Sounds like this will be great for colds and sore throats, the juice served warm or hot, of course.

WHERE TO BUY SUGARCANE JUICE IN BACOLOD: Manuel's fresh or frozen sugarcane juice is sold by the glass (with ice) or by 500 ml bottles of pure juice in our daughter's foodstall, Ni's Arista Treats in the 2nd floor of 888 Chinatown Square (888 is near the Land Bank, Negros Museum, and Bacolod City Hall of Justice and Ni's Arista Treats is in the snack area near the elevator to the ground floor). The P15 price per glass seems more expensive than the Ongpin vendor's price but the photo above was posted last year and when we were in Ongpin recently, the price per glass was P15.00. Furthermore, who is to say how much ice there is in proportion to the juice being sold by the glass in Ongpin? Besides, it isn't the sugarcane planter himself who prepares and juices the cane in Chinatown. Dali na, give yourself a refreshing lift and bring home some bottles to share. Those who've tried cane juice keep coming back for more.

Get your sugarcane juice from Ni's Arista Treats, 2nd floor, 888 Chinatown Square, Bacolod. Ni's Arista Treats is in the snack area near the elevator going down.

The Negrense Planter: Sinner or Saint, Hero or Rogue

Posted by Andrea Lizares Si on September 27, 2010 at 3:51 AM Comments comments (8)

Collect a list of adjectives to describe Negrense Planters as they are often featured and "decadent" would have top-billing. Decadent - marked by or providing unrestrained gratification; self-indulgent; characterized by decay or decline, as in being self-indulgent or morally corrupt. The April 2009 issue of the Rogue magazine is titled "Blood, Sugar, Sex, and Magic." The issue that claims to reveal the untold story of Negros tells of swashbuckling, gun-toting cowboys with their own private islands, flamboyant socialites who made Europe their playground, "family trees that lurched with savage wildness" because they were all "interconnected by sex and sugar and they were all disturbingly rich," a province that was the essence of the wild, wild west. I feel a little guilty about the fact that many of the "fruits, wild flowers, and bad apples" who cross the magazine's pages are cousins or first name friends and not one, but several of the mansions pictured are Lizares mansions. The guilt of being part of so much ostentation and self-indulgence notwithstanding, I bought a copy of the magazine, like the other characters whose quirks are described in juicy detail, enjoying the outlandish portraits that we paint of ourselves.

Simplicio Lizares Mansion, Luci Lizares (granddaughter  of Simplicio), athletes in front of the Talisay-Silay Sugar Mill when it was Lizares owned. Screen shot of the April 2009 Issue of Rogue, photos by Dac Rivera, sugar mill photo from Lizares family files

Top: Governor Antonio A. Lizares in his Talisay residence together with mayors of the province (photo from Lizares family files);Bottom: Adjie Lizares, greatgrandson of Enrica Alunan Lizares besideone of the Rose Windows in the Balay ni Tana Dicang (Photo by MarkNicdao). Screenshot of the April 09 Rogue Issue

When the Sugar issue of the Rogue came out in April of 2009, sugar prices ex-mill were below P900 per 50 kilo bag, a losing proposition especially if one has to pay rent. So badly did the industry flounder from 2006-2009 that in Negros, two sugar mills were sold for scrap and the Rogue Magazine quotes leading Negrenses as saying that sugar was dead, that Negrenses had lost Negros. Given this background, the apparent joie de vivre which the pages of "Blood, Sugar, Sex, and Magic" exude is more a wistful longing for the days of legend rather than the reality of April 2009. In fact, the old planters who owned thousands of hectares are no more, in their places, new names of those who benefited from political connections and corruption. Vast plantations have been lost because of the Negrense love for gambling and our well known propensity for spending and borrowing beyond our means. And even among the elegantly conservative and low-key (like the Lizareses), if land reform has not taken its toll, plantations have had to be divided by heirs of heirs of heirs, a thousand hectares divided by 13 or 17 and then by 9 and then by 10 and so on, leaving the great-great grandchildren with gold plated names that are worthless when they work as companions in the United States. I cherish the craziness of it all at the same time that I must write about another side of the rich Negrense land-owner, the untold story that the Rogue Magazine authors mentioned but only in passing. Hacienderos may have been lords of their castles and undisputed rulers of their fiefdoms but unlike Pampanga (Luzon) where sugar was produced through an oppressive feudalistic system, in Negros, the canefields have always been worked by laborers who earn wages in a very regular employer-employee relationship. Much has been made of emaciated sacadas who bear the burden of the planters' wealth, but sacadas are seasonal workers who come for the harvest because life is even more desperate in the provinces from whence they come. Negrense canefields were and continue to be worked by Duma-ans, the regular farmhands whose family histories are so firmly bound to the land (duma-an refers to a person who have been in a place for a long time) that when properties are divided, owners also have to make provisions for the division of the duma-ans (This seems to be treating people as chattel, but when big businesses are divided, don't employees also have to go with one or the other part?).

