It truly was Lopez land… Everybody who was Somebody who was Anybody was descended from or related to the prominent Lopez Clan, all descendants of the patriarchs Basilio Lopez and Sabina Jalandoni.
And if they weren’t Lopez, they were Ledesma, the other prominent clan of the city and the province.
Occasionally, they were both. And because they were both, they were also descended from the Villanueva, the first of the grand Iloilo families.
“Le Trianon Rose.”
The Sanson-Montinola ancestral house. It was poetically described by the artist Fernando Zobel y Montojo as “the most beautiful example of Antillan architecture.”
The “Sala” still had a beautiful and very fine suite of late 19th century “Carlos Tres” style furniture. The antique fanciers in the group admired the pieces at length…
The “Nelly Gardens,” the famous 1928 Beaux-Arts style villa of Vicente Lopez y Villanueva and Elena Hofilena y Javelona. It devolved to their younger daughter Lilia Hofilena Lopez who married Francisco Lopez Jison of Silay, Negros Occidental [ her Lopez second cousin ].
“Angelicum” School. The very elegant 1937 French Mediterranean-style mansion of Emiliano Lizares y Alunan and Concepcion Gamboa y Ledesma designed by the Paris-trained architect Andres Luna San Pedro. The Lizares-Gamboa family was the most elegant branch of the wealthy Lizares-Alunan Clan of Talisay, Negros Occidental. Their Lizares cousins in Negros referred to them as “de guantes” [ “with gloves” ]. It was the childhood home of Manila society legends Emilianito Lizares Jr., Letty Lizares-del Rosario, and Sonia Lizares-Corominas.
To paraphrase Adrian Villasor Lizares: “In PreWar Iloilo, if one was a lady, but had not yet combed her hair or fixed herself up, she had better not come near any Lizares lady because for sure she would look like their “yayas.” Coiffure was essential in the daily life of the ladies. They took hours to put themselves together, and those were after hours of prayers! And they always turned out stunning. The daughter of Adela Lizares-Mapa, [ Tita ] Estrella Mapa-Ybiernas, was very close to Aurora Aragon-Quezon and held a high position in that First Lady’s circle. She had a lot of “ternos,” spending thousands of pesos on them every month.”
My friend reminded me that Emiliano and Concepcion Lizares and their family had actually hosted the Baron and Baroness Maurice de Rothschild in that French-style manse just before the War. Baron Maurice was the father of Baron Edmond de Rothschild of Compagnie Financiere fame, the owner of the Club Med resorts and other prestigious leisure companies.
The Lopez-Vito manse. The intact Collection of Remedios Jalandoni de Lopez-Vito. The very refined Mariflor Lopez-Vito graciously showed us around.
The Beaux-Arts style Ledesma manse. Tita Emma Ledesma’s kitchen made some of the most delicious “lumpias” in Iloilo.
Tita Emma liked to go to Bacolod City to play at the “Casino Filipino” there.
The Lazaro [ formerly Melliza ] ancestral house.
Miss Lazaro was very kind as we proceeded to stomp all over her extremely well-kept home.
The Locsin ancestral house.
“For what???” asked the lady with the expensive Assumption College / Saint Scholastica’s College accent.
Woops. The lady had been “doing” her face. On the long dining room table. Scattered on the French-polished surface were a standing round mirror and the best cosmetics: Chanel, Lancome, Christian Dior, Prescriptives, Clinique, Shiseido, Shue Uemura. No inexpensive Maybelline and Cover Girl.
The lady had been very busy. We had interrupted her afternoon “grand toilette.” She was probably getting ready for “mah-jong” with her “amigas”…
I thought that the most interesting thing in the Locsin house was their PreWar white-painted “paminggalan” [ food storage cabinet ]. The three round tiers inside the cabinet were set on a pin so that these rotated. Thus, it was easier to look for something. It was the product of an imaginative mind!
The Avancena ancestral house.
The Mabilog ancestral house.
The Villanueva weavers.