Comedy relief: Brother Andrew “invented” breakdancing when he was six years old

Let him tell the story himself:

“It was at Raquel’s and Jorge’s wedding… in 1946 [ January 1947 ].  I was the ringbearer.  The wedding was at the Malate church and the reception was at the de Leon house.  The old one.  Not Jorge’s and Raquel’s.  The one beside it.  I think it’s a pensione now.”

“Well, you know how it is…  We had all eaten and the old people were just yacking away endlessly!!!  All those old people!!!  I was bored!  I can’t remember the reason now, but I wanted to go home.  Right away.  So I told Mama, who was still talking with Dona Naty.  I pulled at Mama’s dress.”

“She told me to keep quiet.  She was fuming!  I really wanted to go home.  I was bored and sleepy already!  So I pulled a tantrum.  *laughs*  I made a spectacle of myself!”

“What did you do?”  we asked.

“Well, I did what kids do…  I cried, yelled, tried to tear my clothes off… I lay on the floor, rolled around, made an acrobat of myself… did an Indian dance… hopped around like a rabbit, *laughs* I did everything just to embarrass Mama!”

“Wow!  You breakdanced?”  we asked.

“Yes!  Kinda!”  he agreed.  *laughs* “Well, Mama was furious!  Right there and then she gave me the slugging of my life!!!  She really whipped me in front of everybody!!!  Hahahah!!!  *laughs heartily*

“After all that spanking, Tia Sepa Escaler came up on her wheelchair and told me:  “Macarito, yyyooouuu are a spoooiiiled chiiild!”  *imitates Lola Sepa*  God, that woman looked ‘half-dead’ all the time!”

“Tia Conching came up to me with a scowl and waved her finger.  She was always such a disciplinarian!”

“But they all remembered that.  Years later, when I graduated high school, Tia Sepa approached me again.  By that time, she really looked like ‘Death warmed over’ and she had to ask me:  “Macarito, are yyyooouuu stiiill a spoooiiiled chiiild???”  *imitates Lola Sepa* “God!  I wanted to whack her!”  *winks naughtily*


So the young Brother Andrew actually preceded all of us in making fools of ourselves!!!

It was the 1947 wedding of Tita Raquel Valdes Gonzalez to Tito Jorge Lichauco de Leon.  It was the wedding of a prominent Pampanga lady to a very rich and very prominent Pampanga and Manila gentleman.  Six year-old Macario “Macarito” Arnedo Gonzalez, a much younger first cousin of the bride, was chosen to be the ringbearer.  The wedding ceremony was at the Malate church and the reception was at the nearby de Leon-Lichauco residence.

Despite the whispers behind the perfumed Spanish fans and the exquisite French veils that survived the war, the survivors from among the Pampanga and Manila aristocracy gathered for a wedding of their own kind.  It was an occasion for the families to gather and renew their friendships.

“Mama” was Rosario Arnedo viuda de Gonzalez, our Lola Charing.  She was the [ half ] niece, second wife, and widow of Augusto Gonzalez y Sioco, who was assassinated at the PASUDECO in 1939 along with the de Leon patriarch, Jose Leoncio de Leon y Hizon [ Sr. ], who was Tito Jorge’s grandfather, and Captain Julian Olivas. That tragedy bound the families of Jose “Pitong” de Leon Sr. and Augusto “Bosto” Gonzalez closely.  Their widows, Maria Natividad “Titang” Joven viuda de de Leon and Rosario “Charing” Arnedo viuda de Gonzalez maintained a close friendship, bound by their shared widowhood, throughout their lives. Rosario was requested by the family to be a principal sponsor at the de Leon-Gonzalez nuptials.  She was delighted to have been asked and took a major part in the arrangements for the wedding.