The Lizares Rodriguez Mansion now owned by Mercedes McKenzieand Margarita Jimenez, two daughters of Antonio and Carmen Lizares.Screenshot of the April 09 Rogue magazine photo by Mark Nicdao

Duma-ans cultivating the fields in Hacienda Santa Teresita inTalisay, Photo by

Pons Lizares

Balay niTana Dicang with the Viernes Santo Procession. The Lizareses farmhouse in Minuluan was said to be of similar design. Photo by Pons Lizares

While there may be Negrense planters whose dogs and prize stallions receive better treatment than their laborers, this callousness toward duma-ans may be more exception than rule. The imposing houses that the old planters built for themselves in their haciendas speak of land owners who were not so much feudal lords but pätrons, noble or wealthy persons who granted favor and protection to persons in exchange for certain services. Duma-ans had farmlots and farmhouses that were built and maintained as an expense of sugar production. Land and money were donated so that schools and churches could be constructed for the development of minds and the purification of souls. Until the end of the 1980s, it was common for children of laborers in many farms to go to college, their tuition paid in full or heavily subsidized by sugar proceeds. Planters used their connections to help children of duma-ans obtain jobs and opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible. And while others worried about the uncertainty of life, in haciendas, cash advances were readily available for every exigency and even spouses and children were entitled to free hospitalization and medicines at half price if not for free. In a sense, all the duma-ans in the farm were members of the planter's household, dependents like children of his own blood. This is why, even when a laborer's cash advances are so much more than he can ever pay, should a member of his family be hospitalized or should there be an emergency in the family, the planter will not have the heart to turn the laborer away empty handed. And even if he does, the planter's wife will help, even from her own funds. So it is not surprising that while outsiders may have known the hacienderos as "Senor" or "Don," titles reserved for our version of aristocracy, the duma-ans called my grandfather Antonio, "Norito," a fond diminutive of Senor and they called my father "Toto Baby," "Toto" being a pet-name that doting parents call their sons.

Lola Dicang in her living room with President Manuel L. Quezonand President Sergio Osmena. The Lizareses have dominated the politicallandscape in Talisay for several generations. Photo from Lizares family files.

Advocates of transformative politics look askance at haciendas that are almost impossible to penetrate, so strong is the planter's sway. In some cases, there may be coercion, "vote or gabut" (vote or be pulled out of the land), people say. But with labor organizations and leftist groups that are especially active in Negros, one must concede that it is not fear or ignorance that keep laborers in line. For generations, haciendas have provided better social security than government or individual politicians are capable of giving. For every crisis, every emergency from womb to tomb, it is to his Amo, his employer, that the duma-an runs for help. Even with the younger planters and their much reduced hectarages and lower profits, the pätron's responsibility to the duma-an and his family remains. And since the duma-an's welfare, his family's fortune, rises and falls with his planter's, how can a duma-an even think of voting for a politician who is not his Amo's choice? The old haciendero families had a sense of noblesse oblige, literally, “nobility obliges.” Privilege entails responsibility. Planters gave generously of their lands for the construction of municipal halls, markets, schools, hospitals, and other government structures, as well as for churches, seminaries, and cemeteries. According to the Rogue, planters "espoused some of the most advanced political and social reforms of their time - like injecting the social justice provision in the 1935 Constitution when the rest of the world. . . thought that was Communism." When the economy of Negros was crippled by the sugar crisis of the 80s, planter women put together their artistic skills and entrepreneurial flair to organize the House of Negros Foundation, contributing extensively toward alleviating the plight of more than 150,000 displaced workers at a time when 60 percent of Negrense children were malnourished. Planter associations and individuals mobilized from north to south to organize farm communities for feeding programs, human development and leadership trainings, and cooperatives. By the time the Local Government Code was passed in 1991, the partnership between government, Civil Society and the NGO sector was so well established and so dynamic that Negros Occidental was a shining example of how the public and private sectors can work together for the good of the community.

