Ecole Militaire

This is one of the funniest stories of Old, and not-so-Old, Pampanga…

After the war, the patriarch of a venerable family from Mexico, Pampanga decided that he would make a man out of his effeminate son and sent him to the Ecole Saint Cyr in Paris, the French version of the American West Point and the British Sandhurst.

Years passed and the son was due back in the Philippines.  The entire clan, led by the proud patriarch who was already ill and wheelchair-bound, gathered at the MIA Manila International Airport to welcome the new graduate.

In those postwar days [ indeed up to the late 1970s ], well-wishers gathered at a screened second floor lounge overlooking the tarmac from where they could see the airplanes.  There were no “tubes” and passengers alighted from the airplane on to the metal stairways driven to the arriving/departing airplane.

Everyone waited with bated breath for a tall, handsome, and dashing gentleman to appear.  The patriarch actually expected to see his “reformed” son in a military uniform… he even hoped that his son would become a fine soldier and eventually a bemedalled war hero…

Just then, a tall and beautiful woman with silky long hair alighted from the airplane.  She was wearing a wide-brimmed hat with silk roses, a beautiful and flowing silk floral dress which was unmistakably from Christian Dior’s very feminine and luxurious “New Look” line, and remarkably stylish shoes from the famous Roger Vivier.  Her unexpected appearance elicited gasps of admiration from the crowd.

Even the patriarch’s family was impressed.

“Dios co!!!  Calagu na!!!  Ninu iya caya???”  [ “OhmyGod!!!  She’s beautiful!!!  Who could she be???” ] an aunt gasped.

“Calupa neng Gre-heis Kehehl – hee [ Grace Kelly ]!!!” [ “She looks like Grace Kelly!!!” ]  a niece exclaimed.

“Ali!!!  Calupa neng Ha – ao – dree Eh – haff – vaaarn [ Audrey Hepburn ]!!!”  [ “No!!!  She looks like Audrey Hepburn!!!”  admired a cousin.

“Malagu iya.  Calupa neng Ree – eeta Ei – woh – art [ Rita Hayworth ].”  [‘She’s beautiful.  She looks like Rita Hayworth.” ]  grunted the patriarch.

In the Capampangan dialect, “b” becomes “v” and “v” becomes “b,” “f” becomes “p” and “p” becomes “f,” and “h” is not pronounced when there is an “h” but “h” is pronounced whenever there is no “h.”  *lolsz!*

The tall and beautiful woman smiled and waved at them.  They were thrilled and waved back.

The tall and beautiful woman smiled and waved at them again.  They were again thrilled and waved back as well.

“Yacu ini!!!  Yacu y ******!!!”  [ “I’m Me!!!  I’m ******!!!” ]  excitedly squealed the tall and beautiful woman, pointing to herself!!!

What???!!!  The entire family stared at her incredulously.  Then they stared at each other incredulously.

The expected military school graduate had turned to a soignee fashion plate!!!

The whole family felt like fainting!!!  Bwahahahahah!!!

That very night, the proud patriarch suffered a severe and fatal heart attack and died.  He absolutely could not accept that his son had turned into a beautiful woman.  Poor man!!!

The beautiful Pampango “lady” actually became the inspiration for Dolphy the comedian’s most popular “shoke” [ “fag” ] movies in the 1970s:  “Facifica Falayfay” and “Fefita Fofonggay”…  *lolsz!*

The last times I saw the legendary Pampango “lady” was on the ledge of the “Subway” Disco along Manuel Adriatico Street in Manila in the late 1980s.  “She” was dancing wildly to a remake of [ Gloria Gaynor’s ] “I Will Survive”…!!!  *lolsz!*

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13 Comments

  1. September 5, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Just adding some from my previous comments.

    1.) La Flor de Isabela brands of the former owners who used to own the tobacco plantations in Ilocos (a government monopoloy) transferred to Cuba, and, later on, moved operations to the island of Hispaniola.

