Sañosa - Benipayo: Crispin & Florentina's Line

Florentina Saunar Benipayo
Crispin's wife, Florentina, was the eldest daughter of Flaviano Benipayo (b.1855 - d.4/23/45), and his first wife, Maxima Saunar. She was born in Polangui on October 19, 1898. There were eight in the family, six boys and two girls. Her older brothers were Donato (1885-9/19/45), Lorenzo, and Alfonso. She came next followed by Cecilia, Melencio, Juanito and Juancho.

Flaviano Benipayo or Lolo Kabesang (as he was called by his numerous grandchildren) later remarried when Maxima passed away. His second marriage was to Lucena Sarte and from this union came Florentina's half-siblings: Juan followed by Marciano, Ignacio, Felipa, Claudia, Otelia and Virginia.

The Newlyweds, 1918
Crispin Sañosa (25 yrs) & Florentina Benipayo (20 yrs)

In his memoirs, Crispin was too shy to mention the details of his courtship of Florentina or Tinay as she was fondly called. However, he did mention that he had such a special affection for her and courted her for two years. Crispin describes her a belle of Ponso, where her family resided. Florentina came from a Chinese mestizo family that was not only wealthy, but also a part of the principalía along with the Twangle and Ante families. Her father, Flaviano Benipayo, was a Cabeza de Barangay during the final years of Spanish colonial rule.

As a promising government official, Crispin was able to attend the social events frequented by the leading and well-to-do families. At one of these functions, he met Florentina. She was eighteen years old while he was twenty-three when they first met. They fell in love. Since Tinay loved to play tennis (which the Americans introduced in the early 1900s), Crispin took up the sport as well in order to get closer to her.

According to my aunts, my grandfather could not even physically hold her hand in public as such displays of affection were frowned upon. Courtship was very prim and proper at that time. At first, Lolo Kabesang was not keen on Tinay's choice of a husband because of Crispin's humble background, but love prevailed.

On September 1, 1918, the twenty-five year old Crispin and the twenty-year old Tinay finally tied the knot. The following year, on July 16, 1919, Crispin and Florentina were blessed with a son whom they named, José.

Crispin and Tinay had nine children, six boys and three girls. Here is their family tree, which includes their grandchildren.

Florentina's eldest daughter, Salvacion, describes her as a very kind, loving and protective mother. She would throw herself between Crispin and her children in order to shield them from the wrath of his belt whenever he got angry at them for disobedience. She also enjoyed sports particularly tennis.

Assignments throughout the Bicol Region
From 1913 until 1935, Crispin assumed a variety of positions in government service. In Albay, he assumed the positions of municipal treasurer of the towns of Manito, Malilipot, Tiwi and Polangui as well as special deputy district auditor of the entire province. In 1920, he got transferred to the Office of the District Auditor of Camarines Sur and passed the first grade examination for the position of Assistant Provincial Treasurer in September 1924.

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Tennis Outing (before the Game), Sorsogon, December 22, 1929 

Front (L-R): Dr. Clemente (family friend), Alfonso "Osoy" Sardalla, Crispin Sañosa & friends
Back (L-R): unknown , Ilisa Sardalla, Florentina Sañosa, "Bebeng" Sardalla & friends

*The Sardallas are Sañosa cousins. Ilisa was an adopted daughter of the Sardallas. Members of the Sardalla family have married into the Sarte Family & vice-versa such as Luz Sarte Sardalla & Estrella Sardalla Sarte.

Life in Bacon
In 1928, he was appointed deputy district auditor for the province of Camarines Norte and a year later in January 1929 assigned to Sorsogon province where the family lived until 1935. In the towns of Sorsogon and Bacon (which are now known as Sorsogon City), Florentina and Crispin were active socially and well-known in the community.

