THE HISTORY OF THE PHILIPPINE ARANETAS
According to historical accounts and testimonies obtained from the elders in the family, the Philippine Aranetas originated from the Basque region of Northern Spain.
In 1723, during the Galleon Trade, two brothers named Baltazar de Araneta and Don Jose de Araneta arrived in Manila aboard the Spanish Galeón ,"La Sacra Familia". They came from the Basque region of Spain by way of Acapulco, Mexico. This was, however, not conclusive as some members of the family, disputed that the two are not brothers as Don Jose de Araneta must have been born in Gipuzkoa, while Baltazar de Araneta, was born in Mexico.
There are many conflicting testimonies about the beginning of the first Philippine Aranetas. Many of these stories were passed down verbally from one generation to another, it is more likely than not, that these stories have changed along the way. Some have it that Don Jose de Araneta was born in Zamboanga. If he was born in Zamboanga, he therefore can not be the same Don Jose de Araneta who arrived in Manila in 1723. Other stories has it that an Aranetas from the Basque region of Spain settled in Zamboanga, while others say that the first Aranetas in the Philippines began with two brothers who were priest, from Mexico. Until documentations to substantiate all these stories are found, the true facts will remain unknown.
From articles written by Santiago Gomez [El Galeón de Manila en el siglo XVIII, Navios de la Carrera de Filipinas] in reference to Baltazar de Araneta. To wit: The Galeón Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragosa", under the command of General Baltazar de Araneta and his ship master, Captain Jose Antonio de la Madrid, sailed from Cavite on July 31, 1736, accompanied by the flagship N.S. Cavadonga, it arrived in Acapulco, Mexico, four months after. The same ship returned to Manila on August 20, 1739, (on board the ship was the newly appointed governor to the Philippines Gaspar Antonio de la Torre).
Later, Baltazar de Araneta served the Spanish government as a Regidor of the Cabildo and Secretary of the Charitable Fraternity of the Mesericordia in Manila. He married Manuela de Aguirre. Baltazar died in Manila in 1750. One line of the Araneta family descended from him.
In 1725, Don Jose de Araneta joined the first Spanish expedition to Mindanao. A passage quoted from the book (Islas Filipinas: Mindanao Vol.11), by Benito Francia and Julian Gonzales Parrado, translated from the Chabacano dialect by Datu Michael Mastura, establishes two facts: First, Don Jose de Araneta served the Spanish Politico-Military Government of Mindanao based at Zamboanga City. Second, he served as interpreter between the Spanish colonial government and the Sultan of Maguindanao, together with Placido Alberto de Saavedra. Another passage from the book revealed that in 1746, Don Jose Araneta was executed in Sulugan, Mindanao nowadays known as Anuling, in Cotabato, Philippines. There are conflicting information drawn from translations of various documents pertaining to him.
Before the turn of the century, two of Don Jose's sons, Mathias Araneta and Vicente Araneta left Zamboanga province for Iloilo. They settled in Parian [Molo]. Don Jose's other son Benito, followed them afterwards. Years later, Vicente Araneta with his family moved and established their residence in the province of Negros Occidental starting the Negros branch of the family.
The Philippine Aranetas of today are descendants of Don Jose de Araneta and Baltazar de Araneta.
Portal Archivos General de Indies (Por Santiago Gomez). Islas Filipinas: Mindanao (Por Benito Francia and Julian G. Parredo).
Footnote: The Galeón Nuestra Senora de Guia, arrived in Manila from Acapulco, Mexico six years later in August 9, 1729 and not 1723, as circulated from a leaflet during the Araneta grand reunion in Iloilo in 1993. (Source Archivo General de Indies, pp.32-33, Ruta Acapulco - Filipinas). The Galeón La Sacra Familia, arrived in Manila in 1723. (See source Overview of Galleons to / from Philippines, 1565 - 1815).