Alta Ego

During the Martial Law 1970s, we used to watch the delightfully funny local sitcom “John en Marsha” [ every Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. on Channel 9 if I remember right ] starring Dolphy and Nida Blanca.  John [ Dolphy ] was a penurious jeepney driver who won the heart of [ Marsha ] Nida Blanca, the daughter of the rich Dona Delilah [ Dely Atay-Atayan ].  John, Marsha, and their brood lived in a shack in a squatter area while Dona Delilah lived in a posh village and the sitcom was about their dotty daily lives.

And Dona Delilah had this presumptious “alalay” factotum named Matutina [ Matutina ].  Matutina the maid was famous for casually sweeping USD $$$ from under the bed of Dona Delilah; she even had the gall to occasionally ask Dona Delilah:  “Misis, tseke niyo o tseke ko???”  [ “Ma’am, your cheque or mine???” ].

One remembers these lines from a comedy by a famous Filipino director… the scene:  neighboring houses in Forb*s Park, two maids upstaging each other:

Maid 1:  “Ang cheap ninyo!!!  Naa-amoy namin ang almusal ninyo… ‘Tuyo’!!!  Kami sosyal:  ‘Corned Beef’ at ‘Sausages’ galing ‘Santis’!!!”  [ “You are all so cheap!!!  We can smell your breakfast… ‘Dried Fish’!!!  Ours is ‘social’:  ‘Corned Beef’ and ‘Sausages’ from ‘Santis’ delicatessen!!!” ]

Maid 2:  “Hoy!!!  Kayo ang cheap!!!  Nanonood pa kayo ng mga ‘Betamax’ at ‘VHS’!!!  Kami mga ‘deesc’ na!!!  [ “Hey!!!  You’re the cheap ones!!!  You are all still watching on ‘Betamax’ and ‘VHS’ formats!!!  We’re on ‘deescs’ { ‘discs’ } already!!!” ]

Maid 1:  “Ay naku… Si Boss mayroon lahat!!!  May Laser Deesc, Compact Deesc, may Slipped Deesk pa nga!!!”  [ “Oh no, Boss has all of those!!!  ‘Laser Deesc’ { Laser Discs }, ‘Compact Deesc’ { Compact Discs }, he even has a ‘Slipped Deesk’ { Slipped Disk } !!!” ]

Maid 2:  “Kami puro ‘DVD’ na!!!”  [ “We’re entirely on ‘DVD’!!!” ]

Maid 1:  “Ano ka???  Lahat niyan mayroon si Boss!!!  ‘VCD,’ ‘DVD,’ at lahat ng ‘VD’ mayroon si Boss!!!”  [ “Whaddyathink???  My Boss has all of that!!!  Boss has all the ‘VCDs,’ ‘DVDs,’ and all the kinds of ‘VD’!!!” ]

*LOLSZ!!!*

One would think that the “Matutina” and the other characters only existed in sitcoms, but the truth is that domestic characters like “Matutina” et. al. exist in almost every affluent Filipino household, everywhere in the world…

One of the trusted help in the household, a young, intelligent girl called Juvy, tasked to clean the delicate, breakable antiques and silver, once derided the silverware in my lawyer brother’s house:    [ translated to English ]  “The problem here is that your silverware is all plated, that’s why you have that cheap silver polish.  In Sir Toto’s house, all his silver is sterling, antique, expensive, and first class… so I don’t have your problems!!!”  *LOLSZ!!!*  AS IF I WAS DORIS DUKE!!!  *ROTFLMAO!!!*  Not at all true, of course!!!

In Vancouver, a high-off-the-hog “mayordoma” aspires to the ultrastylish ways of her Filipina “senora” who lives in a penthouse high above Stanley Park.  “I love the term ‘dakilang alalay’ — sounds more like ‘goddess maid’ or ‘housekeeping diva’ just like she is with me!!!”  says her “senora.”  As with all of her ilk, she is the main conduit of all the latest gossip in the “senora’s” circle.  Because her “senora” is an “ultrafashionista,” the lucky “mayordoma” has an ever-growing collection of expensive signature cast-offs from past seasons, notably “Valentino,” to wear to the supermarket and to her other errands.  Like her reed-thin “senora,”  she is careful about her diet:  she stupidly refuses to eat peppers, gingers, mushrooms, etc.; however, she likes garlic salt, but it must specifically be “Hy’s” brand!!!  She also has to eat her “senora’s” Italian tuna in olive oil.  And she can’t be bothered to serve lunch, as it is time for her midday “bubble bath”!!!  Really now!!!  Wanting to preserve her manicure and hairdo, she is so careless in the hi-tech / couture kitchen with what her “senora” describes as “war zone cooking” that her hapless employer has had it redone.  Social Vancouver remembers her notoriety for one elegant reception at her “senora’s” French midcentury chic penthouse when she opened the double doors of the elegantly restrained dining room and screeched:  “Caaahm and git it!!!  Deehnner ees sehrbd!!!”  [ “Come and get it!!!  Dinner is served!!!” ]  *LOLSZ!!!*