“Dona Naty” was Natividad Lichauco de Leon, Tito Jorge’s mother.  Expensively educated in the United States, the Lichauco heiress Naty [ and her husband Peping ] could be said to have occupied the highest position in Pampanga society because of the immense, PASUDECO-generated wealth of the de Leon-Joven family of Bacolor.  She was as cultured, refined, and sophisticated as she was rich and educated.  In her aristocratic presence, many Pampanga grande dames paled in comparison.

“Tia Sepa Escaler” was Josefa Escaler y Sioco, viuda de Fernandez { + 1962 }, a first cousin of Brother Andrew’s father Augusto Gonzalez y Sioco [ Josefa’s mother, Sabina Sioco de Escaler { + 1950 }, was the elder sister of Augusto’s mother, Florencia Sioco de Gonzalez { + 1925 } ] and a younger sister of his first wife, Marina Escaler y Sioco { + 1928 }.  She was asthmatic and had a frail constitution — like all her siblings — because her parents were first cousins.  She married Rafael Fernandez y Santos.  She suffered greatly in life because of her husband’s misdeeds. [ Manuel Escaler y Rodriguez { + 1913 } and Sabina Sioco y Rodriguez { + 1950 } were maternal first cousins:  their respective mothers, Prisca Ines Rodriguez y Tuason [ viuda de Escaler + 1890 ] and Matea Rodriguez y Tuason [ viuda de Sioco, viuda de Arnedo Cruz + 1918 ] were sisters, the two eldest daughters of Olegario Rodriguez [ + 1874 ] and his first wife Escolastica Tuason y Pamintuan [ + 1850 ] of Bacolor, Pampanga. ]

“Tia Conching” was Concepcion Rafols y Miravalles, the wife of Dr. Bienvenido Gonzalez y Sioco, the sixth president of the University of the Philippines and the very one responsible for its visionary transfer from Manila to Diliman.  “Tia Conching” was a teacher by profession and an avowed disciplinarian.  She was the mother of prominent lawyer Gonzalo Walfrido Gonzalez and of noted educator Eva Beatriz Gonzalez.  She often reprimanded the young Macarito on matters of conduct, etiquette, and life principles, which he dutifully remembered and appreciated with affection the rest of his life.

Still, he breakdanced in front of everybody when he was six years old.   😛


  1. Aliwise said,

    August 29, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Kul,very gud 2 kw d inventor of breakdance

  2. Dr.Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    August 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Amelita Reysio Cruz always fondly wrote about the parties of the Buyson sisters, Pitang B. Eusebio, Pilar B. Villarama and Ambassador Carmen A. Buyson.
    Every year she would cover the birthday party luncheon of Ambassador Carmen Buyson. And she would name the guests, specifically mentioning the presence of all the former first ladies Dona Trining Roxas, Vicky Quirino Gonzalez, Luz Magsaysay, Leonila Garcia, Eva Macapagal and then naughtily mentioning the conspicuous absence of …”you know who”….referring to the First Lady Imelda Marcos of The New Society who was never invited.

  3. bless lagrone said,

    March 4, 2009 at 5:03 am

    Amelita was my Ninang Star. She was my godmother. I was fortunate to live with her for a short time and had gotten to know her well. i love our conversations before going to bed.

  4. Maria Domingo said,

    September 21, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Hello. I know what happened to my Lola Star (Amelita Reysio-Cruz) she passed away several years ago. She was a great person and very talented woman. She is still missed.

  5. Justin said,

    June 15, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    I dont belive he made up breakdancing there should be a video to prove you actuall did because this could be a trick

  6. micah said,

    September 18, 2007 at 7:45 am

    amelita reysio-cruz was my aunt. she had to abide by a travel ban that the administration enforced as a condition for her release. she wrote a book “prison diary” which is a compilation of notes she kept on prison life. she continued to write until her death in the late 90s.

  7. Christopher George Cruz said,

    August 11, 2007 at 6:30 am

    Hi Cousin Toto,

    I loved this story! I can picture Brother Andrew in a white pustura outfit spinning around like Curly Howard of the Three Stooges (woo! woo! woo! woo! woo! woo! woo!) to the consternation of Lola Sepa and the amusement of Lola Naty! I would have loved to have seen it in person.

