Always about appearances

My dear, ingenuous parents [ bless their souls ] always led their children by example.  Being people who always dressed decently and correctly but never very fashionably nor uberexpensively, they had a quiet dignity which elicited respect but did not attract undue attention.  They also showed us that politeness and courtesy were for everyone, be they rich or poor, beautiful or ugly.  We were taught, by examples and by words, never to “judge books by their covers.”

The Roman Catholic church always tells us that it is the soul that matters, that externals are nothing, in the face of our eventual everlasting life.

Well, they were and are ALL WRONG.  *winks*  I don’t know what universe they were or are talking about because this one we’re in is certainly all about appearances.  In this respect, Diana Vreeland and all the other “Vogue” magazine editors were and are absolutely right!!!

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It matters.  It really matters.  It matters a lot.

It matters very much that your skin is beautiful, “flawless” as popular lingo has it…  that your teeth are perfect and blinding white…  that your hair was styled at “Emphasis” Rockwell [ with an appropriate scream, at that ], or even better, in the private salon of your new Forbes Park home.  Of course, you had it cut and styled at Sally Hershberger in New York two weeks ago.  It matters very much that your day ensemble was purchased at “Colette” in Paris, at “Homme et Femme” at Shangri – La, or done by one of our better [ read:  more expensive ] fashion designers…  that your shoes are Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Alessandro dell’ Acqua, et. al….  that your watch is Patek Philippe, Vacheron & Constantin, Rolex at least…  that your casual jewelry is Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, Buccellatti, et. al. or from our better jewelers like Jul Dizon and Janina Dizon-Hoschka [ although vintage Liding Oledan and Fe Panlilio will always do ].

It matters very much that you’re having lunch with Doris, Marivic, Ging, Maricris, Lizzie, Kit, et. al..  The social powers now.  Sorry, but you have no time for the has-beens — those who were at the top at one time but have since lost it for some strange reason or the other.  It matters very much that your hostess gifts are the more expensive ones from “Firma” or “Mentxaka” [ because they are the chicest decorative arts shops in the city ], only because you’re waiting for your shipments from Paris and London.  It matters very much that you’re stepping off this year’s BMW 7 series in black driven by a burly driver and accompanied by a sharpshooting ex-military bodyguard.  And after that, to return to your new, Ramon Antonio, Andy Locsin, or Conrad Onglao -designed 8,000 m2 Mcmansion in that neighborhood with street names like Narra, Tamarind, Molave, Banaba, Bauhinia, etc..

It matters very much that you’re leaving next week for the newest Aman resort, in whatever hitherto unknown corner of the world it is…

Who cares if you’re an “overprocessed beauty” like those celebrity endorsers?  You’re rich.

Who cares if you can no longer be exposed to the sun because of all the silicon implants you’ve got?  You’re rich.  Besides, Vampirism is terribly in.

Who cares if your husband is snuggling with your best friend at their love nest in Rockwell while you remain at home in Forbes?  He’s no longer the man you married anyway:  he’s balding, snores loudly, belches atrociously, has persistent bad breath, and he simply smells like the earth despite all those Penhaligon’s scents you buy him in London.  Heck, he doesn’t even look at you anymore — after all the work you do to maintain your beauty and desirability!  Of course, you’re not lonely!  Who could possibly think of that?  You’ve got so many close friends:  your interior designer, hairdresser, make-up artist, fashion designer, favorite jeweler, that boutique manager, personal chef,  landscape artist, antique dealer, dance instructor [ when he’s not honeymooning with his latest boyfriend ], events planner, architect, real estate agent, et. al..  They all love you… they all love your money.

Who cares if your marriage and your family are falling apart?  There’s Plan B:  Your husband’s best friend always compliments your looks, and always has that special smile just for you.  He has also waxed incredibly rich with his businesses, and that’s not a bad thing.  So what if your grown children have all spun out of control?  Your job of rearing them is over;  it’s not your fault they’ve turned out to be monsters, it’s their father’s fault for not spending any time with them!  You’ve got your properties, commercial and residential.  Your EE Euro and USD $ placements.   You’ve got your diamonds 10 carats up, your Burmese pigeon blood rubies, your Colombian emeralds, your Kashmir sapphires, and far too many natural South Sea pearls bigger than 16 mm..  You can even make a portrait out of your pearls, several portraits in fact.  You have so much jewelry you’ve lost track.  You’ve thought about setting all your big diamonds in just one necklace so you can wear them all at the same time, but your favorite jeweler has warned you that such a necklace will reach all the way down to the floor, so it can’t be done.  “Why not?”  you ask.

It matters very much that your masculine skin is smooth [ witness the newly smooth complexions of Vice-President Noli de Castro and Gen. P*ng L*cson ], as much as it is imperative that you are “Bain de Soleil” tanned from golf and sailing, the latter in your own boat moored at the Yacht club for your peers to ogle.   Believe it when observant colleagues can tell  whether one is tanned expensively at Amanpulo or at Misibis and when one is simply sunburned poorly walking around the BGC Bonifacio Global City.  It matters very much that your teeth are perfect and blinding white…  that your hair was styled and your face shaved by your personal barber in the privacy of your master bathroom suite.  Of course your hair was styled at Geo Trumper on Curzon Street in London two weeks ago.  It matters very much that your business suit is a + USD $ 6,000.00  Huntsman, Anderson & Sheppard, or Caraceni …  that your tie is Brioni, Hermes, or Stefano Ricci…  that your shoes are + USD $ 1,000.00 Berluti, Testoni, or G.J. Cleverley…  that your watch is Patek Philippe, Vacheron & Constantin, Rolex at least…  that your cufflinks are Cartier, Asprey, Tiffany & Co..

