“Sitio de los Ladrones”

“In all my years here, I have never seen the neighborhood change this way!!!” complained a grand real estate heiress. 

“All these ‘desconocidos’…  Who are all these people???”  asked another grand lady.

“Oh yes, this place is fast becoming ‘Sitio de los Ladrones’!!!”  observed another affluent lady.

Once the city’s premiere enclave… gradually invaded, with alarming frequency, by insurgent new wealth, with many of the origins unknown.  The longtime residents are wary, and many of them have simply sold off — delighted at the high prices the arrivistes are willing to pay — and transferred elsewhere. 






  1. Junjie Jose said,

    July 27, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Speaking of Forbes residents, I remember my classmate (in 3 subjects) back when I was still studying at the University beside Philcoa. We knew he was moneyed but he was very unassuming and simple (the only dead give-away was the wristwatch), unlike those “coños” who loiter and display themselves at the lobby of the University’s AS building. One time, we rode the MMTC bus (my God this dates me) to Makati and nakasabay namin siya. He got off at the Buendia-EDSA junction and walked to the Forbes gate! I could have sworn it was that gate!


  2. Enrique Bustos said,

    December 10, 2009 at 2:41 am

    The house in Temple Drive belongs to Ramon Rodriquez, the developer of Greenmeadows. Down the road, an equally huge house is owned by his sister Isabel Rodriquez-Bondoc.

  3. Mickey Reyes said,

    September 10, 2009 at 6:30 pm


    The house you’re referring to is owned by former Quezon City Mayor Adelina Rodriguez.

  4. rob said,

    August 25, 2009 at 6:39 am

    i heard some people from dasma moved to green meadows though its like binondo in 70’s there filled with filipino chinese but damn there are lot of big pretty new houses i wonder who lives at the big stone house at temple drive its so big

  5. July 12, 2008 at 2:16 pm


    I transferred your interesting comment to the post “… unto dust thou shalt return…” where it belongs.

    Toto Gonzalez

  6. zippo said,

    July 10, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Baka naman they are like oxen — they have 4 stomachs.

  7. Babblefish said,

    July 9, 2008 at 11:16 am

    The H******** have FOUR kitchens in their house? Well no wonder they look, uh, well-fed!

  8. L*ding said,

    July 9, 2008 at 4:02 am


    are you related to the gal*ardos of forbes?

  9. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 8, 2008 at 6:41 am

    L*ding wrote:

    another one to be truly admired is imee marcos. she lives in a simple house in white plains. not a show house. totally very unimeldific.


    Well, yeah…doesn’t fool me though. After having residences in Wack-Wack, Forbes, Princeton, London, Rabat, etc., and still want to retain credibility in public office, I too would opt for maybe a more humble, less conspicuous lifestyle.

    How does the saying go? The sins of the father(s) are visited upon…

    Well, she was always the shrewd one, wasn’t she?


  10. periphery said,

    July 8, 2008 at 5:45 am

    Of course she should live simply. Whatever money she has is not hers, after all, but the Filipino people’s.

  11. L*ding said,

    July 8, 2008 at 3:47 am

    another one to be truly admired is imee marcos. she lives in a simple house in white plains. not a show house. totally very unimeldific.

  12. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 7, 2008 at 5:40 pm


    More than 4 kitchens in ONE house? So, like how many exactly? Six? Seven? Ano, one per day of the week?

    That about says it all.

    God…OK, hijas, it’s Sunday today. We’re having lunch in the Blue Sunday kitchen!! Tomorrow, merienda at the Mauve Monday kitchenette in the East-southwest wing!!! Etc., etc. 🙂 🙂

    Talo pa si Spelling!!

    And I won’t comment anymore about the “super huge” wardrobe, so to speak!!

  13. l*ding said,

    July 7, 2008 at 7:59 am


    hijo, are you talking about m*ly *echanova and her “overly healthy” daughters led by ren*a c*ncepcion-ang*les? you should see m*ly’s wardrobe in her newly minted house in forbes. it’s super huge. she has more than 4 kitchens if i’m not mistaken. well, i prefer m*ly to her daughters.

    one time i saw her in hongkong walking with ren*a checking out the jewelry near nathan road; she was outside the store, gazing at the displays…

    she’s known for her emeralds. m*ly is to emeralds, as meldy c. is to rubies, as imelda marcos is to diamonds.

