“Wherever Sugar Grew”

Many years ago, Joey Panlilio asked his grandmother, the regal and enduringly lovely Dona Luz Sarmiento de Panlilio, where the most beautiful old houses — needless to say the most beautiful antiques — in the Philippines could be found, and She answered simply:  “Hijo, Wherever Sugar Grew…”

That meant Pampanga, Bulacan, Batangas, Iloilo, and Negros.

Of course, She was right.

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51 Comments

  1. kc said,

    August 2, 2009 at 1:37 am

    ahm..ask ko lng puh my information ba kayong alam about ky ALFREDO BENITEZ..sobrang need ko lng..and also his works…tnx..

  2. becco esquieres empleo said,

    September 8, 2008 at 12:28 am

    sugar, galleon trade, coffee, tobacco…… how about the “rancheros” of southern tayabas and nueva caceres, bicol?

    i know that livestock brought great wealth to the “principalia” families of the old towns of tayabas and bicol, only they were less “europeo” in lifestyle, more folk like the tagalas of tayabas.

  3. kathang isip said,

    October 10, 2007 at 5:22 am

    I came across this blog I don’t know how, but I sure am hooked.
    I was just wondering if I could be related to these people you write about…
    Like the Benitezes… are those Benitezes on here from Leyte?
    Are they related to Judge Emilio Benitez somehow?

  4. abcdefg said,

    October 6, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Yes, that nice, gracious Gomez Lady is a true blooded Capampangan and can speak the dialect fluently. I heard she has remained to be her old self even at the the height of the “Marcos Era arrogance”.

  5. rgdgdfdfxdf said,

    October 5, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Oh! I did not know she is Capampangan too. We only know her as that nice, gracious lady back in Boston who’d always get praises for her “adobado” dishes.

  6. betty mahmoudy said,

    October 5, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Yes, her name was Avery and she ended up marrying Giovanni Agnelli… only to be widowed not long after.

  7. abcdefg said,

    October 5, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Juliet*e G. Rom*aldez was never Julieta in Tacloban. She was baptized Juliet*e and born to a Spanish landed family from Pampanga. Her uncles and aunts during those times owned private planes to travel around the country.

    Philip’s family was the one shocked at his choice of a bride considering the lovely ladies he has dated here and in New York’s high society — even getting written about in Women’s Wear Daily with his wealthy American girlfriend back then.

  8. maginoongtagalog said,

    September 8, 2007 at 6:32 am

    Soledad Francia’s sister is Inocencia Francia. They were daughters of Don Hilario Francia of Pagsanjan, Laguna. Soledad Francia who married Judge Higinio Benitez is the mother of the illustrious Conrado Francia Benitez.

  9. qwerty said,

    September 6, 2007 at 4:40 am

    Speaking from personal experience, I presume? Funny how you paint everyone else to be in the same toxological, scatological boat you’ve been in. Misery sure loves company.

  10. fthbfgb said,

    September 4, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    All great wealth begins from dirt my gangrenous throat of a man.

  11. Garganta Inflamada said,

    September 3, 2007 at 1:37 am

    fae-blah-blah opined:

    …we are Waray ( plus Capampangan and Ilocano ) So yeah. Beat it softie! *smile*

    ****************************************************

    Yeah, we had a few maids who were Waray but they didn’t last long. Not only were they kleptomaniacs but they harbored great delusions that they too would be First Ladies in this lifetime.

    Very disruptive.

    *smile your toothless smile*

    G.I.

  12. August 26, 2007 at 2:08 am

    By the way, I believe it’s Juliette not Juliet — at least in Boston. I’m pretty sure it was Julieta back in Tacloban, just like how Imelda Visitacion Remedios became Meldy then peaked to be known simply as “Madame.”

