Where did all the beautiful “tutubi” dragonflies go??? We used to have many of them in the garden before…
We didn’t have all these techie gadgets which keep the children indoors the whole day these days. At best, we had the standard board and card games from the USA like Monopoly, Clue, Scrabble, Snakes & Ladders, Old Maid, etc.. We even had a Ouija board and enjoyed it immensely until my eldest brother said it was The Bad Guy making the glass move!!! We played Toilet on Lola Charing’s exquisite English Regency-style “klismos” chairs by Sr Jose Antonio Ortoll with the removable cushions (now museum pieces; the Catalan Sr Ortoll made beautiful furniture for Manila’s richies; he was married to one of the city’s richest ladies), pretending to poopoo with the corresponding noises during lunch and dinner parties, to the dismay and embarrassment of our parents. We pretended to be gymnasts at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, aping Roumanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci who scored continuous perfect 10.0s and ruining 3 bed cushions in the process. But even those were not enough to keep us pesky children inside the house the whole day. We had the gardens, the streets, and the parks to play in, as well as the jaunts to the country clubs and the hotels. We played War, throwing fallen fruits like santol, caimito, rambutan, kamias, & duhat as cannonballs across windows and fences. We played Rape (talk about childhood violence!?) wherein I the Rapist would pull down the dress zippers at the backs of the obliging, giggling girls, “single size” for half of the zipper length and “family size” for the full zipper length (just to show how much, or how little, parental or even “yaya” supervision we had in our preteens…). And we didn’t even know what real rape was! Bwahahah! We played 1973 Miss Universe, aping Margie Moran, Gloria Diaz, and Amparo Munoz, using paper cutout crowns. Presumably like all children, we played all throughout those summers…
During my childhood days, being techie was all in the mind. Being able to operate the Bose stereo system, the Sony Betamax video player/recorder, and the Sony Walkman was enough to impress the adults and to qualify as a techie.
April 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm (1900s Philippines, Arnedo de Sulipan, Family Traditions, Gonzalez de Sulipan, Pampanga Traditions, Personal, Random memories, Religious Traditions, The Global Crowd, The Manilenos, The Pampanguenos, The Past)
The searing heat of summer also brings back memories of childhood gardens, specially Lola Charing’s garden. The garden of “Dona Charing” (Rosario Espiritu Arnedo-Gonzalez) was famous in the 40s, 50s, 60s, & 70s for its big American roses, in a city where even small roses did not thrive naturally. During its heyday, a group of hardy gardeners kept that Eden in bloom rather expensively. And we grandchildren had the run of the place, specially during the summers of the 60s & 70s.
April 25, 2013 at 5:41 pm (1800s Filipinas, 1900s Philippines, 2000s Philippines, Arnedo de Sulipan, Brother Andrew F.S.C. of De La Salle, Comedy Relief, Family Traditions, Gonzalez de Sulipan, Humor, Pampanga Cuisine, Pampanga Traditions, Past Events, Personal, Random memories, The Global Crowd, The Manilenos, The Pampanguenos, The Past)
Perhaps because of the searing heat these days, I remembered the traditional “Buco Lechias” sherbet which was made in a wood-and-steel “garapinera” churn with lots of rock salt outside (to keep cold?). As far as I knew, it was made in every good Capampangan household. In Lola Charing’s home, it was made by the mayordomo, Benito Nuqui or “Bito” for short. ”Bito” was modernized to “Bits” in the hip 60s. LOL.
I was a preteen in the late 70s (born 1967). Lola Charing had passed on in mid-1977 and my uncle Brother Andrew FSC of De La Salle University became the principal figure in the family. Brother Andrew had the most luxurious and demanding gustatory tastes. In one of those phases, he became obsessed with producing an excellent “Buco Lechias” sherbet. He insisted that the “Buco Lechias” sherbet of his childhood (late 40s) at Lola Titay’s (the Arnedo ancestral house in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga) had the WHITEST lychee fruit flesh, not the pale pink ones in the cans currently available. So he sent Bito to Binondo/Chinatown to look for the whitest lychee fruit flesh. Well, what did he expect? It was the Marcos years and there were tight import controls. No whitest lychees. Just cans of lychees with pinkish fruit flesh. Bito returned with the palest pink lychee fruit flesh. No can do. Bito was scolded. Bito was sent back to Binondo/Chinatown and — nobody knew how he did it — but he returned with the whitest lychee fruit flesh!!! Brother Andrew finally had his excellent “Buco Lechias” sherbet with the whitest lychee fruit flesh. Brother Andrew was satisfied, at least for that Sunday.
