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Captain Eugenio Albao

jolly roger

The other day I was friended on Facebook by somebody who shares my surname, John Paul Albao Jr. He hit me up on chat this morning and gave me some interesting information about my roots.

What I’ve known all my life is that my paternal great grandfather, Cipriano Albao, sailed to Kauai from the Philippines in the early 1900s. He was young, maybe about twenty, and was chasing his girlfriend — my great grandmother — the daughter of a minister. Incidentally, her last name was Alba. Just a coincidence.

Cipriano and my great grandmother had five sons and four daughters. A gaming family, all the boys were ballplayers. Cipriano was a godfather of sorts, running the island’s gambling rings. I’m told that back in the day, my grandfather and his brothers were the only folks on the island who had cars.

We don’t know much about Cipriano’s life before his final stint on Kauai, so as far as we’re concerned, the Albao history began there. He never talked much about his past, for whatever reason.

So here we are today. John Paul Jr. and his dad — Jr.’s living in the Philippines, Sr. (who goes by Juan) is living in Canada — started leveraging the power of the Internet to see if they could find out what happened to Cipriano. Jr.’s great-great grandfather, Mariano, was Cipriano’s brother. That’d make John Paul Sr. my third cousin, with Jr. being my third cousin once removed. Hypothetically, my kid would be Jr.’s fourth cousin. It so follows that Mariano’s my great-great uncle.

Here’s what I found out today:

Cipriano and Mariano were the sons of Captain Eugenio Albao, the first man on record with the surname. Rumor in the Phils is that Eugenio was a pirate in the 1800s, and at the end of his life he donated two schools — an elementary school and a high school — to one of the communities there in the islands. For those of you in Los Angeles, I suppose that’d be a similar figure to our own (but considerably more ancient) Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.

So, you know, that’s kinduva trippy way to start a Tuesday. It’s not every day that you find out you’re the great-great grandson of a 19th-century pirate. But somehow I’ve always known that.

That’s about it for now. To be continued.


*UPDATE 08.26.09*:

I just received some more information from my aunties/cousins.

From my second cousin once removed, Winni. Cipriano was her mother’s dad.

Hey Jace,

Cipriano was born in Mobo, mMasbate on October 12, 1892. He married my gramma (Manuela Alba) on July 9, 1911. My gramma was only 16.

The lineup for uncles/aunties is as follows:

Uncle Willie (Welcome) 1912-1997
Uncle Henry 1913-1953
Uncle Cecil *your Grampa* 1916-1988
Auntie Mary 1917-2003
Uncle Eddie 1920-2003
Auntie Carol *my mom* 1922-2005
Joseph Albao 1923-1931
Auntie Jo (Eleanor) 1926-1999
Auntie Kathy (aka Katinka, or “Tinka”) 1938

Hope this helps. xoxo

From Auntie Tinka:

Hello family.. and the beat goes on. How exciting to read about Grandpa Cipriano Amante Albao and to learn that Jace found more relatives.

Cipriano Amante Albao, born in Mobo, Masbate, PI, 10/12/1892 – 1951

Manuela Alba Albao, born in Silay, Bacolod, PI, 1/3/1895 – 1978

They were married 7/9/1911.


Grandpa Cipriano saw Grandma Manuela when she stepped off the train on Kauai (so the story goes). He told his friends that he was going to marry that girl. They corresponded by leaving love letters under a rock by the river.

According to Aunty Angie Gueco, Grandma Maria Goles Alba had a cousin by the name of Dana. Aunty Angie and Uncle Charlie, with the assistance of Senator Sparky Masunaga, arranged for Dana’s family to come to Hawaii. If anybody knows of the last name of PANAGSAGAN, check them out, as they are our relatives. Aunty Angie said there may be at least 50 relatives or more (Alba side). Better find them ASAP
so they can join us for the California Albao Family Reunion!

From Auntie Donna:

Hi Jace,

Your great grandmother’s name is Manuela Golez Alba Albao. Manuela and my grandma, Rosalie Golez Alba Valera are sisters.

And again, from Donna:

Hi again! Just happen to have a pic that includes your great grandma and great grandpa (well, it looks like him anyway). I’m copying Cuz Katinka, maybe she can verify it.

From left to right (standing): Concepcion Golez (Nanay’s sister), Manuela Golez Alba Albao, Cipriano Albao (?), Rosalie Golez Alba Valera, Manuel Golez Alba, (behind him) Jose Cuaresma Alba, seated in front are Maria Golez Alba holding Lily Golez Alba Alicuben and the girl behind was their maid/helper.

My grandma must have been about 12-13 years old, so your great grandma was about 17-18. I’ll have to check my notes at home. I put together a booklet of ‘memories’ that my grandmother wrote about their life in the Philippines and Hawaii. I also transcribed a recording of Uncle Manuel’s account of the family’s encounter with a ‘duende’*, which is a dwarf that supposedly resides in a mound of earth. It is said that one who disturbs the mound where it resides falls ill. They are known as tricksters, but they can be very helpful as well.

alba family

*Donna is speaking of Uncle Manuel’s recorded accounts of Kilho, which you can read about here. It includes Manuel’s scanned journal, as well as a special audio clip!

Thank you all, ladies! :)


From Win:

hey jace…cool stuff! you know, my grandma and grandpa had 5 sons and 4 daughters: mary, carol, eleanor (“jo”) and tinka.
according to my aunty angie, cipriano (my grandpa) was very secretive about his family. she knew he had a sister named eugenia and that was about it.
the reunion is gonna be a blast and we’ll get to uncover lots of things about the albaos! i do have a “tree” of our history — including my great grandma (nanay) !
can’t wait to see you. xoxo love, win

From Katinka:

Hi Jace: For some reason, my computer was acting up so I had to start a new email.

Hope the following info answers your questions:

Maria (Nanay) GOLES Alba 1877 – 1967 Married: Jose (Tatay) Alba 1873 – 1926
Birthdate: 4/2/1877 Birthdate: 11/26/1873

Manuela (Grandma) Alba Albao 1895 – 1978 Married: 7/9/1911 Cipriano (Grandpa) Amante Albao 1892 – 1951
Birthdate: 1/3/1895 Birthdate: 10/12/1892
Silay, Bacolod, PI Mobo, Masbate, PI

Grandma was 16 years old and Grandpa was 19 years old when they were married. Grandma died at age 83 and
Grandpa died at age 59.

I contacted John Paul Albao Jr. and he sent me the following information: “The Albao’s in Masbate are related to each other. Be it in Mobo, Diimasalang, Baleno, Miilagros. But all of the Albao’s originated in Baleno. As of now, specifically I cannot confirm the relationship in the family tree because I’m very young. I’m only 21 but father told me that all those Albao’s that
belong to said towns are closely related.”

Grandpa Cipriano never spoke of his family so it is very exciting to learn of an Albao that you met on internet.

Thanks for your research. I look forward to seeing you and the rest of the Albao Family next week.

Love, Aunty Katinka

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