Sañosa - Benipayo: Crispin & Florentina's Line

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Category: MANILA
Published Date Written by J.Sañosa

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.


Sources:
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.

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