    By the way, the house Brother Andrew is talking about is Pensionne Natividad, the former residence of Jose de Leon y Joven, my great-grandfather. As far as I know, it’s still run by Gabby de Leon, the son of Dr. Salvador de Leon, one of Lolo Jorge’s brothers. The pensionne is a cozy place with a spacious dorm and a selection of neat little rooms at the back.

    Keep it up! This blog is really a treasure.

    PS. And if you didn’t see my shameless plug earlier, please visit my wife’s highly informative and witty blog Okay, hindi na ako mangungulit. Promise. 8D

  8. December 22, 2006 at 12:38 pm


    Thank you for enjoying the various bits and pieces of my droll life. 🙂

    I wanted to name this blog “Raconteur” but someone else beat me to it. I thought of “Scheherazade” but I’m not a lady and the stories are not fictional but real life. Obviously, I couldn’t call it “Remembrance of Things Past” because I’m not Marcel Proust and I do not write as eloquently as he did. But I liked the improbable “Remembrance of Things Awry” because many of the stories are indeed of things that went the wrong way, and also because
    “Awry” has a “Pilipino” homonym “Aray” [ “Ah-rye” : “it hurts” ], which perfectly sums up many of the awkward situations I write about…!!!

    No, “Toto Gonzalez” is not a “nom-de-plume.” I am a real life person. My many friends can attest to that. As Julie Andrews once said: “Honey, I go to the bathroom too.” *lolsz!*

    I don’t know whatever happened to Amelita Reysio-Cruz. Have you tried “Google”???

    Thank you very much. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in Cyberspace.

    Toto Gonzalez

  9. myles garcia said,

    December 22, 2006 at 3:51 am


    2nd msg to you. After having spent more time reading the rest of your blog — and its wittily named “Remembrance of Things Awry” :-), I am totally fascinated by the other treasures I have come across.

    Great work. You should’ve been a society columnist. Or are you the real identity behind Amelita Reysio-Cruz? BTW, whatever happened to the poor woman after the Dark forces hounded her?

    But I digress. Again, wonderful work. I wish I had discovered this much earlier. Looking forward to hearing from you more…

    Myles G.

  10. September 5, 2006 at 11:36 am


    I can’t give a definite answer… Because the longer I am involved in genealogical research [ + 25 years ], the more I discover that people with the same surnames in a given geographic range [ provinces/regions, not cities ] are usually related, at least here in the Philippines.

    Have you researched on other Siocos? The Gosiocos of Santa Rita, Pampanga? The family of writer Ernie Evora-Sioco? There are lots of Siocos out there…

    I’ll tell you what I know about our Siocos anyway:

    Our Arnedo, Escaler, and Gonzalez antecedents in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga traced themselves to D Josef Sioco [ o 22 January 1786 – + 26 December 1864 ]. He had migrated to Apalit, Pampanga from Bocaue, Bulacan. But it was known that his family had come from Hermosa, Bataan and from Lingayen, Pangasinan before that.

    Our family tradition holds that our Sioco antecedents were descendants of Sio-Co, the Japanese pirate who was Limahong’s right hand man when he attempted to invade Manila in 1574. Sio-Co had mistaken Paranaque for Manila and had attacked it with 600 men. When Limahong was repelled by the Spaniards, he withdrew to Lingayen, Pangasinan. It was from there that he sailed out of the islands. But many of his men married native women and stayed behind. It was probable that Sio-Co had remained and established a family. Since we know that our Siocos originally came from Lingayen, Pangasinan, the family legend refuses to be debunked.

    Interesting beginnings!

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. liza sioco said,

    September 5, 2006 at 8:56 am

    I just want to ask you if your family is related to Doña Adela Lim Sioco of San Manuel, Tarlac, who was my great grandmother? I just want to trace my roots since I don’t know anything about it. Thanks.

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