“La Suprema”

Josefina “Pitang” Buyson-Eusebio was the very best-dressed of the best-dressed Capampangan ladies.  Ever.  She was Jackie Kennedy, Babe Paley, Marella Agnelli, Gloria Guinness, Mona von Bismarck, Millicent Rogers, and The Duchess of Windsor all rolled into one.  That was why she was “La Suprema”…

Dr. “Taddy” Buyson Gonzales, her nephew, shared many stories about his Tita Pitang…

For starters,  Tita Pitang was born an heiress to an affluent, landed, educated, and significantly, an urbane and sophisticated family from Bacolor, Pampanga:  the Buyson family [ pronounced “Bwee-son” ].

Tita Pitang was educated along with her sisters at the exclusive Saint Scholastica’s in Manila and her contemporaries later became the grande dames of Manila society [ At that time, only Saint Scholastica’s with the German and Belgian nuns and the Assumption Convent with the French nuns were considered suitable for the daughters of the rich ].  Among them were Josephine Beley Murphy [ later Mrs. Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. ] and Remedios Goquiolay [ later Mrs. Arellano ].  Remedios Goquiolay recalled:  “At Saint Scholastica’s in those days, our desks had removable tops under which were compartments where we stored our pencils, papers, and other supplies.  But when one lifted Pitang’s, one found “colorete” make-up instead!!!”

Tita Pitang was dressed most of the time by “the” redoubtable Ramon “Ramoning” Oswalds Valera, the greatest of Filipino couturiers.  He created some of his most fantastic dresses for her.  He adored her because she was so chic and cosmopolitan and her dress sense was way ahead of the ladies of her time.  She reciprocated her highly preferred status at Ramoning Valera’s atelier by settling her couture bills with blank cheques.

Oddly enough, Tita Pitang did not care for magnificent, serious jewelry.  She infinitely preferred expensive fashion accessories from New York, Paris, and Rome which she felt coordinated more effectively with her couture dresses.  In that sense, she was already a “fashionista” and truly ahead of her time…!!!  Luz Sarmiento-Panlilio [ elder sister of international jeweler Fe Sarmiento-Panlilio ] recalled that Pitang was disinclined to buy diamond jewelry, because she did not find it “exciting” enough…

On the day of a party, which was often, Tita Pitang would have her hair done, by the leading hairdresser no less, in her bedroom after lunch.  Then she would lie down on her bed for her afternoon “siesta” using an antique Chinese porcelain pillow to support her neck just so her coiffeur for the evening’s fete would be undisturbed.  Once in bed, Tita Pitang refused to turn her head left or right, up or down, for fear of unraveling her coiffeur!!!  She would conduct conversations looking straight ahead.

She was always the sybaritic cynosure of the annual high society “Mancomunidad Pampanguena” Ball, as she was always dressed fantastically by Ramoning Valera, a master couturier to Manila high society whom even uberrich Capampangan ladies were hesitant to approach.  Often, her dancing partner was the dapper and flamboyant Alfonso “Ponceng” de Leon, a younger brother of the first Pampango multimillionaire Jose Leoncio de Leon.  Old Pampanguenos remember the time when Ponceng wore a shocking, avant garde “barong tagalog” handpainted with a peacock to the “Mancomunidad” Ball, literally becoming the “Pavo Real,” which is the classic definition of the Capampangan gentleman.

One time, Tita Pitang fell gravely ill and was bedridden.  The ambulance from Makati Medical Center came.  She stubbornly insisted that she did not want to arrive at the hospital in a stretcher.  She sat down on a French style, silk-upholstered armchair [ by Sisenando Baluyut, no less ] and told the mesmerized emergency staff that that was how she wanted to arrive at the hospital.  When her worried sisters arrived at the MMC Emergency Room looking for her at the various beds, they were surprised to see her seated elegantly on her French style armchair, dressed in a silk gown, and fanning herself [ with an ivory Spanish fan of course ] as if she were at a party!!!  What Style!!!

*unfinished*

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9 Comments

  1. November 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Yes, post pics please! I love Lola Pitang — Definitely one of a kind! Statuesque, elegant, and the personification of elevated chic, she was also the sister of my grandmother, Lucy Buyson Gomez. 🙂

  2. Maria Pilar Buyson Balce said,

    November 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Those who knew her well, loved and respected her for what she was. She was a thoughtful person and had a generous heart. She was the uniting force of the clan. Holding Regular Sunday get-together at her beautiful home in Quezon City. Tho’ she had her faults like all human beings do… in my humble opinion… She was a beautiful person inside and out. I miss and love her dearly!

  3. patricia buyson pacleb said,

    October 12, 2007 at 8:20 am

    hello po… i’m the daughter of anna buyson-pacleb… the “alaga” of the late Pitang Buyson-Eusebio… in short, i’m a granddaughter of LOLA PITANG… i just searched the surname buyson in the internet because i was bored and hoping to see the history of the Buyson family… do you have some pictures of Lola Pitang? i would like to see how she looks… thank you!! i was glad to learn some information about her!!!

  4. July 22, 2007 at 1:27 am

    my mother, Zenaida Angeles Rodriguez. My maternal grandfather, Lolo Mariano Miranda Angeles was the brother of Lola Maria Angeles Buyson. We grew up in my grandfather’s ancestral house in San Vicente, Bacolor. My Mom use to tag me with her when she visited Lola Maria. She was always in her bedchamber seated in her four poster bed, just like my parents’ bed and my own bed. The antique furniture at my grandfather’s are what I miss most, because they speak volumes about my family roots.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Cecille A. Rodriguez de Buenaventura

  5. Natty said,

    May 28, 2007 at 12:15 am

    Yap the Negrense, the old money, they moved with sophistication, poise and elegance. Which reminds me, have you been to the Balay Negrense? Right across the front gate is one of Silay’s famous philanthropists. She’s well-known for her good deeds. Every Friday, people would line up in front of her house for free canned goods and rice. Her daughters were educated at Assumption and attended a prestigious university in Europe. One became an activist during the 70s. It’s always for the people.

  6. April 22, 2007 at 6:34 am

    This woman, if memory serves me right, was the one woman who bested the NEW First Lady, around 1966/67 in a competition for the “Best Dressed Woman of the Philippines”, sponsored by the, I think, Fashion Guild of the Philippines (the whole couturier/design community of Manila).

    Of course, in order that I*M would not be slighted, and she certainly was the leading fashion plate of her era (I wonder if even her nightgowns were cut and designed as termos with those butterfly sleeves?), she was designated something like Honorary Chairwoman or something like that, whereby she was not to be judged in competition; since “she was a cut above everybody else.” (Well, of course, she also had a cut of everybody else’s taxes and properties…but let’s not go there today.) Something like the “Humanitarian or Honorary Awards” at the Oscars — given to those surviving luminaries who NEVER quite won in the heyday of their careers. Alam mo na, parang iyong Mis* M*nila/Mus* of M*nila “contest” in 1954 just before she met that Ilocano anti-Christ.

    Anyway, yeah, I think Pitang (and I never heard of her before — but certainly at that time you heard of Chona Kasten, Joji Felix-Velarde, Pacita Madrigal, etc., etc.) did indeed win top honors that year. There was this color spread in either The Manila Times or Chronicle magazine (the Feud was NOT yet upfront then — maaga pa) and from what I recall of the winners, there were yes, Chona Kasten, Prissy Moran-Sison (whatever happened to them?). Joji Felix, I think si Ting-Ting C. AND also the main rival of I*M amongst Senators’ wives at that time in terms of glamour — Lily de las Alas-Padilla — posed on the stage of the Manila Hotel Winter Garden room (why was there a Winter Garden room? Since when did Manila have a Winter?), like the creme de la creme of Manila alta socieded that they were. If a bomb had dropped on that room that evening, the entire Philippine fashion industry would’ve been set back at least 20 years!!

    I think the competition was held for one more year; but it was more low-key and then disbanded because iyong mga social activists were heating up. Talk of fashion assassins!! 🙂 🙂

    Just recapping history,
    G.I.

  7. March 11, 2007 at 3:20 am

    Adjie:

    According to her contemporaries, Tita Pitang Buyson-Eusebio was really more like the Negrense ladies than the Capampangan ones…

    It’s really your turf — Bacolod — that has bred such fabulous ladies!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  8. March 11, 2007 at 3:16 am

    Adjie:

    There will be pixes. Taddy B.G. assured me that he has great pixes of his Tita Pitang in various “Ramoning” Valeras!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  9. Adrian Lizares said,

    March 11, 2007 at 1:07 am

    Dear Toto,

    I would love to see a photograph or more of this Lady! Ibang klase yata ito!?

    xoxo

    Adjie


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