Sorsogon Town Fiesta, c. early 1930s.
Salvacion B. Sañosa (Ceballos) as an attendant to the Fiesta Queen
(marked in blue - standing far right on the float to the left of the queen)

According to Salvacion, Crispin's eldest daughter, Crispin accumulated vast tracts of land in Bacon, Sorsogon province which included rice fields, a coconut plantation, and fishery. He was able to expand his properties by buying lands from desperate farmers who were in debt and need to sell. As for the Sañosa house in Sorsogon, this ended up under the care of relatives according to Eugene, Crispin's seventh son. What became of these pre-war properties of the Sañosas had become lost in time as the war may have something to do with their disposal later on. The one person who would have known the details of what happened to these investments would have been Jose, the eldest son, and he is now long gone.

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Tennis Outing, Sorsogon, December 22, 1929 (Group shot before the Game)

Front (L-R): Ilisa Sardalla (far left), "Bebeng" Sardalla (5th), Florentina Sañosa (6th)
Back (L-R): Jose Sañosa (10 yrs, holding tennis racket), Alfonso "Osoy" Sardalla, Dr.Clemente (family friend), unknown, Crispin Sañosa, unknown

From Sorsogon, Crispin headed to Cavite province where he was assigned as chief clerk for the provincial auditor where he remained until 1937. The Central Office of the Auditor had wanted to transfer him to the island of Negros Occidental, but he objected to the appointment as he had his eyes set on being in Manila. Eventually, the Central Office relented and he finally made it to the capital. Had he accepted the appointment in Negros Occidental, the Sañosa-Benipayo branch would have become Visayans instead of Manileños.

Ceballos, Salvacion Sañosa. Personal interview by Joseph L. Sañosa. 22 January 2011.
Sañosa, Eugene Benipayo. Personal interview by Joseph L. Sañosa.
Memoirs, Crispin V. Sañosa, June 5, 1958.

Manila, Here we come!

Crispin moved his family to Manila in 1937, where he accepted a post as Assistant Examiner in the Comptroller Department of the National Loan and Investment Board. The family decided to settle in Sampaloc, one of Manila's historic and oldest districts, and initially lived at 210 General Solano Street.  

A year later, Crispin and Florentina relocated to a spacious house at 431 Asturias, which belonged to Florentina's family, who put it at her disposal. The house came equipped with a tennis court (Florentina had been an avid tennis player in her youth), and Eugene recounted how much he and his siblings enjoyed playing hide and seek there as children because of its numerous hiding places. After Florentina succumbed to Tuberculosis in this house in 1939, Crispin moved the family out. The house was sold, and subsequent owners converted it into a boarding house for students of the nearby University of Santo Tomas. 

Here's a 1938 film footage of Manila. This was how Crispin and Florentina saw the city at that time. Note the left hand configuration of the automobiles,the prevalence of the electric trams (tramvia), the pervasive carromatas (kalesas) and the absence of jeepneys, which did not crop up until after the Second World War.

Source: Global Image Works (


Pre-War Manila was the Paris of the East. The Pasig River was still pristine and a favorite leisure spot. People swimming and picnicking along its banks were a common sight. They also engaged in fishing trips and boating expeditions. The Spanish Walled City of Intramuros boasted Spanish colonial structures that included ten venerable churches. Taft Avenue, one of the main thoroughfares, was replete with impressive homes, glittering movie houses and stunning art deco buildings.

Family Trip to Antipolo (c.1937-38)
(L-R): Driver, Jose (in tie), Salvacion, Vicente,
Purita (with fan), Lola Tinay, unknown, Lolo Crispin 


Renowned American architects also contributed to the City's aesthetics. Daniel Burnham, who designed the National Mall in Washington DC, built the beautiful Legislative, Finance and Agriculture buildings in the neo-classical style. Even Los Angeles architect Welton Becket, designer of Los Angeles landmarks such as the flying saucer-looking Theme Building at LAX and Hollywood's Capitol Records Building, ended up in Manila where he designed the sleek Manila Frontón in the art deco style.

Unfortunately, despite withstanding the ravages of war, this architectural gem, one of the finest examples of art deco buildings in Asia, succumbed to local politics and was demolished in 2000.

