There are many legends told at the Villa Escudero, and one of them tells of the time Lola Charing — Rosario Arnedo viuda de Gonzalez — had lost her diamond bracelet, and she did not even know it. She only realized that it had actually dropped off when the Escuderos’ trusted majordomo returned it to her in Manila that very evening.
It was memorable because it was a very considerable diamond bracelet, with high quality diamonds totaling more than 100 carats, a major purchase from her friend Lola Gely Lopez [ Angelina Fajardo de Lopez ], who discreetly dealt in major pieces of jewelry by reputable New York and Hong Kong jewellers.
It was 1973, and Lola Charing had just suffered her first heart attack a few months before, just after the implementation of Agrarian Reform following the declaration of Martial Law. She had lost a considerable part, although thankfully not all, of the large fortune that her husband had left her. She was in depression and had to be medicated. The family had tried all sorts of things to cheer her up but to no avail. Her depression continued to consume her…
The legend happened during the very elegant Golden Wedding Celebrations of Arsenio Escudero and Rosario Adap at the Villa Escudero in 1973. Lola Charing had served as a principal sponsor to the celebrants during their Anniversary Mass. Unknown to her, the clasp of the diamond bracelet had loosened and it had dropped to the floor at the Escuderos’ Chapel of the Ascension. After the Holy Mass, the whole elegant party moved to the Main House where the Anniversary Luncheon would be served. Lola Charing sat to the left of Rosario Escudero [ on their second immense, Carrara marble top table in the dining room ] and had a suitably memorable meal, a characteristic Escudero feast for the senses. After that and a few more pleasantries, she left for Manila.
After Lola Charing had left, the young Manolet Escudero ran to his grandmother Rosario Escudero and presented the diamond bracelet. Everyone around gasped. OhmyGod, whose was that??? The Escuderos immediately recognized it: “It’s Dona Charing’s [ Gonzalez ]! It’s Dona Charing’s [ Gonzalez ]!” Right there and then, Arsenio and Rosario dispatched their trusted majordomo to bring the diamond bracelet back to Lola Charing in Manila.
The funny thing was that Lola Charing did not know that her diamond bracelet had dropped off, and no one in her household staff knew that she had worn it that morning to the Villa Escudero. When it was presented to her, she did not immediately recognize it, “Hijo, baka iba ang may-ari nito.” [ “Son, this might belong to someone else.” ] she said sweetly. “Hindi po. Sa inyo po iyan.” [ “No, Ma’am. It is yours.” ] he assured her. It was then that a spark of memory lit in her mind and she opened her jewelry cases, and when she saw its empty case she realized it was hers. She immediately wrote a thank you note to the Escudero couple, directed her majordomo to pack many goodies to send back to them at their Villa, and pressed a hefty note on the Escuderos’ trusted majordomo as her personal gesture of thanks.
After he had left, pious Lola Charing sat down in front of her Crucifix [ she already had difficulty kneeling ] and said a Prayer of Thanksgiving to God, to the Blessed Mother, and to Saint Anthony of Padua, the Patron Saint of Lost Articles.
Really, what happens in a day…