Tirso Uytengsu Sr. Street, Cebu City

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - January 20, 2016 - 9:00am

It is the street that connects Jones Avenue (now called the President Sergio Osmeña Boulevard) to the residence of the honoree (the house was used to be owned by General Gavino Sepulveda). The Cebu City Council on October 29, 1973 almost a decade after the death of the honoree enacted City Ordinance No. 852 naming a street in his honor.

Who is Don Tirso Uytengsu Sr.? He was the grandson of Uy Chu Eng an adventurous lad from Xiamen and traveled to the Philippines. Chu Eng then settled in Dumaguete then started a business of his own and went back to Xiamen to start a family.

The father of Don Tirso by the name of Ma Chuan was the eldest son of Chu Eng, the former (Ma Chuan) died months after Don Tirso was born. Chu Eng, the patriarch of the clan, lost his wife and then his youngest daughter which put him in despair resulting to his death at the age of 45.

The great grandmother of Don Tirso who was then a widow sent the younger brother of Ma Chuan by the name of Ut Ma Tiao to the Philippines to run the business left by Uy Chu Eng. The brother (Ma Tiao) was only 19 years old when he arrived in the Philippines. Ma Tiao after making the family business prosper again went back to China. However, when he came back a fire destroyed their business.

It was in 1928 that Ma Tiao, together with his nephew, Tirso Uytengsu organized the "Uy Ma Tiao & Co. Inc." After World War II, Ma Tiao died. It was then that Don Tirso Uytengsu Sr. that managed the family corporation.

Don Tirso married Honey Tan, and they had 12 children: Connie, who married Vincent T. Kokseng, Susan married Tony Limtong Sr., Wentworth, Wendell who married Felicima Cuaderno, Wilfred Steven Uytengsu married Bonnie Brooks, Florida married George K. Young Sr., Lilian married William Liu, Henry married twice, to Louise Chen and Helen Arcilla, Alice married William Mannion, Tirso Uytengsu Jr. married Cristina Mabasa, Edward married twice, Erlinda Cang and Linda Vale, and John Douglas married Elizabeth Douglas.

A son of Don Tirso by the name of Wentworth, a pre-law student then of Silliman University died in 1945 as a guerilla, in his honor the Wentworth Uytengsu Memorial Scholarship Fund is offered at the Silliman University for deserving students in the College of Law.

Another son, Wilfred was born on October 6, 1927. He began his primary education at the Saint Theresa's College, then at the Little Flower of Jesus Academy, then at the San Carlos College, and still later at the Silliman University. Early in 1946, he studied, for one semester, in the Mapua Institute of Technology in Manila. Soon after, he went to the United States, where, from 1947 to 1950, he enrolled at Leland Stanford Junior University, in California, and was graduated, in 1950, with the degree of Bachelor of Science. In April of the same year he went back to the Philippines. Then he went back to the United States and took a postgraduate course, in chemical engineering in another school, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He finished the course in July 1951.

Wilfred Sr. established the Grand Milling Corporation and the Alaska Milk Corporation in 1972. A namesake of Wilfred (grandson of Don Tirso) is instrumental in the holding of the international extreme sport Iron Man 70.3 in Cebu. The family owns the businesses such as the Harbor City Dimsum, Dimsum Break, Orange Brutus, and the Primary Group.

Don Tirso was among the pioneers of the Boy Scout Movement, Cebu Council. Don Tirso was a prominent member of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Cebu. He represented the Philippines as delegate of the PHILCOA Trade Mission to the United States and Europe. He was also a three-time delegate to the International Oil Congress at Rapallo, Italy, Canne, France, and Brussels, Belgium. He was president of the Cebu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and vice president of the International Chamber of Commerce.

The Uytengsu family was honored by the Cebu City government during its 75th Charter Day Celebration (2012) as one of the 75 Families of Distinction.


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