LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The legendary Princess Urduja may soon be relegated to historical oblivion following the proposal of a local historian here to change the name of the building that bears her name into Princesa Kabontatala.
“Why honor Princess Urduja? She is not a Pangasinense,” said Restituto Basa, author of Footnotes on Pangasinan History and The Story of Dagupan.
The Princess Urduja building, which is located at the right side of the capitol here, is the office and official residence of the governor.
It was built in 1956 by the Gov. Juan de Rodriguez and named it after Princess Urduja, who, Basa said, was thought of as a Pangasinense.
“But modern scholars say Urduja is a Cambodian. So, we might as well change the name of the Governor’s Office to Princesa Kabontatala because she is our own,” Basa said.
Citing historical sources, Basa said Kabontatala (a Pangasinense word for “morning star”) was a daughter of a local chieftain that ruled Barangay Domalandan here during the pre-Spanish times.
He said Kabontatala was married by Chinese pirate Lim-Ahong, when he found his way to Domalandan after retreating from a battle against the Spaniards in Manila Bay.
“It was Kabontatala who and her subjects who helped Lim-Ahong dig a canal to help him escape from pursuing Spanish forces, who blockaded the mouth of the Agno River in Domalandan,” Basa said.
“And do you know that she is the ancestor of two Pangasinan governors?” Basa said.
According to him, Lim-Ahong and Kabontatala had a child named Quimson (a Chinese word for precious gold), and the late Governors Sofronio Quimson (1946-1950) and Francisco Quimson Duque were his descendants.
Duque, father of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, also served as Health secretary during the administration of President Diosdado Macapagal.
Rizal’s great grandpa
Basa also wants another building in the capitol compound to be renamed Manuel Facundo de Quintos from its present name Kalantiao Building .
The building houses the Provincial Employment Services Office, Provincial Nutrition Office and the Civil Service Commission field office.
“Again, Kalantiao is not a Pangasinense,” Basa said.
Kalantiao was a lawgiver from Ilolilo.
Basa said De Quintos, the gobernadorcillo of Lingayen in the 1850’s, is the great grandfather of national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
He said De Quintos’ was married to Regina Ursua of Cavite and Manila and they had a daughter, Brigida de Quintos.
Brigida married Lorenzo Alberto Alonzo, whose daughter was Teodora de Quintos Alonso, mother of Rizal.
De Quintos was born here.
“This is why Rizal may have spent part of his childhood in Lingayen,” Basa said.
Among Rizal’s descendants here include educator Margarita Hamada, who now runs schools here and in Dagupan City.
Basa said that it is important to rename the government buildings here properly “so that we will know our roots, so that we will know our past and we will value them.”
He added that there is no memorial yet to Victor Tomeldan, a provincial board member who helped then Gov. Daniel Maramba in building the capitol.
Tomelden is also the father of the late Sen. Geronima Pecson, the country’s first woman senator.
“The present generation hardly knows these people and by naming buildings after them, they will somehow ask about them,” Basa said.