Tio Jose took me to the Manila Frontón once to watch and bet on the fast-moving Jai Alai matches, which were quite exciting. I had beginner's luck that day and won my very first bet.  Jai Alai or Basque Pelota is the fastest sport in the world and was formally introduced in the Philippines in 1899 from Spain.                                        

In time, the Sañosas would eventually become longtime residents of Sampaloc. After moving out of 431 Asturias in 1943, they lived at several addresses within the district: Tayuman Street (1944) where Japanese officers occupied the top floor of the house; 744 Padre Florentino (1948); 1352 V. Concepcion Street (1953); 344 Laong Laan (until August 1957); 1274 Don Quijote (in September 1957); and finally to a two-storey house on Metrica Street, which the family sold after Crispin passed away in 1982. 

The family had always lived close to two Dominican institutions: the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, where Flordelis, Crispin's second wife, taught Spanish and several family members and other relatives had attended school; and historic Santo Domingo, which was considered the family church.  The funeral services of some members of the family such as Crispin, Flordelis, and Zacarias had all taken place there.

The church of Santo Domingo is famous throughout the Philippines for its icon of the Virgin of the Rosary of La Naval whose intercession the desperate Spanish forces had invoked during their five naval battles (known as the Battles of La Naval de Manila) against the Dutch in 1646. The outnumbered Spanish with only two galleons defeated the more powerful Dutch fleet of eighteen galleons in Manila Bay. The Spanish and Filipino troops attributed this important naval victory to the Virgin of the Rosary enshrined in Santo Domingo. The Archbishop of Manila soon declared the victories a miracle which triggered the centuries-old yearly commemorations and festivities that Manileños have been celebrating on the Virgin's feast day every October.   

Eugene (17 yrs,3rd row far right behind priest) w/ members of the Militia Angelica University of Santo Tomas, 3/19/50

Militia Angelica was a Dominican Catholic Youth Group. The photo was taken after the group presented a program in honor of St. Thomas Aquinas. 


Death of a mother, farewell of a son

Crispin (27 yrs) & Florentina (22 yrs) with José (1 yr)
Taken on July 3, 1920

Sadly, Florentina Benipayo Sañosa passed away on June 21, 1939 two years after Crispin relocated his family from Sorsogon to Manila in order to assume a new post. Her husband and children were very much affected by her death.

Here's an excerpt from Crispin's memoirs about his wife's passing as well as what my Tio José shared with me while visiting Manila in December 1994.

This was the last time my uncle and I would meet as he passed away a few years after. I have presented the incident as he recounted it to me, taking careful notes as he was describing what happened.

Lolo Crispin on Lola Tinay's passing
Florentina, my first wife, was suffering from tuberculosis of the bones. I brought her to Mary Chiles Hospital in Manila and there she was treated by an outside physician xxx whom I contracted to attend and take care of her in the hospital.

She was attended well day and night from March 2nd until March 20, 1939, but when her sickness became incurable and she was losing appetite, I brought her back to my home in Asturias, Sampaloc, Manila, where she died on March 23, 1939 at around 10:15pm.

She was buried at La Loma cemetery. Her remains were placed into the niche and remained there up to this time.

From Eugene Sañosa - Lola Tinay's 7th child
(Eugene was 6 yrs at the time of his mother's passing)
I was the only one in the family who was unable to attend Ama's funeral. I was taken ill with a very high fever on the day she was buried and was forced to stay home alone with the yaya (nanny). I was told that I was delirious and vividly remember dreaming of animals.

From José Sañosa - Lola Tinay's eldest child
Tia Puring (Pura Disonglo Benipayo, Florentina's sister-in-law) had convinced and accompanied Ama to take a TB exam at the Quezon Institute. Ama tried her best to follow the doctor's orders; but believed that she was already seriously ill. She grew thinner and when her condition turned for the worse, she was hospitalized. She couldn't attend my graduation at that time. (José was graduating from the University of the Philippines in 1939).

