One memorable afternoon with “The Jeweller”

It is not every day that a person like I gets up close to a living legend.  Someone truly larger-than-life.  Someone who lives the life many people cannot even imagine…

It was many years ago, but the memory of it is as vivid as today, as clear as crystal, as brilliant as a diamond, as bright as sunlight…


Apparently, I was “acceptable” to her, so she declared:  “You will come to my house, hijo!!!”

That evening, she personally invited me to come over to her house.  She clasped my hands and pressed them firmly with hers.  Perhaps in the coming weeks, or not at all, I thought, since she was a very busy and very important businesswoman.  I was flattered enough by the seemingly sincere invitation, since it was a legendary house closed to all but the most exalted in Manila society, and for that matter, even international society.  So it came as a complete and utter surprise the very next morning when she unexpectedly requested that her nephew and I already come over to her house for lunch…

So we rushed to North Forbes Park.  The guards let us in.  She emerged from her front door with her loyal factotum, wearing a chic, short lavender day dress that in its unusual fabric and odd lines could have only been couture.

She welcomed us into her home.  It was freezing cold from the airconditioning [  unpleasant anywhere else but frightfully chic in warm, humid Manila ]. There was a glassed-in courtyard with seemingly thriving plants after the front door.

She led us through wide doors to her large living room.  The remarkable curtains spanning wide expanses of glass were entirely of uberexpensive embroidered “pina” pineapple cloth, so prized in the Philippines.  The floors were carpeted in emerald green.  The furniture was contemporary.  A large photograph of her by Bob Razon, a society photographer, dominated the room.

It took a few minutes for me to realize that there were some stunning details to the living room…

We walked to a corner where there was a French-style vitrine.  She directed her factotum to switch on the small halogen lights in the cabinet.  The assistant flicked the switch but it turned out that the cabinet had been unplugged from the outlet.  She did not know where it had to be plugged.  An amusing little argument ensued between the two of them.  So the grand lady herself knelt, plugged into the outlet, and switched the vitrine lights on.  She explained its remarkable contents one by one…

They were souvenirs from grand friends.  Many of them were presents from Arabian and Asian royalty.  “This one is from the King of _____, that one is from the Emir of _____, this one from the Caliph of _____, and that other one is from the Prince of _____.  This one is from the Queen of _____, that one is from the Sheikha of _____, and that other one is from the wife of that billionaire oilman.”  Some of the grander ones had been souvenirs… from herself as well!  There were all sorts of jeweled bibelots…  It was rather like visiting the Faberge “display rooms” at the Russian imperial palaces, where the Romanov czars would pick gifts from the Faberge inventories for their family and friends… Memorable in particular were the jeweled animals, studded with all sorts of precious stones like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, blue sapphires, and natural pearls in all sizes.  I vividly remembered an elephant, a turtle, and a squirrel, among so many other splendors, all in high-karat gold and set with precious stones.  OhmyGod.

She waved her hand at a trio of French crystal birds in flight on top of her grand piano.  The three birds each held a large pear-shaped diamond with their beaks!  She explained that the smallest bird held a 33 carat diamond, the medium bird a 44 carat diamond, and the largest bird a 55 carat diamond… OhmyGod.   :)   :)   :)

She led us to her vast bedroom…  It was cold as ice.  Again, her curtains and her large bed were also covered in the same uberexpensive embroidered “pina” pineapple cloth.  To the left of the bed was a niche from where a small image of the “Santo Nino” [ The Infant Jesus ] reigned over the room.  Expectedly, the “Santo Nino” wore a very considerable little gold crown studded with diamonds.

Diamonds were so commonplace in the house that right there and then, I began to think, and take for granted, that most everything was studded with it…!!!

A large, mirrored dressing room and bathroom led from the masters’ bedroom.  She slid open one of the doors which revealed the large boxes that contained her famous gowns, some of which were by famous Filipino designers like Gang Gomez and Inno Sotto, and then many others which were truly by uberexpensive European couture houses.  Memorable were the boxes with the ciphers of Valentino Garavani and Yves Saint Laurent…

Another door slid open and revealed shoes, beautiful, madly expensive shoes…

We reemerged in the living room again…

The dining room was a long, mirrored space.  Her dining table was perpetually set for a grand party.  Yet another very long and terribly expensive embroidered “pina” pineapple fabric tablecloth covered the long table.  The large napkins were also of the same precious fabric.  The chinaware, glassware [ crystal ], and flatware were all very expensive French, and there were interesting modern table decorations.  The most remarkable furnishings in the room were the two large, very elaborate and magnificently-carved, Baroque-style mirrors from 19th century Bavaria in present day Germany, the grand gifts of a loyal client, the eccentric and effeminate Baron Arndt Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach of the German munitions family.

We had lunch in the family dining room.  She had ordered four dishes from the restaurant of her sisters-in-law.  She urged us to eat heartily.  After all, the three of us were genuine Pampangans.  Interestingly enough, her everyday chinaware was English, her everyday glassware was French, and her everyday flatware was uberexpensive Georg Jensen’s “Acorn” pattern with the most amazing patina of use I had ever seen on sterling silver…  It was really used every single day!!!

I observed some beautiful English chinaware and French glassware in glass-fronted cabinets near the round dining table, perhaps waiting for yet another tres soignee dinner party…

After her nephew and I had eaten our fill, she rose and told us that we would be having “dessert” inside her office.  So we followed her…

It was a small, cozy room that led to another storage room behind one door.  She sat at her desk and opened some drawers…

“We will have dessert, hijo.”  she declared.

She nodded to her factotum who entered the room behind and emerged with a pile of three unprepossessing black packets…

She took an unassuming black packet and opened it before our eyes.  It held an enormous necklace of large yellow diamonds descending in tiers like an Egyptian necklace…   :)   :)   :)

“Feel it, hijo!!!  Feel its power!!!  Feel the power of Money!!!”  she encouraged us both to hold the diamonds with our bare hands…

“OhmyGod,”  I stammered, “I could never afford this…”

“I know that!” she declared confidently, “But I know you can appreciate!!!”   :P   :P   :P

“Oh yes!  And how!”  I rejoined joyously.

“It is to be brought out tonight but I want you to see it.  It is a necklace entirely of fancy yellow color diamonds.  The first tier [ some 24 of them ] is composed entirely of ten carat diamonds…”

“It is a nice necklace.  Not one of my grandest.  But it is a nice one!”

Speaking of some very wealthy but rather unattractive clients, she naughtily quipped:  “I don’t look at their faces… I look at their pockets!!!”   :P   :P   :P

“Take a look at this.”  She took another unassuming black packet and opened it before us.  This time, it was a large emerald cut diamond which hung from a necklace of graduated diamonds.   :)   :)   :)

“Oh, an emerald cut.  So big!!!”  I exclaimed.  Her nephew and I both sighed.

“You’re right.  So you know something about diamonds, hijo.  This one is 110 carats and is Internally Flawless.”

“Oh wow!!!”  I exclaimed.

“Feel it, hijo!!!  It feels good!!!”  Her voice rang with pleasure as she encouraged us to hold the large diamond with our hands.

Of course it felt good, even great, I thought.  Anything that was worth several million dollars had to feel great!!!

She lifted yet another unassuming black packet which she opened with visibly great pride.  It was the highest point of our very grand afternoon:  It was a very large pear-shaped diamond which hung from another necklace of graduated diamonds.   :)   :)   :)

“This is my personal diamond, hijo.  It’s called the “Star of _____.”   It is 155 carats.”

“Wow!!!  Is it ‘D Internally Flawless,’ Ma’am?”