I remembered that at Lola Charing’s house sherbet and ice cream were served on etched crystal stems on porcelain saucers for everyday. During beautiful lunches and dinners, sherbets and ice cream appeared on chic, Art Deco Christofle footed bowls on Brussels lace doilies on matching Christofle saucers. Of course, I know all about the metallic taste that silver imparts to food, but I’ll use beautiful silver anytime.
The sherbet/ice cream phase did not end there. Brother Andrew wanted a “Calamansi” sherbet. He wanted it tart and dry, something like lime mixed with champagne brut. Not sweet at all (Brother Andrew intensely disliked sweetish food that was not meant to be sweet, like spaghetti). Odd, but “Calamansi” tended to sweeten slightly in sherbet form. No can do. It took Bito several tries to produce that tart and dry “Calamansi” sherbet, but he did, even if he couldn’t tell the difference. Brother Andrew was satisfied, at least for that Sunday.
Now in 2013, I wonder why it didn’t occur to Brother Andrew to have a “Dayap” sherbet, when in fact fragrant “dayap” lime (“dalayap” in Capampangan) was used extensively — on practically everything — in our Capampangan/Sulipan cooking?
The best version of “Buco Lechias” sherbet that I’ve had in recent years — exquisitely and expertly tinged with “dayap” lime rind with a hint of cordial — was served at dinner by my dear friend Albert Salgado Paloma, who is an equal (perhaps even a superior) to Brother Andrew’s luxurious and demanding gustatory tastes. Worldly and elegant Albert thinks nothing of marinating Italian veal shanks in a very expensive French grand cru for his “Ossobuco” and of marinating goat meat in a very expensive French X.O. cognac for his “Caldereta de Cabrito.” For Albert, luxurious excess is the only culinary way to go. Truly Capampangan.
Back to Brother Andrew, the sherbet/ice cream phase did not end there. He wanted the “Mantecado” ice cream of his childhood at Lola Titay’s (the Arnedo ancestral house in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga). Mind you, it was not the commercial, vanilla-flavored “Mantecado” ice cream you can buy at the megasupermarkets now. Brother Andrew’s inherited idea of “Mantecado” ice cream was of thick carabao’s milk, full of egg yolks, and “dayap” lime rind shavings. It was golden yellow with sprinklings of grass green. It looked so chic! If Hermes and Chanel made ice cream, that would definitely be it. So Bito produced our family’s version of “Mantecado” ice cream with “dayap” lime from Lola Charing’s rose garden. It was ambrosial. I would have finished off a gallon if I were permitted to do so.
So this is what this warm, warm spell does to me. It makes me think of sherbet and ice cream from the past. From the distant past.
These days, I am delightfully condemned to the highly unusual, positively weird, molecular gastronomy, New Age ice cream concoctions of my brother and nephew. But it’s a nice problem to have. LOL.
Sleeping Beauty married Congressman Charming and they went to live down in the deep south where he had his kingdom, near the Water People. It was her second wonderful marriage and it was his third wonderful marriage and they really wouldn’t be surprised if theirs fell apart as well, but it miraculously hasn’t.
Sleeping Beauty, needless to say, liked her beauty sleep. And she liked her beauty sleep in cooooold, dark rooms. On the other hand, Congressman Charming had several businesses, among them, cut flowers.
One really warm summer day, Sleeping Beauty went to the cold storage rooms to work on the flower inventories.
It was so cool and nice inside that Sleeping Beauty fell fast asleep. But mercifully not for a hundred years. Just for a little more than a hundred minutes.
Late that afternoon, Congressman Charming arrived at the cut flower business offices and looked for his Sleeping Beauty. The company staff frantically looked for her. They looked in the upstairs offices, downstairs offices, all the washrooms, the kitchen, the garage… but they could not find her.
Finally, someone thought that he had heard Sleeping Beauty would be checking on the flower inventories… so they ran to the cold storage rooms, fearful that she had been locked in and that her cries for help had been unheard.
But lo and behold… There she was sleeping blissfully, stretched out on 2 Monobloc armchairs face-to-face, snoring lightly and contentedly, for she just had almost a whole “lechon de leche” for lunch. Congressman Charming had a good laugh.
