The Roces Family Around the World

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Reinventing the wheel

There are lots of family gathering type websites being offered out there. Each has similar offerings of community space, but the problem that I see is that there is no real way to hand it down to the family. If the company that made the software goes under etc. then that's it, they take their marbles and leave. The family loses out. All the work, all the memories, everything gone without recourse. Now to be realistic, that can also happen here since the person currently working on it (me) is a volunteer and this can stop equally at a whim.

The difference is that the first model, there's no real way of taking a snapshot of it to publish in DVD form. It would mean extra work to mirror the data (if even possible) or even just rekey in all the data.

I've always been a man of trying to hold my own destiny so my first reaction is to try to do this on a hosted server somewhere in the world. The data needs to be kept flexible so that it is portable. At some point in time it becomes even more feasible to make and keep a physical server that keeps all the family data, which maybe one day every family has a historian who keeps all the family's information on a small computer the size of a book on their bookshelf.

This week has been an interesting one on this front. Tomorrow I will be getting hosting. I will sign a 2 year contract and register a half dozen domain names. There will be lots of storage space and also lots of monthly bandwidth. The ability to stream video is extremely important to this project and it's one of the reasons that I'm going with this provider.

I have signed up with several genealogy sites to find others that are also looking for Roces family members around the world. In doing some cursory searches, a US Census in the 1910-1930's shows a Roces living in Brooklyn, Massachusetts, and Indiana. Same person? Not sure, but I was very surprised to find the name come up in that area.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sylvia Roces Montilla

Sylvia R. Montilla

"We are an ideal family to go into (journalism) because we are not tentacled with other things but the way the game of journalism is now…we had…distanced…it's too politically powered already," says Sylvia Roces Montilla, a third generation Roces descendant.

Born on the 31st of January 1938, Sylvia is the daughter of Rafael "Liling" Roces, a pre-war columnist and World War II guerilla, and Leonor Varona (currently married to Aurelio Montinola, Sr.). She is the elder sister to Village Voice president, Antonio "Tony" Roces. She married Augustin Montilla III and had three sons: Augustin IV, Rafael and Miguel.

Sylvia finished elementary and high school at Maryknoll College (presently Miriam College). Then she went to Spain for two years and studied Humanities at the Universidad Central of Madrid. When she came back to the Philippines, she enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas. Design and ArchitectureShe took up Philosophy and Letters and graduated Magna cum Laude. Also at one time she went to California and was a student at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco.

Her career in print media started when she got involved in her uncle Ramon Roces' publications. She had handled several positions in his group of magazines. She became editor, art director and columnist. She also had worked with cousin Elena Roces-Guerrero, daughter of Don Ramon, who came up with a comics magazine called Akda. The publication featured Tagalog translations of world literature which were illustrated by several great artists like Manansala, Alfredo Roces (another uncle), Fernando Ocampo, Arturo Luz and others. Her work with the company that time had not been an easy load, according to her, "…my exposure to publishing is not this idealistic graduate who will make a short story and then she'll be recognized and all that. Nasubsob ako right away to cover areas because there was this magazine that was coming out every week or every month…" However, she adds, "…I really love (working in publishing). I was inspired by my grandfather and my father who were actually the writers in the whole Roces clan…"

Aside from the magazines, she also became president of an advertising and public relations company called Mass Promotions during pre-Martial Law period. It was a PR firm which served the Cultural Center of the Philippines and other top Filipino corporations. Furthermore, she narrates, "It was very nice (working for the company) but then afterwards you realize, Makati Village Voiceespecially through advertising…, that you play around with the truth…you present something that is sugar-coated, that's not true…Then you realize words, words, words for what?"

Currently, she is the editor-in-chief of the community paper, Village Voice, and magazine, Design and Architecture. For Sylvia, the later publication is more of a task that she does as a hobby and not necessarily for money. Moreover, she says, "I don't know if this (Design and Architecture) will fold up but…for me as long as the project is good I'll stand by it…" Another thing she is busy with is book production with her uncle, Alfredo Roces. They had produced several books such as 'Hidalgo', Nick Joaquin's 'FEU: The Culture Hero' and her father's book, 'Looking for Liling'.