  14. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 6, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    L*ding wrote:

    she is “bigger” than the house. the person should always be “bigger” than the house itself.


    Huh? How can that be? How can anyone be ‘bigger’ than their house? How will they fit? How can they get in and out of the house if they are bigger than their house? 🙂 🙂

    What kind of a ‘cut-rate, bargain’ architect did they get? BWAAAAAAAHHH!

    I know one H-umongous Manila family that could not possibly FIT in the BIGGEST of houses, if you physically tried to squeeze the ladies in there, gems, jewels and all. Talagang matataba!! I’m surprised they don’t get stuck in those metal-screening-security gates at the airports!! 🙂 🙂

    Just kidding, liding. Couldn’t help it. But what does Kris Aquino have to do with this thread?

  15. l*ding said,

    July 5, 2008 at 4:37 am

    well, they’re more showy than krissy aquino. i like that woman, she chose to live in valle verde and her house by ramon antonio is really a house and not a “show house”… considering kris aquino can very well afford to buy the palm avenue cojuangco residence and buy out all the cojuangcos. she should be living in that area because like many forbes or dasma residents, she is “bigger” than the house. the person should always be “bigger” than the house itself.

  16. jeremiah said,

    July 5, 2008 at 1:14 am

    i spent countless summers at a cousin’s flat in sausalito overlooking alcatraz. i loved it specialy when the fog rolled in.

  17. jeremiah said,

    July 5, 2008 at 1:11 am

    pitoy and mang ben were two of my lola’s closest friends. when the two had a falling out, she moved mountains to have the two reconcile but mang pitoy was unmoved. deep down, she was partial to mang ben because he was always kind to her maids, drivers, and gardeners.

  18. jeremiah said,

    July 5, 2008 at 12:49 am

    toto, please indulge me. i miss my lola so i’m paying homage to her through your blog.

    my beautiful youngest sister grew up being told by everybody ( but my family ) that she was miss universe material, whatever that meant. my lola would cringe and would chastise anyone who said so. instead of describing her as beautiful, we would say she was a really smart girl. and very nice to boot.

    in the late 90s something got into her head and decided to join the binibining pilipinas contest. it was a hush hush affair. i thought that was BOLD of her.

    one of my lola’s maids blabbed on her and presto, the grande dame went berserk. my sister was defiant and told my lola she was old enough to know what she wanted in life and how she wanted it! she said that after all, she took after her ( kissing my lola’s derriere didn’t work ).

    despite her beeing a shoo-in for the most coveted title, she was dropped from the final list of candidates and was told she didn’t meet one of the requirements. she was inconsolable.

    although she vehemently denied it, my lola called one of her araneta amigas to tell stella a. she would be banished from my lola’s guest list if she let her granddaughter be ogled at in different states of undress ( read: bathing suit ).

    my sister, the little devil that she was, had the last laugh though. she wrangled from my lola an all-expenses paid ( first class ) round-the-world-trip plus 2 years at the sorbonne.

  19. jeremiah said,

    July 4, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    when one roxas triangle first opened, my dad convinced my lola to move there, eventually buying a huge unit with a view of her house in forbes park. after she moved in, she would look out the window and stare at her house for hours on end ( it amazed me that she could pick it out through that thick polluted haze ) a week or so later, she called me and told me she was moving back to her house because she missed everything about it. i volunteered to help her with the move. then, she handed me a box. in it were her keys to the unit. she simply said: “hijo, this is yours now. just make sure you put comfortable furniture in it. not the hideous modern stuff you have in that tiny rockwell unit of yours.” i just about keeled over!

  20. jeremiah said,

    July 4, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    my lolo took a mistress and when my formidable lola found out, she called every member of the clan to meet at her house in forbes park to discuss what to do with my lolo’s bastard son. everybody knew she was hurting but she never once showed it, at least outwardly. she was very matter-of-fact about how the whole family was supposed to raise the kid, with love and understanding, because after all, it wasn’t the bastard son’s fault the he came into this world the way he did, as my lola put it.

    while this was being discussed, my lolo just sat there, not uttering a single word, looking very contrite. but as soon as dessert was served, my lolo, bless his wayward heart, blurted out something like, “mi amor, what about the kid’s mama?”… my lola turned beet red, grabbed one of those really thick crystal bowls and flung it at my lolo, hitting him on the head.

    i have never heard my lola cuss in so many spanish words… i thought she was speaking in tongues.

    my lola, the squiet warrior! i miss her so, my heart aches!

  21. jeremiah said,

    July 4, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    am a scion of one of the oldest landed families in the country who have kept a very low profile. if one of us kids so much as caused some “ripples” in public, no matter how insignificant they were, the matriarch summoned you to her art-laden house and gave you a piece of her mind. and what a piece it was. as punishment, she would make us polish her silver stuff and dust off her huge murano chandeliers, and am talking several of those glorious pieces.

    we had money “coming out of our ears” but we never, ever flaunted it. my parents used to tell us that the higher we got in life, the humbler we should be. i thank them and our lola everyday for those lessons in life.

  22. JLB said,

    July 4, 2008 at 5:46 am

    This is off-topic, but I chanced upon a comment I have read just now, that I overlooked from a previous post. I will not make a comment except post an article by Larry Henares.

    “zippo” wrote:
    Hmmm…. I think before Kris runs for President, she should clean up her family’s business first. You can say all you want about the Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. side but you can’t take away the fact that ECJ is a good businessman. Shrewd yes, but a good businessman nonetheless.”


    Part 11. The real Danding – “capable of taking lives” (2)

    PRESIDENTIAL candidate Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco is touted by his staff as an astute businessman and financial genius who will lead this country out of the mire of economic depression. Manapat’s “Some are Smarter than Others” debunks this thoroughly with a well-documented exposes‚ on the source of Danding’s wealth.
    Quoting liberally from my articles quoting an unpublished book by historian Carlos Quirino, commissioned by Danding Cojuangco himself (page 207-209), Manapat details three sources of the family wealth. One was through the grand aunt Dońa Ysidra Cojuangco, who was left a considerable amount of gold belonging to the First Republic by General Antonio Luna, allegedly her sweetheart, before the General went to Cabanatuan, there to be assassinated. ‘Tis said she threw the treasure into a well and later retrieved it as her own.
    The other source was through the grandfather Melecio Cojuangco who offered General Arthur MacArthur the use of his warehouses, in exchange of which MacArthur gave Melecio free transportation for his rice stocks from Paniqui to Manila where the price of rice was considerably higher. It is ironic that after his collaboration with the enemy, Melecio, then a congressman, died of heart attack on a railroad trip harassed by a couple of American soldiers demanding his sons’ seats.
    The third source is money lending activities by Dońa Ysidra resulting in such large rice land holdings (12,000 hectares) that the family could set the price of rice in Luzon and was thought by their lawyer to have owned practically all of Central Luzon.
    But Danding Cojuangco surpassed all these wealth, at the height of Marcos’ crony capitalism controlling $1.5 billion in corporate assets or 25 percent of the country’s GNP, and earning from this writer the sobriquets Pacman, Crocodile Dundeeng, and “Coha-on ko” (Ilonggo for “I will take it!”).
    The dark side of Cojuangco’s character is shown, according to Manapat, in the NCAA championship game between La Salle of which Cojuangco was manager, and Letran a school known for its rowdy behavior against La Sallites and Ateneans. I was told that Danding instructed his men to wear red ball pens so that they may recognize each other. When the Letranites, having lost the game, started to tear up seats and assaulting the La Sallites, Danding’s “goons with guns and lead pipes… beat up the young Letran high school kids.” His own lawyer and spokesman, Gabriel Villareal was quoted as saying that “Danding is capable of taking lives” (page 218).
    According to the book of Carlos Quirino, as a kid he had a feud with his American maternal grandfather, John Joseph Murphy who contemptuously called him a “chink,” and whose car’s four tires he punctured with an icepick. Then again as a young man, he quarreled with his maternal uncle Bill Murphy and almost shot him with a revolver.
    Manapat’s book mentions that Emmanuel Pelaez, then an Assemblyman, called for an investigation of the Coconut Levy, and called for its suspension, “was later ambushed by gunmen who riddled his car with machine gun fire, seriously wounding him and killing his driver” (page 186).
    Jaime Cardinal Sin in a TV interview in Channel 7’s Firing Line, recalled that he asked Danding Cojuangco if he had anything to do with the bombing of the Radio Veritas broadcast facilities during the Snap Election, and whether or not he had advance knowledge of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination.
    Subsequently it was revealed by confidential military documents that troops from the Tarlac Constabulary under the command of Lt. Col. Cesar Alvarez knocked down the Radio Veritas transmitters on February 23, 1986, and then went to Cojuangco’s residence in Balete Drive for a rest (PDI Mar. 25, 1992).
    Cojuangco (p. 219, 220) has an armory of modern sophisticated weapons; a fleet of 21 expensive cars including two Mercedes Benz 600s, four Ferraris, Rolls-Royce, Porche, Daimler, two Jaguars, two Mustangs and a de Lorean gull-wing; several horse stud farms, including one in Australia; large fighting cock breeding farms, including one where NPA rebels twisted the necks of cocks worth as high as P100,000 each.
    Manapat’s book documents in detail how the Coconut Levy started to be collected by the Philippine Coconut Administration (PCA) under Juan Ponce Enrile in 1972, $.08 per 100 kilos, later increased to $2 and peaking to $13 and remained at $10 per 100 kilos from 1977 to 1981 — eating up 33.8 percent of the poor farmer’s income (p. 181). The bulk of the funds ($412 million) went to the Cocofed under Maria Clara Lobregat; by the time the Marcos government collapsed only $1.9 million in cash was in the bank.
    What happened to those funds? They were used to finance the United Coconut Planter’s Bank (CocoBank) and the United Coconut Mills (Unicom), a conglomerate that cartelized the milling and international trading of coconut products — both controlled by Danding Cojuangco through agreements with Enrile’s PCA and Lobregat’s Cocofed.
    Unicom set up Unichem as a monopoly to import alkyl benzene and eventually to replace it with coco fatty acids for the manufacture of detergents. He got a total of 14,674 hectares of public lands, including Bugsuk island where he grew the hybrid coconuts for forcible adoption by all coconut farmers at government expense, and he paid in exchange only a token of 300 hectares instead of the 1,600 hectares he is supposed to (p. 229-233).
    In addition to the $49 million he used to buy Ayala shares in San Miguel Corporation (SMC), Danding used $150 million from the coconut levy though 14 corporations to control more than 60 percent of SMC shares. He was into pearls (Jewelmer), paint (Dutch Boy), soft drinks (Coca and Pepsi Cola), tobacco (Tabacalera’s 13,000 hectares), lease of Soviet ships (Filsov), textile industry (Diversified Holdings) and agri-industries. He probably is the biggest owner of sugar cane plantations in the country. He attempted to dislodge Benedicto from the monopoly marketing of sugar, and the wheat millers from monopoly importation of wheat and flour (p. 240-244).
    Gabriel Villareal, his ever-faithful spokesman, says that all these wealth was gained through ”hard work” and “honest dealings” (p. 246). And Villareal added in the February 10 issue of Newsweek, “Let’s not waste time with a lot of propaganda crap about the national interest. The bottom line is he (Cojuangco) is running for president to protect his own private interests.”

    Copyright © 2006 PhilippineFolio.

  23. dasmakid said,

    July 3, 2008 at 8:13 am

    The new diggs of M*nster Mom’s daughter might have come from the husband / ex-husband. At around Php 50 M for a house in Dasma before renovation, I think that would be stretching family pockets too much. The house is “tumbok.” Not as much as the reported Php 200 M Dasma house purchased by a high government official a few months back. For Turkish money, it is a drop in the well or 50 keys. She’s just keeping up with her friend GB.

  24. zippo said,

    July 3, 2008 at 4:52 am

    Manila villages and condos should have co-op boards.

    Z 🙂

  25. L*ding said,

    July 2, 2008 at 5:59 am

    Well, The Queen of All Social Climbers AR-G with her Princess Royal RG-B have moved to Dasmarinas Village recently. Is this Turkish money, Brunei money, or Showbiz money??? I’m sure the “Establishment” neighbors are alarmed by the newest, acid-tongued, blabbermouth neighbor they have now. Maybe they can buy jewelry from her? Move over, You Panlilios and Oledans… here come the Rs!!! Hahahahah!!!

  26. isagani said,

    July 2, 2008 at 2:55 am

    the very first housing project the ayalas built was in the singalong district, just a couple of blocks away from st. scholastica’s college, before world war II, and it did not have any name, but the streets carry the names of the members of the ayala family.