  13. August 26, 2007 at 2:01 am

    No need to apologize Zippo. You’re my neighbor and well, it’s hard enough that people from outside the gates on Buendia and Arnaiz think too snooty of us in this blog. And oh Zippo, it doesn’t really make sense. Then and now. I mean Eugenia and S*rgio espousing themselves to be champions of justice and Philippine “egalite.” Saying that they’re so clean.

    But look now? They’re riding on the wings of D*dong’s “Emperadora.” Both the Rom*aldezes and the *postols.

    Why did you think S*rging was persuaded not to continue his foray into elective office, and was instead assured of some government position directly under the benefices of the Palace?

    Quite admittedly though, the Rom*aldezes are closer to the ears of the “Emperadora.” With the gracious G*mez’s husband’s cunning political hand he thwarted the L*reto-Petil*as into a not-so-win-win deal. Why?

    1.) By getting the seat at the “camara” and not the governorship his son would head the Mining interests and the committees relating to the industry, a [ USD $ ] billion-dollar industry.

    2.) His son doesn’t have to relegate himself into the provinces. ( In fact I heard from my Lolas that a shell company associated with Benguet Corporation bought the old Roxas spread in our neighborhood! Yes, the BIG abandoned lot towards Manila Polo. )

    3.) Next up, in the next election a Rom*aldez will unseat the upstarts (a.k.a. Jericho) to control not just the province politically but Leyte’s untapped resource, its Geothermal energy producing resources.

    They should thank S*ndy’s mom and her uncles for their stay in the Ruf*no-Pr*eto newspaper even as the Rom*aldezes grumble on the side. I mean, come on! The “People’s Journal” is back under Rom*aldez control and its real estate assets alone will resurrect its underrated capital strength — far more than the Ruf*no paper operating near the Makati gutters. A lot of people snicker that S*ndy’s made the wrong choice but I think she made a practical one. She married UP and secured her bread and butter newspaper fortune for good.

    By the way, the “pina” servilletas you mentioned remind me of “Gone with the Wind,” where they made a dress out of the beautiful curtains. I think that’s really awesome! A pricey piece of cloth is a pricey piece of cloth whether you dress yourself with it or you wipe your mouth on it.

  14. zippo said,

    August 25, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    To fgbgbv…:

    When I mentioned “wedding gown: $10,000,” I did not mean that it actually cost that much. My joke only meant to highlight the fact that Mrs. Apostol and Mrs. Magsanoc were less than thrilled about the union and the literary vehicle I used to do this was to paraphrase a well-known credit card advertisement.

    So sorry if what I wrote as the cost of the wedding gown offended you though. Although I’m happy to say that both my wives’ wedding gowns cost less than that — combined ( we used one of my lola’s old piña table cloths and place settings for the 2nd wife’s gown ).

    Z 🙂

  15. August 24, 2007 at 7:08 pm

    Little things are quite funny.

    Toto knows a little about me. A little about Makati. A little about Tacloban. A little about the little charter planes flying so low among the tree tops to escape the radar screens of *nrile’s 1986 rebellious army cadets. A little about New York. A little about Pampanga. A little about Antenor Patino. A little about the House of Durcal. A little about a forgotten Filipino family that walks the sidelines, its legacy being carried and remembered not by its philanderous males but by its strong-willed, fierce women. A little gutsy. A little like me.

    “mzcjzpmz8w3macpx said,
    August 24, 2007 at 6:35 am

    cilgigig — is that you? Wow! How brave you are! Anybody would know that’s you. Just like dgbvbxg and what’s-its-name are also so fearless in posting here and sharing their braggadocio with Toto’s readers. I mean, with their eyes closed, people here would IMMEDIATELY know who you/they are and be awed by your meaningful stories.

    How gutsy.”

  16. August 24, 2007 at 7:01 pm

    The Rom*aldez-Pr*eto wedding I believe was in New York. It was the talk from Boston to the Hamptons to Manhattan. There were lunches and brunches and anything foodie going in and around New England ( that’s what I like about them, they eat a lot like me! ) as the Rom*aldez Architect could command even the most revered of New York’s social elite to attend and give life to the parties ( I think he threw one in the Hamptons and two in New York and there was another one up in his house in Connecticut ). Even Mar*an of the French came from across the Atlantic.

    If I clearly remember, the bride was trying to make it simple. Simple lines on the wedding gown and simple jewelry. Had she not been so mestiza in her complexion she may not have stood out among the younger Rom*aldezes, almost all of them chubby, precocious, and wearing such pretty baubles and beautiful accoutrements. Oh by the way, the R*finos came too. It was weird seeing Mar*xi there. She and her friends used to not think too highly of the Leytenos living on Jacaranda. Anyway, she wore her hair on a bun as usual. What is it about old Filipino heiresses, they never want to dress up to impress? Why not unlock the family treasure trove for one time, especially on a daughter’s wedding!?!!!

    By the way, the wedding gown was not $10,000. You couldn’t possibly buy a wedding gown like that and wear it for a New York wedding where a charity luncheon alone costs $10,000 for a table.

  17. mzcjzpmz8w3macpx said,

    August 24, 2007 at 6:35 am

    cilgigig — is that you? Wow! How brave you are! Anybody would know that’s you. Just like dgbvbxg and what’s-its-name are also so fearless in posting here and sharing their braggadocio with Toto’s readers. I mean, with their eyes closed, people here would IMMEDIATELY know who you/they are and be awed by your meaningful stories.

    How gutsy.

  18. zippo said,

    August 23, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    cilgigig:

    How true. In February 26, 1986, the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s headline read: “IT’S ALL OVER; MARCOS FLEES!” No other newspaper was more rabidly anti-Marcos than the Inquirer with Eggie Apostol as the President and Letty J. Magsanoc as Editor-in-Chief. One of the Inquirer’s most maligned personalities was a certain favorite brother of IRM — Ambassador Kok*y Rom*aldez, husband of J*liet Gomez-Rom*aldez.

    Fast-track to August 21, 2007 — the 24th death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino. The Inquirer’s masthead lists as its President, Alexandra R. Pr*eto-ROM*ALDEZ who, about 4 or 5 years ago, became the daughter-in-law of Kok*y and J*liet Rom*aldez. A friend of mine who used to work for the Inquirer has remarked that the Rom*aldez-Pr*eto wedding could have been an American Express commercial: “Bouquet: $100; Wedding Rings: $5,000; Wedding Gown: $10,000; Reception: $50,000; Reaction of Eggie Apostol and Letty Magsanoc upon hearing of the news of the very low-key, nay, almost secret wedding: PRICELESS!”

    Z 🙂

  19. taitai said,

    August 23, 2007 at 2:52 am

    Wait!

    Why did IRM leave behind those sapphires? Is it because they are of the VCA = Vulacan kind?

    hehehe

    Taitai

  20. taitai said,

    August 23, 2007 at 2:48 am

    A few years after, I think this was during FVR’s or Erap’s time, ESM-O approached well-known and revered society maven whom she detested. ESM-O said, “________, I really love the sapphires in your necklace.” Society Maven replied, “Why thank you. You really have an eye for jewelry.” ESM-O then replied, “Thank you. I remember selling those sapphires to Mrs. Marcos in 1984.”

    **********************

    Oh my!!

    It reminds me a little of the incident where Maharani Sita Devi remarked that the Duchess of Windsor’s fabulous Harry Winston emerald necklace used to be her anklets.

    Except, this pinoy version is much worse.

    sigh…

    taitai

  21. cilgigig said,

    August 22, 2007 at 12:34 am

    “A few years after, I think this was during FVR’s or Erap’s time, ESM-O approached well-known and revered society maven whom she detested. ESM-O said, “________, I really love the sapphires in your necklace.” Society Maven replied, “Why thank you. You really have an eye for jewelry.” ESM-O then replied, “Thank you. I remember selling those sapphires to Mrs. Marcos in 1984.””