    2.) The Levys were the original owners but I know the Laperals were quiet and minor partners in the Estrella del Norte.

    3.) The transgendered story reminds me of that boy from the Ortega clan of La Union. *grins*

  2. rgdgdfdfxdf said,

    October 5, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    The Zob*ls are grandees of Spain without the papers. They’re like affixations to the King. Every Zob*l is sinfully rich in Spain. Macro*ons and Padil*as and the other extensions too. In Madrid, they are known to be the forlorn, far-flung relatives of the King who went to the farthest reaches of the empire and built a fortune. The true royals of Manila. Sort of like Cay*tana de A*ba de T*rmes who — with her scary “estetica” notwithstanding — is known to be the “would-have-been” Queen of Scotland had Edinburgh not been put into the folly of the English Queen Elizabeth.

    “Second post for Monday, 23 avril.

    In my internet research on cigars de Filipinas, the name Don Juan Urq*ijo came up. AND I can’t find the thread where the Zob*l ex-in-law was discussed. So, iyan pala ang connection. Urq*ijo was a previous chairman of the cigar company that started out in Isabela; and he presently has a cigar brand named after him.

    So, alli pala ang source of the wives of the Spanish-Phil elite — from the quieter mestizo families one normally never hears of.

    And guess what? The Urq*ijos can trace their ancestry back to the present day Spanish Bourbons. So, D*des, *nigo and their children are related on both parental sides, to Juan Carlos y familia. In-breeding”

  3. July 1, 2007 at 5:30 am

    Adjie:

    You said it!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  4. July 1, 2007 at 5:30 am

    Ivan:

    And now we have that horrible monolith astride Spanish Intramuros.

    I am all for extralegal means in dealing with these cultural philistines.

    Manila should have the cultural version of “The Terror” of late 18th century France. And you should be Robespierre.

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. Adrian Lizares said,

    June 13, 2007 at 12:05 am

    I can’t agree any more with Ivan!

  6. April 24, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    I hope Atienza fries in hell for that travesty!

  7. zippo said,

    April 24, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Cheers GI

    La Flor de Filipinas is, I believe, a brand of the Tabacalera group. The tobacco may still be grown in Isabela (yes, a province in the Ilocos region).

    Unfortunately, the *@#+ government of the City of Manila demolished the Jai-Alai building. Sayang, I always loved the architecture of that building.

    Z 🙂

  8. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 23, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Second post for Monday, 23 avril.

    In my internet research on cigars de Filipinas, the name Don Juan Urq*ijo came up. AND I can’t find the thread where the Zob*l ex-in-law was discussed. So, iyan pala ang connection. Urq*ijo was a previous chairman of the cigar company that started out in Isabela; and he presently has a cigar brand named after him.

    So, alli pala ang source of the wives of the Spanish-Phil elite — from the quieter mestizo families one normally never hears of.

    And guess what? The Urq*ijos can trace their ancestry back to the present day Spanish Bourbons. So, D*des, *nigo and their children are related on both parental sides, to Juan Carlos y familia. In-breeding.

    G.I.

  9. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 23, 2007 at 6:03 pm

    2 comments I wanted to share here:

    #1 – I thought “La Estrella del Norte” belonged to the Arces or Laperals? I don’t know why I thought that. Anyway, even though I recall many things…it was WAAYYYYYY before my time. But I’m sure it looked like some of those old-time European emporia, albeit on a smaller scale — maybe like a junior Printemps? And they never had another branch, did they?

    #2 – Bro. Boq*er’s family. You know I have seen it spelled the other way, the French way — with the “c.” Anyway, long before Cecil Licad, Maureen Tiongco, or Lea Salonga (and the various Filipina “Kims” that followed) burst onto the int’l performing scene, there was this very patrician European-looking gentleman named “Gene Boucher” who had a career at the Metropolitan Opera of New York. He was a baritone and was part of the repertory of the Metropolitan (the stable of regulars who sang the supporting parts of their operatic repertory while int’l “superstars (Tebaldi, Domingo, Pavarotti, etc.” came in for the season) until his death in 1994.

