The Tevar Family College of Arms was founded on 1st of February 2022 by myself, Javin Jet “Jay” Tevar, who will hence assume the title of “Tevar Family Marshal of Arms” or simply “Marshal” to establish a heraldic record of the Tevar Family, organize a working record of rules and traditions of heraldry within the scope of our family and maintain such tradition to be passed down to future generations of the family.
As Family Marshal, I endeavor to establish, enforce, and propagate the usage of the Tevar Family heraldic arms and maintain the archives of the Tevar Family genealogy and family history.
With the Philippines lacking the official institutional bodies to govern personal and clan heraldry, it has become imperative that a College of Arms be created that only governs the scope of the Tevar Family. Such organization will enable the family to have a sound records-keeping avenue that will prove beneficial for the clan in the years to come.
We have discovered the earliest arms that bear the surname Tevar in an entry of Heraldario español, europeo y americano by Vicente de Cadenas y Vicent, Cronista Rey de Armas. This medieval directory of heraldry has established that an earlier family of Tevars have long since been heraldic families with the following arms:
This arms were described to be from Spanish settlers in Manila. It is highly likely that these were not related to our family. At the time of writing, the oldest recorded Tevar based on our genealogy and family history points to a native man called Florentino Tevar born in 1880s. Unfortunately he and his descendants do not the description of being from a family of Spanish settlers. The primary reason to this is the fact that his son’s livelihood was indicated to be as that of a “chauffer” based on a marriage ledger. The likelihood of those of Spanish-descent in to take on such occupation is highly unlikely in a Spanish-controlled colonial Philippines.
Add to that the fact that most in my father’s side (Tevars) possess little to no resemblance to the Spanish Caucasian features with our physical characteristics predominantly that of strong native Bicolano ethnicity of stout and stocky build, deep dark complexion, and other distinct indigenous features of the early Bicolanos peoples whose ancestry can be traced to precolonial Philippines. While later Tevar descendants have since acquired “mestiza” features, it has since been a consensus that this is due to intermarriage with Filipino families Spanish descent (Agustins, Estiponas, Diestas, Bañas) and not through the primary Tevar line. This is further substantiated through a quick study of some of the family’s surviving photographs.
A more likely scenario is that our family, that of Florentino, have chosen or have been designated the surname “Tevar” under the Claveria Decree where in November 21, 1849, the Governor General of the Philippines, Don Narciso Claveria y Zaldua issued a law requiring Filipinos to adopt Spanish and indigenous names from the Catalogo Alfabetico de Apellidos for civil and legal purposes.
Despite not being connected with the Spanish Tevars and thus having no legitimate claim to their two-eagle arms, the tradition of bearing arms, which was once reserved to the royalty, nobility, and aristocracy, has stayed with me. This practice has since been available to us in the modern time. Today, such practice is no longer guarded by an institution in the Philippines and has since fallen out of practical use and fashion.
Still, the concept of having an official coat-of-arms convinced to me that the idea that keeping with this kind of tradition can be beneficial to my family.
First Modern Armiger
Interestingly, the honor of being the First Armiger of the modern (Florentino’s) Tevar Family was not from a Tevar. While I, as the Family Marshal, have taken the initiative to assume arms for the family, I was not the First Armiger. This honor was given to Rev. Fr. John David Brillantes of Banate, Iloilo who himself is an august descendant of the noble Principalia class.
As a token of friendship, the good reverend offered to emblazon my personal arms as I was relatively new to the discipline at the time. I fashioned my personal arms after the original Tevar’s heraldry of “Vert, Two Eagles displayed Or” as a nod to our Spanish namesakes and to the tradition of heraldry that they introduced to us.
Between the two eagles, I decided to impress a bend charged with three fleur-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis has been an important Tevar symbol as this has been frequently used by my grandfather, Clemente Tevar being a renowned Scout whose primary symbol is a fleur-de-lis. I chose three because I was a child of a third child from my grandfather. And a final change was insisting the fleur-de-lis to look upright instead of the custom of having it follow the direction of the bend. The idea behind it was the concept of finding balance and symmetry when one is forced to bend or when one is looking in an unconventional perspective.
The last quirk has proved to be a useful and distinguishing characteristic as I’ve since discovered previous arms bearing the same characteristics EXCEPT the upright fleur-de-lis charges. And so it was that the final iteration of my personal arms were thus completed. It had the following blazonry:
“Vert, a bend Or charged with three fleur-de-lis erect Vert in between two eagles displayed Or”Emblazoned by Rev. Fr. John Brillantes, Armiger
I’ve since rendered the arms using Photoshop and have fashioned my documents as a sort of memento and documentation:
Similar But Distinct Arms
Notable arms with similarities to mine were kindly shared by the heraldic community online in the International Society of Commoners Heraldry Facebook group. Armiger Eliot Nesterman pointed out that the Hoegaerts Anvers coat-of-arms in particular presented a similar design. However the notable differences in tincture (color) and the position of the fleur-de-lis has categorically made our arms distinct from each other. Another similar arms was that of the Count of Almada but ultimately, his arms were far more distinct than that of Hoegaerts Anvers.
But alas, with my personal arms which I informally referred to as “Dosaguilas,” decided and officially assumed on August 19, 2020, I’ve decided to fashion arms not of any one person but for the entire Tevar family.
The Eagle and the Lily
It was in October 17, 2020 that we assumed the official coat-of-arms of the Tevar Family dubbed, “The Eagle and the Lily.” The blazon was simple enough: “Sable, in chief an eagle displayed, in base a fleur-de-lis, all within a bordure Or.”
To effectively ascribe the arms to the entire clan, it was decided to posthumously name Clemente Bañas Tevar, my grandfather, as the Tevar Clan’s heraldic progenitor. This was authorized by his children, the current elders of the Tevar Clan.
The golden eagle symbolizes rising for excellence and answering the call of duty as exemplified by the armiger’s lifelong career as an educator. The eagle is prominently placed in chief to represent the higher ideal of “Rising Above.” The eagle also points to the armiger’s residence and final resting place of Davao City.
The fleur-de-lis is adopted from the official insignia of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines to which the armiger was a lifelong ardent member even to the point of having the BSP logo carved in his headstone. He achieved the honor of being a Four-Beaded Scout for the BSP.
The Or bordure signifies the strong unity of the family encircling its chosen ideals. The Sable tincture represents deep respect to the history and legacy of the Tevar clan.
With the assistance of Vincent Beswick-Escanlar, we have secured registration to the Philippine Armorial’s official roster on October 29, 2020.
Beyond the Tevar Family College of Arms
With our arms earnestly secured and with the College of Arms initiated, we look to the future for continuing the legacy of the Tevar Family coat-of-arms. As a history enthusiast, particularly family history, I intend as Family Marshal to further develop the functions of the college into genealogical efforts.
My interest in maintaining our extensive family tree to over five generations will have been merged with the efforts of the college. And my hopes of passing on the knowledge to my successors, particularly my sons and nephews (as they shall be primary name-bearers) as well as my female descendants whose potential marriages invite the tradition to be practiced in new Filipino clans.
We hope to house within the Tevar Family College of Arms, new arms from other families that we are bound to through marriage or even deep family friendship. This will allow us to share the practice to more Filipinos moving forward.
My special thanks to The Philippine Armorial for their support in my heraldic journey and to Christopher Altnau whose own family college of arms has served as inspiration, reference, and benchmark for this undertaking.