“Not only!  It is ‘E Internally Flawless,’ hijo!!!”  Such was the authority, excellence, and enthusiasm of her effective salesmanship that she could make “E Internally Flawless” sound infinitely better than “D Internally Flawless”… when it was actually the other way around.   :P   :P   :P

“Feel it, hijo!!!  It is magnificent!!!  This may be the only time you will ever handle something like this!!!  Take the opportunity!!!”  She beamed with genuine pleasure as she saw us visibly awed by what we were seeing…

It was indeed a great pleasure to hold the “Star of _____.”  It did exude a strange, tantalizing power… In one’s hands, one understood why there was an overwhelming greed for wealth and insatiable lust for power in this world…!!!

OhmyGod.  I was beginning to feel dizzy at the sight of such staggering wealth…

We thanked her for a most memorable afternoon and bade her goodbye after that.  As an important jeweler who did business internationally, she was extremely busy and forever occupied with the endless details of her operations.  She diligently kept abreast of her ongoing transactions, foreign and local news, and foreign exchange rates minute by minute and hour by hour.

In fact, her staff said that it was nothing short of a miracle that she actually had the time for us…!!!

She was justifiably proud of her vast garden, with its rolling lawns.  She told us to go see her “grotto” with an image of the Virgin Mary.  So her nephew and I walked around for a few minutes — catching our breaths after those incredible diamonds which seemed to have sprung out of the vaults of the Smithsonian Institution — through the wide expanses of expensively clipped carabao grass;  we peered behind a clump of “Palmera” palms and saw her “grotto,” with the image of the Virgin and a pond, behind it.

What was truly remarkable to me was that, despite the rains of that day, my leather shoes had emerged from her vast garden as clean, or even cleaner, as the day I had bought them.  Like the Manila Golf Club, only better.  The thick carabao grass and the perfectly drained lawn had polished my shoes, all the way to the instep, as if I had sent them for professional cleaning at a hotel.  I guess that was what great wealth was all about:  just about all the right things happened effortlessly!!!

The next morning, I woke up, remembered the previous day, and felt “inadequate”… even if I really had no reason to feel that way.  That was how incredible that whole afternoon had been…!!!   :)   :)   :)



  1. JJ Hizon said,

    November 10, 2015 at 9:35 am

    a scion of the Panlilio-Hizon family migrated to Davao and married a lady from the Bangoy-Palma Gil clan, One of the grandchildren is Vince Hizon.

  2. Connie Zamora said,

    January 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Fe Sarmiento Panlilio used to be my later father’s customer in Santa Cruz, Manila. My late father’s name is Victor B. Zamora. My late father & my mother emigrated to San Diego, CA in June, 1981 and left his jewelry business then. We heard that Fe S. Panlilio passed away due to cancer of the brain.

  3. October 8, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Does anyone know how I can get in touch with Tita Amelita Pasaysay?

  4. October 8, 2013 at 11:05 am

    My mom, Hidelita Sarmiento, daughter of late Dr. Tristram Sarmiento Sr., used to work for Fe Sarmiento Panlilio. Fe Panlilio happens to be my mom’s aunt, sister of Tristram Sr.

    My dad, Melchor Calma, also worked for Fe Panlilio for a few years.

    We refer to Fe Panlilio as Tita Fe. She was so nice to me and my sister. Tita Fe would always give us money. The best part was the Christmas Holiday Celebration at their residence, in New Manila ( I think ) back then. Two highlights I remember the most are the Lechon Baka and the Tons of Coin/Money Tita Fe and her family would toss out to people during the event. Tita Fe would whisper, “Anak, lumapit ka dito para marami kang madampot na pera”. Sure enough, at the end of the night, I would have so much money/coins in my pocket that I don’t even know what to do with them. I love those days.

    I was only 11 years old (1983/1984) when the Panlilio’s purchased the home of the Yulo’s at Forbes Park. That place was huge. As my dad was tasked to watch the property, he’d take me with him and we would stay there for a few days. I would run around the compound with my dog, Jinkie, for hours and hours. I would spend so much time playing with frogs in the old pool. Also, I still remember the 2 Rolls Royce just parked there. Awesome moments!

    We now live in San Francisco and have been since 1990. We still talk about Tita Fe and the Panlilios from time to time. As a matter of fact, I love bringing up the topic/subject because it feels like a fairy tale that you don’t get tired of hearing over & over.

  5. Normito Panlilio said,

    August 2, 2013 at 3:29 am

    It is just wonderful and fascinating to know the origin of the PANLILIO family. I am a descendant and presently living here in Guagua, Pampanga, and it’s only now that I know Panlilio was originally “Panlilho” and Portuguese, not Spanish. I would like to thank very much this relative for writing the history of the Panlilio clan. Thank you very, very much.


  6. Alicia Perez said,

    April 6, 2013 at 10:31 am


    You’re way off the mark. Do study your Filipino social history. “The International Jeweller” described by Toto G here passed away in 1996. Perhaps you weren’t born yet at that time. She was a jeweler to the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei but she was not married to any member of his family.

    On the other hand, Evangeline del Rosario gives the impression that she is still married to Prince Jefri Bolkiah, unlike Ayen Munji, who left him after a generous settlement. (Given his grave financial problems, she could already be divorced from him for all we know…) Evangeline d R, unlike Ayen M, still seems to be enjoying the perks of being a Brunei royal princess. ALL THE PERKS.

    Alicia Perez

  7. Patrick Mendoza said,

    April 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Wondering why my comment was removed. The Jeweler mentioned here can be none other than Evangeline Del Rosario-Bolkiah, wife of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, former owner of “Asprey” jewelers (the largest in England), living in Forbes.

    Am I correct?

  8. Patrick Mendoza said,

    April 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm


  9. jude vergara said,

    March 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    hi there. i’m jude from roxas city (capiz). my mother mely calexterio magallanes have worked in miladay before during early 60’s until early 70’s. i also seen photos collection of my mom. she also told me story and information about how miladay jewelry built. wish i can speak to mark, christine, jacquiline, michele dayrit… thank you and more power..

  10. Enrique Bustos said,

    July 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm


    You are correct Jeweler Tinay Carpio- Gonzalez’s husband B.G. Gonzalez is a descendant of Don Martin Bravo Gonzalez of Guagua Pampanga they are related to the Arrastia Family

  11. Beatrice Mendieta said,

    March 28, 2010 at 5:33 am

    Regarding the Panlilio family, I would very much like to get in touch with Pamela Panlilio. We went to school together in Madrid. The school name is Santa Maria del Camino.
    My name is Beatrice Mendieta and I am from Bolivia.
    Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

  12. December 20, 2009 at 9:39 am


    Please be reminded:

    From now on, comments with no real names, no return email addresses, and no reliable identity checks will no longer be allowed.

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  13. gabrielle said,

    July 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Hi… I enjoyed your write-up and believe that you have a good understanding of the socio-political history of Makati City. I am currently researching about former Makati Mayor Nemesio I. Yabut. I was able to read his autobiography but it did not indicate his death (when and how he died) how he ended his term.

    Grateful if you can give me some information regarding this seeing that I may have hit a blank wall with my research.

    Thanks and more power!

  14. rb said,

    April 16, 2008 at 2:54 am

    am a pinoy residing in d u.s.
    i like this blog. history, taste, tsismis, and a voyeur of the nuances of pinoy old families.
    hey, garganta, where’s d story on that chopper ride/land grab?

  15. HRH said,

    March 7, 2008 at 3:59 am

    you should be a contributor to the “Philippine Tatler,” this one’s a candid shot of the original “royals” of the Philippines.

    With regards to the ruby wedding anniversary of the Lopezes, i was wondering who were the other royal guests invited? i read some years ago the the ex King & Queen of Bulgaria were invited, and i read in your post that the Belgian Royals were invited too. that must have been a grand gathering…

  16. Sabin Arranz said,

    February 6, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    So I just wasted an entire hour reading this post and every single comment to go with it. LOL.