Heartless despots or God-fearing "pätrons?" Decadent or highly conscienticized spirits who believe in noblesse oblige and care about social justice? What about everything that has been written about planters paying very much less than the minimum wage, denying legal benefits to their laborers, using child labor in the fields? How about hacienderos who kick and curse laborers and common folk, planters who are so rude that they treat everyone who is not wealthy as a serf with no right to respect or consideration? Here I must admit that as with any other group of people, there are the best of us and the worst of us. But where legal benefits and compliance with law is concerned, the reader must know that while the previous paragraphs and the Rogue articles mentioned earlier are about the old planter families that owned at least several hundred hectares, 2005-2006 figures of the Sugar Regulatory Commission show that of the 13,590 sugar farms in Negros Occidental, 10,297 farms have plantable areas of ten hectares or less and there are only 246 farms that are bigger than a hundred hectares. Farms of twenty five hectares or less can not in any sense add to the great divide between rich and poor but it is most likely in this large segment of the population of "planters" that most of the violations of the minimum wage law, the child labor law, the SSS and Philhealth law, and other laws occur. grandmother, Enrica Alunan Lizares"][/caption] I have a dear friend who is a member of an organization of the radical left. I have known her and loved her as a teacher and friend since I was 14 and I have helped her through many financial straits. Because of our shared history I think she is being ridiculous when she tells me that as a Lizares, I am a class enemy. But she is serious, making me wonder if the wealthy planter families are indeed guilty of more abuse and more exploitation than I know. Perhaps there really are many heartless despots who treat their laborers as being of a different grade of humanity. My heart bleeds for all those whose families suffered because their Amo did not know what it means to be the pätron. Being a Lizares has always been a blessing to me and as far as I know, the Lizareses and many, many other old planter families do what they can to return this blessing to our people and our communities. And yet for my friend, I remain her class enemy so I cannot say for certain that I am right. At least I have had the chance to tell a story that goes deeper than the craziness, the incest, and the decadence that make big planter families so easy for class enemies to hate. Having presented the planters' side, I rest my case and leave the issues for the reader to judge.


The author, Andrea Lizares Si, is the granddaughter of Enrica Alunan Lizares. She is a sugar planter, lawyer, feminist, theologian, former City Administrator of Bacolod City, and candidate for mayor of Bacolod during the May 2010 elections.


Perks of Being a Lizares Granddaughter

Posted by Andrea Lizares Si on September 1, 2010 at 3:42 AM Comments comments (0)

Many things about our lives, we take for granted and yet every life is unique. This in mind, I have ventured to write about the things which I thought nothing about but which, on hindsight, I know were possible only because I was the granddaughter of Dr. Antonio Lizares, a Centralista (family owned sugar centrals), civic leader, educator (founder of the University of Negros Occidental), one-time governor of the province, generous benefactor of the Church and the community, and not to forget, a son of one of the grand matriarchs of Negrense society, Enrica Alunan Lizares.


Basically, I've written about life as it was when my grandfather was still alive (he died 1966 when I was 10) and for a few years after while I was still what you would call a child. I have a feeling that children of the other big clans that made their wealth from sugar may have had similar experiences. Lola Dicang, Enrica Alunan Lizares (I'm posing with her bust in the picture above) seems to have been more austere and less inclined to frivolity than other grand matriarchs, however. Her children were therefore less extravagant than their peers. In addition,God gifted me with parents, Heriberto and Aida Lizares, who saw absolutely no value in putting on airs or spending for what we did not need. Given these influences, my experience of life as a Lizares was not exactly what you'd expect of the life of someone who belonged to our province's version of aristocracy.


But we who were children of wealthy grandparents did enjoy a lot of perks.That I am writing about what these perks were when I was ten or so (The pretty girl with the shy smile in the picture above is me when I was ten), indicates that things changed as I grew up and many of what we took for granted are no longer ours to enjoy. Before even more of the past becomes history, also before I become too old to remember, this is how my list of ten goes:   

1.We lived on Lizares Avenue so imagine being ten and receiving mail from half way around the world with a mailing address as elegantly brief  and personal as:


Andrea Lizares

Lizares Avenue

Bacolod City


2.Our house was in an exclusive compound, really a small subdivision hidden behind the Lizares Mansion. Outsiders thought we all lived in the mansion but each family had spacious grounds for a house and a yard with trees and plants galore plus there was and still is a large park complete with a basketball court, tennis court, and a children'splayground in the center. We counted the sweet santol treesand the swimming pool that was part of the Big House as part of compound amenities (although we had to be quiet while our grandparents were having their siesta). All the adults who lived in the compound were uncles or aunts or my grandparents  (unless their were household help or drivers) and all the children there were cousins. To enter the compound, all we had to do was honk and 2 guards would open the gate with a salute. We lived there safe and secure, visited each other's homes, swam in the Jalandoni's pool where we didn't have to be too quiet (a number of us, including myself, fell with our tricycles into the pool while the pool was dark with tadpoles), visited the DAALCO office at one corner of the compound, played hide-and-seek, tubiganay, pityaw, monkey-monkey, piko, and tumba patis on the road in front of our house, romped with our cousins, quarreled with our cousins, and when classmates needed dates for JS proms, recruited cousins for them. 

3. We ate Sunday lunches in the Lizares Mansion which we called "BalayDako" or "Big House." There were 50 grandchildren at the time of Lolo Antonio's death in 1966 and except for Tita Maggie's children who grew up in Manila, all of us trooped to the Big House to have lunch with our grandparents. When we arrived in the Big House, the first thing we had to do was go around kissing our grandparents and all the uncles and aunts plus all the guests who were family friends andtherefore also "Titos and Titas." (Respect for elders was a must for well bred children of  well bred parents). A special treat we looked forward to was the candy Lolo Antonio bought for the little loot bags,each with the name of one of the 40 plus grandchildren who lived in Bacolod. While waiting for lunch, there'd be salted peanuts to munch on(wouldn't be a Lizares gathering without the peanuts) and when it was santol season, there's be santol on all the tables. My grandparents and their 9 children and 8in-laws (Tita Edie married only after her parentsdied) sat around the long table in the elegant formal dining room surrounded by mirrors and wrought iron and glass doors, while the grandchildren ate where we could - in a large mess hall next to the kitchen, in a narrow room adjoining the dining room (the older cousins ate here), or in the hallway between the dining room and the lanai. Thea dults always had better food, of course and we knew that some flavorsof ice cream (for example Ube or purple yam, the family's favorite flavor of ice cream) were not for us kids. What's sad is I don't remember ever seeing my grandmother carrying any of my 8 younger siblings, or anyone of us ever sitting on her lap. I heard that my father and his siblings had wet nurses. Makes me think the wealthy women of her time could have been too fine to have their clothes crumpled by a baby's weight, or to have milky saliva dribbledon their lace collars. Of course we do have to give credit to our grandparents for all the traditions they started to keep their large family together. 

4. Our grandfather Dr. Antonio Alunan Lizares was a doctor of medicine whose only practice seemed to come from lining up the grandchildren for an ocassional vaccination.I've heard that the only time he did anything more risky than a vaccination was when someone needed to have an appendix removed during the 2nd World War. He and another non-practicing doctor, his nephew Dr.Eugenio Lizares, performed the operation with kitchen tools and using a surgery text book as a guide (my grandfather's medical textbooks in Spanish still line the shelves of the game room in the BigHouse). The patient survived, thank God. My father followed in my grandfather's footsteps in the sense that my father was also a non-practicing lawyer (practice in the sense of litigation and giving professional legal advice). After 14 years as a practicing lawyer, I too joined the ranks of non-practicing lawyers. Two of my sisters are non-practicing CPAs and a brother is a non-practicing Mechanical Engineer. Hopefully, Martin, my son who just took his oath as an Architect, will not follow in our footsteps but will become the first Lizares descendant to become a world famous Architect.


5. We had summer vacations in the Lizares-Rodriguez Compound, Leonard Wood Road, Baguio City. Lolo and Lola stayed the summer months in Baguio and our families stayed with them, two at a time. The original house was a  (pre-war) wooden structure with 8 huge rooms. This is where we stayed when Lolo was still alive. After he died, a bigger house with spacious bedrooms for couples, separate dorms for the girls and the boys, and two big fully furnished kitchen and dining areas (one for each family) was constructed. There also was a smaller and more recent 4 bedroom house we called "The Annex." The family corporation paid the fares for all children and grandchildren to spend at least a week with our grandparents in Baguio and when we got there, Lola and Lola would welcome us with small wooden souvenirs fromMunsayac's (now a big time exporter but started with a shop in thelower part of the Lizares Rodriguez Compound). Bingo was always the family past-time so at least once every summer, Lolo and Lola would bring us to play in Camp John Hay, at that time, still a very exclusive American camp. But children are children and after several days, we were complaining that we didn't have anything more to do in Baguio. My favorite memory of the old house is that the steep staircase that connected our lower floor with my grandparents' upper floor made for a hilarious, bumpety bump slide. Behind the closed door to the second floor, we'd hear Lolo playing poker, which was a favorite game among the Lizares men. Only after ownership of the Baguio houses passed on to three aunts and we had to rent rooms on the other side of the down-town area did I realize that Leonard Wood Road was THE road to live in.