    I love it! Hahaha. I think IRM and her girls still have the last laugh. I’m pretty sure none of those fought over by the Old Society santa-santitas were of any value compared to those shipped away to _______________ before the New Year of 1986…

    You know, we had this emotional bout once when my driver and I found old pictures of Don Orestes being sold in, of all places, Cartimar during the early 1990s. Right beside the old petshop where we’d hoard goldfishes from — to feed to our beloved Arawanas. We quickly bought them for a penny or two. The tindero did not know who it was in the pictures.

    I gave them to my lolas. They were surprised. I was a very young kid then. They kept them and brought them to Boston where we gave it to the very gracious Gomez woman married into Her family. Then, when She came back she dropped by unannounced to our house (as usual!) and spent the entire afternoon talking about the present and the future over “merienda cena.” She gave me a big kiss and a hug and She said thank you and that I looked like my Lolo NY.

  22. zippo said,

    August 21, 2007 at 8:06 am

    rdgdxgsdr wrote:

    “You know I just had this terrible apparition of your friend coming in to my family’s houses back there… itemizing every single thing… and making a big fuss that it’s stolen. He’ll probably take it home. Just like Tingt*ng and the Tanj*atcos to the remaining mid-class pearls and citrines left in Arlegui in 1986.”

    My aunt said she saw Tingt*ng at the Holiday Inn – Golden Mile Shop of An*ta Chan ( Nathan corner Mody in Kowloon ) in late March or early April of 1986. She had with her some necklaces and earrings which she wanted “reset and redesigned.”

    If you want to hear more horror stories about who got what in the first 12 hours after the Marcoses left Malacañang, talk to a well-known ( then yellow as a jaundiced patient ) Interior Decorator who was one of the people tasked to audit what was left in the Palace. Members of Kamag-anak, Inc. and the supposed “genteel set” were fighting over IRM’s cosmetics, piña embroidered sets, objets d’ art, and, of course, left-over jewelry. One even had 7 or 8 of IRM’s antique “peinetas” [ gold and tortoiseshell / silver ] stuck to her hair!!!

    A few years after, I think this was during FVR’s or Erap’s time, ESM-O approached well-known and revered society maven whom she detested. ESM-O said, “________, I really love the sapphires in your necklace.” Society Maven replied, “Why thank you. You really have an eye for jewelry.” ESM-O then replied, “Thank you. I remember selling those sapphires to Mrs. Marcos in 1984.”

    Z 🙂

  23. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 21, 2007 at 5:46 am

    yeah… whatever…

  24. aceu[ec[vp9aj e9 94nc['p9vz'a3kdcnoc said,

    August 21, 2007 at 5:38 am

    iocnr835c anva 08ca 8 c8938a aeu au po vv aovq30 c8eroa e ja jo a ai a aopop avavai ia iv

    Yakety-yak-yak-yak.

  25. aceu[ec[vp9aj e9 94nc['p9vz'a3kdcnocnocpc said,

    August 21, 2007 at 5:36 am

    ejcr9au cduae ‘vj8359 vavue[ a jp u u er acerue ap vepav q[8q3 ae0895qvjev se[a c w9 vp 94 s ae85 rv] qtv va et

    Yakety-yak-yak-yak!!

  26. August 20, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Oh by the way, get used to my misspellings and grammatical errors. I’m here in the States and we are Waray ( plus Capampangan and Ilocano ) So yeah. Beat it softie! *smile*

    I don’t read my English by the books.

  27. August 20, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    No need to be upset G.I.. You can debate all you want but it won’t buy a lifetime of leisure and carefree days. It’s immaterial if you’re such a debate whiz from my alma mater or even from Toto’s uncle’s university.

    Who cares if you speak so well or write so well or pretend you’re so clean? You’re just as dirty as me. But again, not as loaded.

  28. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 20, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    robber=rvdx wrote:

    I hope your friend realizes the fact that everybody steals.