José Benipayo Sañosa (18 yrs, 5th from left), Economics student 
University of the Philippines, 1937

I remember that Apa couldn't give me money for my graduation pictures, which I really wanted for it was customary for students to exchange graduation pictures as keepsakes. I went to see Ama at the hospital and asked for her help when Apa refused; and she gently persuaded him to give me the money. She always mediated between Apa and me.

Death Certificate of Florentina Sañosa

When I returned home from school late that night on Thursday, March 23, 1939, I noticed that the lights were all turned on. Apa, accompanied by Tio Donato (Donato Benipayo, Florentina's brother), had brought Ama home from the hospital three days before. That night she was already dying. When she started gasping for air, I immediately brought her some ether in an attempt to normalize her breathing. Tio Donato told me to let her go in peace.

When she died, I went out and aimlessly wandered for eleven hours from our home in Asturias (behind UST) and later found myself in Quiapo.Ama was gone. We brought her body to a funeral parlor at Misericordia and was buried three days later.

On the day of her burial, I gave her a final kiss. I kissed her on the forehead and again on both cheeks.

That night, I couldn't sleep. I was lying next to Apa. There was a big mirror in front of me and curtains behind me. I saw the curtains move through the mirror. The lights were dim and from the mirror, I saw an apparition in white standing. I yelled in fear and woke up everyone in the house. This happened three times. I was frightened, but eventually regained my composure. I went to a nearby church and prayed for Ama.  Since then, whenever I have a serious problem, I'd go and visit her grave; after which, I'd somehow find a solution for it.

Ama = Mama (Florentina)
Apa = Papa (Crispin)

Memoirs, Crispin V. Sañosa, 6/5/58.
Sañosa, Eugene B. Personal interview by Joseph L. Sañosa, July 24, 2011.
Sañosa, Jose B. Personal interview by Joseph Sañosa. December 1994.


Crispin & the Tabacaleros

Manila had a thriving and lucrative tobacco industry noted for the quality of its cigars which rivaled the Cuban cigars produced by Havana's tabacaleras. A segment at the end of the film footage below not only takes us inside a tobacco factory but also provides glimpses of its labor intensive work environment and how tobacco was transported through the streets of Manila.


In 1939, after Florentina passed away, Crispin was assigned to the Auditing Office of the Agricultural and Industrial Bank as examiner. Part of his duties was to grade the quality of tobacco grown by the tabacaleros (tobacco growers). Crispin was assigned there during the following periods: from 1939 until 1942, 1944 up to Manila's liberation and then after the war from 1946 until 1952

Office of the Auditor Agricultural and Industrial Bank, Manila
Crispin (47 yrs) with Colleagues, November 5, 1940

Left front row to back: (1) Sevilla; (2) Banaoag; (3) Ungson; (4) Buñag; 
Back Row: (5) Carmona; (6) Del Rosario 
Right row back to front: (7) Sañosa; (8) Janciar; (9) Ibañez; (10) Leandro


According to my Dad, the tabacaleros offered bribes to my grandfather numerous times to induce him to look the other way and upgrade the rating of their low quality tobacco so that it could fetch a higher price in the market. My dad recalls my grandfather confiding in his second wife, Lola Flor (Flordelis Santiago) and the family about it. Although Crispin had many opportunities to enrich himself, he never let these unethical incentives sway his judgment. Crispin refused these offers. Some may have thought him foolish for shunning the financial gains from such dealings. But, for Crispin, they ran contrary to his core beliefs and values. Throughout his career, he earned a reputation for being fair and scrupulous. Crispin truly lived his life as an honest man. 

In addition to his honesty, Crispin was noted for his work ethic. He was not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty when push comes to shove. In August 1944, after completing a two year stint as Chief of the Budget and Auditing departments of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes (October 1942 - August 1944), and being reassigned back to the Agricultural and Industrial Bank, he soon found himself unemployed as the Bank temporarily closed its operations when the Americans came to liberate Manila in 1945. While the Bank was on hiatus and in order to earn a living, the fifty-two year old Crispin worked as a laborer at the Army Hospital in San Lazaro and later managed to land a job as bookkeeper. Fortunately, he was recalled back to the Bank with his position and salary reinstated when it reopened on January 27, 1946.

Ceballos, Salvacion Sañosa. Personal interview by Joseph L. Sañosa. 22 January 2011.
Sañosa, Eugene Benipayo. Personal interview by Joseph L. Sañosa.
Memoirs, Crispin V. Sañosa, June 5, 1958.

La Profesora: Flordelis Santiago Sañosa

Sixth Wedding Anniversary
(6/2/49) Crispin (56 yrs); Flor (45 yrs)
Front Inscription in Spanish to Lino & Trining
(Trining is Lola Flor's sister)

In his memoirs, Crispin writes, "After her death (Florentina's), I thought of not marrying anymore and in fact I kept pain in observing it for more than three years. On June 2, 1943 after being convinced of the need of a companion, I married Miss Flordelis Santiago of Manila who taught Spanish for several years at the Manila Law College and University of Santo Tomas. "

Flordelis was a thirty-nine year old unmarried professor and Crispin a fifty year old widow when they married. Before their marriage, she was Crispin's private tutor in Spanish as he wanted to further deepen his command of the language. Flordelis and the Sañosa family were living on the same street in the Sampaloc district. She was residing at 441 Asturias while they were a few houses down at 431.

Flordelis or Flor, as she was called in the family, was born on January 31, 1904. She was the eldest child of Prudencio Santiago and Carmen Fuentes of Manila. She was followed by her brother José (Pepito), an accountant at the Manila Chronicle. Following Pepito were two younger sisters who were educators like her. Socorro (Coring) was a music teacher and an accomplished pianist while Trinidad (Trining) was also a professor teaching at the University of the East. She and her siblings grew up speaking both Tagalog and Spanish at home.

Lola Flor graduated cum laude from the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas (UST), where she also pursued her graduate studies in Spanish. UST was founded in 1611 and is the oldest existing university in Asia.

Prior to assuming the position of Spanish professor at UST, she taught for many years at the Insituto de Mujeres, where she also served as the secretary to Doña Rosa Sevilla de Alvero, the eminent Filipino educator, writer and patriot, who founded the Instituto in 1900. The Instituto was quite unique in its time because it was the first school for girls run by Filipinos with classes bilingually conducted in Spanish and English.

Flordelis developed some health problems after the marriage; and despite not having any children, she and Crispin lived happily together. Crispin recalls in his memoirs that "although by the will of Providence, we were not given a child, we lived harmoniously and contentedly as a husband and wife should after fifteen years of marriage."

My uncle José (Tio Manoy) recounted that there was opposition to my grandfather marrying Lola Flor. Some of the family members felt that she was too conservative, strict, and way too formal in her ways. Tio Manoy mentioned that Lola Flor at that time wouldn't joke around with them. Instead, the Sañosa boys had their hearts initially set on another lady who also lived on the same street whom they thought was very warm-hearted. Also living nearby was a much younger lady from Nueva Ecija who was quite keen on marrying my grandfather, but didn't succeed.

Flor (54 yrs); Crispin (65 yrs) Manila, 2/10/58

Strong wills collide
Following the death of her mother, the vibrant twenty-one year old Salvacion (Tia Manay), Crispin's second eldest child, had become the surrogate mother to her three youngest siblings: Eugene, Alfredo and Zacarias. At home, the two formidable women of the family clashed and locked horns. Whenever Salvacion would come home late after a night out with friends, the very conservative Lola Flor would blurt out ¡Basta Ya! (enough is enough) and refer to her as sinvergüenza (brazen). 

Salvacion would defend and stick up for her siblings whenever Lola Flor scolded them. She was especially protective of her younger and only sister Purita. The disagreements and arguments eventually became unbearable that these often drove her out of the house.

