Organized under the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA) of the Commonwealth Government headed by President Manuel L. Quezon, General Paulino Santos led the relocation of 62 Christian settlers from Luzon to the shores of Sarangani Bay aboard the steam ship “Basilan” of Compania Maritima on February 27, 1939.
The 62 pioneers (mostly agricultural and trade graduates) were the first big batch of settlers to land in GenSan with the mission to industriously cultivate GenSan’s fertile expanse of land. After this first influx of pioneers, thousands more from Luzon and the Visayas have subsequently migrated into the area. Sofronio Manansala was one of those who were the first few settlers in General Santos City.
My great grandparents Aquilino and Gregoria are originally from Macabebe, Pampanga who migrated here in the 1930′s after eldest son Sofronio (one of the pillars of theIglesia ni Cristo in South Central Mindanao and is my maternal grandfather) who came here earlier convinced them of a better life and future in the vast plains of what was then known as Buayan. And so they came, bringing the whole brood with them. They never left ever since.
They had nine children, actually they were originally 10 but one of them, Rosario, died of Malaria. So the nine children wer Sofronio (Ompong), Felicisima (Simang Balingit), Isidro (Eding), Marcela (Selang dela Cruz), Ildefonso (Osong), Jesus, Avelino (Elong), Angela (Celing Bustos) and Rafaela (Pelang Cunanan). So, of them 9, only 2 are alive: Jesus and Pelang.
So, imagine 9 siblings each with at least three kids, the most was 16 kids…and then these kids had children of their own, and these children have children of their own as well – imagine, I am a lolo na. My nephew already have several kids. So if you do the math, there’s basically more than a thousand Manansalas and most of them are in Gensan.
They had the first grand reunion back in 2004, around 7 years ago. Me thinks, it’s just high time that we have another one. I was even glad to know that they plan that we do this ever 2 years.
So, the 2nd reunion was held last 21 May 2011 in General Santos City, We had to fly all the way there to attend this big event. There were some issues with the venue, a little bickering amongst relatives in our private Facebook group, that caused one family, the brood of Jesus Manansala, to totally boycott the reunion. Although it bothered most of us a bit, but the show must go on. The day started early with a long motorcade around Gensan and then straight to Arnevel’s in Purok Malakas. It was like 5,000 degrees that day, but that wasn’t enough to let our spirits down. I got sunburned in my cheeks and my arms – so goodbye to boxes upon boxes of intravenous glutathione! LOL. The event got even more jolly when it was hosted by two fabulous girls (read: bayot) amongst the younger set: Justine Manansala who is a natural comic and a great host since he is a regular disk jock in one of Gensan’s bigger FM station. Backing up Justine was Oyaying Cunanan who made it even more fun with his antics. It is a fact that there are many amongst us in the Manansala clan who are genetically challenged hahaha!
There were lots of games for the kids and the adults alike. Each family branch prepared yells, presentations. There was a search for Little Miss Manansala Clan and a Macho Gay search as well. It was so much fun! I can’t wait for the next one in 2013. I hope the attendance will double, and hopefully mom would be with us.
Here are some photos:
Here are great videos made by Tito Orman Manansala
it was well worth the trip! It was great reconnecting ties with relatives and making new ones with even more relatives! See you all in 2013.