“It was just so nice, you know. Siesta! So cooooold. Exactly my style!” explained Sleeping Beauty in her fashionable Colegio Santa Maria del Camino (Madrid, Espana) contralto.
And Sleeping Beauty and Congressman Charming lived happily ever after. With Sleeping Beauty’s occasional jaunts to the cold storage rooms.
(This is not a fairy tale. It’s for real.)
April 7, 2013 at 5:56 am (Current Events)
Are we all finally headed toward nuclear annihilation? *Yawn*
Good thing I mastered the dance steps of Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Hahahah.
Need I say more?
While I am inclined to agree with the moderate views of a Malaysian professor at the NUS National University of Singapore whose article was posted by my dear friend, top historian Ambeth Ocampo in his Facebook page, there are many side stories to this issue which are very interesting…
Actually, I was with a group of very well-informed, hotshot lawyers and this is what they had to say…
“After Ferdinand Marcos’ botched plan to retake Sabah in 196_, the Malaysians retaliated by training the Muslim Filipinos as the MNLF, the Moro National Liberation Front. That way, the Filipinos would be busy with their own Islamic insurgency rather than think of retaking Sabah from Malaysia. Think of what immense trouble that was to all of us Filipinos! But talk of things going full circle: the reason why the Kiram Royal Army knew where to position themselves well in Sabah during the attacks was that they were trained there… and how!”
“It was the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the Malaysians who decided to ‘recognize’ Jamalul Kiram as the ‘rightful’ Sultan of Sulu instead of the most eligible contender in the Kiram clan, who is a medical doctor. That was because Jamalul Kiram struck them as the most cooperative and the least likely to make trouble; he is not as outspoken as the other contenders. Never in their wildest dreams did they think he could pull off an audacious act like that! On the other hand, that medical doctor, who was the most eligibile contender as Sultan of Sulu, wants the outright secession of Sulu from the Philippines.”
We all think “telenovela” plots are way out, whether they are Filipino, Korean, Mexican, whathaveyou…
But indeed, Truth is stranger than Fiction.
The following story is happening to friends of mine. Although affluent, they are not “in society.” But what is happening has jarred me enough to want to share it with you…
Jake and Faith have been married for 15 years and seem like the perfect couple: both goodlooking, intelligent, hardworking, prosperous, and visibly in love. Jake is a vice-president in a multinational corporation and has several businesses of his own. Faith is a born entrepreneur, a hardworking businesswoman who imports exclusive boutique beauty products and other luxury items from Europe and from the USA. They have no children. After several tests, it was determined by the doctors that it was Faith who had the fertility problem.
Jake and Faith were unfazed, and since they had the resources, went to every single fertility doctor they could find. After exhausting their list in Manila, they proceeded to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Bangkok, San Francisco, and New York. None of the doctors could get Faith pregnant.
Unknown to Faith, Jake had become despondent and was losing faith in himself. He desperately wanted to have children, not just one, but several. For Jake, adoption of someone else’s child was totally out of the question.
About a year ago, on a business trip down south, Jake found himself visiting Bernie, his former flame. Bernie is from a rich political clan, the daughter of an influential, longtime politico. Jake had bowed out of her life years ago when he was a nobody careerwise and could not afford Bernie’s affluent style of life. Unknown to Faith in Manila, Jake’s visits down south to Bernie became more frequent. Before Jake and Bernie could realize what was happening, Bernie became pregnant. Not wanting a scandal to blow up, her parents sent her to the USA to give birth there.
Bernie gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. Jake was delirious with happiness. Bernie’s parents were not happy about her illicit relationship with Jake, not only because she was a mistress, but they felt that he was not rich enough, influential enough, and important enough for them, although they were very happy about their new grandson, a new heir to their political dynasty! Bernie’s father sat Jake down and pointedly told him that the baby boy would carry their surname instead of Jake’s for as long as Jake could not marry Bernie and make an honorable woman out of her. He stated in the strongest terms that Jake should leave his wife Faith and marry their daughter Bernie.
Bernie, for her part, also told Jake in the strongest terms that he should marry her, that he should have his marriage to Faith annulled ASAP since they could not have children anyway.
All that time, Jake carried on with his loving wife Faith back in Manila as if nothing was happening…
Three months after the birth of his son with Bernie, and ready to be expelled from their marriage and their home, Jake finally mustered the courage to tell the truth to Faith, expecting the worst.