    I live in XXXXXXXX, CA. One of my acquaintances here is a police officer in this town. Apparently, the X family has a house here in XXXXXXXX, where a male member currently lives. Every year, the male X’s mother comes to visit from the Philippines. Every year, while mommy X is here, the son invariably calls the police to complain that his mommy is beating him up. Oh, did I mention that the male X is a full-grown adult? LOL!

  17. MOHAME KOJO said,

    January 22, 2008 at 9:36 am








    BP 2010.LOME-TOGO
    TEL 002289190768 FAX 00228 226 3850

  18. September 2, 2007 at 4:10 pm


    I thought it was so wonderful and generous of “The Jeweller” to show her nephew and I some of the USD $ multimillion jewels in her collection. It was an incredible, out-of-this-world experience for me as it would be for anybody else.

    It was a very, very, very private afternoon in a very, very, very private residence closed off except for the very few considered worthy enough of “The Jeweller’s” time.

    In fact, I shouldn’t even have written about it, as it is a breach of confidentiality. Even if it happened many years ago and “The Jeweller” is but an enduring legend in Manila society.

    Toto Gonzalez

  19. Olivia said,

    September 2, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    I know the family of Liding Oledan, and for sure that’s not their house you are talking about. They are generally very private people, who don’t normally exhibit their goods, both personal, and commercial, just for the sake of exhibiting. Chances are that was the Panlilio home.

    I don’t know about Vernie Varga. I hear Belen’s collection ( Liding’s mayordoma ) is very nice. She’s a beloved part of the family.

  20. talagang tsismoso said,

    July 1, 2007 at 2:54 am

    bernardina pereyra jacinto is not a sister of mariquit javellana lopez.

  21. cj said,

    May 29, 2007 at 2:41 am

    Sorry, while reading I discovered something. Fe Panlilio used to live a couple of doors away, that was on 12th St. New Manila. Pam Valdes is her daughter the wife of Gabby, the brother of Butch Valdes. I met her daughter Vicky, that was so many moons ago. We attended a mass at Mt. Carmel Church. You are amazing to have this photographic memory. Your name seems to be so ubiquitous, from flickr to this wonderful blog. Interesting indeed!

  22. zippo said,

    April 20, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    Amen GI :-)

  23. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 20, 2007 at 5:53 pm

    Zippo wrote:

    However, we really couldn’t tell if the Queen was indeed the culprit (it could possibly have been some factotum of hers).


    Then, talagang the parallels between Madame Marcos, and her patron saint, Ste. Marie Antoinette, are so numerous and inescapable. Immediately, the “Affair of the Necklace” comes to mind where underlings, using the subterfuge of ‘discretion and intrigue,’ hooked the French queen and Cardinal Richelieu into one big scam — and which ultimately, contributed to the downfall of the French Bourbons and their Church conspirators.

    Yes, I would not be surprised if lackeys of Malacanang of that era, certainly resorted to such ‘crude’ shell games. But then again, they must’ve learned well from the Master, and Mistress, starting with the Jacinto earrings affair.

    I await new word from our own ‘Intrigue” webmeister here!! LOLSZ!!


  24. zippo said,

    April 20, 2007 at 12:42 am

    Cheers G.I.

    My family also has stories of how certain art pieces, after having been “borrowed” by the Shoe Queen to be put on display at some function, went unreturned or, worse, missing (mom was so shellshocked she couldn’t play mahjong for 1 month — to us children then, we figured that was a good thing). All we received was a phone call that the pieces were “misplaced.” However, we really couldn’t tell if the Queen was indeed the culprit (it could possibly have been some factotum of hers).

    HOWEVER, there was really only 1 time that the Queen PERSONALLY told the family that she liked one of our art pieces for her to keep. She offered a price for it and actually paid the agreed price. Although dad didn’t want to part with the piece, the point is, she paid and my mom already accepted the offer.


  25. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 19, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    From Zippo:

    “To G.I.:

    FM and IRM could not have spent the 1965 Election Night at the Ysmaels. A relative who was an original Blue Lady had said that she was watching the returns on TV and listening on the radio with IRM at a “guest house” within the Marcoses’ San Juan compound on Ortega Street. The “guest house” was the family’s sanctuary.”


    Thanks, Zip. I sit corrected and chastised. :-)

    Must have been some rumour to boost the stock of the Ysmaels — or maybe it was a ‘security’ ruse; as the Ysmael compound in QC would’ve been harder to breach than the smaller Macoy house on Ortega St. in San Juan.

    Am always open to corrections of facts (but not my interpretations) :wink:,


  26. zippo said,

    April 19, 2007 at 6:31 am

    1. The jeweller has to be Fe Panlilio not Liding Oledan. Fe Panililio lived in North Forbes (which used to be the house of Tomasa Yulo [grandmother of singer Leah Navarro]). I remember my friends and I had this HUGE crush on Patricia. The Panlilios lived in North Forbes way, way, way before the Oledans did. If memory serves me right, during the snap elections in 1986, the Oledans were not yet residents of North Forbes.

    My Lola and Mom knew both jewellers. They would purchase items from them. Other jewellers Lola was fond of were Demetria De Leon (Metyang’s) at P. Burgos in Makati and, later on, Anita Chan in HK. I remember bringing my Lola to Anita Chan and leaving her there for hours on end during trips to HK. Lola’s constant “classmate” at Anita Chan’s would be Mrs. Cruz — wife of F.F. Cruz and mother of Josie Natori (and ex-mother-in-law of Gina De Venecia).

    To G.I.:

    FM and IRM could not have spent the 1965 Election Night at the Ysmaels. A relative who was an original Blue Lady had said that she was watching the returns on TV and listening on the radio with IRM at a “guest house” within the Marcoses’ San Juan compound on Ortega Street. The “guest house” was the family’s sanctuary.

    But you are correct, the Jacintos really took a beating from the Marcoses. My mom used to play mahjong with the Jacintos in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the Jacintos’ Kahala mansion in Honolulu (as a cousin had just married one of the Jacintos). When my Lola summered in Honolulu, she would make it a point to always invite the Jacintos to her house within days of her arrival to. Lola would always cry a little after they’d leave her house taking pity on the fate that had befallen them.

    Lola became acquainted with the Jacintos through Doña Angela Tuason (Lola’s godmother). Lola considered Doña Angela (and also Doña Maring Lednicky of the family which owned Lepanto Mines — another godmother) as her 2nd mothers as Lola was not too close to her own mother.

    The Jacintos were clearly pro-Macapagal during the 1965 Elections. In fact, the Jacintos and Macapagals are somehow related as Ramon “RJ” Jacinto WAS married to Marilou Tuason Arroyo whose brother, Mike, married Cong Dadong’s niña impaktita, este, bonita, Gloria.

  27. March 8, 2007 at 6:40 am

    Final word on the Jac*nto story:

    Again, it’s putting the pieces together. Now I realize that Mar*quit Lopez and Dina Jac*nto were (either) sisters or cousins, since they were both Javel*anas. So I think — and this seems to be the authentic version — Madame had seen these earrings on Mrs. Jac*nto. Since Mar*quit was the Second Lady of the Land and a relation of Mrs. J, Madame asked Mrs. Lopez to intercede and ‘borrow’ the earrings from Mrs. J; and of course, Mrs. J. would be loathe to refuse since it was her sister asking for the new First Lady of the Land.

    Well, low and behold, when Mrs. L and Mrs. J requested for their return, her true colors started to show, and the diamonds were indeed appropriated with a simple ‘thank you.’ So that is how the Fall of the Jac*ntos from Grace began. From that time on, they had targets drawn on their backs; and made good practice for the Macoys to ‘shake down’ the other established families of the land.

    The whole episode was a good practice run for another kind of ‘gusto ko yoong’ with the Ortigas family; with this time several hectares of prime real estate ‘acquired’ from a simple, seemingly innocent helicopter ride.

    Does any one want the details on those? Please; please, someone ask!!