Every time she left, she sought the help of family and friends and stayed with them. Lolo Crispin, in turn, would feign sickness and send for Tio Manoy (Jose) to convince and bring her back home. Each time, she relented and returned. Tia Manay left home for good when she finally married Alfredo Ceballos, a baseball player for the San Miguel team and war veteran of the Bataan Death March.

Salvacion had continued to mourn her beloved mother even years later. She was a devoted sister to her siblings and loved them dearly. She was particularly close to Purita, Eugene and Zacarias. No one could really blame her for wanting to protect the position and memory of her mother, Lola Tinay, in the lives of her family.

Thoughts of a grandson
Lola Flor had the difficult task of trying to fit in and being accepted by a close-knit family of eight not to mention the numerous relatives who often visited. She didn't always succeed. Since my uncle Zacarias, the youngest, was only two years old when his mother passed away, he looked upon her as his mother; while she, in turn, regarded him as her own son. Sadly, before Lola Flor passed away, a rift occurred between them.

Lola Tinay was that legendary grandmother whom people reminisced and I heard much about; while Lola Flor was the grandmother whom I personally knew. I will never forget Lola Flor's quaint formality and stern reminders. Despite her formal ways and being a strict disciplinarian, she and I got along well.

Lola Flor wrote me letters in the language of Cervantes and encouraged me to learn it well. During my college up to my graduate school days, we corresponded until she passed away on December 13, 1994.

Lola Flor's last letter to Joseph L. Sañosa, 4/25/94

Last Letter (left): This was the last letter I received from Lola Flor. The 2nd paragraph of the letter provides information about the state of her health.

I had previously written that I'd visit her in Manila in December (1994). Unfortunately, I didn't make it in time. She passed away a week before my departure. The first place I visited upon my arrival in Manila was her grave.

English Translation from Spanish of the 2nd paragraph under "razon" (reason):

Since September of last year, I've already been hospitalized for three days, returning back in January 1994 for twenty-one days due to pneumonia. I'm now at home recuperating, but I feel so weak. I've lost the mood to write, my hands tremble, and it's hard for me to go out as my legs feel weak. As for my sight, I can hardly read.

I'm sorry my dear grandson if I couldn't answer your letters. I received the family pictures. How handsome you look on your graduation day. Your father and nephews as well. I kept looking at the them several times. I want to write more, but I do not have the strength. I'll soon tire. I finish this letter hoping that you will all be happy and pray for me. Your grandmother, Lola Flor. I will write to you all later. Excuse the mistakes, I can barely write.

Gracias por los recuerdos querida abuela. 
Que en paz descanse.

Ceballos, Salvacion Sañosa. Personal interview by Joseph L. Sañosa. 22 January 2011.
Sañosa, Flordelis Santiago. Personal Letters to the Sañosa family.
Sañosa, Jose Benipayo. Personal interview by Joseph L. Sañosa. December 1994.
Memoirs, Crispin V. Sañosa, June 5, 1958.


A Linguistic Situation

Despite three centuries of Spanish rule and the royal decrees ordering its propagation, the Philippines remain the only former Spanish colony today where the Castilian tongue did not take root in the masses. Scholars have argued many reasons behind this from the trepidation of Spanish friars of losing their influence over the people, the lack of teachers and financial support, the desire of the friars to learn the native languages to spread Catholicism to the propagation of English by the Americans. Yet, it is interesting to note that Spanish experienced a renaissance during the American period.

The Golden Age of Spanish
Philippine literature in Spanish blossomed during its Golden Age from 1903 to 1966 when it produced talented Filipino writers in the likes of Fernando Ma. Guerrero, Epifanio de los Santos, Teodoro Kalaw, Claro Recto, and poets like Cecilio Apostol, Jesus Balmori and Manuel Bernabe. During the American era, Manila was a trilingual and multicultural city.

