Friday, June 17, 2011

Rizal/Viola Descendants Replicate 150 year-old Friendship

L to R, Jim Espinas, Victoria Vergara, Margarita Vergara, Penelope V. Flores, Patricia Laurel, Caya Consunji, Christine Consunji, Tom Consunji and Edwin Lozada, Picture taken at Olive Garden Restaurant. San Francisco.  Jim is the Curator of the 150th Rizal Birthday Exhibit at Oakland Asian Cultural Center.  Edwin Lozada is the President of the Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc

On June 14, 2011, a century old friendship between Dr. José Rizal  of Calamba and Dr. Maximo Viola of Bulacan was reenacted in San Francisco, California.  The occasion was the arrival of Patricia  Laurel from Manila.  She was invited to be the speciai guest  speaker at the  Los Angeles Philippine Consulate's 150th Birthday Celebration of Dr. José Rizal.

Patricia (Patti)  Laurel is the great granddaughter of  Maria  Rizal Cruz, Dr. Rizal's sister.  Patti's sister Margarita  (Mari) Vergara lives in  Hayward. and is a 4th generation Rizal descendant.  Mari's daughter Victoria belongs to the 5th generation of the Rizal line of descent.

Tom Consunji , another Rizal descendant  who lives  in Foster City  is a Rizal descendant  through Rizal's sister Narcisa.  Narcisa married Antonino Lopez.  Their son, Leoncio Lopez is Tom's grandfather.  Tom's wife is Christine.  Their daughter, Caya is a 5th generation Rizal descendant.

Penelope V, Flores's grandmother, Juliana Viola  is Dr. Maximo Viola's younger sister.  Viola and Rizal were friends when both were medical students in Spain.  When Rizal failed to  receive his allowance on time for the printing of the Noli me Tangere manuscript, Dr. Maximo Viola lent his friend the money to have the Noli printed.

When the two friends completed their medical degrees, Rizal and Viola traveled to several cities in Europe together for 3  months.

Another Rizal descendant by way of Maria Rizal is Gemma Cruz Araneta.  In the picture below is the Rizal/Viola connection re-enacted again.

Seated,  L to R, Penelope Flores (Viola descendant by way of Juliana Viola),  Gemma Cruz Araneta (Rizal descendant by way of Maria Rizal).   Standing: David Jara, Patti Laurel (Rizal descendant through Maria Rizal) Mary Jane Inocencio, and Chiara Inocencio. David and Mary Jane are members of the editorial staff of Art in site Magazine, Patti Laurel's project. 
Picture taken at the Manila Hotel, 2008.