  28. March 4, 2007 at 7:33 pm


    You certainly hit the nail right on the point.

    In the 1970s, the family elders spoke in utter disbelief at how the Marcoses had banished the superrich and influential Lopezes to oblivion. They were also in disbelief at how the superrich Jacintos had simply disappeared from sight.

    As I said in another comment, I was born on January 1967 and I grew up not knowing who the Lopezes or the Jacintos were. The most resonant names then were Marcos, Romualdez, Ver, Ponce-Enrile, and the rest of their inner circle.

    [ In the early 1980s, my mother was on a flight from Honolulu-San Francisco-New York and she was seated with a J gentleman. He told her about the ordeals that the family had gone through under President Marcos, their decision to “jump ship,” and their new lives in the United States. Surprisingly enough, he told her that their leaving the Philippines was a “blessing in disguise,” because they were able to parlay their remaining assets into lucrative American investments, and thus were able to increase their holdings in ways that could not have been possible had they remained in the Philippines. In short, they were able to recover their losses. ]

    Toto Gonzalez

  29. March 4, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Garganta Inflamada:

    *comment 2 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  30. March 4, 2007 at 7:17 pm

    Garganta Inflamada:

    *comment 1 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  31. March 4, 2007 at 7:16 pm


    *comment 8 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  32. March 4, 2007 at 7:16 pm


    *comment 7 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  33. March 4, 2007 at 7:16 pm


    *comment 6 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  34. March 4, 2007 at 7:14 pm


    *comment 5 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  35. March 4, 2007 at 7:13 pm


    *comment 4 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  36. March 4, 2007 at 7:13 pm


    *comment 3 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  37. March 4, 2007 at 7:09 pm


    *comment 2 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  38. March 4, 2007 at 7:09 pm


    *comment 1 coming*

    Toto Gonzalez

  39. March 4, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    Two other points on the jewelry-Jac*nto saga:

    1. Clarification. I BELIEVE I seem to remember more exactly how and why the Jac*ntos disappeared from the Manila scene so suddenly.

    I now seem to recall that the J’s were allied with Pampanga Mac in the 1965 Battle of the Titans. When the Ilocano Mac came to power, a lot of the special considerations and credits from the previous administration that kept Jac*nto Steel afloat were coming due after 1965. Don Fernando J. (was Macoy allergic to the name ‘Fernando?) tried to get the same special considerations from the new regime. Macoy (and this was only the scuttlebutt) countered with “OK,” you’ll get the same credit terms (I guess from the Central Bank, maybe the GSIS or the SSS) if he got in to the action. (I believe he was only asking for like 45% of the enterprise.) Don FJ held firm; and rebuffed the new President. His knee-jerk reaction to the rebuff was the famous: “Ano ba yang, pa-Don, Don? Hinda naman siya tisoy!!” (”What’s with this “Don” business? He’s not even of Spanish blood!!”) remark. And somewhere in this, Dina J’s (who was after all, only a Javel*ana) involvement in the purloined earrings incident also came into play and merely added fuel to the fire.

    End result: and this you can surmise after putting the pieces together. With their steel money tree in a checkmate strangehold, the J’s saw the writing on the wall. They bailed out quickly; liquidated and pulled out what they could; and speedily headed for the safer shores of Amerika — with the elderly Jac*ntos settling in the near-paradise of Honolulu.

    (Some of the younger J’s attempted operating a fast-food noodle business on New York’s Fifth Avenue no less (some Filipinos won’t settle for anything but the best!! which I did get to sample once) — and where you guessed it, in the shadow of the famous Olympic Towers from where you know-who-was-living-it-up, was probably looking down at them. Or unbeknownstly, since Madam’s head was always up in the clouds; and thereby stratospherically clueless most of the time.)

    2. Resolution/denouement. Flash-forward to Feb-March 1986; after the ‘snap’ elections. Following on the heels of other deposed ‘ally’ of America, the Shah, who was on the run in the previous decade and had nowhere to go, good old Uncle Sam pulled Ali Macoy and his band of Forty Thieves out of the People’s Revolution and tried to give him as dignified an exit as they could. And where did the El Gran Ladron Pinoy del Siglo XX settle and end his days? Why, in balmy Honolulu, too!!

    I could just imagine the tongues wagging and the ‘what-goes-around-comes-around’ conversations that went around Hawaii’s more knowledgeable Filipino-American community, of which the Jac*ntos, were already quite settled.

    Indeed, every dog has his day, even in a Hawaiian paradise. Oh, bitches, too.

    Ever heard of Mrs. Mac*y’s forays into Liberty House Department Store in Honolulu where she ACTUALLY returned things — after use, of course? Or shall we save those for another chapter — along with other Doris Duke tidbits? Of course, you all know who provided the doctor who eventually or inadvertently contributed to that butler of Doris Duke who eventually took over matters in the final days of the heiress’ life?

    As the radio serials say, abangan ang susunod na kabanata! (Until the next chapter…)


  40. Garganta Inflamada said,

    March 2, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    P.S. I forgot. There’s another twist to Vignette #2 above. (And if some reader feels he/she has the more accurate version, then correct me please.)

    It seems that there was an actual witness to the ‘pa-hiram’ eksena. If there weren’t any — then it would just have been the word of one retiring, refined Ilongga lady vs. the word of the more aggressive Waray, now ensconed in the Presidential Palace. And this witness turned out to be but none other than one of grande dames of Manila society at that time…(the late) D*na Jac*nto of the famous Jac*nto Steel family at the time.

    When the Borrower decided to keep the earrings (I dunno, was that a trial run for future grabbing maneuvers?), of course, word got out — and there was an actual witness to corroborate the whole scenario (in favor of the 2nd family of the land), the Jac*ntos fell into the crosshairs of Da Apo and Ma’am.

    Now, recall that Macoy and Mrs. were cozy with rival company Ysmael Steel; and that one time, Macoy eschewed that his predecessor, Con Dadong, was cozy with the Forbes Park ‘mestizeria’ set; as Da Apo was actually once heard to utter. As a matter of fact, on the election night of 1965 that decided the fate and history of the Philippine Islands for the next 21 years, Da Apo & Ma’am spent it in the safety and company of the Ysma*ls at their compound in Quezon City. Obviously, Da Apo consorted with his own set of ‘mestizos.’

    Anyway, the new occupants of Malacanang decided to practice their oligarchy-cide with the Jac*ntos. Important contracts and letters of credit vital to the survival of Jac*nto Steel were squeezed and withheld. Da Apo again was heard to exclaim (about Don Fernando Jac*nto) in sincere irritation: “Ano ba yang, pa-Don, Don? Hinda naman siya tisoy!!” (“What’s with this “Don” business? He’s not even of Spanish blood!!”) And shortly thereafter, before anyone knew it — and most inexplicably to a lot of people, one of the erstwhile pillars of Manila society for decades, just up and left the Philippines for the U.S. (This was around 1967-1968, I think.)

    But aside from the Ysmael Steel connection, of course, lying in wait for the kill was a lightweight steel company called Marsteel, owned by no other than one of the in-laws of the President. Nature abhors a vacuum; so who do you think benefitted with the demise of one steel company?

    In retrospect, the whole incident with the Jac*ntos seemed like a practice run for the Robber Barons’ going after the ruination of the Lop*zes, Aquinos and Osmenas, etc., afterwards. If you follow the blood droplets, you can find the source.

    I hope I did not misrepresent any facts. But again, if one has the more authentic version, then by all means, please feel free to publish that.


  41. Garganta Inflamada said,

    February 28, 2007 at 1:08 am

    No. Nuestra Senora de los Pobres y las Joyas Gigantes was always ‘matakaw’ about jewelry. It is a womanly thing after all.

