We set off for our tour to Hacienda Luisita on January 3, 2009 around 4:00 AM. Ferdz, together with his wife Abby and his cousin, fetched me from my house and have met my Dad. It wasn’t a dramatic reunion, a simple one. But I was glad to see Ferdz again after 6 longs years of being away from each other.
Much of the sugar comes from Tarlac’s most infamous chunk of real estate, Hacienda Luisita. Comprising 6400 hectares (15,814 acres), Hacienda Luisita is the second largest single piece of contiguous land in the Philippines (after the 20,000-hectare Canlubang Sugar Estate of the Yulos in Laguna.) The estate was purchased in 1957 by the Cojuanco-Aquino family, one of the small number of oligarchic families who “own” the Philippines.
Part of the vast hacienda has been converted into a residential development. The world of Hacienda Luisita, a 121-hectare of five villages named after the second generation Cojuangco sisters: Carmen, Corazon, Josefine, Pacita and Teresita. A sprawling community surrounding the Luisita Golf and Country Club with individually titled lots, a fully operational sports complex, Spanish-Mexican inspired multi-purpose community clubhouse, function room, swimming pool and picnic area.
On our way inside, we stopped at the new air-conditioned Luisita Mall for a little chit-chat. In about five miles we arrived at the great Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Hacienda Luisita’s sugar refinery and one of the largest in the Philippines.