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!!!


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???



  1. Diego Jurado said,

    August 22, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I think H*lium Club is a satire.

  2. Yrigoyen said,

    July 9, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Diego: I agree. San Lorenzo Village is sort of Bangkal, Makati. It is not and has never been the ritzier part of Makati.

  3. Diego Mqz y C. said,

    July 8, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    “…..this is not so true in that other neighborhood where the streets are named after National Artists…..” SLV again? Seriously, this place is the poor relation of the other Makati Villages…

  4. Frederick Agbayani said,

    June 8, 2009 at 4:46 am

    I got dazed with all the conversions of weights and karats, the foibles of the establishment and the parvenus, the amount of greed and corruption and the difference of us all… but in my experience when we get down to the “soixante neouf” position… equilibrium is automatic.

  5. larry leviste said,

    May 8, 2009 at 8:50 am

    It’s JUDY versus KOR*NA, who will be the pound for pound winner for the title of First Lady ?

    And did M really say on TV that they haven’t had sex yet and it’s the ” greatest gift I can give her on our wedding night. ” ?

    No offspring from this union though, K has had a hysterectomy.

    It will like Jamb* and the French husband.

    And in the wings, DOODS and Ms. WEB* will also tie the knot ?

    I wish all these COUPLETS the wisdom of understanding and acceptance, if that exists, it shall at least be platonic and they could compromise to be good friends like Monch** Olive* and Bing de Guz**n and their wives.

    I know Christian Espiritu and Tito Swarding have solid marriages. Lots of kids too.

    Ogie Diaz too.

  6. Babblefish said,

    May 7, 2009 at 6:40 am

    I suppose it also helps that * has a short attention span when it comes to those he fancies. Just hope he’s smart enough to steer clear of a gold-digging boytoy when he sees one. Pero his tastes are so varied, ha. Goes from basketball players to models to yuppie types. The man knows variety.

  7. isabella said,

    May 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm


    your tid bits are really interesting! so mar is bi and had affairs with older women?maybe that’s the offshoot of his being a momma’s boy;.he thought he’s romancing his momma.If you read the blogs regarding their forthcoming wedding-you’ll feel the disgust of many towards Korina.Mar thought she is a plus to his candidacy-maybe he is wrong in this gambit.

    By the way,I am relieved to know that MvPangilinan is going to launch his presidential bid.I like him to be our next president.No first lady,no kamag-anak incorporated to rob the government.

  8. larry leviste said,

    May 6, 2009 at 3:42 am


    The other couple is Ry*n and Jud*y. Twas my gaydar that instantly picked this up years ago when he was rumored to have a pilot boyfriend who I knew. His outfit at the altar was a deadma giveaway. Lavander necktie ?

    Now as for M*r, twas a childhood friend who was his lover in their teen years. But he could be BI since he was seduced by older women including Ting, Julie, Josine et al.

    I myself am also BI.

    I BUY then BYE BYE.

    K*rina is going on indefinite leave from all her TV and radio shows. She has ransacked many flower farms for she wants golden orchids for the church decor. It may be the NEW Joe Salazar, CARY SANTIAGO from CEBU who will do the welding gown.

    PRAY, protest, march and STOP this megalomaniac from ever becoming PURSE LADY of our land. She will make Imelda seem like Mother Teresa. She is evil with DEPUTY DAWG sagging cheeks. Can’t stand that woman.



  9. lost said,

    May 3, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    hmmmmmmmmm… so larry, can you identify the two couples you mentioned?? at least a clue?? i know the first one is M*R and K**INA.. whose the other couple?

  10. isabella said,

    May 3, 2009 at 8:50 am


    just type K*rina and M*r R*xas wedding-lo and behold! You’ll read sooo many nasty, funny, below-the-belt blogs! I didn’t know so many people are disgusted with these 2 human beings.

  11. isabella said,

    May 3, 2009 at 8:48 am


    You are such a descriptive fellow! by the by,so we are talking here of abs cbn people staging big weddings this year.They are now the newsmakers ,not the newsreaders!What a turn of events!

  12. Babblefish said,

    May 2, 2009 at 7:32 am

    K*rina as first lady? Hmmm… they’ll have to rig the whole of Malacañang with special lighting to hide those nasty “Deputy Dawg” cheeks.

