When I started my work on the Imperials of Albay, many encouraged me to write also on a number of local clans and families. These include the Maronillas who, apparently, are our distant relatives by affinity. But while research works like these are interesting, the availability of resources are not.
But the members of the Benito Clan, unintentionally, showed us how to build patches of history — that is, through information-sharing. What they did is actually a model in knowledge development. Dakul an natatakot na mag-share ki information for a number of reasons pero an dai ninda aram, when one shares a set of information and another adds what he knows, a new set of information is developed. Bako arog kan pagkaon o ano pa man na bagay. When two kinds of food are set on the table, nothing new is developed. Pag kinaon pa, nawawara na. An inpormasyon, kun dai hihilomon, lalo pang nabibilog sa sarong bagong kaaraman.
The work of the younger Benitos is also being done now by Jun Asuncion of Bulan Observer. Just lately, he published an article trying to clarify some gray areas in his roots. Entitled “The Noodle in Asuncion’s Soup“, the article validates the reports on the intermarriage between the locals, the Chinese and the Spaniards. Puwede pa nganing sabihon na an mga Bikolano kaito, bakong mga racists. If Jose Rizal’s novels indeed reflect the situation of his time, we can decipher some form of racism and discrimination against the Chinese. (Never mind the Filipinos. Discriminated na talaga sinda bilang mga “indio”).
Proofs of the absence of racism in Bicol are the following: 1. The intermarriage of the locals (and mestizos) and the Chinese (see Jun Asuncion’s article here, and Biklish’s article on the Imperials), and (2) the lack of Chinatown in the region.