Gregorio Maria Araneta Parents: Meet Luis Ma. Araneta and Emma Benitiz

Gregory Araneta

The third child of the late Philippine president and first lady Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, Irene Romualdez Marcos, gets wed to Gregorio Maria Araneta III.

More recently, she became well-known across the nation after her name was made public through the Panama Papers leak and for instigating student demonstrations at various college events.

After the end of the revolution and the creation of the Philippine Commonwealth, members of the clan expanded their business and political interests. Juan Araneta established the Ma-ao Sugar (refinery) Central in his hometown of Bago City, Negros Occidental. Industrialist Jorge Araneta would later expand it, and later the barangay where the Central stood was named after him. Jorge was also a close friend of the Philippine commonwealth President Manuel Quezon.

It was Jorge’s son-in-law and distant relation, J. Amado Araneta, who made the family into a household name. He established the real estate empire of commercial Cubao. His most prominent achievement is building Araneta City. The Smart Araneta Coliseum’s landmark structure was the world’s largest indoor stadium. It still remains one of the largest in Asia. Meanwhile, Amado’s son, Jorge L. Araneta, replaced him as the head of the Araneta Group and his father’s businesses.

In politics, Salvador Araneta, son of Gregorio Araneta become a Cabinet Secretary in the Philippine government. He was the founder of Araneta University (now De La Salle Araneta University) and FEATI University. Later, his nephew Greggy Araneta married Irene Marcos, the daughter of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

Another member of the clan involved with Marcos was Rafael M. Salas, the son of Ernesto Araneta Salas of Bago City. He served as Marcos’ Executive Secretary, due to political differences he left this position and later become Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, head of UNFPA. He would serve in this capacity for 17 years.

Many other members of the clan also serve in various political positions, including Senator Mar Roxas, a grandson of J. Amado Araneta, and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, husband of Philippine former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He is a descendant of Jesusa Araneta Lacson de Arroyo of the Negros branch of the family.

The Araneta family, particularly the descendants of Josefa Araneta, also of the Negros branch, produced the largest numbers of the Catholic clergy. She married Gregorio Varela, and the line of their son Antonio Araneta-Varela produced three nuns, two priests, and Bishop Jesus Varela. Meanwhile, their daughter, Dolores Araneta Varela, who married Agaton Ramos, had a grandson named Rolando Ramos Dizon, who became a La Sallian Catholic brother before becoming Chairman of the Commission on Higher Education.

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