    I remember before they ascended to Malacanang, a friend who worked at the pre-Marcos ABS-CBN was sent to their Ortega home to do a story on her. While waiting in the sala, he came upon a photo album of her early, I am sure, somewhat modest jewelry. Barely had his eyes started to bulge at the photos when La Senora entered and very gingerly but subtly took away said album from her guest’s hands.

    Incident #2 – About a month into their reign, when things were still hunky-dory with the Lopezes, she supposedly borrowed a pair of rather modest diamante earrings from Mariquit, at ‘papakopya’ raw. Shortly thereafter, when Snra. Lopez sent a very subtle message to the Palace that she wanted her earrings back, the reply that came back was “Nagpapasalamat si M’am.” This was the famous “Salamat po” story. But it was a start…

    Incident #3 – On their first state visit to the US in Sept 1966, they happened to be Lady Bird’s special guests at the inauguration of the brand new Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center. All the Rockefellers, Astors, Vanderbilts, Mellons, etc., — the creme de la creme of the wealthiest society on the planet — were there. Since the muse of Las Islas Filipinas didn’t quite have the baubles to match those of the American hosts, she decided to wear one white pearl teardrop earring on one ear and a black one on the other. So indeed she was different, and many took notice. However, and it was quote shortly thereafter in, I think, The Manila Times magazine when they got back: La Acquisidora sort of said in so many words: “At iyong mga alajas nila, naglalaki ang mata ko!” Altho of course, she tried not to show it. And there was no retraction of the ‘quote” either.

    I can only imagine the bedrrom conversation that ensued that night at their suite in the Waldorf between the Rose of Tacloban and the bright new Right-hand Man of America in the Pacific. ‘Someday, sweet, all of that can be yours…”

    What you all forget about her appearance at Persepolis was that on the big night, she was all set to appear with a tiarette, like all the other women — until the protocol officer of the Pahlavi Court sent word that only the women with ACTUAL royal titles were entitled to do so. Miffed, she hastily switched the tiarette in the back of her head. This incident reminded me so much of the black French figure skater Surya Bonaly purposely doing a back-flip (banned during competition due to its risks) in FRONT of the judges panel at Surya’s very last Olympic competition!! IN YOUR FACE talaga!!

    Anyway, was rewatching recently the footage of the failed assassination attempt on IRM in December 1972 on carlos’ blog. Nasaan iyong knayang mga talisman jewels? Wala. DARN!!!


  42. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 4:31 pm


    How much influence did the Persepolis Celebrations have on Madam* Imel*a?

    Was it the major catalyst that pushed her to amass one of the world’s greatest jewelry collection?

    Just wondering…


  43. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    May 1979

    The Marcos couple celebrated their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in a party that cost $5,000,000.00 There was a silver carriage drawn by eight white horses.


    so, where you at this party? do tell!!!

  44. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 4:20 pm


    Here is a link covering 2 of the most fabulous events in the 20th century: the Coronation of Tehran (1967) and the Persepolis Celebrations (1971)


  45. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    and again…

    July 1978 – part 2

    That was merely for starters.
    A week later she spent $2,181,000.00 in one day! This included $1,150,000 for a platinum and emerald bracelet with diamonds from Bulgari; $330,000 for a necklace with a ruby, diamonds, and emeralds; $300,000 for a ring with heart-shaped emeralds; $78,000 for 18-carat gold ear clips with diamonds; $300,000 for a pendant with canary diamonds, rubies and emeralds on a gold chain.

  46. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    and again…

    July 1978
    After a trip to Russia, Imelda arrived in New York and immediately warmed up for a shopping spree. She started with paying $193,320 for antiques, including $12,000 for a Ming Period side table; $24,000 for a pair of Georgian mahogany Gainsborough armchairs; $6,240 for a Sheraton double-sided writing desk; $11,600 for a George II wood side table with marble top – all in the name of the Philippine consulate to dodge New York sales tax.

  47. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 4:06 pm


    November 2, 1977
    Still at her shopping spree, Imelda paid $450,000 for a gold necklace and bracelet with emeralds, rubies, and diamonds; $300,000 for a gold ring with emeralds and diamonds; and $300,000 for a gold pendant with diamonds, rubies, and thirty-nine emeralds.

  48. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    Mada*e Imel*a’s jewelry collection is legendary – then again, everything about her is!

    In 1978, a Cartier representative admitted it was this Filipina, Imelda, who had put together the world’s largest collection of gems.

    wow! :-)

  49. taitai said,

    February 24, 2007 at 2:49 pm


    I heard the ternos for the Persepolis celebrations were from Christian Espiritu.


  50. February 22, 2007 at 6:02 pm


    Our Queen, Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos, was just collecting her own spectacular jewels at the time… Nevertheless, She was very beautiful!!!

    Did you notice how perfectly proportioned the “butterfly sleeves” of her “terno” gown were??? Was that a Joe Salazar???

    Toto Gonzalez

  51. February 22, 2007 at 6:00 pm



    PERSEPOLIS. For the last forty years, it has reigned in the memory of its important guests as the grandest “fete galante” that ever was. Unparalleled!!! [ And to think that it did not happen in Paris, The Capital of Style… ]

    I remember having read about the entirety of the festivities in some book years ago. I cannot remember the details, just that the series of celebrations were fabulousfabulousfabulous!!!

    I remember asking Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos about the Persepolis fete and she answered: “That was a very nice party!!! ‘Grabe yon’!!!”

    My dear taitai, THAT was “The Tiara Bal*” to end all “Tiara Bal*s”!!!

    Even the late international jeweler Fe S. Panlilio kept file pictures of the spectacular jewels of the Farah Diba of Iran “just in case…”

    Toto Gonzalez

  52. taitai said,

    February 14, 2007 at 3:58 am

    Here’s another photo of the guests.

    Take note of Mad*me Im*lda. She is breathtaking in her spectacular terno.


  53. taitai said,

    February 14, 2007 at 3:41 am

    some magnificent jewels worn by Empress Farah at the Persepolis Celebrations (1971). oh my, those Harry Winston tiaras!!!

    and for comparison, here’s a photo of Mad*me Im*lda Mar*os at the same party!

    oh well…


  54. taitai said,

    January 31, 2007 at 1:22 am


    My fave pieces from Ronald Abram are an exquisite ruby necklace with 11 pigeon blood rubies and a pair of fancy intense blue heart-shaped diamonds. And those magnificent emeralds!

    To die for!

    The store was renovated last year and it now looks similar to a Graff salon.


  55. toto gonzalez said,

    January 30, 2007 at 1:02 pm


    Kr*stine Y*ng has long been a popular jeweler to the Manila Chinese community. Her gems are of very good quality. She has very nice, wearable pieces and she does have some grand pieces as well.

    I visit Ronald Abram Jewellers whenever I find myself at the Mandarin Oriental at Central; it’s at the mezzanine / second floor. I vividly remember a pair of spectacular chandelier earrings featuring large white, perhaps “E” or even “D” color, briolette diamonds. Unforgettable.

    Toto Gonzalez

  56. taitai said,

    January 23, 2007 at 4:48 am

    oopppss sorry for the typo, should be M* D*nald’s Philippines :-(

  57. taitai said,

    January 23, 2007 at 4:42 am

    Dear Toto,

    How does Kr*stine Y*ng rank in the league of grand jewellers? Being the wife of McD*nald’s Philippines franchise holder G*orge Y*ng, I understand that she has for her clients the families of Chinoy Taip*ns.

    Anyway, if you find yourself in Hong Kong, visit the salon of Ronald Abr*m at the Mandarin Oriental. Such FABULOUS jewels! It will definitely meet your standards :-)


  58. January 17, 2007 at 8:11 am


    I really miss her. She was, and still is, one of my major inspirations.

    Toto Gonzalez

  59. Aldo P. Claparols said,

    January 17, 2007 at 5:53 am

    hahahaha wow.