6.After Lolo died, we had San Antonio Beach Resort, now known as Palmas del Mar Conference Resort Hotel for family Sunday get-togethers. There was a salt water pool that was open to the public, also fishing,rafting, and horseback riding. Crossing the long bamboo bridge that connected the resort area to the breakwater was an adventure in itself. The bridge didn't really sway but with the water moving underneath and the handrail that was just the width of a single bamboo pole, walking the bridge was a dizzying experience. After that tight-rope act, keeping our balance as we walked along the narrow breakwater was fun made more challenging by big waves trying to throw us off our balance. On lazy days, we'd go to Palmas for fishing in the shade of coconut trees. The tilapia were always hungry so there was always a bite.

7. Dad owned Hda. Sta. Teresita and Hda. Carmen (Dos Hermanas Talisay) together with three sisters. The other uncles had haciendas all to themselves but it seems Lolo believed the women could not take care of their farms so my father would do that for them.We owned the orchard that produced the best (biggest, sweetest) LizaresSantol and we had picnics in our own private area on the banks of the river that passes by one side of Sta.Teresita (My children learned to swim in the river and til today, people from different places go there to swim). Of course there was always sugar cane to munch on, the best being known as the La Carlota variety. May and October, we'd go to the farms for the fiesta masses. Since we owned the chapel (there was one inSta. Teresita, another in Carmen) and the corporation paid the priest's stipend, we'd sit in the front pew and be greeted by everyone,including the priest. Near Christmas, Mom would buy trousers, t-shirts,and cloth for the adult laborers and candies, biscuits, and little toys or goodies for the farm children. Wrappng the gifts for the adults and gathering the contents of the gift packs for the children was part of what made Christmas. So was seeing the laborers and their children smile when they received what we had for them. When First Farmers Mill was constructed on land that used to be part of Sta. Teresita, we all felt we owned the mill (many other people also owned the mill but the Lizareses owned enough for two board seats).

8.Our grandparents owned the school that we studied in. The University ofNegros Occidental, for many years, the only University in the province, was just behind our house and we went in from our back gate through the school's back gate. As near as the school was my classmates remember that I was always late. All the teachers and employees knew who we were, which is nice when you're a little kid (and also when you're no longer a kid). A stranger I met recently said,  "How could we not know you? Your family owned the school." I wasn't exactly a brat in UNO but when the teacher was wrong, it didn't matter that I was only 6 or 7years old. I'd tell her she was wrong and I never thought I was rude when I did so.

9. We were the grandchildren of the most important benefactors of St. Vincent's Home for the Aged and the Sacred Heart Seminary. This means that everyone in both places treated us like precious little darlings who were the cutest (really the chubbiest) and sweetest little angels in the world. The family also donated the grounds for the San Antonio Abad Parish Church. The feastday naturally coincided with my grandfather's birthday on January17. Really special to have an entire parish celebrating my grandfather's birthday.

10. Enrica Alunan Lizares was our great-grandmother and we were part of a big, wonderful clan that called the "Balay Ni Tana Dicang" our ancestral home and Talisay our hometown. We pretty much felt  that Talisay was more Lizares than anything (read more than it was any other clan), what with all the Lizares/Granada/deOca plantations, Lizares public high-schools, Lizares Streets, Lizares sugar centrals (the Lizareses once had controlling interest in the Talisay Silay Sugar Mill and had two board seats in the First Farmers Mill), the exclusive Lizares cemetery, and the Universityof Negros Occidental which was originally founded by mygrandfather inTalisay. For many years, it even seemed that being a Lizares was a qualification of being mayor.


Now if you're thinking that we were nicely spoiled because we were grandchildren of  a very wealthy man, here are 10 things that hardly fit in with the life style of Negrense aristocracy:(


1.Whenever Daddy treated us to dinner out, it was on condition that we do not order softdrinks. He thought softdrinks were overpriced by restaurantsand he didn't want to pay the unreasonable prices that they charged.

