AUGUSTO DIOSDADO GONZALEZ Y SIOCO

Augusto Gonzalez was the millionaire among the ten brothers.  He was the one with the aptitude for making money.  In contrast, his  oldest brother Fernando was more interested in  stamp and coin collection, as well as in  astronomy. Fernando  spent his money on a big telescope to map out the constellations. Augusto’s  second brother, Jesus, was a distinguished doctor.

BUSINESS ACUMEN

Even as a child of 10, Augusto  helped his parents in administering  their farmlands. As a teen, aside from helping his widowed mother run their business affairs, he also helped his aunt Sabina Sioco de Escaler run her agricultural properties. As a young adult, he helped his aunt Sabina and cousin Jose (Pepe) acquire more and more agricultural and commercial properties in Pampanga and Manila. He helped make the Escalers very rich. As his business acumen became known, Pampanga’s richest families like the de Leon-Joven, Lazatin-Singian, Hizon-Singian approached Augusto to join them in their various businesses to ensure their management and profitability. He also helped make the de Leons of Bacolor very rich.

FIRST MARRIAGE

Augusto had two marriages.  His first marriage was to his first cousin Marina “Maring” Escaler, whose mother, Sabina, was the sister of Augusto’s mother Florencia. Maring had a big crush on him. They were both water signs: she was a home-loving Cancerian and he was a sexy Scorpio. Maring insisted on the marriage. [1]

Augusto and Marina Escaler

So they married in 1909, at 4:00 a.m. in the Apalit Church.  It was an unexpectedly very happy marriage and he genuinely mourned her passing in 1928.

They had eight children, but only three of them lived to adulthood: Rogerio, Elsa and Cristeto.

When their mother Florencia died in 1925, Augusto saw that the lands to be inherited among him and his brothers were a pittance. He worried about his brothers, and wanted them to have more so they could support themselves with their inheritance. So he held off distributing the land until Augusto was able to augment the landholdings. When he saw that each of the brothers had at least a value of P8, 000.00 including shares of Pasudeco Stocks, for each of them, he went through with the distribution of the assets of the estate. [2]

MILESTONES IN HIS LIFE

Every time Augusto made money, he marked each milestone with a contribution to the Apalit community.  His first contribution was to redo the Apalit Church which was needed repairs.  He painted the dome a startling black color.  However, after this was done, several family members died—Marina (1928), Virgilio , Javier, and Amparo dela Rama, wife of Fausto (– all 1929),  the color was changed into silver.  That stopped the deaths from continuing.

Inauguration of the Florencia Sioco Municipal Hall

Augusto will be most remembered for putting up the Florencia Sioco Gonzalez Memorial Hall, the Municipal Hall of Apalit.  After he made his next million, he put aside P35, 000 for the construction of this hall.  He inaugurated the Municipal hall on May 21, 1938. His guests included all the VIPs around Pampanga and Bulacan and Manila.

REMARRIAGE

When Maring died of asthma complications in 1928, Augusto, or “Bosto” as he was fondly called, was only 41 years old and still a virile man. He went into “quick affairs” with common women in San Fernando.  His Rodriguez aunt Gorgonia found out and insisted that he marry again. He courted his first cousin Jose Escaler’s widow Aurea “Auring” Ocampo (viuda) de Escaler against the advice of his Jesuit confessor that: “children yours, hers, and yours, together a miserable life will make.” His widowed sister-in-law, Rosario “Charing” Valdes-Gonzalez, also let it be known that she would not mind marrying him. But he also simultaneously courted his niece Rosario “Charing” Espiritu Arnedo, daughter of his first cousin, former Pampanga Governor Macario “Ariong” Sioco Arnedo. The former governor owed his first cousin Augusto Sioco Gonzalez more than Php 50,000 cash plus interest spent on politics. Charing had a boyfriend of modest means whom her parents didn’t approve of.  Sp when the superrich Augusto came sailing along with gold and diamond rings, earrings, and  bracelets from “La Estrella del Norte” on Escolta for all the ladies of the Arnedo family, Ariong and his wife Maria “Maruja” forced their daughter to accept her uncle’s marriage proposal. Amid many recriminations, Charing accepted out of obedience to her parents. She learned to love him eventually because he was very good to her.

The very next day after Rosario had accepted Augusto’s proposal, Aurea Ocampo (viuda) de Escaler sent word that she was accepting Augusto’s marriage proposal, but it was too late.

Augusto and Rosario Arnedo

It was during his marriage to Doña Charing that Augusto hit his professional peak and productivity, amassing agricultural properties all over Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, and commercial properties in Manila at an impressive rate. Despite all his money, the family lived simply, no frills. Augusto constantly reminded Doña Charing:

“We have to live simply because we are accumulating capital for our children.”

When Augusto’s eldest brother Fernando lay dying in Augusto’s house in Tennessee, Malate, Manila, Augusto also told his brothers Fernando and Fausto,

“I will work very hard because I want my children with Charing to be as rich as mine are with Maring.”

Augusto, Rosario and all the children from both wives

He also took this opportunity to berate his youngest brother Fausto, for being so ostentatious.  He commented that he, Augusto, despite his wealth,  only got by with two “de hilo” suits and four long-sleeved shirts (camisas dentros”), while Fausto always wore the latest fashions matched with the most expensive shoes.  He told Fausto,

“Those excess clothing could be better invested wisely”.

The marriage of Doña Rosario with Augusto  produced seven children, two of which died in infancy. Brother Andrew Gonzalez, president emeritus of De La Salle University, Manila, was the youngest of their children.All in all, I think it would be good if the only things mentioned about our side of the family is that Lola Charing was an Arnedo, of the old & prominent Sulipan, Apalit family; the enumeration of their children: Marina Arsenia, Augusto Beda, Ermelo Efren, Hector Argeo, + Heraclio Julio [infant, fatally injured when the young Hector hit his mother’s stomach with a baseball bat], + Macario Domingo [infant, like Cristeto & Marina], & Macario Diosdado; and the fact that Macario Diosdado Arnedo Gonzalez a.k.a. Brother Andrew Benjamin Gonzalez F.S.C., o 1940- + 2006, was one of the most accomplished & important Gonzalezes who ever lived. I know he would like that description because that was the driving force of his entire life and that was how he wanted to be remembered in the family.🙂


[1] Toto Gonzalez, “Remembrance of Things Awry, “his blog on the Gonzalez and other relatives. He quoted Eglantine Gonzalez Franco at several points of his treatise.

[2] Estados Unidos de America Islas Filipinas, Juzgado de Primera Instancia de Pampanga, Septimo Distrito Judicial, “Testamentaria de La Finada (de) Dña Florencio Sioco vda. De Gonzalez, Causa Civil No. 3299.August 28, 1927. 5pp.