  60. January 10, 2007 at 5:02 pm


    Hi!!! Happy [ 19th ] birthday in advance!!! If I remember right, you’re Aquarian, and the period of Aquarius is from 20 January to 21 February…

    I’ll tell you another story about Lola Fe, one which specifically concerns you…

    It was 1988 or 1989, and it was the “Fiesta de La Naval” in Bacolor, Pampanga. That “fiesta” was celebrated every third Sunday of November. As usual, the Sarmientos would assemble at the old Panlilio y Santos Joven [ relatives of your Panlilio-Lazatin branch ] mansion [ Lola Lucing Sarmiento Panlilio’s ] in the town. That house was a center of the annual town fiesta activities, because the antique image of the celebrant, “Nuestra Senora del Rosario de La Naval” belonged to the Joven ancestors of the Panlilios. Your Lola Lucing and your Tito Joey were the formidable engines behind all that unforgettable prelahar splendor: of life-size holy images dripping with gold and diamonds, great silver “carrozas,” beautifully restored ancestral house, lots of good food, and Manila A-List guests.

    It was around 4:30 p.m., and I was sitting on a comfortable bench in the “sala” looking out to the street after having had a yummy “merienda” by Lola Lucing [ called “Inang” by her family; “Ating Luz” by your Lola Fe, Lola Fely, and Sister Ines ]. There was a great commotion as your Lola Fe arrived in her big Mercedes Benz with her assistant Amelita Pasaysay [ there was always a great commotion wherever Lola Fe went, in case you don’t remember ]. Lola Fe was wearing her favorite lavender short dress [ ask your Mom or Tita Pam if it’s still around ] And so she went up the house, greeted her “Ating Luz,” and went around admiring Tito Joey’s elegant reconstruction of late 19th century aristocratic Filipino decor. “Very nice!!! Very nice!!!” she exclaimed at every corner.

    An enthusiastic Tito Joey had placed a round table with two Vienna bentwood chairs on a small rug right in front of the stairway. Lola Lucing found it inappropriate [ blocking foot traffic ] and called it “superfluous.” Lola Fe peered at the ensemble closely and asked ceremoniously: “Is this for sitting or for display, hijo???” *lolsz!*

    Somehow, Lola Fe and Amelita found their way to the “sala” and saw me sitting quietly looking out at the street. I stood up to greet her: “Good afternoon, Tita Fe. Hi, Amelita.”

    “How are you, hijo???” she answered. Amelita smiled. Lola Fe “beso-beso” kissed me on both cheeks.

    “Very well.” I replied.

    She looked out at the street, smiling. She breathed deeply. She waved her right hand, then her left, at the street as she began a soliloquy: “This is Bacolor, my hometown. I grew up here. I used to walk along those streets. I was happy here…”

    Her reminiscences were interrupted when your Mom and Dad arrived and greeted her. I greeted them. Your Mom motioned to the “yaya” to bring you over. You were [ what else? ] a cute baby…

    “My son, Aldo.” your Mom said.

    “This is my latest apo.” Lola Fe said. “How are you???” she cooed. “Come to Lola.” She opened her arms.

    You were uncooperative. You stuck to your “yaya.”

    “Come to Lola, Baby. Come to Lola.” She tried again. You clung more tightly to your “yaya.” Your Mom grinned, shook her head, and left.

    “What’s wrong??? How come he doesn’t want to go to Lola???” There was already steel in her voice, her eyes widened, and her eyebrows arched. The “yaya” shrugged. “Come to Lola, Baby. You will like Lola!!!”

    And you cried out: “Wwwaaahhh!!!”

    Lola Fe shook her head in exasperation. Then she declared dismissively, very memorably, but rather incongruously: “He’s still a baby, after all. He doesn’t understand the power of money!!!”



    End of story.

    She really was something else, your Lola Fe.

    Toto Gonzalez

  61. Aldo P. Claparols said,

    January 10, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    lola was one of a kind, wasn’t she? haha

  62. cara y cruz said,

    December 27, 2006 at 7:51 pm


    that must have been some afternoon. sounds surreal yet amusing at the same time. she seemed liked the ultimate purveyor of gems.

  63. taitai said,

    December 12, 2006 at 4:15 am


    Oh my!!! 50cts emerald cut ring = mahjong tile!!!! bwahahaha How fabulous! I love how it was so understated at first, until she lifted the microphone!

    As for Vern*e, she is extremely talented, as well as good-natured and kind-hearted. And she is a REAL daughter-in-law hehehe! While she wears spectacular jewelry, it is never to flaunt or the make people envious. I heard she once wowed the Queen of Thailand (no doubt a client of her mother-in-law) among other members of royalty and the international elite.


  64. taitai said,

    December 10, 2006 at 9:57 am


    I have always wondered the extent of Ay*n Mu*ji-La*rel’s jewelry collection since she was once married to a Brunei prince.

    Anyway, check out the “Brunei Royal Jewels” thread at the royal forums:

    Among local celebs, Sh*ron C*neta has a nice collection of jewels, mainly diamonds and set as stud earrings or line bracelets. Ala Oprah. She has most of the more common shapes and her round studs are 10cts each! (nice size!)

    Another is Gr*tchen Barret*o. She used to wear a lot of Bulgari jewels. She once wore huge studs (10cts each as well) to a local showbiz talk show and received so much negative publicity.

    Kr*s Aq*ino also wears nice-sized studs that are 8ct each.

    Of course, there is Verni* Va*ga-Ol*dan and her exquisite pieces. Not really huge stones, but she has some grand suites like the one she wore to the recent Tatler Ball.


  65. December 6, 2006 at 3:49 pm


    OhmyGod, you’re turning 19??? Sh*t, I’m ancient!!!

    Well, cyberspace is unbelievably vast. But I never thought that anyone in the Claparols, Medina, Panlilio, and Sarmiento circles would ever find their way here. At the onset, I didn’t know that the various search engines “pick up” every single word one writes and drop it like a bomb when one searches for it. I was shocked. Since I’m still concerned about privacy issues, I resorted to inserting asterisks * in names [ which block the search engines ] and not mentioning them at all in delicate situations. As you can plainly see, I’m more interested in the essences of the stories rather than the personages involved. Obviously, a lot of people are interested in the stories: the blog has a total of ++ 16,000 hits in just 10 weeks of existence.

    Yes, Mang Teofilo, that’s the name of your Abuelita Sagy’s chef which I was trying to remember. I’m sorry to hear that he passed away recently. Who’s going to make that wonderful “tocino del cielo” now???

    I’m OK. I work and travel, travel and work. Not much different from the rest of the crowd.

    It’s characteristic of your Mom Vicky not to know what a “blog” is. She doesn’t even watch TV [ but then, neither do I ]. In her social stratosphere, TV and “blogs” [ and “bloggers”! ] are considered unfashionable.

    I do miss her but I know that she’s always in New York.

    I’m glad to hear that Andres [ not “Andresito” anymore? ] and Olivia are OK.

    Give my warmest regards to your father Tony, the perfect gentleman.

    Toto Gonzalez

    PS: No, you don’t have to call me “Tito” anymore. But people might think you’re my age if you don’t. Bwahahah. :P

  66. Aldo P. Claparols said,

    December 6, 2006 at 11:51 am

    Hey Toto,

    Im alright. Im turning 19 soon. I found this online while I was randomly typing my last name in google (boredom) hahaha. I practically recognize everyone here haha. By the way, my Abuelita Sagy’s chef was Mang Teofilo, he passed away a couple of months ago. So how’ve you been? I told my mother about your blog, she doesn’t know what a blog is, haha. She says hello. Andres is fine, he’s a 14 year old chubby kid and a tv addict. Olivia’s 13 and still the kid from hell. I’ll say hi to my folks for you.



    p.s do i still have to call you tito?