2. Eating out could mean a table laden with food under the santol trees outside the house.


3. We didn't have soft drinks in the refrigerator because we didn't have soft-drinks with meals.


4.We didn't have airconditioning in our rooms and neither did my parents have airconditioning in their room. When airconditioning was optional with new cars, we didn't have airconditioned cars. When we were growing up, the only airconditioned cars we had were second hand cars that were already airconditioned when Daddy bought them.


5.Our daily school allowance was hardly enough to buy a softdrink. My youngest sister Julie is certain that she did not get any cash allowance while she studied in Bacolod. I had a daily allowance but  the total for an entire  year when I was in the gradeschool was just enoughto pay for 6 or 8 hardbound Nancy Drew books that I got with a20%discount from Servando's and which I finished reading in two days(all 6 or 8 books).  My classmates remember that I envied them because I always had juice and a sandwich while they could buy whatever they wanted from the canteen. I confess I sold many a home-made sandwich to make up for my lack of cash.

6. Our dogs were all bisaya (means "visayan" which is our dialect. Anything that's "bisaya" is native.). Daddy didn't believe in wasting money to buy a purebred dog. A dog was a dog.


7.We divided everything by ten (or twelve if Mom and Dad wanted ashare).When in-laws started to become part of the family, the one tenth shareof the married sibling had to be divided by two.


8. We had to make our beds and brush our teeth or we didn't get an allowance or dessert.


9.Daddy was the lector during the 6:30 a.m. mass in the Sacred HeartShrine.This meant we all had to be in Church before the mass started.(Torture for little kids but we were a unforgettable sight as our different heights made us look like a musical scale filling up a whole pew).


10.We could have all the books that we wanted but we didn't get expensive toys like remote control planes or battery operated cars big enough for kids to ride on.I would have loved a Barbie doll when Barbies first came out but my parents never thought we should have toys just because all the other parents were buying these for their children.

 This is just a list, two lists actually. My parents influence has had a very strong impact on our lives. Fortunately or unfortunately, we all married to men or women who allowed us to spoil ourselves and our children with airconditioning in our cars and homes (some rooms and not all the time), pure bred dogs, late morning Sunday masses, almost eat-all-you-can dessert and candy, school allowances that for me are too big, softdrinks everytime we eat out, and remote control toys that cost too much but have too little educational value where the grand kids are concerned. Isn't it wonderful (and ironic) that we needed non-Lizareses to teach us how to live a little bit more like children of wealthy grandparents? God is good and truly wise.


The Lizareses of Negros

Posted by Site Owner on August 18, 2010 at 11:58 AM Comments comments (25)

The Lizareses are a laid-back clan but the family's modesty (at least by Negrense standards) is by no means an indication of how the family's wealth compares to others. The Lizareses just seem to have been bred to like their meat and most everything else, sliced in thin, bite-sized slices while the Lacsons, our well known hometown political rivals, are more profligate in their ways and for their meat, are said to have a preference for thick slabs of steak. My guess is that the family's style is because our grand matriarch, Enrica Alunan Lizares, was widowed about two years after she gave birth to her 17th child. Whatever her wealth might have been at the time of her loss, only an indefatigable, no-nonsense,God-fearing woman could have singlehandedly raised such a big brood while managing family properties and making investments grow.

A history of the sugar industry mentions the Lizareses as being among the first to establish mechanized sugar mills in the island. So successful was Lola Dicang as a planter and investor that in time, her family had controlling interests in three sugar centrals, Talisay-Silay, Bacolod Murcia, and Danao. Although these three mills are now defunct, heirs ofEnrica Alunan Lizares were also among the incorporators and officers of the First Farmers Milling and Marketing Cooperative which was built on property purchased from Enrica's son Antonio.


The writer does not have figures as to the number of Talisaynons who are somehow dependent on Lizareses for a living. It is however known that the first Barangay High Schools in the Philippines were built  through the efforts of Mayor Mario "Batoy" Lizares (grandson ofEnrica).Lizareses either own more farms or are more generous than other landowners in Talisay (or both) but of the 24 Barangay High-Schools in the family's hometown, 21 schools are built on property donated by Lizares heirs. It was also during the term of Batoy's brother Amelo "Meling" Lizares that Talisay became a chartered city. Not surprisingly, the family's generosity and record of public service in Talisay have helped Lizareses win election after election against Lacson rivals.

