Daily, each family's history is made by its individual members. Yet, we don't usually recognize the importance of many of these family events until it's too late to recapture them. However, the recording of family history is one of the most important types of historical preservation. For, it is our ancestors who blaze the trails before us, who inspire us, and from whom we learn much of what eventually makes us who and what we are. Thus, how can we begin to know and understand ourselves unless we attempt to know and understand those who went before us?
The reason we wanted to put together this booklet is to share the bits and pieces of knowledge we all have, and to attempt to gather more information which will help us to understand the first and second generations of Limjaps and the times in which they lived.
If we had started our project twenty years ago, the knowledge of the third generation of Limjaps about their parents and grandparents would have filled volumes and volumes. Much vital information which only they could have given us is now probably gone forever. We have lost the details of our ancestors' character traits, their habits, their daily routines, and the numerous "kwento" which all families have that brings its family members to life. Instead, we are left with a skeleton of facts and we must dig hard and deep for more facts that will add flesh to our subjects. When we find new facts, we sometimes have to try to figure out what they mean.
There are other problems. The ravages of time, three wars and other calamities have destroyed much important information. Many family letters, photos, and scrapbooks have been lost. Our own memories about stories we've heard have dimmed as well. There are also gaps in public and private historical collections. One example of this is that, after finally locating a microfilmed newspaper article from the 1890s about Mariano Limjap, we quickly discovered that the microfilm had deteriorated completely and nothing could be read on that roll. Another frustration concerns our search for the early Binondo parish records, which we hoped might give us information on Ling Cong Jap's baptism, his marriage to Policarpia Nolasco and the subsequent baptism of their children, among other information. Each clue leads to a source that points us in another direction to another source. But, as each doors closes, others open, and we still haven't lost hope of finding these records.
That, however, will take more time than we have for this book. Although we started our research in April and worked almost daily through October, we can already see that several more years will be needed to ensure as much as is humanly possible at all avenues have been thoroughly researched. We need to look deeper into the Spanish era documents, many of which are in the National Archives, where many documents have never being sure exactly what we'll find.
By our next reunion in the year 2000, we anticipate being able to add more information on Jaoquin and Policarpia Nolasco Limjap, on Mariano and Maria Escolar Cochay Limjap, and on Jacinto and Clotilde Alonzo Limjap, perhaps in Volume II of The House of Limjap. However, the focus of that volume will be on the third generation of Limjaps, with each family member's life story being told. For that, we propose now that we agree that we, the fourth generation, will do the research on our parents with supplemental information to be provided by our children and others who also knew them. We must not lose our chance to do this now before it's too late-for the sake of all the Limjaps who will follow.
And we should, over and above what I already have gathered, start thinking of collecting all our information and storing it on CD-ROMs. Even books, photos, clippings and scrapbook information can be out on them, which would provide a more economical way of storing the information and one which would permit access by all of us.
I've tremendously enjoyed the time spent on putting this volume together and the time I've spent talking to and comparing notes with my cousins and close friends of the family. I feel I now have a clearer understanding of our Limjap ancestors, and an even greater appreciation for the lives they lived, the achievements they attained.
Very special thanks must go to the following people, without whose assistance and participation, this volume would not have been possible. I thank my daughter Riz Boncan Marsella for suggesting that I write this book, for providing assistance on the layout and the cover design. I thank my sons, Marcelo who computer scanned the Aguinaldo letters, and Raul, Jr. who computer scanned all the pictures and took charge of the layout, cover design, and printing. To my cousins, nephews and nieces listed below who provided information, translations from Spanish to English, pictures, letters, paintings, other documents, and recollections, I offer my heartfelt thanks: Jose Limjap, Mariano Limjap, Nahum Limjap, Popoy Limjap, Lydia Limjap Mandac, Naz Limjap Mandac, Mary Limjap Santos, Monching Limjap Osmena, Ate Lulu Limjap, Marita Escolar Alfonso, Charito Escolar Alfonso, Ambassador Manuel Yan, Marita Limjap Ubaldo Marasigan, Pacita Limjap Ubaldo Filart, Johnny Rodriguez, Florencio Azarraga, Rose Santos, Inez Santos Ancheta, Marilou Ubaldo Bautista, Lia Osmena Valencia, Ching Limjap and Ofie Limjap Vitek.
To family friends Ben Javier and Dr. Rosalino Reyes, I extend my appreciation for providing their recollections, particularly those about Lola Angoy. I am grateful to Felix Maramba, Jr., Fiona Paua, and my sister Chit Boncan Herbosa for providing important reference books. My special thanks go to Evelyn Limjap Ignacio, Connie Limjap Lichauco, Kelly Boncan, and Riz Boncan Marsella for taking the time to read the first draft of the manuscript and for making invaluable suggestions and for the title suggestions. I thank Betty Yangco Daly, granddaughter of Luis R. Yangco and a close family friend, for confirmation of information on her grandfather. I would like to thank Mrs. Uy Pit Yong and Charlie Uy for translating information from Chinese to English and for helping in the search for records in China which is still underway. I am grateful to Jose Lim Chu Tick, who assisted us in reaching the Se Jo Tong (The Lim Family Association), and to the personnel there who provided assistance to us. I also would like to extend my appreciation to Mrs. Peter Lim and her husband Peter, my good friend who, sadly, died during the time of this book's preparation. Their translation of English to Chinese on certain documents, and their other advice was invaluable. To all of these people and to others from whom they may have received information and assistance, thank for taking the time to help complete this project. If I have inadvertently omitted to mention others who have helped in this work or failed to include information, I apologize for any such oversights. In case there are errors or omissions in the book, kindly let me know so we can list the corrections, hopefully in Volume II.
My special acknowledgement to Gracia San Miguel for researching tirelessly to gather invaluable information from virtually all the libraries and archives in Manila.
Finally, at the suggestions of my daughter Kelly, I have placed a list after this introduction of Limjap family members of the first, second and third generations. This should help guide the younger Limjaps to better identify the relationships of the personalities involved. So, now, I say let us plan to build further our story of the House of Limjap, and until our next reunion.
Raul A. Boncan y Limjap
November 30, 1997