  67. December 5, 2006 at 6:14 pm


    It’s great to hear from you!!! How old are you now, dude??? [ I’m not going to call you “kiddo” anymore! :P ]

    How did you find your way here? The search engines, I’ll bet!!! Nobody in your circle is supposed to know about this, at least not yet. But I’m glad to see you here anyway…

    This blog is about the memories of a nearly 40 year old wacky person named Toto Gonzalez. I talk about the many, many, many people I’ve come across through the years. And it so happens that because you are a Claparols, a Medina, a Panlilio, and a Sarmiento, you are going to find many familiar people in this blog, more than you ever thought you would!!!

    Through the Claparols, you are also a Lacson and an Araneta and are related to practically everyone in Negros and Iloilo. See the posts “Chichi Bacolod” and “Rude for a Reason” [ where your Dad’s cousins Tita Alexie, Tita Tessa, Tito Chito, and Tita Inma figure ]. Through the Medina, you are a Medina and an Alejandrino, the grandest old families in Arayat, Pampanga. See the post “Tocino del Cielo” [ who was your Abuelita Sagy’s cook again? ]. Through the Panlilio, you are also a Lazatin, a Henson, a Hizon [ get your hands on the Hizon family tree book ], and are related to practically everybody who is anybody in Pampanga. See the posts “Bacolor, Pampanga before 1991” and “Tito Jorge, Jorge Jose Leoncio de Leon y Lichauco, the aristocratic gentleman of the old world.” Read the 44 comments of the “Tito Jorge” post to see what old Pampanga was like. Through the Sarmiento, you’re related to many interesting characters of great substance like your great grandmother Lola Ines Lugue-Sarmiento, Lola Luz “Lucing” Sarmiento-Panlilio, Sister Ines Sarmiento, Lola [ Dr. ] Felicitas “Fely” Sarmiento-Aguila, Lolo Amalio “Malio” Sarmiento, notwithstanding the fabulous Lola Fe Sarmiento-Panlilio!!! See the post “One memorable afternoon with ‘The Jeweller’.” Also, read my comments about Lola Fe in “Sarrat, Ilocos Norte 1983.” I think the greatest legacy of the Sarmiento is their very strong work ethic and their grim determination to succeed against all odds. That’s really something!!!

    My fondest memories of you kids are: of you who broke [ and smashed ] all of the pretty [ and sometimes expensive ] European and Chinese porcelains that Tito Joey P. had carefully displayed in your living room, while your Mom Vicky did not give a damn that you did; of Andresito who was a well-behaved and kind kid; and of Olivia “the kid from hell” who was more rambunctious and tough than you and Andresito combined. It seemed that Olivia wanted to be a boy, too.

    The last time I saw you kids some three years ago, you were already almost a teenager, Andresito quite grown too, and Olivia a young lady who liked to make her own jewelry. She may be part of the fourth generation of Sarmiento jewellers and I hope she will develop her craft to professional and even extraordinary levels like her Lola Fe.

    Warmest regards to your Mom Vicky and Dad Tony.

    Toto Gonzalez

  68. Aldo P. Claparols said,

    December 5, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    Hey Toto,

    Interesting blog you’ve got here, i stumbled upon it the other day. This is aldo, vicky p.’s son. I recognized who this article was about the moment i saw the title.How’ve you been? I also noticed you wrote an article about my abuelita sagy in another page, you really know your history.


    Aldo C.

  69. November 12, 2006 at 4:41 pm


    I really wouldn’t know. Perhaps they are indeed among those diamonds. She did not tell us the name, if it had one, of the 110 carat [ D ] IF emerald cut diamond. She did tell us that the 155 carat E IF pear shaped diamond was the “Star of [ her name ],” but knowing the extremely practical businesswoman that she was, it was probably on its way to the Sultan of Brunei or to the King of Saudi Arabia, sold, and consequently renamed.

    All I know for sure is that she urged me to hold them with my hands in her office that afternoon and that the dazzling experience made me catatonic for days to come.

    Toto Gonzalez

  70. taitai said,

    November 12, 2006 at 3:57 pm

    i wonder how come the exceptional diamonds of the legendary jeweler you mentioned have not been documented/mentioned (such as in the famous diamonds website?

    the two note-worthy ones are the 110ct emerald cut (IF) and the 155ct pear shape (E, IF)

    obviously these are so much more exceptional (being more than 100cts) than those mentioned.

  71. Enrique Bustos said,

    October 14, 2006 at 8:20 am

    i would like to share this with those who want to see the pictures of the late fe panlilio, the harry winston of the philippines: i recommend reading the book titled the barong tagalog by visitacion dela torre. on page 98, you will see the dining room of mrs panlilio’s house; on page 99, you will see her son posing with some of their jewelry in their shop; on page 146, you will see mrs. fe panlilio modeling some of gang gomez’s marvelous creations for her [ note: look at her beautiful jewelry ]; on page 165, you see a picture of Baron Arndt Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach wearing a barong tagalog: it states there in the book that when the baron embraced the roman catholic religion, it was officiated by the late jaime cardinal sin, and his sponsors were Atty. & Mrs Jose L. Panlilio; on page 258, mrs. panlilio poses with her daughter patricia on her large bed with pina textiles as bedsheets. and on page 259, you will see mrs. panlilio posing beside the large mirror in her dining room given to her as a gift by Baron Arndt Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach [ note: look at her jewelry mrs. panlilio is wearing a stylish ruby necklace with a set of ring and earrings ].

  72. Enrique Bustos said,

    October 2, 2006 at 8:05 am

    i am now 100% percent sure the jeweler in this article is fe sarmiento panlilio because i asked the sister of jewelry historian ramon villegas and the description in the article matches with fe panlilio in the book authored by ramon villegas with the title HIYAS the philippine jewelry heritage in page 196. it describes fe panlilio as very close with Baron Arndt Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach and other royalties around the world.

  73. sdcjsdpe said,

    September 23, 2006 at 5:58 am

    And oh, you mentioned Pabling Cuneta’s daughter and the second Filipinas princess of Brunei!

    Yes. The Cunetas are moneyed. They have investments and metal deposit accounts in Boston, pretty much where Ambassador Romualdez used to live out his exile days before. The former mayor of Pasay has always been secretively protective of his overseas holdings and he has sent them there at the early years of the 80s…long before 1986. Yes, Sharon Cuneta has very good jewelry. But contemporary jewelry. Heart shaped, pear shaped but of good quality. She got that from her mother who was an avid junket participant of the blue ladies before.

    Now, with the kind-hearted Ayen Munji, I really like her a lot. Just like the other Filipina wife her husband married before her. She brought her family from poverty. She is very kind and good with money. Her husband was a nympho though and very extravagant. I believe she was the first to divorce her husband which was unprecedented. Very brave, very beautiful.

    But it was funny to think that her husband’s two largest yachts, Tit 1 and Tit 2, was alluded to her.

    Doesn’t she and that Laurel grandson occupu the coral-colored house occupying half a block or more in Ayala Alabang?

  74. sdcjsdpe said,

    September 23, 2006 at 5:46 am

    Hahaha! I wouldn’t know where the Mayor’s dozens of children, legit and otherwise have homes! I think they have/had one on Cambridge Circle, but not so big… I’m not aware that they had one on Jacaranda. That’s where the Kokoy Romualdez spread is located. And on Banyan, why that’s where some of the quiet Lopezes reside!
    And as far as the Panlilios of the Marcos fame were concerned, they weren’t exactly close to Marcos because they were Panlilios themselves. It was because of Mrs. Enriquez. (I think her name was Trinidad Diaz Enriquez, not Enriquez…but no matter….she’s dead I think)…I think Mrs. Enriquez was close to the First Lady and the President because she was Waray…from Samar… and she was assiduous in her business dealings….very good with money. That and she had her way. I was told she even had a waray tiff with Imelda at a very public party when one of Imelda’s dumb-in-business brothers wanted to control one of their businesses that paid the Palace huge sums of royalty. She went directly to the First Couple and after much prodding the President settled the score: The Panlilios/ Enriquezes will keep the businesses. Apo was probably thinking his brothers in law might botch yet another corporation again!
    Now with the Fe Panlilios…aren’t they just former beauty queens or something?

