TELESFORO CHUIDIAN

(1855-1903)

Businessman, Reformist And Nationalist

 

 

Telesforo Chuidian was a Chinese-Filipino. He was the only son of the four

children of Jose Chuy Dian and Silveria Chuaquico. The three other children were Roberta, Raymunda, and Candelaria.

 

His father was a native Chinese who came to the Philippines at the turn of the 18th century. Soon after setting himself up in a business in Manila, He converted in Catholicism and married Silveria Chuaquico, a daughter of a long-established Chinese family in the city.

 

Jose Chuy Dian, who later changes his name to “Chuidian,” had bought a store from a Basque in Escolta, Then the business center in Manila. He named it “La Puerta del Sol.” He traded in sugar, coffee, palay, tobacco, and abaca. When he died, sometime between 1869 and 1871, his widow and son took over the business.

 

Telesforo Chuidian was born on January 5, 1855. He studied at the Ateneo Municipal in Intramuros, Where he took 4up a course leading toad bachelor of arts degree in 1870. Among his classmates were Benito Legarda, Vicente Casas, and Leon Maria Guerrero. However, he did not finish the course.

 

At 22, he was already an established and affluent businessman. He later formed with Mariano Buenaventura a limited partnership. Their firm, Chuidian, Buenaventura Y Cia, granted crop loans. It thrived in the coffee business in Lipa and the sugar business in Balayan, both in Batangas.

 

Chuidian also engaged in the real estate business. He had large stockholdings in San Miguel Brewery. He acquired sugar estate in Batangas. He developed a liking for Arabian horses to the point of joining the Manila Jockey Club. He became prominent not just in the Chinese community but also in the Manila society of the period.

 

Dr. Laureano Viado, The famed Filipiniana collector, noted having seen Chuidian growing his fingernails. In the Chinese culture, this was a symbol of high social position.

 

Chuidian was active in the reform movement of the 1890’s. Like countless Filipino patriots at the time, he, too, was a Mason. He was also a part of Liga filipina, which was succeeded by the Cuerpo de Compromisarios when Rizal was  banished to Dapitan. The Cuerpo was composed of aristocrats and intellectuals who thought that needed reforms could be obtained peacefully. Together with Roxas, de la Rama, Yangco, Legarda, and Genato, Chuidian supported La Solidaridad, The mouthpiece of the Propaganda Movement in Spain.

 

In 1895, Chuidian was the recipient of the Caballero de la Real Orden de Isabel la Catolica award from the Spanish government, for his civic and financial contributions. In 1896, the authorities had him arrested and hauled to Fort Santiago as a suspected filibustero along with Francisco Roxas, Antonio and Juan Luna, Jacinto Limjap, and others. Their property  was confiscated in the process.

 

In the six months he was incarcerated, Chuidian contracted tuberculosis. It is believed that his wife, Juana, gained his release with a bayong full of jewels as bribe to Spanish officials.

  Chuidian became the first president of the exclusive Club Filipino in 1898, the same year that Emilio Aguinaldo appointed him to represent the province of Cotabato in the Malolos Congress. Together with Pedro Paterno, he and Mariano Limjap- the two were reputed to be the biggest financiers of the Revolution. Were authorized to sign paper bills issued by the Philippine Republic. After his appointment on July 4, 1899 as jefe de administracion de primera clase, he was also allowed to use the signs and insignias of a brigadier-general.

 

During the forced occupation of the country by the United States, Chuidian was again imprisoned, this time by the Americans, but not for long.

 

In 1901, he sailed to England with his four children: Horacio, Adela Telesforo, and Roberto. He was very sick when he returned in 1902. He died of tuberculosis of the larynx on April 11, 1903.

Chuidian was rumored to have fathered 19 children, but only 11, by three women, could be accounted for. Their mothers were Juana Urbano, a Dutch-Spanish mestiza, Dolores Cerrudo, a Spanish mestiza, and Sofia Lopez, a niece of Jose Rizal.

 

According to General Jose Alejandrino, he was prototype of Capitan Tiago in Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, judging from the description of the house owned by that fictionized character in the said novel.

 

SIPAT, JENNILYN PONIENTE

# (046) 8877207     

 

 

 

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