    ******************************************************

    1. Well, straight from the horse’s mouth. LOL!!

    2. Speak for yourself and your kind alone.

    3. No one gave you the authority to speak on my (or on others’ ) behalf.

    4. Yours is the same stupid, totally looped out (ir)rationale that prompted your forebear’s patroness ( Dona T*cla as you would say ) to utter: “Well, some are smarter than others.” But if you (or she) had any sense of civil ethics ( which you don’t and are so shamelessly proud of ), decency would guide you in innately knowing that that doesn’t give you or anyone license to run roughshod over others. At least self-respecting, decent, ethical people wouldn’t.

    But then again, why am I even refuting a seeming as*hole?

  29. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 20, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    dvdx-whatever…

    Gee, you seem to be awfully good at projecting this- and that- to others you barely know. Obviously you’re extrapolating your own insecurities to everyone else thinking they have the same scale of ‘value’ that you have. ( From what I can tell, I’d rather not even be in the same room as you are. )

    What is your ‘mental’ age? 16 or what? Tell you what: when you get a little more seasoned in the rules and procedures of rational, logical discussion, get back to me and Maybe I will engage you in further debate. But until then, I really won’t waste my time with a rank ‘amateur.’

    Ciao.

    G.I.

  30. zippo said,

    August 20, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    Speaking of the Yellow Widow, did anyone read Vic San Agustin’s Cocktales Column printed in the August 15, 2007 issue of the Manila Standard Today (Page 5 of the Business Section). It reads:

    “Heard through the grapevine

    The New York-based girl friend of opposition Benigno Aquino Jr. during his three-year US exile has quietly relocated to Manila.

    Now in her late ’40s, the lady still retains a youthful verve that must have captivated the Edsa 1 hero two decades ago.

    If you want more details about her, the person to ask is former Senator Ernesto Maceda.”

    http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/?page=business5_aug15_2007

    Hmmmmmmm……

    Z 🙂

  31. rdgdxgzsdr said,

    August 20, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Your blood runs blue far more than mine. I guess that’s the major difference, You’re much more cultured. More tactful. But just as equally wealthy.

    You know I just had this terrible apparition of your friend coming in to my family’s houses back there… itemizing every single thing… and making a big fuss that it’s stolen. He’ll probably take it home. Just like Tingt*ng and the Tanj*atcos to the remaining mid-class pearls and citrines left in Arlegui in 1986.

    Oh, yeah! Just to reiterate, Tingt*ng is married to the once-wickedly fabulous Coj*angco branch of Don P*pe’s….Don P*pe’s favorite branch… so she’s a robachica. Though not as blunt.

    I hope your friend realizes the fact that everybody steals.

  32. August 20, 2007 at 5:37 am

    dgbvdxg:

    Old-fashioned “Marcos Era Arrogance” with a “Capital A”!!! I haven’t heard that in ages!!! Eyelavit [ to quote Cecile Zamora-van Straten ]!!!

    I feel like I’m with my Sons-of-Marcos-Cronies friends back in those days, 1973-1985…

    And This was The Attitude: “Shit!!! We’re roaringly rich and You’re pitifully poor!!! We’re Powerful and You’re Powerless!!! Get outta here!!!”

    Well, there certainly were beelines to the international airports, piers, and yacht clubs for various modes of Escape come 25 February 1986… 😛

    But now The Dictator’s Family is “back with a vengeance” and claiming Everything back. Not to mention launching a Fashion Collection!!! Meanwhile, The Yellow Widow’s Family has lost their vast ++ 6,000-hectare sugar plantation, the bulwark of their fortune.

    THE WORLD IS ROUND. *shakes head in disbelief*

    *LOLOLOLSSSZZZZZZZ!!!*

    Toto Gonzalez

  33. dgbvdxg said,

    August 19, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    [ Anti-Marcos: ]

    Mind-boggling wealth must be so unbelievable to you that you’d think it artificial. Not quite sure about “de rigueur” mobile homes because I’ve never been into one (Do you live in one?)

