Finding My Roots: My Parents' Ancestral DNA

I am always fascinated with DNA technology as it helps genealogists and family historians uncover things behind their ancestry and the bric...


I am always fascinated with DNA technology as it helps genealogists and family historians uncover things behind their ancestry and the brick wall that prevents them from knowing their past. As a big fan of "Finding Your Roots," "Who Do You Think You Are?" and "Long Lost Family," I decided to take a DNA test a few years ago so I will know where I came from and find distant connections. It's unfortunate though that I never had the chance to get both my parents' DNA so I can properly compare them to me. More importantly, break down the brick wall that prevented me from fully exploring my mother's past.

Since then both my mom and dad have passed away so I can no longer do what I hoped to do. Fortunately enough, Ancestry DNA has recently updated their dashboard so I can see the DNA breakdown of both parents thereby giving me insights about them. Their stories need to be told.

As national hero, Jose Rizal would say, "Ang Hindi lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan."

My DNA

The updated DNA breakdown shows the following:


My DNA admixture is 69% Southern Philippines, 21% Northern Philippines, 5% Southern China, 2% Northern China, 2% Dai, and 1% Basque. It suggests that I have at least one grandparent from Luzon, at least one great grandparent from Southern China, and at least one great-great-grandparent from Northern China. The faint hint of Basque heritage may have been from someone down the family tree who is a product of such union.

Based on the figures above, the numbers confirmed the story that the grandfather from the Malabon-Bulacan area is my mother's biological father. Not only they have close resemblance, the DNA doesn't lie as it confirms that he truly is my grandfather. Too bad, I never got the chance to meet and get to know him.


The significant Chinese admixture suggests that both my parents may have roots from immigrants that came in the latter part of the 19th century when a mass wave of Chinese moved to the Philippines. It was a tumultuous time when the Qing Dynasty was on the wane and the imperialist counties tried to carve up territories. Life may have been difficult for ordinary people so it was likely that many were pushed away to distant lands in search of better lives.


It is interesting to note that I have Dai admixture as well. This is a unique bloodline as these people are from an isolated mountainous area around northern Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and some parts of the Yunnan province. My southern Chinese ancestor, who managed to move to the country, may have Dai ancestry.

There is a strong connection to Chinese heritage in my mother's maternal line as the core of her Cebuano roots can be traced back to the San Fernando-San Nicolas area where many Chinese immigrants eventually settled as the Parian area has become crowded by then. Nicolas Cabigon was born sometime in 1823 and probably had part-Chinese ancestry. The other half of the family is Antonio Roa who probably was born around the same time as Nicolas and may probably have full Chinese ancestry. Both men are the ancestors of my mother's grandparents as seen below.


My Parents' DNA

I was working on my family tree since 2009 and it took me a while to uncover a lot of information about them since it's unfortunate that our family got cut off from a lot of relatives and many relationships got severed due to personal and trivial circumstances. It is what it is so seeing their DNA breakdown opened up my mind about their heritage.




Parent 1, my father, has roots predominantly in the southern Philippines (particularly Naga, Cebu) so I got half of his DNA from it. The low figure on the Chinese admixture probably means he has one or two lines from his family tree that has Chinese ancestry.

Meanwhile, Parent 2, my mother, has a more diverse breakdown with almost equal northern and southern Philippines admixture. It proves that my grandfather is from Bulacan and my grandmother is from Cebu. The significant Chinese admixture, which is equivalent to one full Chinese great grandparent, may have come from my mother's maternal line (Duterte-Roa). It is also interesting to note that both my parents are connected since my dad has the same Duterte-Roa roots in one of his maternal lines.

The mysterious Dai admixture, which is equivalent to one full Dai great-great-great-grandparent, may come from one of those ancestors who was probably born in a southern Chinese coastal city. Their ancestors may have moved away from the remote region of their homeland and settled there eventually. As the conditions worsened during the late Qing Dynasty, they may have chosen to leave again and settled in the Philippines.

If you think we're probably related and keen to connect, please leave a message down below or send a PM on our Facebook page.

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Istoryadista | History Blog | Cebu Blogger: Finding My Roots: My Parents' Ancestral DNA
Finding My Roots: My Parents' Ancestral DNA
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