  27. periphery said,

    July 1, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    I guess this morphed into a hotel thread. LOL

    Anyway, the Grand Hyatt brand? Blah. As the “premium” brand of the Hyatt hotel chain, it doesn’t really distinguish itself that much from “regular” Hyatts. The JW Marriott brand of the Marriott (duh) chain does a much better job.

    Oh, I also heard that here’s going to be a Fairmont in Makati. Is this true?

  28. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 1, 2008 at 1:49 pm


    OK; didn’t realize there was a fine cutting line between a Hyatt and a GRAND Hyatt. I guess it’s just a good excuse to spin out ANOTHER hotel brand.

    Wasn’t aware of the affiliation-changes for the other 2.

    And speaking of the earlier trend of this thread, it just occurred to me that Forbes Park, the first of the gated, planned communities in the Philippines is over 50 years old — reaching senior-citizenhood. They started marketing Forbes* in the early ’50s (1952-54). Gosh, has it been that long ago? So, indeed — like anything in life, it is time for a turn-over. Just the natural course of things I guess.

    *Funny too that Forbes (or For-bes if one wants to go native) (and Bel-Air) were the only American-named projects of Ayala. I guess the McMicking influence. And then everything else was Spanish-inspired, altho stretched to a breaking point. (Why would anybody name an exclusive community for Fr. Urdaneta? What’s a Dasmarinas? One Magallan was not enough? It has to be named after several?) BTW, those are rhetorical questions. I am sure there are some very obscure explanations for their choice of names. Just my smart-aleck mindset ruminating and going on overdrive there… 😉

    Thanks for the updates, Zippo. Pls tell me when there is Meridien Manila (and not a Meridien Makati, please!). Now the former has a certain ring and ‘je ne se quois’ to it.


  29. zippo said,

    July 1, 2008 at 3:16 am


    There was never a GRAND Hyatt in Manila. There was a Hyatt Hotel in Roxas Blvd (owned by the Chans) which was closed 2 years ago.

    There is a Hyatt Hotel and Casino in the Ermita-Malate area which undoubtedly is the best hotel in the City of Manila these days.

    The Westin is now Sofitel. The Hilton is now the Pavilion.

    Z 🙂

  30. zippo said,

    June 30, 2008 at 9:20 am


    The deterioration of the Shangri-La is nothing compared to the ( forgive the word ) “kababuyan” Emil*o Y*p did with the Manila Hotel. He should be shot, quartered, and hung to dry for what he did.

    Z >:-(

  31. Garganta Inflamada said,

    June 30, 2008 at 6:56 am

    Or the Peninsula — original home to real-live, failed ‘coup d’etats.’ 🙂 🙂

    So the Ritz-Carlton would be the only ultra-luxury brand unrepresented in Manila?

    Re the Hyatt, I thought the original Grand Hyatt on Roxas has been closed due to lack of business; so why are they planning another one in the Fort? And this concentration of new, plush hotels in Makati will probably kill the Manila Hotel, the Hilton and the Westin.

  32. periphery said,

    June 29, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    I hope all these new hotels strive to maintain ultra-high standards, unlike the Makati Shangri-La, which was fantastic when it first opened but is now quite a bit worse for wear.

  33. zippo said,

    June 29, 2008 at 8:14 am

    A Grand Hyatt at the Fort is also opening emboldened by the success of their Hyatt-Manila venture.

    Z 🙂

  34. Babblefish said,

    June 29, 2008 at 3:29 am

    Maybe a Four Seasons isn’t too far off in the future. Raffles Manila will be up in 2010, and where Raffles goes, Four Seasons and St. Regis can’t be far behind.

  35. Garganta Inflamada said,

    June 28, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I saw the floor plans for Discovery Primea. Only 2 units per floor – a 3 bdrm’er and a 4-bdrm. So these are for couples w/ 1 or 2 kids. Spacious but you have structural beams almost in the middle of the rooms.

  36. zippo said,

    June 27, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    You’re too kind, Toto. We’ve a lot of good memories in that house. It’s a happy house and we’re very happy to share the joy of that home with our present tenants.