Another high-style addition to the list is another notorious “mayordoma” in Hillsborough, CA, employed by a doyenne of old Manila society.  Like any freespending American, her credit card bills are in the tens of thousands of USD $$$.  She is derided by her “senora” as “que presumida” for her feigned familiarity with her “senora’s” grand “amigas” as well as for her propensity to butt in during polite “social” conversations.  But like any efficient “mayordoma,” she is the source for the latest-breaking salacious gossip about her “senora’s” Hillsborough friends and their families, as passed on by their own “high-ranking” domestics.   She likes to claim that she does not eat her “senora’s” food, “the food of the rich,” yet when she is taken by her “senora” to San Francisco’s best restaurants like the posh “Plumpjack Cafe,” she — to her “senora’s” horror — makes it a point to order the most expensive item on the menu!!!  When she does not like the food at a dinner her “senora” attended, she insists on a stop at a fastfood joint of her choice so she can order her “dinner.”  She also likes to deride her current “senora’s” taste in comestibles in comparison to her former, equally affluent but more sophisticated employer:  She buys her own brand of “boutique” bread, saying:  “Kay Inday ******, French ‘whole wheat’ lang ang kinakain namin!!!”  Finally, notorious “mayordoma” frankly has political ambitions for her retirement years, and intends to run for councilor, mayor, board member, governor, and congresswoman of her southern province!!!  Perhaps even for Senator of the Republic…???!!!

I remember the late, great “International Jeweller” and her loyal factotum.  She and her trusted “secretary” used to have comic verbal tussles frequently, quite like a “Looney Tunes” cartoon.  The “secretary” was on familiar terms with The Jeweller’s Manila and international clients, who were the best of society here and abroad.  The Jeweller used to quip, with one eyebrow arched in mock-exasperation:  “The problem with her, is that she thinks she is Fe Panlilio!!!”  However, in justice to the secretary, she was loyal to the end and even beyond.

The best story came from a jetsetting friend who flew out of Paris, as always, first class on Air France.  Beside him was seated an elegant dark woman.  She had beautiful hair, great maquillage, and was clad in the season’s Hermes [ H-e-r-m-e-s, he repeated ] from head to foot.  She looked Asian… Malay… even Filipina.  And she was.  He spoke French and she replied perfectly, in mellifluous Parisian diction.  They had talked about most everything when he finally could not resist asking what she was doing in Paris.  She nonchalantly answered that she was a maid.  In the household of a very rich Jewish banking family [ we know who ].  Beat that!!!

Well, they certainly don’t make “muchachas” the way they used to!!!   :P   :P  😛

38 Comments

  1. capt tiyago said,

    April 3, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks

  2. April 2, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    capt tiyago:

    One of the present-day Levy descendants is Brother Augustin* “G*s” Levy Boq*er F.S.C. of the Brothers of the Christian Schools of the De La Salle University along Taft Avenue, Manila.

    Brother Augustin* Boq*er F.S.C. is currently the President of the De La Salle University in Dasmarinas, Cavite.

    You may want to get in touch with him.

    Toto Gonzalez

  3. capt tiyago said,

    April 1, 2009 at 2:59 am

    I am researching on LEVY HERMANOS,INC from the province of Iloilo. If you have information about this company and its owners, please contact me via email… capt_tiyago@yahoo.com… thanks for everyones help.

  4. July 21, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Zippo – I think everyone understood that it was “Sir” who hit the jackpot, Queen Mary or no Queen Mary!!! Thanks!

