This sub-project aims to organize genealogical data on the Laurel Family of the Philippines. Profiles here are those of historical figures, scions of the gentry (de buena familia), revolutionary heroes, scholars, government officials, national athletes and other public personalities (celebrities) in various fields. Find more surnames at the master project page, Families of the Philippines.
Three years of genealogical research have enabled the Laurel family to trace their ancestry to a scion of the Sultanate of Brunei in the 15th century before the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines.
The Sultan's eldest and heir had refused the throne because he loved to explore, travel, and seeking adventures. His name is Gat Masungit, a prince, an appellation that bespeaks a touchy temper.
And instead of accepting his father's throne he had decamped from Brunei with his partisans and they had sailed off the islands that would later be known as the Philippines. The sultan was disappointed because Gat Masungit had all qualities to make a great leader.
First they landed in Panay where Gat Masungit founded the town of Batan. (The people of Batan today still celebrate that foundation with a ritual frolic and dance known as Ati-Atihan.)
Then he crossed over to Luzon, where they settled in the southern realm they called Batang-an, and which we know today as Batangas.
In Batangas, Gat Masungit begot his first son, Gat Leynes. Of course this clan folk were Muslim until the coming of the Spaniards when the eldest son of Gat Leynes was baptized with a Christian name of Miguel Dela Cruz. Miguel grew up to be a fierce foe of the Spanish invaders. People looked up to him as a leader, the champion of their rights against the greed of their oppressors. He became a notorious outlaw and an enemy of the Spaniards. Old age came upon him and a desire to retire from war and strife. But how could he retire when his people still clung to his leadership?
Miguel pondered for ways to escape his violent life. His wife suggested that he should ask the priest for help. “What?” roared the descendant of Gat Masungit. “How can a man in skirt help me?” he repeated. His wife calmly urged Miguel.
One moonless night Miguel went to seek the priest of Taal to expound his problem. Here he was willing to lay down his arms. He poured out his violent ways against injustice of the Spanish conquerors. No matter where he went people would seek Miguel to champion their cause and the Spaniards search for his disposal. The priest gently put his hand on Miguel’s shoulder and said “Why not change your name”. Miguel had a puzzling look in his face and said “Which name should I take padre?” The priest paused for a few seconds and answered “Why not take the name Laurel… it means honor live the life of honor Miguel Laurel.” Henceforth the first Laurel had come to be.
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