    And on his bio credits, he always listed as “…from the Philippines.”

    He was survived by his sister, Inez. (And during my younger brother’s grade school days in Ateneo, he also had a “Bouquer” classmate.) I wonder if they were all related. More homework for you, Mr. Historian…

    And 3 other assign…errr, future topics:

    1. Speaking of “Levy,” how about the small Jewish community of Manila, Toto? That would be VERRRYYYY interesting. There used to be that small synagogue on Taft (or what is the street the National Library faces on and almost where it meets Taft?). That, if I recall, is where that strange building with the Star of David used to be (I think near Bob’s or Chat Peypoch’s studios).

    1-b. Another small subject — but even more esoteric. How about the Manila lodge of the Masonic Society? Is that still around? They used to have this beautiful building around San Marcelino — sort of around the corner from the original “Rustan’s.” And I had a close relative who belonged. But it was all so secretive, etc., etc. Nice to unearth a few skeletons there.

    2. Have recently taken an interest in cigars and am trying a few brands. (Even though I am really a non-smoker; and it is so non-PC to even attempt it in CAlif.) But it’s sooooooooo in-your-face!! to those prissy PC-types that blowing smoke, even speaking figuratively only, “in their faces” makes the symbolic act doubly pleasurable!!!

    I was sent a catalogue of these connoisseur cigars company. (Even this old-world commodity has now gone the catalogue way and on-line as well.) There was this brand called “Flor de Filipinas” — but nowhere in the very detailed subscription did it say “It came from the Philippines…” So, unless I call the distributor and ask them to further elaborate, that ad piqued my interest on this subject.

    Is “Tabacalera” still around? (I know though they had terribly foul-smelling cigars!!) Were there other Filipino cigar companies? (I know there are the cigarette companies.) Also, I must know in case any research turns up that if certain extant cigar brands are still made in the ILOCOS, then I must known those brands and MOST Definitely stay away from those. 🙂 🙂

    3. – Oh yeah. The sport of Jai-alai!! Does that still survive in Manila? Is the fronton still there? And then of course, you have all those scandals of those poor but mainly BASQUE players consorting with some of the daughters of Manila’s Spanish elite!!

    See Toto, you now have a virtual “salon” in the Belle Epoque sense. But you must have a certain order to it. Even old Spanish lolo from Calatagan and the AAA+ socialite would need a handle on the numerous topics, otherwise, “maloloka sila” and everyone’s interest will just fritter away!

    Hasta lluego,
    G.I.

  10. zippo said,

    April 21, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Toto,

    Did you know that our favorite La Salle Brother (next to Bro. Andrew, of course), none other than Bro. Aug*stine L*vy Boq*er, was himself a product of a military school education?

    Bro. G*s belonged to the family (the L*vy family) which founded the country’s most prestigious pre-war jewelry company — the venerable La Estrella Del Norte.

    Z

  11. Bernie said,

    April 20, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Toto,

    In San Fernando, there is this Chinoy family with big business whose daughter unknowingly married a guy who ‘joins’ Santacruzan processions, until one day, he was ‘discovered’ by one of the househelp who happened to be watching the Santacruzan in a remote barrio of San Fernando.

  12. zippo said,

    April 20, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    I remember that old airport. They used to have photographers waiting to take pictures (black & white) of travellers posing beside the airplane staircase (of course with the traveller holding the ubiquitous PanAm give-away traveller’s bag).

    Z 🙂

  13. April 20, 2007 at 5:54 am

    Actually, it’s so very… “Cage aux Folles”/”Sabrina.”

    Nowadays, one wonders how these ‘disguises’ go through international airport security — especially El Al? It must be terribly embarrassing for “trannies” (“transgendered” persons) to go through all that screening. I would think they would have that ‘guilty’ look as they approach the screening guards.

    G.I.


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