    I’m not telling you where it is. And I’m not denying that it’s stolen.

    But it’s hidden. Remember? Hidden Wealth?

  34. Ivan said,

    August 18, 2007 at 9:45 am

    San Juan, San Pablo and Sariaya were said to prosper because of coconut oil exports during the First World War. Not sure though about this story.

  35. zippo said,

    August 17, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Hi GI!

    A little correction: I did not say that IRM brought the portrait to Honolulu. I do not know where that portrait is. I’d like to be clear that it was the kaleidoscope, and the kaleidoscope only, which, I am positive, she brought to Honolulu.

    As to the portrait, while I do not pretend to be an art expert and while I agree with GI that black velvet paintings are indeed the height of kitsch, the IRM portrait, from what I remember, was actually tastefully done as it was not really a painting. The portrait used black velvet only as a backing for the Mikimoto pearls which were sewn into the velvet backing (like a mosaic) to create a pixelated effect (no paint and no other material was used).

    Z 🙂

  36. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 16, 2007 at 9:40 pm

    zippo wrote:

    This reminds me of 2 things: (i) IRM’s pixel portrait which was made of black velvet backing…

    She actually brought it with her to Honolulu and was never confiscated.

    ************************************

    Where is this ‘portrait’? Then she truly is the queen (lower case ‘q’) of Kitsch (upper case ‘K’). Paintings/portraits on black velvet are looked upon in the US, as only one step higher than artwork hung in public bathrooms and a few steps lower than wholesale ‘artwork’ sold at a mall outside artists’ colonies, like Sausalito and the like. Black-velvet artwork in trailer park homes is de rigeur.

    Why was it never ‘confiscated’? The Customs agents probably didn’t want to barf anymore — and surely, it would have not sold at those public auctions of ‘seized’ drug merchandise and parapharnelia.

    G.I.

  37. tyhyfg said,

    August 14, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    I remember this. Exactly. I know where it is.

    “This reminds me of 2 things: (i) IRM’s pixel portrait which was made of black velvet backing and Mikimoto pearls of different sizes; and (ii) IRM’s magnificent kaleidoscope (made by a European jeweller) containing loose precious and semi-precious gems (both cut and cabochon).

    I was so amazed with that kaleidoscope. The colors and shapes that kaleidoscope created was mind-boggling – it was like you were on a really, really, really expensive LSD trip. She actually brought it with her to Honolulu and was never confiscated.

  38. zippo said,

    August 14, 2007 at 5:48 am

    Batangueño wrote:

    “She even recalls playing in a very ornate “sungkaan” carved from a dark wood, where the “sigay” used were not cowrie shells or stones, but natural black south sea pearls!!”

    ——–

    This reminds me of 2 things: (i) IRM’s pixel portrait which was made of black velvet backing and Mikimoto pearls of different sizes; and (ii) IRM’s magnificent kaleidoscope (made by a European jeweller) containing loose precious and semi-precious gems (both cut and cabochon).

    I was so amazed with that kaleidoscope. The colors and shapes that kaleidoscope created was mind-boggling – it was like you were on a really, really, really expensive LSD trip. She actually brought it with her to Honolulu and was never confiscated.

    Z 🙂

  39. batangueno said,

    August 13, 2007 at 6:49 am

    This discussion simply brings back to mind the mansions in Batangas (City), the capital and administrative center of the province since 1754. Stories are all that is left of these great residences. During the world war bombing, the city was almost totally destroyed and only two of these great houses survived and are still extant today, the Acosta Pastor house and the Borbon house.