But Faith, kind and understanding woman that she is, did not go into a rage. Calmly, she told Jake that she was very hurt, but that she completely understood his situation. How could he live without children of his own knowing full well that he was a healthy man capable of producing them? Faith assured Jake that she was ready to live their life with his son from Bernie. However, Jake did not tell Faith that Bernie and her family are pressuring him to leave her and marry Bernie instead.
Where do they go from there???!!!
I know Jake and Faith well. Faith is a wonderful woman whose only fault is that she cannot have a child. I can only conjecture what prompted Jake to return to Bernie and…
If this isn’t an unraveling “telenovela,” I don’t know what is…
December 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm (Uncategorized)
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 320,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!
December 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm (1800s Filipinas, 1900s Philippines, 2000s Philippines, Comedy Relief, Current Events, Humor, Personal, Random memories, The Batanguenos, The Bicolanos, The Bulaquenos, The Cagayanons, The Cavitenos, The Cebuanos, The Davaoenos, The Global Crowd, The Ilocanos, The Ilonggos, The Laguna Tagalogs, The Leytenos, The Manilenos, The Negrenses, The Novo Ecijanos, The Pampanguenos, The Pangasinenses, The Past, The Samarenos, The Tarlaquenos, The Tayabenses / Quezonians)
I find it hypocritical of the ladies to say that they won’t buy expensive fine jewelry these days because they cannot wear them anywhere and because nobody wears them anymore. Bull. The real reason is that they cannot afford it, cannot afford to go where it’s really worn, and cannot afford to go with the crowd that really wears it. Inside every real Filipina lady who has the real $$$ wherewithal is a voice that cries out: “I want big, bigger, & biggest. And I want more of it.” Come on, admit it, ladies. “Magpakatotoo kayo!” as the local slang says it.
The Filipina ( and Filipino! ) fascination with ”blings,” with jewelry, stretches back centuries to the pre-Hispanic period. The conquistador Spaniards were actually awed when they came across the natives practically encrusted with gold jewelry from head to foot. The natives were even buried with hammered gold funeral masks. So one can safely say that the Filipino interest in jewelry is, well, “genetic”… Thus, Imelda Romualdez-Marcos is really not an enigma as far as fine jewelry and affluent Filipinas are concerned, she was just a truly world-class, albeit shocking, example.
Wife was very much loved by Superrich Husband and he occasionally gifted her with modest pieces of French and American jewelry during their milestones. However, since he was a principal in The Family’s business empire, his siblings were very sensitive to matters of personal acquisition and they hounded his poor Wife every time he gave her jewelry, as if he were stealing from them, specially his 5 sisters. It came to the point that Wife simply kept his gifts of jewelry in their vault, declining to wear them until the day she died decades later.
Dona collected everything, including fine jewelry, contemporary and antique. Off her bedroom, walk-in closet, and bathroom was another room, actually a vault, accessed through a secret narrow corridor, unknown to everyone except for her, her husband, and their 6 children. Inside, in elegant glass-fronted cabinets backed by mirror, were suites upon suites of sumptuous jewelry on display: diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, pearls, and other precious gems. It was a room that could have existed in a Russian imperial palace. After Dona passed away in the 1990s, the jewelry was distributed among her children — 3 gentlemen and 3 ladies — and the room and the cabinets taken down. A grand era had ended.
Because she felt that her sister had cheated her of her rightful inheritance, including some of her mother’s fabulous and famous jewelry in the late 1970s, Visayan Socialite accumulated her own spectacular collection of jewelry since…
“I like to have a dozen of everything, of every kind and color: earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, whathaveyou. It makes me feel secure and happy.”
During her heyday, when she glided like a swan and wasn’t yet tottering like “Pick-Up Stix,” the wife of a Marcos era tycoon, accompanied by a small retinue of lady friends, would walk into Ronald Abram Jewellers in Hong Kong and request, nay demand: “I want to see your best pieces. Only the best. Show them to me. Now.” And the sales staff would immediately acquiesce, as they recognized her as a regular client.
