Liang 梁 in the Philippines

First published in Tulay, Fortnightly Chinese-Filipino Digest 25, no. 7 (September 11-24, 2012): 5.

Surname 梁 (Liong in Hokkien, Liang in Mandarin) ranks as the 20th biggest surname in China, but only 31st among Chinese in the Philippines.

The origin of the surname Liang is quite simple. It was said that an heir of the legendary Emperor Zhuanxu (顓頊) by the name of Kang (康) was conferred territory and title at a place called Liang in Shanxi (陝西) province.

But State Liang was eventually destroyed by the powerful State Qin (秦) in 641 BC. Nevertheless, all Kang’s heirs used the name of State Liang as their surname since then.

Qin, the state that destroyed and occupied Liang, was actually a state of heirs who were distant cousins to the Liangs.

Kang’s great-great grandfather, Feizi (菲子), was conferred territory and title by Emperor Zhou Xiao Wang (周孝王 884-869 BC) at a place called Qin and established State Qin.

Ernest Leung

State Qin eventually unified whole China with its Emperor Qin Shihuang (秦始皇) or Shi Huang Di in 221 BC. So, those Chinese with surname Liang, or Liong in the Philippines, were in fact distant relatives of this emperor.

Among the Chinese in the Philippines or Filipino with Chinese ancestry with surname Liong, a famous economist by the name of Ernest Leung stands out.

Leung has held various posts, many of which were vital to the workings of the Philippine economy and its Asian neighbors, including Cabinet Secretary of Finance, president of the Philippine Deposit Insurance System, director of the board of Philippine Export Zone Authority, chairman of the Central Bank Board of Liquidators and chairman of the Board of the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Most recently, Leung served as the chair of the Development Bank of the Philippines. He also served as the chair of the DBP-Daiwa Securities SB Capital Markets Philippines, Inc. and as the director of the board of National Development Company and of the Philippine Economic Society.

He currently holds the post of chair of the Market Governance Board of the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corporation. He is a member of the Former Senior Government Officials.