    A prominent couple, who both hail from the province’s principalia familias, had a memorable mansion in the main thoroughfare of the town. Aside from filling their house with the most beautiful furniture and paintings and collections of santos and carrozas (typical in any principalia familia’s home), the eclectic couple also maintained a zoo within their large property. Exotic birds and animals sourced from around the world actually roamed the grounds of the mansion (a la sigfried and roy but a hundred years ago…)

    Another recollection is about another prominent family, who practically owned more than half of the city and even had plantations and land holdings not only in batangas but in other provinces as well. Their ancestral house was very large and imposing, encompassing one whole block in the town proper. A lady, who was very fortunate to have seen this house before its destruction during the war, recalls how grand the house was probably because of the exquisite taste of the family matriarch who was so into European culture. She even recalls playing in a very ornate “sungkaan” carved from a dark wood, where the “sigay” used were not cowrie shells or stones, but natural black south sea pearls!! (Filipino meets victorian.. hehe)

  40. zippo said,

    August 12, 2007 at 9:19 am

    I believe it was the Tirona family which originally owned the diamond.

    Z 🙂

  41. August 11, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    zippo:

    It’s alright. I am of the firm opinion that these stories had better be documented — cracked, nicked, and fragmented — before they are forgotten forever. If you had not written down the story of that considerable Cavite diamond for all of us, where would it be??? With your Lola six feet under [ or over, whichever the case ], no doubt.

    Now, who was the Cavite patriot who owned that diamond and was an ancestor of the Benitezes of Pagsanjan, Laguna??? I can only connect the patrician Francias of the late 1800s: the sisters Soledad and _____ Francia whose portraits were painted by the maestro Antonio Malantic.

    Thanks also to talagang tsismoso for the clarification. Every little bit helps as we try to properly document Filipino social history.

    Toto Gonzalez

  42. zippo said,

    August 11, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Talagang T.:

    Mea Culpa. I stand corrected. I may have misunderstood my grandmother ( she did die in 1985 when I was a teenager ) although they should be, at least, cousins. Hmmmm….. I think should get a ouija board to get the facts of my chismis straight.

    Z 🙂

  43. talagang tsismoso said,

    August 11, 2007 at 3:05 am

    i am sorry to say that emma benitez is not the sister of helena benitez. helena benitez is the only daughter of conrado benitez & francisca tirona. her siblings are tomas who married conchita liboro & alfredo who married lourdes baltazar, their son is the former deputy minister for human settlements jolly benitez. the parents of emma benitez are eulogio who married rosenda lavadia, her siblings are teofilo, eulogio jr., alberto, macario who married nenuca villareal & leila the former tv host who married gerardo roces.

  44. overtureph said,

    August 10, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Most of Lipa was destroyed during the war. Most of it’s elegant houses are gone.There are about 5 old houses that survived the war. The most famous is the Katigbak (Segunda) ancestral house. And yet this is not located on the Calle Mayor. So there is nothing much to be seen in terms of ancestral houses in Lipa. One of the proof that Lipa was so rich during the coffee boom years, was that the only branch of La Estrella del Norte was established here.

    It seems, that there is very little written documentation as to old walled city of Cavite and even pictures of the old city. I think what only survived was the Porta Vaga gate. I believe most of the walls where bulldozed by the Americans.

    So thank you Japan and America for involving us in your Imperialistic ambitions.

  45. zippo said,

    August 9, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    There are 3 more towns which have really nice houses: Sariaya in Quezon, San Juan in Batangas, and San Pablo in Laguna.

    I’ve also been to Pila in Laguna. The old houses and the turn of the century municipal hall/court house (painted in its original bright pink color) have been well-preserved. The town plaza surrounded by stately homes with the church on one end and the municipal hall on the other end is a sight to behold.

    Of course, we shouldn’t forget Vigan in Ilocos Sur (not because of sugar but another cash crop: tobacco — don’t you just hate it when Pinoy newscasters pronounce tobacco as “tow-bake-co”)

    Z 🙂

  46. zippo said,

    August 9, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Yes, she’s still alive. Her family sued a well-known hospital for bungling her eye operation (apparently, they operated on the wrong eye).