  5. Myles Garcia said,

    July 18, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Zippo,

    Apropos your query on my Philippine Senator story (my post #14), see this link…

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20080713-148119/Villars-take-over-storied-Laurel-house-on-Shaw-Blvd

    GI

  6. Sabin Arranz said,

    July 18, 2008 at 5:05 am

    Hahaha. Funny you should mention that, Zippo.

    Several birthdays ago, when Concorde was still in service, I treated myself and my then-paramour to that transatlantic dream crossing. QE2 to Southampton, a couple of days in London, then Concorde back to New York. We were in a Queens Grill cabin.

    One of the couples at our dinner table mentioned that their 2 maids were traveling with them because they were going to be in England for an extended period. Get this… the pampered domestics were traveling in a Britannia Grill cabin, not steerage!🙂

    Anyway, it was a fabulous trip, well worth the exorbitant amount of money. One of these days I’m gonna hold my nose, whip out the plastic, and book a crossing on the QM2. Minus Concorde, unfortunately.

  7. Myles Garcia said,

    July 18, 2008 at 4:55 am

    … before the QE2 is decommissioned at the end of this year to become a floating hotel, a la Long Beach-Queen Mary, in Dubai.

    Oh, well, there’s always the more luxurious Queen Mary 2 and the even newer Queen Victoria.

  8. Ipe Nazareno said,

    July 17, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    Bambina,

    She should have answered: “Pwede ba, si Sir ang naka-jackpot kay madame!” Then you could have treated her for a sail on the QE-2.

    Z🙂

  9. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 17, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    bambina writes:

    We did treat her to a business class upgrade once, when we sent her home for a holiday.

    % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % %

    OMG! And I thought Business Class was the last refuge safe from the high-flying Filipina *******.

    I guess I’ll just have to lease private jets from now on. BWAAAAAHHHHHH!

    GI

  10. July 17, 2008 at 6:18 am

    Toto, the DVD tidbit reminded me of my own dakilang alalay with the hybrid Ilonggo-British accent. After years of living in HK, we were transferred to Jordan and she followed. She eventually met up with other Pinays and would spend her Sundays off with them. One day they went to the video store and she was horrified when her friends asked for Sharon Cuneta movies. She asked, “Wala ba kayong Tom Cruise?” Excuse me lang!

    Upon learning her madam was Filipina, this same bunch of friends asked her “kung naka-jackpot si madam, kasi puti ang asawa”. To which she haughtily replied, “Puede ba, de buena familia si Madame! Hindi niyo ba kilala ang mother niya? Mestiza sila, ano! Mga buang!”

    O di ba?

    This is my sosyal maid who asked for an LV bag as her long-service bonus after she’d been with us 10 years! We did treat her to a business class upgrade once, when we sent her home for a holiday.

  11. Myles Garcia said,

    July 14, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    OK, jeremiah, ‘fess up!! No hiding ‘incognito’ anymore!! Reveal thyself or forever be banned from this site!! 🙂

    just kidding…but serious!! 🙂 🙂

  12. jeremiah said,

    July 13, 2008 at 5:20 am

    my beloved grandmere, bless her heart, was the same with her household staff, sabin, and her houseguests knew to treat them the same way, otherwise they would be disinvited pronto.

    my grandmere was partial to pearls, and she had them in different sizes and colors. her fashon sense was impeccable and understated, accoutrement was kept to a minumum., a la jackie o, whom she adored.

    i once escorted her to an uber-exclusive soiree for a visiting royalty, where the biggest and brightest blings were in full display. but there was this one particular oldish woman who wore a really bulky looking tiara and was shamelessly sashaying all over the place. my grandmere couldn’t take it anymore so she went up to her and told her to to take it off because nobody wears a tiara in the presence of royalty. nobody! the woman had no choice but to heed my grandmere’s not so subtle admonition. after all, she had the “power” to have the royalty wannabe ejected from the party of the year.

  13. Sabin Arranz said,

    July 12, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    As I was growing up in the Philippines, nobody in our staff ever flew first class or decked themselves out in Hermès. However, my parents did have a policy of paying for any long-time staffmember’s education if he/she wanted it – whether it be to finish high school or to get vocational (sewing, auto mechanic, etc) training. Annual vacations to their respective home provinces were also given and completely paid for. Mom even paid for the education (grade school all the way to college) of my spinster yaya’s youngest sister, who was never in our employ. Treating the help well was just de rigeur in our household.

