Maid of Honor

A dear cousin invited me to come over to her home one afternoon so we could discuss some business prospects.  She lives in a beautiful and commodious house filled with fine art and rare antiques in the city’s poshest enclave.    

The housekeeper opened the imposing front door and greeted me:  “Gud aptirnun, Suhr Toto.  Maupu pu kayu sa sala o sa lanai.  Hindi pa pu dumating si Sinyura.  Nag-lans pu sila ng mga kaibigan niya sa Siyangri-La.  Piru darating na pu iyun.  Sinabi nga niya pu na darating kayu at nagpapahanda ng maraming miryinda.”  [ “Good afternoon, Sir Toto.  Please have a seat in the living room or in the lanai.  Ma’am hasn’t arrived yet.  She had lunch with friends at the Shangri-La.  She informed us that you would be arriving and to prepare many items for afternoon tea.” ]

“Salamat.  Sige ako na ang bahala sa sarili ko.”  [ “Thank you.  I’ll take care of myself.” ]

I went through the entrance hall.

The living room.

The lanai. 

So I sat in the lanai.

Just then, a surprising vision in white appeared.  I thought it was my cousin on her way to some wedding…

The gown was sooooo Vera Wang.  Or In*o Sot*o.  Or whathaveyou.

It was The Maid.  One of the many in my cousin’s house.  Bringing “merienda” on a large sterling silver tray.

Dressed in a flowing white gown of the most flammable satin imaginable…

“Ang ganda mo naman!!!”  I exclaimed.  [ “You look beautiful!!!” ]

“Ay Suhr!!!  *giggles*  Pasinsya ka na!!!  Sinusukat ku lang itung gaon.  Ikakasal kasi yung kapatid ku sa Argao sa Sibu sa susunud na linggu.  Aku Mid up Unur!!!”  [ “Oh Sir!!!  *giggles*  Apologies!!!  I’m just fitting this gown.  My sister will be married in Argao, Cebu next week.  I am the Maid of Honor!!!” ]

I tried my darndest to break out laughing.  I bit my lip.  I took a deep breath and composed myself.

“Maganda… yung gown mo!!!”  I complimented her.  [ “Your gown… is nice!!!” ]

“Ay, si Suhr naman!!!  Tink yu!!!”  *pleased as a plum*  [ “Oh, Sir is so kind!!!  Thank you!!!” ]

“Ikaw ba nag-design niyan?”  I asked.  [ “Did you design that?” ]

“Ay Suhr, hindi!!!  Sa tutuu lang, kinupya ku itong gaon dun sa magasin na hindi binabasa ni Sinyura, yung ‘Pilipin Tatlihr.’  Disain ni Inu Sutu.  Siguru susyal siya.  Kasi si Sinyura at si Sinyurita maraming gaon ni Inu Sutu.  Siguru ubud ng mahal.  Ayaw palabhan sa amin.  Pina da drai klin dun sa Pininsula Hutil, sabi ni Bertung drayber pinauusukan daw dun…”  [ “Oh Sir, No!!!  To tell you the truth, I copied this gown from the magazine that Ma’am does not read, “The Philip*ine Tatl*r.”  Designed by In*o Sot*o.  He must be famous.  Because Ma’am and her daughter have many gowns by In*o Sot*o.  Probably very expensive.  They don’t want us to launder them.  They are sent for dry cleaning to the Peninsula Hotel, Berto the driver says that they ‘smoke’ them there…” ] 

Oh, OK.  This maid from Argao, Cebu.  As dark as a Negress.   Copied a gown she saw in “The Philip*ine Tatl*r” magazine which goes unread by the lady of the house.  By In*o Sot*o, no less!!!  My, this farm girl has inherent style.  The gall… Even Diana Vreeland would have been amused!!!   😛   😛   😛   

I could barely contain myself… this was way too funny!!!

A car had arrived.   