    Z

  47. August 9, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    cousin paz:

    OMG. Is She still alive???

    Toto Gonzalez

  48. cousin paz said,

    August 9, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I heard that Helena is now blind or almost that is…

  49. zippo said,

    August 9, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Thanks. I wish my lola were still alive. She could have shared so many things to this blog.

    Z 🙂

  50. August 9, 2007 at 7:01 am

    zippo:

    That’s a really great story!!!

    I love that line: “she had a face which could not even launch a ‘banca.'” I’ve been laughing the whole day!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  51. zippo said,

    August 9, 2007 at 5:33 am

    Add 2 more towns, although sugar did not grow in these towns: (i) Lipa, Batangas — the town which supplied the whole world with coffee; and (ii) Cavite City in Cavite — the town which was the center of the galleon and shipping trade. While the houses in Lipa are still intact, Cavite City (which is situated at the mouth of Manila Bay and which counts Corregidor island as one of its barrios) was the most destroyed city after Manila during World War II; only a handful of old houses and buildings remained ( including the beautiful art nouveau opera theater, Teatro Maria ) as the main Japanese naval port ( Port San Felipe ) and the main Japanese air force station (Sangley Point) were in Cavite City. Even the 3 cathedrals of Cavite City: San Roque, San Pedro Apostol, and Nuestra Señora de Soledad de Porta Vaga ( yes, the small city had 3 huge cathedrals ) were all bombed and destroyed during the “Liberation.” My lola, a Manileña, told me once that if one was impressed by the architecture of the Aguinaldo mansion in Kawit, one would be in awe with Cavite City as similar mansions were “a dime a dozen” in Cavite City ( check out the Berenguer-De Los Reyes Museum for pictures of Old Cavite City ). A Caviteño friend once took me to the “mausoleum row” in the old Catholic Cemetery in Cavite City. I kid you not, most of the mausoleums had beautiful iron gates and European Crystal Chandeliers and Sconces which dated back to the late 1800s! Cavite City, I was told, was so rich that before the war, during fiesta time ( feast of the Soledad ), the rich families would lend their Persian and Chinese Rugs to carpet the entire main boulevard so that the faithful could walk barefoot but on carpets!

    As an aside, there is one legendary story amongst the Cavite City folk (told to me by my very talkative late grandmother) about the Trece Martires ( the 13 ilustrados who financed/supported the Cavite Katipunan rebellion but who were captured by the Spaniards and executed without trial ). Apparently, before they were captured, one of the 13 got wind of the impending arrest and escaped the City gates with his family and their belongings. He was already heading towards Kawit ( safe haven as this town was controlled by Aguinaldo and the Katipunan ) but he realized that he forgot to bring along a gentleman’s ring with an 8-carat diamond which was in his tocador. The gentleman, against his wishes, went back to Cavite City and retrieved the ring only to be arrested as he was running down his home with the ring on his finger! Fortunately, he was able to entrust the ring to someone before he was executed and the ring passed on to a daughter who had a hard time choosing which among her daughters the dreaded diamond would pass on to: her fair and beautiful younger daughter, Emma; or her tough and intelligent daughter, Helena ( whom she named after Helen of Troy ) who — well, let’s just say that, ironically, she had a face which could not even launch a banca. The diamond passed on to the beautiful Emma who wed one of the richest gentlemen in the Philippines but who, scandalized Philippine society by leaving her husband for a dashing Colonel in the Philippine Army. It was said that eventually, Emma gave the diamond to her sister, Helena, who never married, but whose brains she really admired. In honor of her martyred grandfather, Helena wore the diamond to the opening of Congress when she took her oath as Senator of the Republic ( a remarkable feat considering she got elected prior to Martial Law at a time when lady senators were elected only when their senator-husbands died ). Helena had the diamond reset as a centerpiece of a necklace which she wore when she stood as principal sponsor at a legendary wedding when her nephew, Gregorio — only son of Emma, wed a President’s daughter named Irene.


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