It matters very much that you’re having lunch with Ricky, Buboy, Endika, Inigo, Jaime, Fernando, GG, et. al..  The winners now.  Sorry, but you have no time for the losers — those who used to be in during the past administrations.   It matters very much that the leather briefcase you carry today cost you USD $ 10,000.00 . ..  that you’re stepping off this year’s Mercedes Benz S-Class AMG in black costing ++ USD $ 250,000.00 driven by a burly driver accompanied by a sharpshooting bodyguard who are both ex-military backed up by a black Land Rover with more high power-armed bodyguards.  Weekends you like to drive your ++ USD $ 450,000.00 Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren, or if the mood really hits, your ++ USD $ 1,000,000.00 Ferrari Enzo.  And after that, to return to your new, Ramon Antonio, Andy Locsin, or Conrad Onglao -designed 8,000 m2 Mcmansion instantly filled with the best Filipino old master and contemporary art by Vita Sarenas of “Finale” Gallery in that neighborhood with street names like Narra, Tamarind, Molave, Banaba, Bauhinia, etc..

It matters very much that you’re leaving next week for golf at Saint Andrews in Scotland, after which you will meet up with your favorite mistress in London en route to Paris and then on to Provence for a romantic weekend.

Who cares if you’re scheduled for a heart bypass operation, not at the Asian hospital in Alabang, but at the Cleveland clinic?  You’re rich.

Who cares if you’re scheduled for radiation and chemotherapy at the NV Anderson medical center at the University of Texas in Houston because of all the Cohiba cigars you’ve consumed?  You’re rich.

Who cares if your wife and your best friend have found comfort in each other — you’re tired of her anyway,  she’s everywhere else but at home:  the beauty salons, her fashion designers, her jewelers, mahjong at her “amigas,” bridge, canasta, canine club [ at least her blasted poodles get to sleep with her! ], “meetings” [ God knows what for? ], shopping, dining out, “charity” galas, weekending in Calatagan, on a cruise, a world tour —  she’s never around for you anymore — sometimes you just need to talk and you find yourself talking to that big Anita Magsaysay-Ho painting of “Women Vendors” on your bedroom wall;  Who cares if your trigger-happy eldest son has accumulated enough high-powered firearms to easily launch a coup d’ etat;   if your daughter eloped with the penurious but handsome gym instructor [ previously the kept boy of a fashion designer ];  if your seemingly athletic but actually gay son frequents all the gyms and spas of the city’s 5-star hotels hunting for the night’s conquest;   if your other son is the toast of all the sexiest, most attractive GROs in the city’s most expensive night clubs and has bought several townhouse units for his favorites without you knowing?

Who cares if your grown children and their partners, legal and otherwise, are already jockeying for control of the various corporations you have established and they’ve hired the top two law firms in the country — Romulo Mabanta and ACCRA — to represent them, and their lawyers are your friends?  You’re not even in your deathbed… at least, not yet.

But really, Who can afford all of that, and much, much, much more unless one is a corrupt Philippine government official or a member of his family???

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Close to Perfection

Just when Social Manila was expecting the very chichi funeral of the miraculously recovered Dowager Empress, hers was overtaken by the equally social last rites of a not-so-old industrialist whose very affluent family had been rocked by inheritance squabbles and a most controversial murder implicating him in recent years.

Everybody remarked about the great elegance and patrician understatement of the last rites.  Some people noted the unbelievably still walking and talking patriarch, stoic witness of his family’s vicissitudes of recent years, warbling in the old mother tongue of Spanish to anyone who cared to listen.

The not-so-old industrialist cut a dashing figure in his lifetime.  He and his wife, the petite heiress of not one but two very rich Spanish mestizo families, had great taste.  Their very elegant way of life was what one could call “close to perfection”…

Fantasy Island

The island of Coron in Palawan — as with the islands and seas surrounding it — must have been the earth when God created it and put Adam and Eve to live in it.   Simply breathtaking.

“La Balanga”

A big argument is brewing over the reopening of the BNPP Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in Morong, Bataan.

The proponents say that it will generate cheap electricity like our Asian neighbors have as well as supply the looming 3,000 megawatt shortage we face by 2011.

The opponents say that it is so old that it will mostly leak like “Three Mile Island,” all environmental hazards notwithstanding.

The Solution, as Everyone knows, is somewhere in between.

I think we should just dance the “La Balanga” around the BNPP Bataan Nuclear Power Plant… in full flared costumes with leopard and cheetah prints, led by Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos no less.  After all, it is a legacy from the Marcos Era.

See “Bimbo Jet La Balanga French TV 1975” on YouTube and see what I mean.  [ Well, don’t miss “Bimbo Jet El Bimbo 1974” either for the whole shebang!!!   😛 ]

Maybe then a sensible answer will come… from the heavens.   😛