  75. September 21, 2006 at 4:19 pm


    We have to be very specific when talking about the Panlilios of Pampanga because there are several branches of their affluent clan…

    According to senior clan members, the Panlilio are said to be of Portuguese descent and were originally “Panlilho.” They first appeared in the early 1800s in Mexico town, Pampanga and eventually married into the patrician Hizon, Henson, and Lazatin families, the oldest clans of the town, and indeed of all Pampanga.

    The Mexico town [ Pampanga ] branch of the Panlilio is represented by the family of Judge Alejandro Panlilio. His son, Atty. Jose “Peping,” married Atty. Fe Lugue Sarmiento [ Fe Lugue Sarmiento was a daughter of Laureano Sarmiento of Bacolor, Pampanga and of Ines Lugue of Tabuyuc, Apalit, Pampanga. ] Atty. Fe Lugue Sarmiento-Panlilio became the legendary international jeweler Fe S. Panlilio.

    The San Fernando branch of the Panlilio is represented by the family of Vicente Panlilio y Hizon married to Nicolasa Dayrit y Pamintuan. This branch of the clan is acknowledged by Manila and Pampanga society as the most affluent and the most distinguished of the Panlilios. Vicente and Nicolasa had five children: Luis “Sitong” [ married to Remedios “Diding” Singian Lazatin ], Pablo “Pabling” [ married to Dolores “Loleng” Arguelles ], Carlos “Carling” [ married to _____ _____ ], Teresa “Teresing” [ married to _____ Luciano ], and Lourdes “Lurding.”

    The Bacolor branch of the Panlilio is represented by the families of the siblings Jose “Pepe” Panlilio y Santos-Joven married to Luz “Lucing” Sarmiento, Francisco “Quitong” Panlilio y Santos-Joven married to “Nitang” Granda, and their spinster sister, Encarnacion “Carning” Panlilio y Santos-Joven. This branch of the clan is acknowledged by Manila and Pampanga society as the most religious as well as the most traditional of the Panlilios. Until lahar destroyed Bacolor in 1991, the elegantly restored 1830s Panlilio y Santos-Joven mansion was the focus of the old town’s religious and social activities. In the late 1990s, the Panlilio y Santos-Joven family of Bacolor, through scion Jose Maria Ricardo “Joey” Yaptinchay-Abad Panlilio, donated their 1830s ancestral mansion and their splendid family heirlooms to the De La Salle University, nobly creating the core of the magnificent “Museo De La Salle” collection in Dasmarinas City, Cavite.

    The Angeles branch of the Panlilio is represented by the family of Dr. Rebecco “Beck” Panlilio married to Erlinda “Linda” Diaz Enriquez. Actually, Dr. Panlilio’s father hailed from Mexico town. Dr. & Mrs. Panlilio owned the “Silahis” International Hotel, “Grand Air” Airlines, and the Puerto Azul Beach Club. They were the Panlilios most associated with the Marcos presidency.

    To be sure, there are Panlilios in most Pampanga towns. But these are the four important branches known to Filipino society. Take your pick.

    Toto Gonzalez

  76. September 21, 2006 at 3:29 pm


    As I replied to frederico:

    <If I were free to mention her name, if the times were better, and the circumstances happier, I would not have referred to her so formally as “The Jeweller”…>

    Was Nemesio Yabut’s North Forbes Park residence right on Cambridge Circle?  Or was it on Banyan, Buendia / Gil Puyat, or even Jacaranda?

    Erlinda Miranda-Oledan’s North Forbes Park residence was magnificently decorated by her nephew Albert Salgado Paloma, an artist of highly discriminating, albeit perfect, taste who had designed and produced some magnificent furniture and decorations for the Royal Palace of Brunei.

    Some highly-placed friends in show business concur that Ms. Vernie Varga easily has some of the most impressive jewelry among Filipino performing artists.  Another one, obviously enough, is Sharon Gamboa Cuneta. But not quite as outrageous and blinding, they say, as the jewelry of Ayen Munji, the former wife of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei.

    Toto Gonzalez

  77. September 21, 2006 at 3:09 pm


    I am so impressed by the readers of this blog!!! They know exactly what I’m talking about!!!

    You certainly are in the loop [ and loupe ] of the jewelry industry if you know that Erlinda Miranda-Oledan’s mother was Elisa Salgado-Miranda [ that is why Mrs. Oledan is related to the legendary Teodora Salgado de Ullmann of San Fernando, Pampanga ] and that Fe Sarmiento-Panlilio’s mother was Ines Lugue-Sarmiento. And also the fate of some of the famous jewels of Angelina Fajardo-Lopez.

    I have heard of the name Tinay Gonzales [ or Gonzalez? ] in jewelry circles. She is mentioned in the same breath as the other Filipina jewelers. I wonder if she belongs to the Gonzalez of Guagua, Pampanga? [ The Gonzalez of Guagua are descended from Martin Gonzalez [ originally Martin Bravo before the 1896 Revolution ], a Spanish sugar planter; they are not related to the Gonzalez of Sulipan, Apalit, who are descended from Fray Fausto Lopez, O.S.A., an Augustinian friar of royal descent from Valladolid, Spain, and Maria Amparo Gonzalez y de los Angeles of Baliuag, Bulacan. ]

    You do not need me to answer your question. Because you are part of the jewelry industry, you know the answer, frederico.

    Toto Gonzalez

  78. x said,

    September 21, 2006 at 12:55 pm

    (…they arbitrarily took the Ternate lands for themselves….calling it their little Puerto Azul)

  79. x said,

    September 21, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    i’m pretty sure this is liding m. oledan’s house you’re talking about. then you must have passed by our house, on the corner and a few blocks from her’s.

    i don’t think highly of fe panlilio. call me mean. but i truly don’t. they arbitrarily.

    i’m pretty sure this is liding m. oledan’s house you’re talking about. then you must have passed by our house, on the corner and a few blocks from her’s.

    but lest i be suspected of being a social climber, i might as well stop dropping names. how’s verni varga? the cebuana girl who sings all the time?

  80. Enrique Bustos said,

    September 21, 2006 at 4:59 am

    my great grandmother is a jeweler. she is the contemporary of the mother of liding oledan’s mother elisa salgado miranda & neighbor as well at oroquieta st., sta. cruz manila & fe panlilio’s mother ines l. sarmiento. the jewelry industry is small if i will cross down the list it will be narrowed down to two jewelers in your list liding oledan & fe panlilio because both of them live in north forbes while mila salgado dayrit lives in dasmarinas village. angelina fajardo lopez’s son m*cky lop*z sold all his share of jewelry to their family jeweler friend tinay gonzales. liding oledan is know as the jeweler of two first ladies leonila garcia & imelda marcos some of her beautiful creations were published in a booklet titled philippine objets d’ art. the one who executed the designs of liding oledan was peping ramos. but based on what you wrote on your blog i would guess it is fe panlilio because i know she was fond of the pina cloth and at their present circumstance.

  81. September 20, 2006 at 1:34 pm


    If I were free to mention her name, if the times were better, and the circumstances happier, I would not have referred to her so formally as “The Jeweller”…

    Angelina Fajardo-Lopez, Rufina Saldana, Erlinda Miranda-Oledan, Fe Sarmiento-Panlilio, and Milagros Salgado-Dayrit were Manila’s grandest jewelers in their own periods of gloire…

    Toto Gonzalez

  82. Enrique Bustos said,

    September 20, 2006 at 3:56 am

    i think the jeweler in your blog is fe sarmiento panlilio am i correct

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 484 other followers

%d bloggers like this: