Adios, Tita Betty

My dear friend Ditas Gomez just called me after dinner at 9:00 p.m..  Her aunt, Tita Betty Favis-Gonzalez, had just passed away at the Makati Medical Center this afternoon.

“Tita Betty” [ Beatriz Favis de Gonzalez, daughter of Don Asterio Favis y Flandes of Vigan, Ilocos Sur and Dona Ramona Gonzalez y Morales of Bautista, Pangasinan; Dona Ramona “Monay” was the youngest daughter of Don Francisco “Balbas” Gonzalez y Reinado, the “Gonzalez de Pangasinan” patriarch, and his second wife Dona Juana Morales y Mamaril ] was one of my all-time favorite people.  I first met her in the late 1980s when she was already in her late 70s but she was as cool and as hip as an 18 year old.  Nothing shocked her; nothing fazed her.  We may have been fifty years apart in age but she completely understood everything about me.  She was as contemporary as the latest gizmo.  I absolutely adored her.   

As befitting the patrician heiress of a grand fortune, Tita Betty was a fashionable lady.  She was a friend and a preferred client of the legendary couturier Ramon Valera.  At a time when Ramoning’s evening gowns cost a princely Php 1,000.00/xx, Tita Betty was charged much less because he liked her a lot, counting her among his close circle of friends. 

It was Beatriz Gonzalez Favis-Gonzalez who lent the young Imelda Trinidad Romualdez the gown she wore during the “Miss Manila” contest in 195_.   Years later in the early 1970s during Martial Law, during a wedding at the Santuario de San Antonio where she was a principal sponsor, someone at the back tapped her shoulder gently.  Tita Betty turned around and it was The all-powerful First Lady, Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos:  “Betty, I hope you remember me…” 

“Of course.”  she answered curtly, smiling.

“Betty, should you ever need something, you know where to find me.”

“Thank you.”  she answered, curtly again, still smiling.

When she related the incident to her family, they asked her what she would do with The all-powerful First Lady’s invitation.  She answered in her characteristic “cut-the-crap” manner:  “Nothing.  She… owes me.”  Spoken like a genuine lady to the manor born.   

She was a trailblazer for the ladies of her generation.  In the mid-1950s when bored ladies of leisure entered the interior design and decoration business with no formal training, Tita Betty went to New York city and completed the entire “Interior Design” course at the famous Parsons School of Design.  But because she was so rich, she never practiced her profession, limiting her design and decoration to her own residences. 

When she returned from her studies in New York, she arrived with suitcases full of the latest dresses, shoes, and bags from the best designers.  She was the envy of her social circle.  Years later, her nieces were thrilled to see such great vintage pieces in her closets.   

In 1958, Beatriz Gonzalez Favis married the widower Beda Juan Medina Gonzalez of Candelaria, Zambales.  He was the son of the Spaniard Angel Gonzalez of Asturias, Spain and of the Filipina Francisca Medina.  He was first married to Concepcion “Conchita” Oirola of Manila with whom he had two daughters, Nancy and Maribel. 

Adios, Tita Betty.  Until we meet again.

5 Comments

  1. Guadalupe Gomez: aka Dupi said,

    November 10, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    still struggling with family history.

  2. Libby said,

    May 13, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Hello. Tita Betty was my aunt. I lived with Tita Betty and my uncle (we called him Uncle Chong instead of Beda) in Makati. Uncle Chong acquired Potipot Island in the 1960’s (I believe) and planted all the coconut trees. His dream was to be president and so he declared himself president of Potipot Island and set up his hammock so he could see anyone who was arriving. We used to call it Uncle Chong’s island and at that time only family members used the island for picnics and reunions. Their daughter, Nancy, lived with us in California while she attended college.

  3. Garganta Inflamada said,

    May 1, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    LCIN, please check your email.

    G.I.

  4. LCIN said,

    April 28, 2008 at 1:31 am

    G.I.,

    My mother told me that she was once approached by this fellow who offered her the same thing. She has an impressive collection of suits and dresses from Chanel, Bass, Furstenberg, Calvin Klein, and many others I am not even familiar with but were pretty famous ( and I bet expensive ).

    Thus, I am curious, but cannot vouch whether she will give in. LOL.

    Could you email me how much is the asking price ( usually ) for these.

  5. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 24, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Toto,

    Sorry to hear of the passing of your friend, “Tita Betty.” She sounded like a very fun, with-it lady.

    Anyway, what I wanted to comment on was — and I know we already spoke about it on a previous thread — all those original designer dresses from the Parisian couture houses or American ones like Mainbocher, Blass, etc. purchased by Manila women in the heady 40s, 50s and 60s, and possibly passed on to their daughters. If somehow they have been cared for, preserved and the labels are intact, you know (and I am addressing this to the select readers, lurkers and lurkeresses of this here blog), they could fetch a pretty penny amongst certain parties in the US.

    I happen to know of someone who works in this area, and I would be happy to make the connection for Manilans who have such vintage treasures still hanging in their or their mommas’ aparadors.

    G.I.


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