Likewise, Sylvia is active in several organizations. She is co-founder and director of the RDA, Philippines (Riding for the Disabled foundation); Ang Arko ng Pilipinas' first community of handicapped persons and volunteer assistants Community Council director and president of The Learning Center, which is a school for special children.

She is also a co-founder and CEO of the first art gallery in Bacolod City called Galeria Buglas and several family business corporations.

Besides her numerous achievements, Sylvia expresses much pride to the heritage of her Roces clan. She recognizes her grandparents, Rafael Filomeno Roces and Inocencia Reyes, as the people who left them the legacy of simple joys and pleasures and contentment in life. Admiring herAkda grandfather and his word, she narrates, "…he had many chances to be so glorious…(but)…what he always say (is), 'I never want to be so high that people cannot reach me. I don't want to be so low either that they will step on me nor would I like anyone to be in that position.'"

For the new breed of journalists Sylvia shares her experiences and lessons saying that, "…writing editorial has made me…disciplined because…the problem…when you have many interest…writing (becomes) once in a blue moon or when you feel (in the) mood…and that's not true because hardly will you be inspired unless you sit down, blank in front of the computer…it won't turn up by itself…" Furthermore, she adds, "…deadline keeps you discipline…it's good in life to have that…" Lastly, she emphasizes, "…unless you are solid that you cannot be bugged down by financial problems then you cannot deliver the truth as you would like to because you get muffled by (your) own lack of money."


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Setting the stage

I've been mulling over the site design and metaphor to represent this site. I've looked over many geneology sites and family type sites, but nothing that encompasses what I'm trying to accomplish.

I think I've finally figured out some basics sections and offerings, but am still stuck on some design elements. Luckily for me I work with lots of creative people who can give me some feedback on highly trafficked website organization. While I don't anticipate that this will be so highly trafficked, I do anticipate that it should have a scope and longevity that I cannot even begin to imagine.

Since this is geared to family, there's really only one common denominator to all families across generations and cultures, and that's the home.

The low hanging fruit of this idea are really easy to see and grasp immediately.

The Living Room/Salón/Sala: First, notice that I am including a Spanish/Tagalog translation. This area will be where discussions of the family occur via forums. Discussions of all topics will try to be addressed from simple "Emigrating 101" to "Philippines: Current Affairs" to "Spain: The Origins of Roces" to just about any open public discussion you'd have with your friends and family.

The Dining Room/Comedor/?: This area will be a private family validated section, meaning that it's not going to be open to the general public. The discussions here I intend to be a more personal nature since the activity of breaking bread is usually expressed as more intimate in nature. This discussion area will be geared to "Who are you, and how are we related?" to "Shared Family Gatherings"

The Study/Despacho/?: This space will be the heart of the geneology area. There will be a family tree, space to put up pictures of family members, multimedia files, newsclippings, outside family webiste mirroring, and items of historical family interest.

The Kitchen/Concina/?: I envision this area to be a space for keeping and trading family recipes. All grandmas/abuelas are yummy cooks, but some of grandpas/abuelos have their own special recipes too.

Ultimately, I'd like to try to capture snapshots of this website so that we can also have copies of all the information so that internet connectivity isn't required to browse some of the historical data. The internet connectedness will keep the information current and fresh but a DVD compilation can ensure that even those who want to archive this information for generations to come.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

An Introduction

Hello my name is Brian.

I currently live in Manhattan, NY in the US. Over the years I've been fascinated by people who've chronicled their family and can trace the family origins back through history.

I hope to bridge the gaps of generations and continents to help give family members a way to remember and honor family traditions. I hope to preserve video, audio, pictures, memories and traditions of family members around the globe.

I was directed to a website from a cousin from Hawaii who had discovered ROCES: A Tradition in Philippine Print Media created by Sassy Mae C. Sumulong a student at De La Salle University, Philippines. I contacted her and after discussing with her preserving her site, she offered to assist any way that she can on the new site. It has taken me some time to get all the pieces together but I'm now committed to completing this endeavor.

I know that this will always be a work in progress. I also know that I cannot do this by myself. It will require the assistance of everyone in the family. If you'd like to assist either by collecting information, building the website or donations for hardware, bandwidth, please contact me: