“Y Tu Mama Tambien” [ “And your Mother, too” ]

An esteemed Spanish mestizo friend showed us through their elegant family home furnished with priceless Filipino old masters and magnificent antique furniture.

It was an absolute delight because there was exceptional beauty wherever we turned… There was an exquisite 1925 “Fiesta” scene and a 1945 “Burning of Intramuros” by Fernando Amorsolo. There was an elegant, Sargent-ish portrait of our host’s great grandmother by Juan Luna.  There was a painting by the Spaniard Joaquin Sorolla and two by the Spaniard Ignacio Zuloaga.  There were several portraits of the family painted by Fernando Amorsolo in the early 1930s.  A memorable 1923 Fabian de la Rosa country scene.   A hallway filled with “bocetos” studies by Felix Resurreccion-Hidalgo, Juan Luna, Felix Martinez, Telesforo Sucgang, Fabian de la Rosa, and Fernando Amorsolo.

Here and there were some very beautiful examples of late 19th century Filipino colonial furniture, of the type collected by the gentry.

Because I was taking too long in viewing the lovely paintings, our esteemed Spanish mestizo friend and my good friend proceeded to the vast living room, distinguished by its several arrangements of en suite furniture by the legendary JAO, for a very elegant “merienda” afternoon tea.  Laid out on a graceful tea table was an English Victorian sterling silver coffee service.  Silver and crystal compotes held an assortment of small cakes, cookies, breads, and sandwiches.   The beautiful porcelain was all old Royal Worcester.  On a small table was a tray with four carafes of freshly-squeezed juices.  From a side table filled with crystal decanters and other bottles came the ever present afternoon “jerez” sherry from Gonzalez Byass.  The exquisite, starched linens were all of handmade Brussels-style lace.  A well-groomed maid, in a noticeably well-cut uniform with good shoes, stood unobtrusively at one corner to attend to the master of the house as he hosted his guests.  Just from the way she stood properly, it was obvious that she had been trained at the “Punlaan” school of the Opus Dei.

I made one wrong turn and found myself at the entrance of the masters’ bedroom.  I cringed and walked in reverse quickly because it was never proper to peer into anyone’s bedroom unless one has specifically requested it from the host.  As Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy said:  “Gentlemen, even at the age of three, one’s bedroom is private.”

The venerable, 75 year old mother of our esteemed Spanish mestizo friend — a doyenne of Manila high society — was on the bed, wearing a “duster” with “Looney Tunes” characters [ a sheath, usually of printed material, worn at home by Filipinas ].  Her head was filled with pink curlers.  Her pink feet were raised on four pillows and her legs and feet were covered with “Salonpas” [ Japanese medicated patches ].  She was chewing gum and she was reading — NOT “Town & Country,” “Paris-Match,” “Hola!”, nor even the local society rags — but a local “CHISMIS” [ “GOSSIP” ] magazine with some hot young starlet and stud on the cover.  There was quite a pile of new local showbiz magazines beside her, surely purveyed by her many maids.  And on the big TV:  Boy Abunda and Cristy Fermin:  “THE BUZZ”!!!

It was good that she did not see me, for she was fixated on Kris Aquino’s lachrymose revelations…

It certainly was different from all the Spanish mestizo elegance that I had fantasized all along!!!  Bwahahahahah!!!   :P   :P  😛

11 Comments

  1. Nona Pimentel said,

    January 20, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Just my opinion, actually. Unless one is a ‘cerebral or a social inveterate snob’ I really find no reason why the upper class and the middle or even lower class can’t have the same taste in t.v. progs, books or magazines… or even house clothes…
    I consider myself as a bookworm, (I would lock myself in) when I was a kid, so the maids would not call me for lunch, because I was busy reading ‘Gone with the Wind’; or spend the summer vacay one time, reading practically the complete volumes of the encyclopedia; (Altho as an aside, you retain only 20% of what you read in two weeks and in a month dwindles to 10% and so on and so forth).
    What I am trying to say, is that reading cerebral books like the topics on quantum theory or Freud’s Analyses don’t necessarily dim my want to read Alcala’s ‘Pugad Baboy’ and mags like “Yes” and still fancy the ‘Vogue’ Mags and Philippine Tatler’ all in the same breath. Wearing ‘duster’ (usually made from Chinese cotton) is the most practical wear in a tropical country like ours despite the air-conditioning…Really we are the queens and kings of our homes and what ever we do in our homes that are both practical and comfortable to us, is our own business and privilege and not against the law. After all we are still human beings, descended from the neanderthals…Just an opinion really, with due respect to you all…my thanks to you Toto and your anecdote here, it gave us a chance to identify with the uberrich…ha,ha…more power to you…..in some ways….

  2. antonio said,

    November 11, 2008 at 6:25 am

    Your story just goes to show that the high society mestiza matrons can have egalitarian tastes and broke the stereotype that they will not mingle with the masses at least in entertaining themselves.

    My mom who was educated at several foreign universities usally watched foreign or english shows only. The major exception being anything Dolphy.

    I think , the decision on whether to watch bakya or not had more to do with education and to a certain extent upbringing rather than wealth/money.

    The reason being that if you had a thoroughly westernized education, you would most likely enjoy western entertainment not for snotty reasons , but more for what your mind has gotten used to.

  3. October 19, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    bmwahahahahhahahaha!!!!!

    “Looney Tunes duster with pink rollers and reading magazines about starlets.” What a nice description, Tito. ahihihihi

    It’s so funny!!!

  4. Garganta Inflamada said,

    September 23, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Hmm. Nothing really happening on these pages. Should we take a vacation and come back in a month’s time?

    G.I.

  5. Garganta Inflamada said,

    September 15, 2007 at 6:19 am

    dalokkanon wrote:

    Yes, deep down they have “bakya” hearts.

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

    What happens when they get transplants? Would that change matters? 🙂 🙂

    G.I.

  6. dalokkanon said,

    September 15, 2007 at 12:54 am

    I had an Aunt who was also a big fan of Nora Aunor. She was a colegiala, very proper lady, belonged to one of the old families in Negros and owned a few lanzones trees in Concepcion. Well, she brought a whole “kaing” of these Concepcion lanzones personally to Nora’s house in Greenhills, tugging my cousins in their Institucion Teresiana uniforms!

    When the Superstar came to Negros for a concert, she bought a box so she can be in the very front. I went with her to watch the premier of “Lollipops and Roses” after which her BFF ( another buena familia hacendera ) took her to the Lacson residence, a cousin of Celia Diaz-Laurel, to meet the star.

    Yes, deep down they have “bakya” hearts.

  7. Myles Garcia said,

    September 14, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    Hard to admit it too, but my lola, a very fair mestiza was indeed glued to those burgeoning TV variety shows of the 70s in her latter and widowed years. While not from one of the prominent Manila families, mi abuela certainly had all the social standing of a Manila dona (sorry, my keyboard won’t type an “enye”). And I always wondered about this strange phenomenon we discuss here.

    I believe my lola barely finished high school ( again, she was from the province — not Manila high society ( and she was more fluent in Spanish and Zambal over English — and had a brother, therefore a granduncle, whom I never knew, who was reportedly blue-eyed ) and immediately fulfilled her wifely job to my gramps. And so in her latter years, like the lady of Toto’s lead story, enjoyed the Class D local variety shows that, of course, her cosmopolitan, Manila-educated grandchildren ( moi included ) would not be caught dead watching. And obviously, they could not relate to the Angelina Jolie or Paris Hilton celebrities of their day — but the local Nora Aunors and Sharon Cunetas were enough. 🙂

    Toto, would the lady of your story, have a surname which begins with an “O”?

    Such are the ironies and paradoxes of life!!! 🙂

  8. zippo said,

    September 13, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I know of this Doña in Forbes Park ( now deceased ) who had one of the 1st Huge Sony Projection TVs ( this was in the late 1970s!). Her favorite shows on this TV were Nora Aunor’s “SUPERSTAR” and Janice De Belen’s “FLORDELUNA” which she would watch with her coterie of yayas.

    This Doña was such a Nora Aunor fan that when Nora was being hounded by the BIR for unpaid taxes in the early 1980s, the Doña dispatched her “abogado de campanilla” and her accountant to Ms. Aunor with a blank check to pay for the taxes. Ms. Aunor was reportedly overwhelmed by the Doña’s gesture but politely turned down the help.

    Years later, when the Doña died, Ms. Aunor visited the wake at 3 am so as not to attract unwanted attention.

    The Doñas — deep down inside, they really have “bakya” hearts.

    Z🙂

  9. cousin paz said,

    September 11, 2007 at 3:40 am

    That is so funny! It reminds me of that time when the Mexican telenovela, “Marimar” became a household name. It was watched by Class A to E! Everyone was glued to the TV set from day one until it bade audiences goodbye!

    I remember it being talked about by the so-called “perfumed set” and other “ladies who lunch.” Everyone just wanted to know what would happen to “Marimar.” I’m sure this senora was also one of them!

  10. Gino Gonzales said,

    September 10, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    I love this one!!!!!

  11. Hans Kristen said,

    September 10, 2007 at 10:20 am

    OhmyGawd, you’re a story teller, you’re very funny. I love your blog.


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