    Z 🙂

  37. Garganta Inflamada said,

    June 27, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    ‘Discovery Primea”? Will they have a Discovery Channel store in the lobby? 🙂 “Primea”? How ’bout “Primera Scream-a” (as in ‘primal scream’)? 🙂

  38. periphery said,

    June 27, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    Interesting. I hadn’t heard about Discovery Primea until I read this. So I Googled it. The artist’s rendering looks very nice. The architecture reminds me of a cross between the newer high-rises in Vancouver, BC and the Shang Grand Tower in Makati. Do you guys know how tall it’s gonna be? Also, I never thought I’d live to see the day when a Four Seasons hotel opens in Metro Manila. Whoop whoop!

    Kind of a pity that Gilarmi is going to the dustbin of Makati history, though. My earliest memories of the skyline (such as it was at the time) of that stretch of Ayala was just Gilarmi and the Makati Tuscany. Twin Towers, Pacific Plaza, and Ritz Towers didn’t exist yet.

    Oh, and small quibble, zippo… 1 sq m = 10.76 sq ft, so 300 sq m = over 3200 sq ft, and 400 sq m = over 4300 sq ft.

  39. June 27, 2008 at 2:58 pm


    Your parents’ house in Forbes Park — with its celebrated Art and Antique collection — was one of the most beautiful and most elegant that ever was…

    Oh yes, the much-awaited “Discovery Primea.” Another jewel of the burgeoning Tiu family empire.


    Toto Gonzalez

  40. zippo said,

    June 27, 2008 at 6:18 am

    Like a lot of folks from Forbes, my mom moved out of her Forbes home a few years ago and moved to a condo. Why would a widow ( with all her children settled down ) stay in an 8-bedroom house by herself?

    She moved to One Roxas Triangle ( with her new husband ) where the average unit size is 300 square meters ( about 2,900 square feet ). She loves it there. It has a gym and spa run by Fitness First. Concierge service. Plus Catering Service provided for by the Mandarin next door.

    I guess when one reaches a certain age and all the kids move out of the house, living in a big estate is no longer feasible. Plus think of the additional income having your house rented out to expats or diplomats.

    Other long-time Forbes residents have moved to Pacific Plaza Towers and Essensa at the Fort and the Rizal and Luna Towers at Rockwell.

    While One Roxas Triangle is undoubtedly the toniest condo in Manila now, those in the know in Manila are talking about Discovery Primea — this condo-in-the-works is one of the last buildings designed by Kenzo Tange before his death and will be executed by Architect George Ramos. The building will have a fully functioning Four Seasons Hotel in the first 16 floors and residential condo units in the upper floors. The building will be built where the Gilarmi now stands ( scheduled for demolition in September this year ). The smallest unit size is 400 square meters ( about 3,900 square feet ) pre-selling at a cool 1 Million US Dollars ( plus you can buy only if you are invited ). The Penthouse will have a floor area of 900 square meters ( about 8,900 square feet ). “Eminence Gris” wanted to purchase the Penthouse unit but was supposedly turned down ( apparently, the developers are only choosing low-key, non-controversial persons to live there ). Discovery Primea will be like the Plaza or the Pierre in New York where co-op residents have a separate entrance than that of hotel guests and patrons but facilities will be shared by both residents and hotel guests.

    Z 🙂

  41. zippo said,

    June 24, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Makiki Heights is now out. The IN place to live in Honolulu is the Kahala-Diamond Head-Black Point area (where Doris Duke’s Shangri-La stands).

    Z 🙂

  42. periphery said,

    June 23, 2008 at 5:02 pm


    You’re dissing my ‘hood. 😉 Don’t hate. Atherton is nice because it’s quiet, discreet and pretty much purely residential, but if you want shopping and dining, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Stanford are all within spitting distance. And SF is only a short drive away. Airplane noise is not an issue, even if you’re out in your yard.

    Hillsborough? Funnily enough, in all my years living here in the Bay Area, I have never once set foot inside that town. Belvedere in Marin is also very nice and tony, but it’s also too white and not very conveniently located.

    I agree about Seacliff. The air is much nicer than in Pacific Heights (although the view from many of the houses on Broadway is simply fab) . The Los Gatos Hills and Saratoga are really nice, too. Danville/Blackhawk is antiseptic, manufactured, McMansion schlock, kind of like Newport Beach and Laguna Niguel without the water. The whole Woodside-Portola Valley area is too rural – too inconvenient to go anywhere and too many horses out and about. LOL

    For pure urban sophistication, I like the Coal Harbor area of Vancouver, BC. Sotogrande is very nice. It doesn’t reek of moneyed one-upmanship like a lot of resort areas along the shores of Europe. I also love Carmel, all those little fancy towns around the Grand Tetons, and Greenwich, CT (though that’s a little bit too WASP-y for me).