Manila's Spanish newspapers such as the now defunct El Renacimiento , El Debate, La Voz de Manila and La Vanguardia boasted a large Filipino readership. In the Manila district of Ermita, residents prided themselves in speaking Ermitaño (Chabacano), a Spanish creole, which was a mixture of Tagalog and Spanish.

Government speeches and proclamations were bi-lingually delivered. To give an idea, here's a speech by Manuel L. Quezon, first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, entitled A Message to my People, which he delivered in the 1920s in English and Spanish.

Source: YouTube -PilipinasMabuhay100

Even though English was established by the Americans as the language of education, Spanish remained the language of the judicial courts until 1930 when it became co-official with English, which ultimately supplanted it as a new crop of judges and lawyers educated in English took over.

The Polyglots

Justice of the Peace Exam, 8/4/24

Crispin Sañosa recognized the importance of knowing English and Spanish for career advancement. On August 4, 1924 in Naga City in the province of Camarines Sur, Crispin took and passed the Spanish examination for Justice of the Peace. As a result, the Judge of the Court of First Instance appointed him as Notary Public for the province of Camarines Sur. However, he was not able to fulfill this function due to the objections of the Insular Auditor who wanted him to remain within his jurisdiction.

In the following month on September 4-5, 1924 in Naga, Crispin passed the Assistant Provincial Treasurer examination (first grade) in English. Later on, after relocating to Manila and the passing of his first wife, Florentina Benipayo Sañosa, he hired Flordelis Fuentes Santiago as his personal tutor in Spanish in order to sharpen his command of the language. In 1943, they became husband and wife.

Flordelis (Lola Flor) grew up speaking Spanish and Tagalog. Prior to becoming a professor of Spanish at the University of Santo Tomas, she taught for many years at the Instituto de Mujeres, the University of Manila and the Manila Law College. Like Crispin, she learned English from the Thomasites, the corps of American teachers sent by the U.S. government to propagate it.

The National Language
In 1937, Tagalog, the language of Manila, became the basis for the National Language. Two years later, President Quezon named the National Language as Wikang Pambansa which resulted in the inclusion of Tagalog in the school curricula.

Lola Flor & The Tagalog Institute
During the Japanese occupation from 1942 - 1945, Tagalog as a medium of instruction became more widespread due to the prohibition of the Japanese Imperial Forces to use English in the schools.  Consequently, President Salvador Laurel mandated the teaching of the National Language in all primary schools which led to the establishment of the Tagalog Institute in 1944.

The Tagalog Institute provided training to non-Tagalog teachers or teachers who did not use Tagalog as a medium of instruction. Lola Flor was one of the educators selected to participate. As the representative of the University of Manila, she participated in and successfully completed the Institute's Tagalog language training which took place from January -March 1944.

English and Filipino as Official Languages
Following the liberation of Manila in 1945 which left historic Intramuros (Manila's Walled City) and Ermita devastated, English was reinstated as an official language while Spanish further declined in use and Manila's Ermitaño became an endangered minority language.

By late 1980s, Ermitaño became extinct and was heard no more. Spanish ceased to be an official language in 1987 and the Wikang Pambansa, the National Language which was renamed Pilipino in 1953, triumphantly emerged into today's Filipino.

Recollections of Lolo Crispin
Lolo Crispin could speak standard Bicolano and its several dialects, Spanish and English. Although he also spoke Tagalog, it was sometimes colored with Bicolano words and expressions.

While visiting Manila as a teen, I accompanied Lolo Crispin on an errand and took a jeepney to get to our destination. Lolo cut an elegant figure as he sat beside me in his immaculate white barong tagalog wearing a Panama hat with a cane in tow; and conversing happily away in English with me during the entire ride devoid of the people around us. He looked every inch the gentleman from a bygone era that he was. Being quite young at that time, I felt somewhat uncomfortable as all eyes were upon us.  In retrospect, Lolo Crispin, like Lola Flor and many Filipinos of his generation, was quite the polyglot indeed.

