Monday, August 7, 2017


Filipina Mestizas

The 9000 or so people who made up the Marianas in the late 1800s were an interesting mix. In the rural villages and in Luta, the majority of the people had roots closer to the pre-contact race. In Hagåtña and Saipan, the mixed blood, or mestizo, dominated : a mix of the the original pre-contact race, Spaniards, Mexicans, Filipinos, Chinese, Anglo-Americans and smaller numbers of Portuguese, French, Dutch and others.

Not to be excluded from this melting pot of races was the mixed-blood, higher class Filipinas. There were at least two of them who lived in the Marianas in the second half of the 19th century.

Doña Regina Sigüenza y Soto was from Manila, the daughter of Don Agustín Sigüenza and Doña Silvia Soto. She was married to Don Vicente Calvo y Olivares, of the Calvo clan that eventually became part of the Chamorro community. Don Vicente was born in Manila of a Spanish father and mestiza mother. As his father, Don Félix, had a government position on Guam, Don Vicente lived on Guam also, but the Manila connection was never lost or weakened. The Calvos were constantly going back and forth between Guam and Manila.

As the Calvos were government officials and entrepreneurs, and very Spanish, they would have married within their class and milieu. Regina was almost certainly of a somewhat elevated class. We know from existing documents that she had her own financial affairs to attend to in Manila, separate from whatever her Calvo husband had. She filed to have someone in Manila represent her interests there, since she lived on Guam.

Regina Siguenza's signature
The Spanish custom is for married women to keep their family names

More than likely she would have had an education and was conversant in Spanish. Her racial lines are not precisely known, but her Spanish surnames and the fact that Spaniards and mestizos tended to marry women with at least some Spanish blood point in that direction.

As a widow, Doña Regina befriended William Safford, the Secretary to Guam's first American Naval Governor. The educated and erudite Safford spoke excellent Spanish. One can sense that Regina looked forward to her chats with him. She made sure to send him little treats, like jam, now and then.

The second Filipina (more than likely a mestiza) was Doña Elena Chabran. She was married to another Calvo, by the name of Bonifacio. He was a retired captain in the Spanish military. After Bonifacio died, Elena remained in the Marianas, marrying Don Juan de León Guerrero, who is described in records as a platero (silversmith) of Hagåtña. But he eventually moved to Saipan and became the Alcalde (mayor). Many of Doña Elena's descendants live in Saipan to this day.

I still need to get clear information on this, but family tradition also says that Elena also married Manuel Sablan Calvo, patriarch of the Yigo Calvos.

Elena Chabran's signature


  1. Don Juan & Doña Elena's son Francisco Chabran Deleon Guerrero was married to my paternal great grandfather's sister Rita Pangelinan Muña. They had 6 children that I know of. 1.Maria Concepcion=Jose Delos Reyes Sablan (Familian Pitu), 2.Elena, 3.Jose, 4.Juan=Rita San Miguel Palacios, 5.Carmen, 6.Francisco Ignacio=Rita San Miguel Arriola.
    --Vernon Lee Inos Mangloña

  2. Interesting. My great grandfather, a Leon Guerrero, familian Paquito, was a goldsmith on Guam.

  3. Pale Ric, is that picture actually the two women you are referring to in the article?
    --Vernon Lee Inos Mangloña

    1. No it's just a picture of mestiza Filipina women meant to represent the ones I am talking about. That's there's no caption with names. :)

    2. "That's why there's no caption...."