    If I had to live in Europe I would have to go with Toto’s preference and stake my flag in Paris. But yeah – Lugano is indeed nice. Problem is that the Swiss are such xenophobes, even if they deny it to high heaven. And they smell. Even worse than the French. LOL

    Funny you should mention Punta Fuego. My tito has been going on and on about his place there for about two years now, asking me to come see it. Maybe I’ll check it out next time I’m back home…

  43. Garganta Inflamada said,

    June 23, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Isn’t “Punta Fuego” the new secret “in” spot of the Manila social set?

    OK, periphery, outside the Big 3 ( New York, London and Paris ), just off the top of my head…

    I love Lugano — very low-key and temperate; Geneva, St. Mortiz, Como and Venezia are all within an hour or 2.

    Monaco. Not nearly as dense as Hong Kong but still too many tourists and the endless Grand Prix races would drive one crazy. With Grace and Raini gone, I don’t trust the remaining Monegasques ( who after all are descended from near-pirates ). Perhaps Cap Ferrat? I think the Duvaliers have moved out.

    Amelia Island in the Miami area. Isn’t that were Cristina C.-Ponc* *nrile had that property? I know Sophia Loren used to have a house there; and I think that’s where Isabel Preysler and Julio Iglesias partially raised Enrique.

    Palos Verdes in the LA area I hear is very nice. The Donald is developing a new golf course community there. ( Is Sotogrande something like this area? );

    La Jolla has the cache but personally, the homes are too close to each other;

    In SF, Pacific Heights natch; but the Seacliff area is a lot more discrete and private ( Robin Williams notwithstanding ). Sausalito’s nice, but the fog horns drive me nuts, especially at night. Marin, Danville ( the Blackhawk area ), Hillsborough, Woodside, Atherton are all over-rated. The latter three, other than having large estates, I don’t really see the attraction and they seem too close to the jet paths of SFO — what with the newer, bigger Airbuses coming. But I also like the lakes and lagoons around Foster City.

    The Bay Area’s best kept secret? The best micro-climate is actually found in Oakland. Yes…Oakland where ebonics and Kwanzaa 🙂 were born. However, there are 2 little pockets that are near perfect: the Lake Merritt and Piedmont sections.

    Speaking of Oakland and ebonics, I hear Ayala y Cia., has some tracts of land north of Berkeley it has been hoping to develop but the timing just isn’t there because of: ( i ) the real estate market; ( ii ) too near the fuel tanks of Richmond; and ( iii ) too near Hercules which has a heavy influx of African-Americans fleeing Oakland and SF. Maybe they’ve already sold it.

    Of course, the ( in )famous Makiki Heights in Honolulu. But Hawaii can get boring too — especially with Doris Duke and her fugitive ‘friends’ gone. 🙂 🙂

    Who knows? Maybe Binondo, Bangladesh, Beirut or Baghdad will become the new jet-set haunts?

  44. periphery said,

    June 23, 2008 at 7:15 am

    LOL. You’re funny, toto. Although… your list of alternatives needs to be much longer. hehehe…

    There are so many residential areas all over the world that are much nicer ( and have infinitely greater cachet ) than Forbes or Dasma. No need to limit yourself to New York or Paris or London. 😉

  45. June 23, 2008 at 5:24 am


    I agree.

    Unless of course, one moves to Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue, Avenue Foch, or Mayfair. Which only happens with VERY FEW Filipinos…

    Toto Gonzalez

  46. periphery said,

    June 23, 2008 at 5:03 am

    But… but… Metro Manila is such a small place. If one is concerned about image and appearances, where could one move after having lived in Forbes or Dasma, without seeming to have traded downwards?

    Hrmmm… One Roxas Triangle only has so many units, and none have the space of a typical Forbes Park estate…

  47. Anton said,

    June 22, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I suppose they’re referring to the invasion of Forbes Park and Dasmarinas Village by the “nouveaux riches”… hehe…

  48. Garganta Inflamada said,

    June 20, 2008 at 6:06 am

    Hmmmmm. Didn’t think I’d see that in my lifetime.

    So they’re all moving to new penthouses or Alabang, huh?


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