Decades later, a daughter-in-law (not her own daughters) is into the same thing…
“I really don’t have much… ” a longtime politician’s wife said as she pulled out a clotheshanger draped with more than a hundred gold chains, some rather thick and heavy, with different gem-encrusted and studded gold pendants. “These are my everyday wear…”
She pulled out an old Danish biscuit can from the jumble in the closet. “Well… I have some rings too. Not many, I’m afraid…” The red can held many small packets of synthetic Chinese silk and brown paper envelopes grouped by rubber bands… She opened some of the packets in succession… “This is my everyday ‘solo,’ it’s 10 carats (round). It’s H-I color, VS2.” (“Ay, pangit pala.” I thought to myself. “10 carats nga, H-I color naman, VS2 pa…”) “This is my usual emerald cut, it’s 8 carats.” “Ay, I like this so much, it’s my antique ‘lanzadera’ which I bought from some ‘dona’ gone poor with land reform in the 70s, see how many big ‘gulugud pagong’ diamantes it has? This is hard to find!” Actually, the ‘lanzadera’ ring looked freaky because it was so big.
“Earrings? For everyday? Oh, I don’t have many…” she said deprecatingly. She reached deep into a pile of cashmere sweaters for a big packet of synthetic Chinese silk. Inside were many silk packets and brown paper envelopes. The first packet she opened yielded a pair of 16 mm white pearl earrings. “Pearls are so practical for everyday, I don’t have to think…” she said unselfconsciously. The next packet held a pair of 5.0 rosecut diamond earrings. These I bought from that ‘dona’ with the ‘lanzadera,’ so pretty right?” The third packet held a pair of big Asscher-cut diamond earrings. It was getting very interesting…
“You know me, I’m a simple woman. What would people say if I have fabulous jewelry? That my husband is a corrupt politician who has stolen from government coffers???!!! My conscience could not take that!”
But obviously, her ears, neck, wrists, and fingers could…
“But why buy just unset, ‘the-bigger-the-whiter-the-better’ diamonds? Don’t you want jewelry to wear?”
“Because it’s easy to run away with them during a revolution. And start a new life elsewhere. Trust me. It’s been proven time and again throughout world history…” replied Senator’s wife.
Eldest Sister, in her late 80s, has spent her life dutifully shepherding, safeguarding, and enlarging her multibillionaire family’s various businesses. She divides her time only between their offices and their factories. Her only diversion through the decades has been her constant collection of fine jewelry. Although she is always just in one of their offices or one of their factories, the city’s top jewelers regularly send her their best stocks. She is happy to buy most everything presented with cold, hard cash. South African diamonds, Burmese rubies, Colombian emeralds, Kashmir sapphires, South Sea pearls, pieces by big-name Paris, London, and New York jewelers, modern jewelry, and everything else is fair game. She merely brings them home to her bedroom, where fine jewelry practically spills from her closets. She is safe because the family compound is guarded by a veritable army of guards with high-powered firearms, not unlike a maximum security prison. She merely looks at and appreciates them every now and then; she never wears them, protesting that because of work pressures, she has no time to socialize. Eldest Sister possesses one of the most magnificent collections of fine jewelry in the city.
During her youth, Billionairess Socialite was taken by her aunt Heiress to all the important jewelry shops during their travels, where she watched her aunt accumulate her magnificent jewelry collection. They were yearly regulars at the jewelers on Fifth and Madison avenue, Via Condotti, Bond Street, and at the Place Vendome. “She really informed my taste for jewelry. And I am collecting what I like until today. I really am into jewelry!” said Billionairess Socialite.
“When Ninoy (Aquino) was shot on 21 August 1983, the next day my sister and I raced to the airport in a taxi with 2 boxes of our jewelry bound for Hong Kong where our parents were waiting. 2 ‘balikbayan’ boxes of jewelry, that was it.”
“During the attempted coup d’ etat in 1989, renegade soldiers occupied our apartment building (Ayala Twin Towers). I emptied my 2 vaults of jewelry into a folded bedsheet and knotted it. I even asked a soldier to help me carry it to my car. On hindsight, he was goodlooking. Hahah!”
During her heyday of activity, Formidable Mother made it a habit to buy jewelry, often serious, at fashionable jewelers in world capitals during her travels every year. Cost was never an issue to her industrialist husband, who enjoyed her absences anyway, because he could canoodle with his intellectual girlfriend. Falconer and Ipekjian in Hong Kong, Tiffany’s and Harry Winston in New York, Asprey and Garrard’s in London, Mauboussin, Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier in Paris, et. al. were all familiar haunts. To appeal to her intellectual side, she also accumulated an important collection of excavated Filipino precolonial gold jewelry. Today in late age, she hovers in and out of memory surrounded by 80 years of shopping for the best…
At the Hong Kong Jewelry Show last year 2011…
“Hija, why do you look like a pauper? Why didn’t you dress up, for chrissakes? You look like you can’t buy anything! Don’t sit beside me. You’re distracting.” Mother looked straight ahead, nonplussed.
