Introduction Hacienda Luisita

Topics: Philippines, Corazon Aquino, Benigno Aquino, Jr. Pages: 7 (2905 words) Published: January 20, 2012

Hacienda Luisita was once part of the holdings of Compañia General de Tabacos de Filipinas, Sociedad Anónima, better known as Tabacalera, which was founded on November 26, 1881 by a Spaniard from Santander, Cantabria and Santiago de Cuba, Don Antonio López y López. He was the first Marques de Comillas and was famous for being an associate of the first Spanish Prime Minister with foreign blood, the Spanish-Filipino mestizo Don Marcelo Azcárraga y Palmero. His relative on his Spanish side, Ricardo Padilla, married Gloria Zóbel y Montojo (younger half sister of Mercedes Zóbel de Ayala de McMicking, largest Zóbel owner in the Ayala group of companies) and was an aide-de-camp of Juan de Borbón, Count of Barcelona, father of the current King of Spain, His Majesty DonJuan Carlos de todos los Santos de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias. The estate was named after Antonio's wife, Luisa Bru y Lassús. Their son, Claudio López, the second to hold the title , donated some of the profits to the Jesuits to create the Pontifical University of Comillas, a university outside Madrid. López acquired the estate in 1882, a year before his death. López was a financial genius who parlayed his work adventures in Cuba and Latin America into a steamship, companies and trading businesses. He was the most influential Spanish businessman of his generation and counted the Prime Minister and the King of Spain as his personal friends. Tabacalera was a private enterprise he founded with the sole intention of taking over the Philippine Tobacco Monopoly from the Spanish colonial government. This included the Hacienda Antonio (named after his eldest son), Hacienda San Fernando and Hacienda Isabel (named after his eldest daughter) in Cagayan and Isabela provinces where the legendary La Flor de Isabela cigar was cultivated. Tabacalera’s incorporators were the Sociedad General de Crédito Inmobiliario Español, Banque de Paris which is now Paribas and Bank of the Netherlands which is now ABN-AMRO. The sugar and tobacco in the Philippines were the reason why the López de Comillas family were able to donate such a huge pontifical university to the Jesuits on top of lavishing on their home, the Palacio de Sobrellano in Comillas and the Güell park (designed by Gaudí) in Barcelona. Don Alfonso Güell y Martos born in 1958, the fourth Marquis of Comillas, currently holds the title. He is also the Count of San Pedro de Ruiseñada, the third to hold that title. Both are grandee status in Spain and as such can address the King as "mi primo" or "my cousin. Contrary to what was expected, Spanish-owned Hacienda Luisita did not languish when the Americans took full control of the Philippine government. In fact, Tabacalera as a whole experienced prosperous times because of the legendary sweet tooth of the Americans. With Cuban sugar not enough for their domestic market, the Americans tapped the Philippines for its sugarcane requirements. At one point during pre-war Manila times, Hacienda Luisita supplied almost 20% of all sugar in the United States. Luisita sugar became popular among Filipino (specifically Ilocano) expatriates in America just as much as Victorias sugar was popular among Manila’s elite circles back home. The Americans also brought the centrifugal-based machinery which doubled the production of the estate and therefore did not require the cane to be loaded by truck to Laguna to be squeezed in the haciendas there, including those of the Roxas y Zobel families. As this new technology swept in Luzon and the sugar mills consolidated, many wealthy families fell into foreclosure or combined their resources. Some of the brave few like Honorio Ventura (who paid for Diosdado Macapagal’s schooling), the De Leons, Urquicos, Lazatins and the Gonzálezes did just that--- which is how PASUDECO came into being. Structurally, there was little change in the hacienda; Tabacalera y Compañía positionedSpanish-Filipino and American-Filipino encargados and administradores to...
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