Lizareses are a presence in their hometown, and not just because of the 21 schools, the Lizares haciendas, the Lizares streets, and what remains of the Talisay-Silay Sugar Mill. "Balay ni Tana Dicang," Lola Dicang's 2 story house built in the traditional Filipino "Bahay na Bato" style, was constructed sometime in the 1880s and it is for good reason, reputed to be the best preserved ancestral home in the province. Unlike other heritage houses which havebeen through abandonment and decay, the Balay was lived-in until the1990s and it remains the favorite venue for important family occasions, the town fiesta, and Good Friday gatherings. Now a lifestyle museum that's open to the public, the house was bequeathed by Enrica to her 6 daughters together with a provision in the will that part of the income from two specific farms should be used to maintain the Balay.


Several Lizareses have been mayor of Talisay and Enrica is known as Tana Dicang (short for Capitana Dicang), because her husband Efigenio was at onetime, the Cabeza Mayor, the town Mayor. Several of Enrica's sons, grandsons, and a great-grandson also held the mayor's post. Of her descendants, it is Lola Dicang's son Simplicio who began Talisay's most enduring line of Lizares mayors. Don Simplicio's mansion overlooks the town square and the old municipal hall as if it is the mansion that  is the center of the town and its seat of power.


Don Simplicio Lizares' Mansion. With balconies overlooking the town square and the Municipio, it is no wonder that this grand old mansion produced three generations of Talisay mayors. (photo from Rogue Magazine)

Facing Don Simplicio's mansion on the other side of the town square is the San Nicolas de Tolentino Parish Church and beside it, the Talisay Campus of the University of Negros Occidental Recoletos High-School and Grade-school.UNO-R was founded before the war by Dr. Antonio A. Lizares(one of Enrica's sons) and Dr. Francisco Lizares Kilayko (a grandson of Enrica). The school was known as the Occidental Negros Institute and it did not begin offering college courses until after the war, when it re-opened but this time in the capital city of Bacolod. When ONI became the University of Negros Occidental in 1956, it was already established in its present site beside Dr. Antonio's Lizares Compound on Lizares Avenue, Bacolod City.


After World War II, My grandfather, Dr. Antonio A. Lizares and his wife, Carmen Rodriguez, established their Bacolod residence in a sprawling Spanish style mansion with a tower, balconies, sweeping staircases, a grand ballroom,and expansive terraces and courtyards that made the mansion something like a fairy tale castle. Antonio served as governor of the province and mayor of Talisay. He was known as a centralista (family owned 3 sugarcentrals) and because he was enterprising and generous to Church and community, he left many a landmark, including the Sacred Heart Seminary, the San Antonio Abad Parish Church, the Bacolod Police Headquarters,and St. Vincent's Home for the Aged. 

Antonio and Carmen Lizares with their 9 children and Carmen's parents, Jovita and Domingo Rodriguez

The families of Enrique Lizares, Asuncion Lizares Panlilio, and Nicolas Lizares tookover Lola Dicang's extensive landholding in Granada, in the northeastern part of Bacolod. There they left Lizares footprints in the formof public schools, the Bacolod Boys' Home,and the Salesian retreat house. Rodolfo, son of Simplicio, built a mansion to compare with his uncles.' He and his father Simplicio were also among the founders of the Cebu Institute of Technology, well known producer of Cebu's first engineers. Enrica's son Emiliano built himself an extravagant mansionin Jaro. My great aunt, Asuncion married a Panlilio, one of the governors of Pampanga while her youngest sister Remedios became the second wife of the statesman, Leon Guinto.Their sister Adela became the matriarch of a line that produced bankersand industry leaders like Placido Mapa Sr. and Placido Jr,. and Fr.Bernard Ybiernas, provincial of the Carmelite monks in the Philippines. Dolores, another daughter of Enrica, became the mother of Ramon Nolan, Philippine ambassador of the sugar industry for many many years.

Mansion of Emiliano Alunan Lizares in Jaro, Iloilo City. The Mansion is now an Exclusive School


As low-key a lifestyle as the Lizareses enjoy (at least when compared to the other big clans of Negros), the family does have several hectares set aside for a private family cemetery with lots assigned to each branch of Enrica's family and the families of Efigenio's siblings. During the feast of All Saints (November 1), Lizareses, Granadas, de Ocas, and Labayens wander from one mausoleum to the next in this exclusive little domain, visiting the living and paying their respects to the dead, remembering the exploits of General Simon Lizares who was one of the Cinco de Noviembre generals, wondering at how there could have been two Antonio A. Lizareses both married to Carmens, admiring the ornate chapel wherein lie the remains of Emiliano Lizares, owner of the mansion in Jaro. asking about relations, strengthening ties, and enjoying the different treats that families prepare for this not-to-be-missed annual family reunion. Perks of the rich of Negros.


