Younger folks from Bulacan only know Doña Remedios Trinidad or DRT as a far-flung mountainous area in the province where nature lovers and adventure seekers frequently visit. There’s more to it than that. The story behind the place’s name is somewhat controversial for a time, but this is slowly being forgotten. Why do we need to care? Because it is part of our history.
Who is Doña Remedios Trinidad?
Remedios Trinidad is the mother of former First Lady Imelda Marcos, then President Ferdinand Marcos.
Her full name is Remedios “Meding” De Guzman Trinidad. She was born in Baliuag, Bulacan, on April 5, 1902. Her mother’s name is Marciana “Sianang” de Guzman from Capiz, while his father’s name was not identified for some reason. We know from online records and local historians that she and the majority of the Trinidad clan were from the Sta. Barbara area of Baliuag.
There are RUMORS that Meding was a friar’s daughter or was borne out of wedlock. This is similar to the story of Padre Damaso and Maria Clara from the novel Noli Me Tangere. We really can’t confirm as this is just “chismis” or hearsay.
Meding lived together with her two siblings: her Kuya Ricardo or “Carding” and her younger sister, Regina. Later in life, Meding had to work in an orphanage in Manila, while his brother rented a nearby apartment and visited her once in a while. She entered the Asilo de San Vicente de Paul (ASVP) orphanage, formerly known as Casa de San Vicente de Paul or the “Looban Convent.” For many years, she lived there and learned how to cook, sew, embroider, among many things.
According to an article from world Heritage Encyclopedia, “Enjoying the good patronage of Manila’s elite, Asilo de San Vicente de Paul functioned as a place where Manila’s affluent families could drop by to purchase the boarders’ excellent handmade doilies and lace embroideries, homemade embutido, longanisa, tocino, camarones, and at times, select wives for their sons. The Tuasons, Zobels, Roxases, Mendozas, Reyeses, Laperals, Ortolls, Escaños, Chiong, Velosos, Velascos, Galas were but a few of these families who frequented the nuns and their Asilo.”
The stars suddenly aligned one faithful day in 1928. Meding’s life will change forever when an affluent lady, coincidentally also named “Trinidad,” visited the orphanage. Doña Trinidad Romualdez visited Asilo to find a wife for her youngest son, the newly widowed Vicente Orestes Romualdez. Meding was introduced to Doña Trinidad. Not long after, Meding won the heart of Doña Trinidad and eventually was set to marry his son.
We cannot find a clear picture of Remedios Trinidad, but many say she looks like the morena version of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
How did she become Doña Remedios Trinidad?
In 1928, Remedios Trinidad married Vicente Orestes Lopez Romualdez, the son of Don Daniel Arcilla Romualdez and Doña Trinidad “Tidad” Lopez Romualdez, the patriarch and matriarch of the Romualdez clan of Leyte.
It is common for wealthy families during the Spanish era in the Philippines to attach ‘Don’ (for patriarch) or ‘Doña’ (for matriarch) in their first name denoting elite social status.
She became a stepmother to his husband’s first 5 children from his first wife. Apart from them, Meding had 6 children of her own with her husband, Vicente. They are Imelda Remedios, Alita, Armando, Concepcion, Alfredo, and Benjamin.
Her life was a mix of happy and sad events perfect for a modern-day telenovela. Her married life was not a fairytale, as it was marked with heartaches from her stepchildren’s resentment towards her, a passive husband, numerous pregnancies, and many sacrifices to keep her husband’s name in high repute.
She died on April 7, 1938, at the young age of 36. Records say that she died due to pneumonia complications. Many attested that she died broken-hearted.
How come the town in Bulacan is named after Doña Remedios Trinidad?
September 13, 1977 – President Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1196, creating the municipality of Doña Remedios Trinidad in Bulacan. They have detached the far end barangays from Norzagaray, Angat, and San Miguel; and combined them to create this new municipality.
In terms of land area, DRT is the largest municipality in Bulacan. It is occupying almost 1/3 of the total land area of the province.
Doña Remedios Trinidad (DRT) was named in honor of Doña Remedios Trinidad, the mother of then First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos. Armed with the power of Martial Law (1972-1981), former President Marcos could decide with absolute legislative powers to enact any law or Presidential Decree of his choice without opposition or democratic debate.
Despite the long list of honorable Bulakenyo heroes like Marcelo del Pilar, Mariano Ponce, Gregorio del Pilar, Isidoro Torres, et al. who had undeniable contribution and sacrifice for their country, the town was named after the former President’s mother in law. We learn that if you are the President of the Philippines with absolute legislative powers (due to the proclamation of Martial Law), you can (re)name any town in the country in honor of your wife’s mother even though there is no historical significance at all.
- Gutenberg, P. (n.d.). Remedios T. Romualdez. Retrieved from http://self.gutenberg.org/articles/remedios_t._romualdez
- Doña Remedios Trinidad. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.wikizero.com/en/Doña_Remedios_Trinidad
- Presidential Decree No. 1196, s. 1977: GOVPH. (1977, September 13). Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1977/09/13/presidential-decree-no-1196-s-1977/
- Mijares, P. (2017). The conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. Quezon City: Bughaw.
- (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.bulacan.gov.ph/drt/history.php
- Proclamation No. 2045, s. 1981: GOVPH. (1981, January 17). Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1981/01/17/proclamation-no-2045-s-1981-2/
- Presidential Decree No. 1658, s. 1979: GOVPH. (1979, December 26). Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1979/12/26/presidential-decree-no-1658-s-1979/
- Doña Remedios Trinidad. (2020, September 19). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doña_Remedios_Trinidad
- Proclamation No. 1081, s. 1972: GOVPH. (1972, September 21). Retrieved from https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/1972/09/21/proclamation-no-1081/