  14. Enrique Bustos said,

    July 12, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    i would just like to share a conversation with the grand dame of the gem brigade as maurice A would describe EM-O, she told us during a dinner she
    hosted in her house that the original owner of La Estrella Del Norte was an ancestor of hers a Frenchman named Benito ULLMAN who married Teodora Salgado

    As for the KAHN”s their ancestor Leopoldo Kahn married anacoreta villacorta and they had 5 children. when leopoldo 1st wife died he married the sister of his 1st wife and they had 8 children

    Marilou Kahn is not the daughter of the former san miguel corp president Ernest Kahn she is the daughter of the late Rene Kahn and Dolly Santamaria the sister in law of pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria

  15. Enrique Bustos said,

    July 12, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    i would just like to share a conversation with the grand dame of the gem brigade as maurice A would describe EM-O, she was told us during a dinner that the original owner of La Estrella Del Norte was an ancestor of hers a Frenchman named Benito ULLMAN who married Teodora Salgado

    As for the KAHN”s their ancestor Leopoldo Kahn married anacoreta villacorta and they had 5 children. when leopoldo 1st wife died he married the sister of his 1st wife and they had 8 children

    Marilou Kahn is not the daughter of the former san miguel corp president Ernest Kahn she is the daughter of the late Rene Kahn and Dolly Santamaria the sister in law of pianist Ingrid Sala Santamaria

  16. Myles Garcia said,

    July 12, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Zippo,

    Correct on your guess!!

    U r also correct about the more ‘colorful’ Boquer. Yes, Jose Ma. was my younger brother’s year-mate at the other school (yes, Ateneo — which BTW, beat DLS at the opening? game of the NCAA tournament?) on Katipunan Road. And they were together in “Art Class” under the famous Araceli Dans. And those Boquers lived in Little Baguio. So my brother regaled me with stories — ya know how those initial ‘coming out’ stories create an impact on still-innocent minds — of this very colorful Boquer even at the early grade-school age. (One wonders if your Bro. Gus Levy Boquer had something to do with sending his cousin (I guess) to the other school rather than have DLS attached to his name? 🙂 )

    Wud’ve wanted to meet your grandmere.

    I also wondered about Ynchausti’s and succeeding comments re Estrella del Norte and its existence in Lipa City during Spanish times. Maybe the Kahn-Levy tandem bought the name or, obviously, brought an infusion of capital to launch the Dept. store in Manila. And of course, if the Kahns (were the Levy’s also originally French?) wanted to keep their French identity in their new business venture, they might’ve called it “Etoile du Nord” rather than Estrella del Norte — which also might’ve worked in haute monde Manila.

    Speaking of the K*hns — and the original topic of this thread — I learned yesterday of the rather grisly demise of an old family friend (one of whose daughters married a brother of Marilou KM) on her recent return to Manila. I don’t believe it’s made the papers yet (since via the web, only a Tagalog article on the subject appears in the Taliba’s People page). Anyway, the lady returned to Manila after having reared her family in Madrid; and her husband (of German-Filipino descent) having died within the past year or so in the Spanish capital. They were originally from olde San Juan but come the 60s, they moved to San Lorenzo, and the boys transferred to La Salle from Ateneo; and the girls, quite sensibly, also transferred from Maryknoll to Assumption-San Lo…well, you know the drill… and some of you might actually have been classmates of the sons who had very English first names.

    Anyway, the lady in question — and at times you’d say that she would have passed as a sister of ex-Empress Farah Diba of Iran, returned sola to Manila, all the kids now having lives of their own around the world. (I did write about Tita A. in passing sometime ago as San Lorezo residents who had Austrian chandeliers in their house.)

    Well, sometime presently, she took a place at the Zaragoza Apts in Legaspi Village. But in the last 48 hours or so, her body was discovered by a niece and Pilar Zaragoza (owner of the building) when niece had not heard from her aunt in 2 days and no one answered her door. When they entered, the place was in disarray and Tita A. was found laying lifeless in bed. There were no visible signs of infliction or physical trauma, so it’s believed the 81-year old widow was smothered with a pillow.

    Which harks us back to the help. She had two maids who are now missing, and are the prime persons of ‘interest’ in the matter since it seems to have been an inside job. Where are the trustworthy ones when you need them?

