Elena Ledesma (Silva) was born in Jaro, Iloilo on May 18, 1928, to Juan Ledesma Ledesma and Magdalena (Nena) Jalandoni Javellana. She was the first-born of five children.
Juan’s family started sugarcane plantations on Negros island in the early 1900’s, funded in part by loans from Nena’s father, banker Julio Quimbiong Javellana. In 1932, Juan, his father, Julio Villalobos Ledesma, and other investors founded the Negros Navigation Company.
"Don Juan L. Ledesma, The Planter of the Year"
Don Juan L. Ledesma
The Planter of the Year
(Page C-13 in an undated Yearbook found in Elena’s papers)
While other Negrense luminaries skyrocketed into the national spotlight through their achievements in the City of Manila, Don Juan L. Ledesma hied quietly and without ballyhoo to his extensive farms (haciendas) in Negros Occidental. Before the year was over he was indisputably acclaimed as the biggest individual sugar cane planter of the Philippines. That makes Don Juanito, The Planter of the Year.
The vast lands he utilized for the cultivation of sugar cane and his munificent harvest has astounded local and national circles. The success of Don Juanito as a farmer can be attributed to his keen observations of the agricultural systems and methods practiced principally in Java, Cuba, and Hawaii. He traveled abroad extensively for the sole purpose of mastering the fundamentals of the sugar industry.
Don Juanito is the son of Don Julio Ledesma, another distinguished Negrense sugar baron. He was born in Silay on February 8, 1907. He was educated in the De La Salle College where he obtained the Degree of Bachelor of Science in Commerce. Upon completion of his studies, Don Juanito before assuming the responsibility of administering the haciendas of Don Julio, diligently prepared for the task by studying farm management and technique at home and abroad. The result is obvious success. The farms of Don Juanito can well serve as models for high production.
Incidentally, Don Juanito is one of the most loved and notable sportsmen of the Philippines. He owns a yacht; one of the best stables of racing hourses in the country; and is an excellent fisherman. Don Juanito is a familiar figure in high society circles. He is the father of five children and is married to the former Miss Magdalena Javellana of the prominent family of that name in Iloilo.
Don Juanito L. Ledesma is the President of the Negros Navigation Company and of the San Carlos-Vallehermoso-Calatrava Planters’ Association.