A tenth of a ninth of a fourteenth (est. of my share of Lola Dicang's fortune) of even the greatest fortune does not really amount to much, so even as some members of the family remain planters and centralistas, others are developing and managing subdivisions, apartments, or commercial buildings. Many Lizareses have sought and made their fortunes abroad. Meanwhile, the new generation has discovered a fascination for culinary arts, hotel and restaurant management, fashion and design, and architecture and landscaping. Needless to say, there are also heirs who have made it their grand business to continue as caretakers of St.Vincent's Village and in otherways, to feed and clothe the poor, defend the oppressed, and serve the community of God. And because the Lizareses have remained true to thelegacy of Enrica (who ironically,was an Alunan and not a Lizares), thef amily line will continue because Lizareses are peaceful and fair in their dealings, modest in their ways, and God-fearing in their actions. So it was, so it shall be.


The Alunans-Capitana Dicang

Posted by Site Owner on August 18, 2010 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

While many great haciendas was being founded in the different townsof Negros in 1850, Capitan Bartolome Alunan, married to Dona AgataLabayen, was already a prominenet haciendero of Talisay (Minuluan). This marriage bore ten children, an ordinary average of offspring today asit was then in a province so rich, it lands its own fecundiy to its women. Of these, only four were male; the rest were female. One of the males was Raymundo, father of Rafael Alunan I, one of the most distinguished sugar leaders not only of Negros but of the country as well. Among the daughters, the first born was called Enrica; the last was Segundina, mother of Alfonso Coscolluela, grandson by his paternal lineage of the brave Don Jose Coscolluela, who settled in Negros with his wife, a native of Cabatu-an, Iloilo. Alfonso Alunan Coscolluela is one of the most important financiers of Negros. A provincial treasurer for many years, he started his public career as a modest clerk with a salary of twenty pesos a month.

But let us go back to speak of the first daughter of Don Bartolome Alunan, Enrica by name. She is the mother of many sons, all of them great hacienderos and capitalists, and grandmother of many children, among them the brilliant and young financier, Placido Lizares Mapa. She married Efigenio Lizares in 1872 and upon being widowed, continuedcaring for their haciendas of Matab-ang, Minuluan and Cabi-ayan. Unti lnow, at the age of 80 and after giving birth to seventeen children, twelve of whom are living, she continues to be the unifying inspirationand supreme authority of this great family which, aside from its numerous haciendas, also manages and supervises over the great SugarCentrals of Talisy-Silay and Bacolod-Murcia and the small Central Danao.She is to sum it up, an extraordinary woman. At an age when she should be serene and happy after having lived a fruitful life, she does not feel contented if she cannot personally attend to her trees and plants in the garden of her manorial house in Talisay; or if she cannot inspect a cane plantation or other properties of one of her children.This admirable ancient is called with love and respect, Capitana Dicang.

A Strong Woman

Dona Enrica exclusively administered the hacienda of Matab-ang and those later on acquired as communal property. She lived in Talisay and had to inspect the work being done, give out the wages, etc. carried on an Orimon (chair carried by four men) to the hacienda. She covered the trip in more than half a day and returned about three or four days later.

Aside from attending to her haciendas, Dona Enrica also occupied herself with the manufacture of delicious confectionaries for sale, maintained loans, rolled cigars and engaged in other means of making a living. To this day, and inspite of the burden of her 80 years (she was born 15 July 1855), Dona Enrica attends to all these herself. Asked why, she answers: “I have nothing to do.”

But this is not all. It is also well known that Dona Enrica knows as she does her little fingers all that passes and all that is done or left undone in all and each of the haciendas of her children. She has time to occupy herself with how these haciendas are going along. If one son is absent, she goes to the hacienda without being asked, to personally watch over encargados. She always has counsel or some advice over the works of her sons.

Austere by nature and firm in her judgement, Dona Enrica maintains severe discipline in the family, Her sons already rich in their own right and themselves sporting white hair, respect her and believe in her as if she were a god. She intervenes in the social activities and even politics of her sons, not so much to impose her point of view than to maintain the unity of her family which is one of the most ancient and respected throughout Negros. So old that Dona Enrica herself declares that not only her parents , Bartolome Alunan and Agata Labayen, but also her grandfather, Vicente Alunan, had been born in Negros.

History of Negros

by Francisco Varona

Chapter VI, pages 7-9


The Alunans-Capitana Dicang