    We’ll miss ya, Tita. RIP.

    GI

  17. zippo said,

    July 12, 2008 at 11:56 am

    I stand corrected, Jose Mari Boquer performed during the mid 1970s ( I just spoke to my brother about this and we just laughed reminiscing about how our grandmother loved transvestite performers. In fact, a cousin would refer to her as our late “granny tranny” ). There was one time she had a dinner for some Italian Cardinal ( or was it a newly-appointed Papal Nuncio ), I forget. Anyway, the entertainment for the night was the “Paper Dolls.” My then 75-year old lola even instructed “Liza Minelli” to sing uh “sensuously” to the guest-of-honor who probably wanted to hide in shame while my lola would just roar with laughter. My lola was SUCH A CHARACTER!

  18. zippo said,

    July 12, 2008 at 11:36 am

    G.I., who was this Senator in your post no. 12? Was this former Vice-President and Senator S*lvador “D*y” Lau*el? I remember he died in the area ( Atherton, or thereabouts ). The “musically talented” was a dead give-away.

    Ynchaustti, you are correct. Leopoldo Kahn was a former Jew who converted to Catholicism. His son, Ernesto Sr., was President and COO of San Miguel for many years during the Soriano and initial Cojuangco years. Ernesto’s daughter, Marilou ( a former Karilagan model during the time of Conchita Sunico ), is the present wife of Senator Jun Magsaysay ( the first being the socialite Isabel Delgado ).

    The Kahns were very active La Sallites.

    If memory serves me right, “La Estrella del Norte” was founded by two French-Jewish families: the Kahn family and the Levy family. In fact, the corporate name of “La Estrella del Norte” was “Levy Hermanos, Inc.” The patriarchs of both families converted to Catholicism.

    The “unica hija” and favorite of the Levy patriarch was Concepcion Levy who married Daniel Boquer. Their only heir is none other than the present President of the De La Salle University Hospital and College of Medicine, Bro. Augustine “Gus” Levy Boquer F.S.C.!

    There was another Boquer relative, Jose Ma. Boquer, whom my grandmother would always invite to perform at her parties ( Jose Mari was a transvestite performer who was known as “Barbra Streisand” of the “Paper Dolls” of the1960s-1970s ).

    Z🙂

  19. Sabin Arranz said,

    July 12, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Liliane Bettencourt (L’Oreal) is not Jewish, and neither was her maiden family. However, her daughter did marry a Jewish man.

  20. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 12, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Liliane BetANcourt was the French-Colombian activist-journalist who was recently freed after so many years in captivity by Colombian guerillas. Liliane BeTTENcourt is the older L’Oreal magnate.

  21. L*ding said,

    July 11, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    well, the “most succesful” of all these “domestics” is the infamous rose lacson-hancock-porteous. she married a mining magnate in australia and got entangled in a legal mess with his daughter after his death. lang hancock’s daughter, gina rinehart, is now the richest woman in australia. rose is so vulgar with her “assets,” she makes imelda marcos look like a saint!!!

  22. July 11, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    a great Jewish Banking Family. I was thinking of that simple Filipina maid of Liliane Betancourt. But now, the Betancourts are not as publicly Jewish as they are wont to be. Neighther are they a great banking family, though they have non-controlling interests in banks stretching from Lausanne to Milano to Montevideo.

  23. linksys said,

    July 11, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    French Laundry’s public relations coordinator, kristine keefer, happens to be filipino.

  24. ynchaustti said,

    July 11, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Funny, that the name of that French Jewish banking family would come up. Just yesterday, I googled an old Manila name that I initially thought had Pakistani connections (as in Begum or Aga Khan. And they were longtime friends of my parents, and I’ve recently caught up with some of their 3rd generation here in the US; plus one of them is married to the senator-son of the late Ramon Magsaysay.)

    Well, it turns out that the patriarch, a Leopoldo Kahn (notice the different spelling) who opened the famed pre-war fine goods emporium, Estrella del Norte, was originally a Jewish Frenchman from the Alsace-Lorrain area (Jeanne d’Arc’s ‘hood’) who settled in Manila in the early days of the American rule. Sounded like an Emile de Becque (”South Pacific”) but I sure hope didn’t carry the old baggage of M. de Becque.

    —————————————————————-

    Estrella del Norte I believe was founded during the Spanish period. It is said that during the coffee boom in Lipa (late 19th century), Estrella del Norte had a branch there.