“Bikbik!!!  Nandiyan na si Sinyura!!!  Magbihis ka na!!!”  called the housekeeper frantically.  [ “Bikbik!!!  Ma’am has arrived!!!  You better change into your uniform!!!” ]

“Bikbik” scurried away.  So elegantly in her “Inu Sutu” gown…

My dear cousin entered and saw me convulsed with laughter, beet red.

“Hi!!!  What’s so funny???”  she asked.

“My dear, that maid of yours… has incredible style!!!”

“Who???  Ah… Bikbik???  She’s really like that.”  *rolls eyes*  “Her Big Fantasy is to be K*is Aq*ino and Gretch*n Barret*o… Combined!!!”

Maid of Honor.  In All Ways!!!



  1. February 11, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    I am looking for Toto S. Hernaez, who worked on the ships in Chemainus B.C. in 1979. My family met him on the beach and had a wonderful afternoon. Toto wrote us a thank you letter and my Mom saved it all these years. Just wanted to say hello.

  2. MVMR said,

    September 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Tita Ludichi Hernaez de la Rama – Gonzalez is still as beautiful and radiant as ever, she lives in Magallanes.

  3. john ada said,

    August 13, 2007 at 9:38 pm

    Bikbik, you go girl! in Cebuano, rampa dai. this post encapsulates the Cebuano lumad, it is perfect. Enterprising, the audacity, vocal parrying. I bet Bikbik purposely wore the gown to show off to you and test the waters for her grand entrance in Argao. She can stand her ground with Annabelle Rama.

    I notice that Cebuanos’ sense of accomplishment has a self-deprecation humor, being so long overshadowed by the wealth of Manila and Ilonggos. In her world, Bikbik has reached a pinnacle of success as maid to a rich lady. Just like her probable kin Hilario Davide (Argao too) who insists on breaking ground himself in empty lots in the city since he says that he is still a mag-dadaro (plowman). Unlike the other farmer G*rc*a who forgot that like many of us Cebuanos, they used to walk to school for miles barefoot from B****n to the town proper of D*****g with corn grits wrapped in banana leaves as the only meal of the day.

  4. Toto Hernaez said,

    May 23, 2007 at 7:38 am


    I enjoyed reading your observation of life in the Philippines. Your report about the Gonzalez-Chiong Veloso was very accurate as I have known the major characters. Lola Bebing had her Mansion in Capitol Hills, now renamed Villalon Hills. Lola Charing used to have a house in Gonzalez Compound. Both sisters always gave me a lecture on how to save money!
    Filipinos are so Lucky for having access to a lot of domestic help. Life in the Philippines will not be the same without them.

    Toto Hernaez

  5. May 21, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    cousin paz:

    … “maid of horror”…

    That is a good one!!! *lolsz!*

    Toto Gonzalez

  6. May 21, 2007 at 12:52 pm


    Ah yes, I should have taken Bikbik’s pix, but her appearance was so unexpected that I didn’t quite know what to do!!!

    Hernaez. That is a prominent Cebuano / Visayan surname… I have a beautiful aunt, Lourdes “Ludichi” Hernaez de la Rama of Bacolod, the widow of an uncle, Joaquin “Jake” Valdes Gonzalez of Bacolor, Pampanga.

    I’m glad to meet another “Toto”!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  7. cousin paz said,

    May 21, 2007 at 9:42 am

    Should have titled this “maid of horror!”

  8. Toto Hernaez said,

    May 20, 2007 at 6:58 pm

    You were able to capture the flavor and accent of the “bisaya tagalog” of Argao. If only you got Bikbik’s photo, your post would have been complete.

    Toto Hernaez

  9. May 18, 2007 at 9:58 am

    cara y cruz, Evenstar, gino:

    Isn’t “Bikbik” fabulous???!!! You should have seen her!!!


    Toto Gonzalez

  10. gino said,

    May 16, 2007 at 11:51 am

    I love this one!

  11. Evenstar said,

    May 14, 2007 at 1:26 am

    Great post! I wish you could post more often.

  12. cara y cruz said,

    May 12, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    ROTFLMAO! HIlarious!

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