Mother was in full “war gear.” On every finger, save for her thumbs, were magnificent diamonds, both white and fancy-colored, in every shape, in sizes that ranged from 5 to 10 carats. Her wrists were wrapped with (aggressive) bracelets of diamonds and more diamonds; as a concession to her Chinese ”sukis,” among the wrist blings she wore a superb, late Ch’ing dynasty bracelet of imperial jade. The Chinese salesmen were agog and very eager to show her their wares, although the store owners promptly took over when they saw her, an important client. She gamely went through their stocks, criticizing everything, including their business suits, as they politely persisted with their presentations. She liked some extraordinary pieces and bargained hard, but also paid hard. She and her $$$ money were irresistible.
Back at the presidential suite of the Peninsula hotel, Mother received a series of sales representatives from private sellers showing their latest stocks. Bored, she told her mayordoma to turn on the TV to see if any of her fave “telenovelas” were showing. Her mayordoma had arrived 3 days earlier from Manila, to make sure everything was prepared well for her senora. She made sure that the suite was very clean. Immaculate. Once, in Bangkok, Mother pulled a grand tantrum and immediately stormed out of the presidential suite of a top hotel, 7 staff members, 36 LV Louis Vuitton suitcases, and all, because she saw a mosquito — one little mosquito — in the living room. A mosquito in a 6-star hotel!!! She berated the German general manager as if he were her muchacho. She immediately took the top suite at the next 6-star hotel, where she was welcomed by the GM like royalty.
Expensive flowers from HK’s top florist were ordered by her mayordoma for every room in the suite, including the bathrooms, but unscented ones, as Mother was allergic to fragrant blooms. Boxes of tissues, in elegant cases, were installed in the corners of every room, along with discreet trash bins. Rolls-Royce limousines were reserved for senora’s use, white for day and black for night. Restaurant reservations were made, often at Fook Lam Moon; Mother was definitely not into “fusion cuisine.” The mayordoma was kept busy as she made the rounds of Hong Kong — Tsimshatsui, Central, Admiralty, & Wanchai, buying everything in her senora’s long shopping list that would be sent back to Manila. And of course, mayordoma also had her personal shopping to do, usually at Lane Crawford. After all, mayordoma was taught by her senora that “a well-off mayordoma makes for a very rich senora.” Thus, mayordoma’s “modest” 800 m2 house in Ayala Alabang.
Abroad, Mother was always attended to by a retinue of staff like her Makati residence: mayordoma, 3 maids, 2 houseboys, 2 drivers, 2 nurses, and a doctor. If some members of her family accompanied her, then there was a corresponding increase in staff.
After lunch on the first day, it was Mother’s custom to check on her SDBs at the HSBC. Her drawers were from top to bottom and back to top and down again, and again. All were filled with magnificent jewelry, all with corresponding papers, updated with current market values every yearend. There were several classical parures of diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and pearl jewelry which included tiaras and czarina necklaces “just in case one of my daughters marries a prince…” Sometimes she wondered why she had “vulgar” and ”ugly” things, then laughed to herself.
Congressman’s wife looked at all her diamonds laid out on a tray. A truly busy lady, she no longer had the time to wear them, at least one by one. A big political wedding was coming up, so she thought of carting them to her jeweler and have all of them set into just one big necklace sure to get all the congressmen’s spouses carping…
“After all, it will be so extravagant it will look fake. And that’s good. I won’t be investigated, right?”
In her sleek and slick, Art Deco-style, black, brown, and beige dressing room in Forbes Park, Taitai casually picked through drawers of extravagant costume jewelry, many by Chanel and Prada, which usually cost as much as real jewelry. Lots of real Bulgari too, which she considered as daytime wear, worn with casual tops and jeans and flats (of course, “casual” tops and jeans and flats which, per piece, cost an average Joe’s entire year’s salary). “It’s just costume jewelry every day for me. My friends and I don’t wear our ‘armory’ or ‘arsenal’ except when we have to, like the weddings of the family and our friends. It’s only then that we bring out the “serious blings” — the big white and the fancy colored diamonds. Rubies, emeralds, sapphires, pearls??? Of course… But we all prefer diamonds, the bigger, the clearer, the better!!! Of course, it’s all new, we wouldn’t think of wearing ‘vintage’ lest we look old!!! And most of the time, it’s more fun to do it in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing… rather than here in Manila.”