del Castillo y Tuazon, Teofilo & Buenaventura Medina Jr. Philippine Literature from Ancient Times to The Present. Manila: Del Castillo and Sons, 1964.
Espiritu, Clemencia Phd. Filipino Language in CurriculumNational Commission for Culture and the Arts. 8 May 2011.
Frei, Ernest. The Historical Development of the Philippine National Language. Manila: Bureau of Printing, 1959.
Sañosa, Flordelis Santiago. Private conversations.
Memoirs, Crispin V. Sañosa, 6/5/58

The Salutatorian: Purita Sañosa Paterno

Purita, HS student

Purificacion Benipayo Sañosa (now deceased) was the fifth child of Crispin and Florentina Sañosa and followed Rosario, who had passed away at five months old in 1927.  She was born on February 2, 1928 in Naga, Camarines Sur.

Purita was one of the brains in the family having graduated class salutatorian of her high school, the Instituto de Mujeres in Manila. On March 20, 1949,  she graduated from the University of Santo Tomas' Junior Normal after which she was soon assigned to Padre Burgos Elementary School in Manila where she taught from July 11, 1949 until March 31, 1953.  

After obtaining a degree in education from the Far Eastern University in April 1955, Purita decided to give up teaching in order to pursue a career in the civil service. She eventually landed a job with the Agricultural Information Office of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.  She married Maximo Paterno (also deceased) of Manila at Espiritu Santo church on January 5, 1956,  which also happened to be Crispin's 63rd birthday. 

Purita is survived by her six children: Maribel (Mogill),  Marilou (Vargas), Anne (Manos), Miguel,  Manuel and Mark. Maribel, the eldest, is currently based in the San Francisco Bay area where she resides with her husband Mark and daughter Rebecca. 


Maximo & Purita Paterno: Visits to the U.S., c. 1990s


Source: Memoirs, Crispin V. Sañosa, June 5, 1958.

The Final Stop

Lolo Crispin (85 yrs) at the unfinished Panteon Sañosa, July 1978

Crispin Sañosa went about his life with a plan and that included finding a final resting place. He bought a small plot in La Loma Cemetery on which he built a modest family mausoleum.

Crispin Untalan Sañosa III
Here is a 1978 photo of Lolo Crispin taken at the partly completed family mausoleum. He had included six niches, two in which he reinterred the remains of his first wife, Florentina Benipayo Sañosa as well as those of his grandson, Crispin Untalan Sañosa III, who was Alfredo and Jean Sañosa's son.  Crispin III passed away at a tender age of two on April 12,1968, exactly two years from the day he was born.  

In January 2008, Zacarias Benipayo Sañosa was laid to rest there.

Flordelis Santiago Sañosa, Lolo Crispin's second wife, is another family member buried in La Loma. However, because she was a Catholic tertiary, a member of the Dominican Third Order, her body was placed in a niche within the Dominican mausoleum. I was told that after a certain period of time she will be eventually reburied in the Sañosa mausoleum.

Lolo's Letter sent with the above photo

Campo Santo de La Loma or La Loma Cemetery is Manila's oldest cemetery. It opened in 1884 and was first known as the Cementerio de Binondo. The two other historic cemeteries are: the Manila North Cemetery (Cementerio del Norte) and the Manila Chinese Cemetery.

Like its two historic counterparts, several notable Filipinos are buried in La Loma such as: Felipe Agoncillo (advisor to Generals Emilio Aguinaldo and Antonio Luna) , Josefa Llanes Escoda (Founder of the Philippine Girls Scouts) and Cayetano Arellano (first Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court).

Historic La Loma was strictly used for Catholic burial during the Spanish colonial era. It became a battleground during the Philippine-American War and a place for executions at the height of Japanese occupation during World War II. La Loma cemetery is Manila's version of Paris' Cimetière du Père-Lachaise. The main streets of this old necropolis are lined with impressive and interesting mausoleums many of them in the art deco style while its hidden paths are full of crumbling but beautiful sculptures and sepulchres. 


Wednesday the 23rd. 888Poker. Sañosa Family History
Copyright 2012