Friar Fausto Lopez

The origins of the Gonzalez family date back to the Baliwag, Bulacan of the 1840’s. From 1733 to the end of the Spanish regine in 1898, Baliwag had about thirty curates. The two who had the longest years of service were Friar  Esteban Diaz Hidalgo who established a record of forty years, and Friar Fausto Lopez, who served a total of twenty-one years. However, it was Fausto Lopez who left the most lasting imprint in Baliwag, for during his lengthy stay, he was able to cultivate a completely human relationship with a local mestiza named Mariquita.

Fausto Lopez was born in 1811 in Valladolid, Spain, a descendant of Castillan nobility. He had a sister who was lady-in-waiting (a position only nobility could occupy) to the daughter of Ferdinand VII, Queen Isabel II who reigned in 1833. Fausto finished his reliegious studies in Valladolid in 1828. On October 3, 1829, after a long and tedious sea journey, Fausto set foot in the Philippines as an idealistic young priest of eighteen summers. His first assignment was in the island of Cebu, where he resided until 1837 as Amber Secretary of Province. In 1841, he was transferred to Quingua (now Plaridel), Bulacan, and promoted to Curate and Member of the Governing Committee. In 1845, he was re-assigned to Baliwag, Bulacan where he continued to function as the Curate and Member of the Governing Committee for twenty-one years. [1]
It was in Baliwag where the present Gonzalez lineage began. Fausto, then in his mid-thirties, met and fell for the charms of a local belle named Maria Amparo Gonzalez, fondly called Mariquita. Mariquita was the eldest of the many children of Vicente Gonzalez and Venancia de los Angeles. Vicente Gonzalez was of Quinqua (Plaridel) ancestry. Mariquita was beautiful, strong willed and deemed unconventional for her times. Ably mounted on her horse, she would survey their lands alone, engage in target practice with a rifle and direct her business affairs in stiff competition with her male peers. Her family owned the biggest house in town which occupied a while block. The house later on became the municipal building. The family was known for its strength of character and an astute business sense. It was no wonder then that Mariquita caught the interest of the influential cura, Friar. Fausto Lopez. Not uncommon in those days, a romantic relationship ensued and the union yielded six siblings: Soledad, Jose, Joaquin, Rita, Carmen and Francisco.

The disgrace casued by Friar Fausto and Mariquita led to the disuse of “Lopez” by the children, leading to the usage of “Gonzalez” instead.

Friar Fausto failed God, but God did not fail him.  God gave Padre Fausto and Mariquita, a son, Joqauin, who went on to be the pride of the “Gonzalez” clan.

Friar Fausto died on Sunday, April 17, 1865 at the age of 54.  He was buried in the San Agustin Church in Intramuros.  Unfortunately, his tomb was washed out during the Second World War.

[1] Source:  Elviro Jorde Perez. 1901. Catalogo Bio-Bibliographico de los Religiosos Agustinos de la Provincia del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus de las Islas Filipinas Desde su Fundacion hasta Nuestros Dias. Manila. Estab. Tipo. De Colegio de Santo Tomas.