  25. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 11, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    I also almost forgot the case of a celebrated Philippine senator from one of the more illustrious political families of the land, in his final days. And this reflects on both the family, Manila mores, and the family’s own financial fortunes.

    A few years ago, the ex-Senator was undergoing treatment at world-famous Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto. Unfortunately, he took a turn for the worse, and not even all the money in the world could delay the inevitable: he succumbed to his condition. All those months he was in treatment, the family rented a 4/5-bedroom estate in nearby Woodside (your ‘hood,’ periphery 😉 ) . Since I know one of the sons, I visited and paid my respects.

    Well, with the buzz of activity in tying up loose ends, it seemed as if the family had never left Manila because a whole household and more (flown in from Manila — or gathered from whatever sources — were maids, cooks, tsupers et al.) was involved in those closing out rituals: caring for the family (even though all the children were full-grown adults), all the novenas, pabasas, private masses; the entertaining and feeding of guests and hangers-on, preps for returning the leased vehicles, the rented household furniture AND grand piano (the family was musically very talented), and myriad other preparations for the final journey home to Manila.

    As one can imagine, the months of the prolonged, lingering treatment at Stanford cost a veritable fortune. I’m sure $$-wise, the whole chapter would’ve cost US$1.5 or more — so at least some 70-80 million pesos because this was when the $$ was at an all-time high vs. the peso.

    Anyway, as is the fashion these days, a casket was no longer required — so the senator’s remains returned to Manila in an urn, with grand and sombre ceremony. However, shortly after the patriarch’s terminal episode, his second daughter’s own cancer condition took a turn for the worse. (She had stayed behind in the US.) But the family’s finances were exhausted and drained by the late Senator’s treatment and maintenance of the family’s ‘lifestyle as they were accustomed to…’ abroad. So poor daughter #2, merely had to be treated in Stanford as a ‘charity case’ and she got in because (and here I am unsure of how the dots connect), strangely, luckily for her, she was once the live-in partner of the same (American) doctor who headed her father’s medical team.

    But eventually, daughter #2 also succumbed — but without all the prolonged, attendant hoopla and fanfare accorded to chieftain-father in his final months.

    I am sure most of you will recognize that family. How costly ‘prestige’ is for some Manila families.

    GI

  26. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 11, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    OK, we hear about the ‘high-flying’ lifestyles of, I suppose, lucky Filipina help — and GOOD FOR THEM!! Everyone needs all the lucky breaks they can get in life. But there is also the flip side…

    Was watching an update on the unresolved questions of billionaire-banker Edmund Safra’s death in Monaco some 9 years ago, and there is a whole Filipino connection to this case. No, it’s not Minnie nor Meldy having been bosom friends of Ms. Safra’s chic, uberrich widow, Lily, and having jetted to her side in those moments of grief. But M. Safra’s personal nurse — Filipina Vivian Torrente, who literally got ‘snuffed’ alongside her employer in the panic room.

    (Personal aside: which is why I said in another thread, I personally don’t trust the Monagesques due to their botched handling of this case.)

    Anyway, the facts coming out now — and there is/was an int’l Filipino lawyer, connected with an int’l body (International Justice-something) who was also investigating the case pro bono for Vivian Torrente’s family — show that in the autopsy, Ms. Torrente suffered unexplained bruises. One theory being espoused now is that in those final moments, VT might’ve have been trying to escape the panic room on her own but Mr. Safra (might’ve) physically restrained her from doing so, needing company in his own death. So employee was bound with her employer even unto death.

    Oh, the angles one can spin in such high profile cases…

    G.I.

  27. Sabin Arranz said,

    July 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I love French Laundry. It is widely considered to be the best restaurant in the United States in terms of cuisine. Thomas Keller, chef/owner, has another top-notch restaurant at the Time Warner building in NYC, called Per Se.

    One of my brothers went to NYU. There, he met the daughter of Leonard Goldberg’s housekeeper (Filipina). So, housekeeper’s kid goes to NYU. Housekeeper owns several apartments in Queens and Brooklyn and rents them out to Filipinos. Housekeeper gets to read scripts, screenplays, etc that come across Leonard Goldberg’s desk, and oftentimes even gets to meet celebrities. Not a bad life, eh?

  28. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 11, 2008 at 6:45 am

    oh god, this is getting depressing…

    A nation of maids and “alalays” — is that what the Philippines is going to be known for?

    Had this really haughty classmate ( brother-in-law to the “Dancing Queen” senadora ) in high school who said that’s because we are / were a real “subservient” nation. Could he have been speaking the truth?

    ichiro what are you talking about “…no money inside the plane…and she pretended to be hungry…? Other than buying alcoholic drinks and the duty-free luxury goods, why would you need cash on board a plane? And this was years ago. So were the D*zas telling their maid that she needed cash on board in order to be fed? Couldn’t she see that others were not handing the cabin attendants cash? That whole vignette of yours doesn’t make sense.

    And how could you mention “The French Laundry” and those “chocolates” in the same breath and sentence? Blasphemy, my child, blasphemy!!!

    G.I.

  29. cousin paz said,

    July 11, 2008 at 6:08 am

    Toto,

    This story is definitely one that Ambassador Baja and his “dakilang alalay” should read. They are in a legal mess these days if you read the papers. Kakahiya!

    Cousin Paz

  30. July 11, 2008 at 4:10 am

    L*ding:

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

    Toto Gonzalez

  31. JLB said,

    July 11, 2008 at 1:04 am

    speaking of hillsborough, my cousin bought me to this really nice and chic restaurant last year called “The French Laundry” in Napa Valley…

    however, my earliest association and recollections of SFC as a child was always “See’s” assorted candies. I wish “See’s” would have other outlet stores all over the States for convenience, although they sometimes sell at the airports in different states.

  32. JLB said,

    July 11, 2008 at 12:39 am

    I read in a column of Sandy Daza’s in the Inquirer years ago how the “kasambahay” of his mother complained how hungry she was on the plane when they reached Manila. The “kasambahay” of her mom stayed in the economy class and she said she was nervous and had no money inside the plane so she pretended to be asleep every time the food cart passed…!

  33. JLB said,

    July 11, 2008 at 12:34 am

    The parents of Emilianito Lizares Jr. actually hosted the Rothschild at their house (now the Angelicum School) in Jaro, Iloilo during the pre-war years. ….The high-ceilinged ballroom and the high society revelry inside the house…..a paternal uncle of Emilianito would always wear gloves for fear of contacting germs, even during the Japanese occupation and war years and in times of evacuation, everything must be served only in silver and porcelain. the piano was also hauled everywhere and wherever, to ‘soothe’ the ambience during mealtimes. when times were getting ‘tough’, one can of ‘carne norte’ would be mixed with a large amount of rice to make fried rice, so everyone can eat..the bygone years were simple yet so stylish and elegant…..

  34. linksys said,

    July 10, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    i know for a fact that hollywood mogul harvey weinstein’s trusted housekeeper in nyc is a filipina. flies first class everytime she goes on vacation to the philippines and takes the private jet when she needs to be in martha’s vineyard.

    jackie o’s last boyfriend (a diamond trader ) gifted his longtime filipina housekeeper with a condo in the upper east side as part of her retirement package.

    the notorious alfred taubman (sothebys) would regularly hire the likes of daniel bouloud to teach his loyal filipina cook in southampton.

  35. Garganta Inflamada said,

    July 10, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Funny, that the name of that French Jewish banking family would come up. Just yesterday, I googled an old Manila name that I initially thought had Pakistani connections (as in Begum or Aga Khan. And they were longtime friends of my parents, and I’ve recently caught up with some of their 3rd generation here in the US; plus one of them is married to the senator-son of the late Ramon Magsaysay.)

    Well, it turns out that the patriarch, a Leopoldo Kahn (notice the different spelling) who opened the famed pre-war fine goods emporium, Estrella del Norte, was originally a Jewish Frenchman from the Alsace-Lorrain area (Jeanne d’Arc’s ‘hood’) who settled in Manila in the early days of the American rule. Sounded like an Emile de Becque (“South Pacific”) but I sure hope didn’t carry the old baggage of M. de Becque.

    G.I.

  36. Sabin Arranz said,

    July 10, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    LOL. How about the folks who started Lazard Frères?😉

  37. July 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    periphery:

    Could there be another “very rich Jewish banking family”???

    Toto Gonzalez

  38. Sabin Arranz said,

    July 9, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Roth*child, eh?


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