  13. Garganta Inflamada said,

    May 2, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Naku! Eto na nga!!

    “A Scarsdale mom was busted for stealing $12 million in gold from a posh Queens jewelry store by slipping it out piece-by-piece in her purse lining, prosecutors said.

    For at least the past six years, Teresa Tambunting, a vault manager at Jacmel Jewelry, stole 500 pounds of fine gold jewelry and raw gold, which she hid in the suburban home she shared with her husband and three children, prosecutors said.

    The 50-year-old Tambunting hoarded her growing treasure trove in 5-gallon buckets in their basement, law enforcement sources said.

    The theft began to unravel in January, when the company audited its Long Island City headquarters vault and discovered $12 million in inventory missing, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

    They had grown suspicious that their losses were more than the normal 3% annual rate, law enforcement sources said.

    When Tambunting got wind of the audit, she decided to fess up. She arrived at work in early February dragging rolling luggage bags filled with some of the booty, her boss said.

    “The first time, she returned one bag with eighty pounds of fine gold. Then, on another occasion (one week later) she came back with another bag,” said Jacmel president Jack Rahmey.

    “She confessed she had been stealing for some time.”

    The bags were so heavy she needed help from the garage employees to get it into the building, a law enforcement source said.

    Tambunting claimed she needed to take the ill-gotten gold, the source said. She admitted slashing a hole into the lining of her handbag and slipping the jewelry inside, prosecutors said.

    She is expected to argue through her lawyer that she has a form of obsessive compulsive disorder, the source said.

    Lawyer David Kirby could not immediately be reached for comment.

    A search of Tambunting’s home in February uncovered another 450 pounds of stashed loot, prosecutors said. The company’s president disputed that scenario, saying Tambunting’s lawyer arranged to have the remaining stash delivered back to the company a week after her confession.

    Tambunting was fired after she admitted stealing, Rahmey said. Her company voicemail was still accepting messages Wednesday morning.

    Law enforcement sources are at a loss to explain how her husband, Edgardo Tambunting, who sources said was hired at Cantor Fitzgerald after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, didn’t know about the plot.

    No charges have been brought against Tambunting, last listed as manager of Cantor Fitzgerald’s debt capital market team. The investigation is ongoing, prosecutors said.

    Tambunting had worked for Jacmel for 27 years and worked her way up to a salary of $165,000 a year, law enforcement sources said. She became a vault manager in 1991, prosecutors said.

    “With gold trading at nearly $900 an ounce, the defendant is accused of establishing a virtual mining operation in Long Island City which siphoned off millions of dollars’ worth of the precious metal from her employer,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

    The international jewelry company – founded in 1977 and claiming to be one of the largest manufacturers in the country – employs 250 staffers in their 100,000 square-foot headquarters, its Web site says.

    The firm also has a manufacturing plant in Santo Domingo.

    She turned herself in Tuesday and was arraigned Wednesday in Queens Criminal Court on grand larceny charges.

    Tambunting faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted. She was released on $100,000 bail Wednesday, a Department of Corrections spokesman said.

    Neighbors said they never suspected the Tambunting’s pretty 2-story stucco and stone home was hiding millions in illicit treasure.

    “Oh my gosh. I am in shock,” said a neighbor who has lived across the street from Tambunting for 10 years, “They are the most lovely people. I’ve never seen anything suspicious. I hope this is a big mistake.”

    Que asco!! NAKAKA-HIYA!!! And already making $165,000 a year!! Nakaka-diri!!

    But she is a Tambunting by marriage. Her hubby’s firm is the one whose ranks were nearly decimated by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center where I think Cantor Fitzgerald had three floors. At least the thief ‘fessed up. I think her excuse that she was possessed by the spirit of the late Ferdinand Marcos would be more plausible than the ‘excessive compulsive disorder’ ploy. It is so hackneyed and so ’90s. At least the ‘Marcos disorder’ excuse would be highly original, thus she would be adjudged truly insane and maybe get off!! 🙂 🙂

  14. zippo said,

    May 2, 2009 at 3:38 am


    what other blogs? which other wedding? pray tell!

    z 🙂

  15. larry leviste said,

    May 2, 2009 at 2:41 am

    The other couple are both BIG ABS-CBN stars.

  16. lluqui said,

    May 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    Hi! Just came across a news about Teresa Tambunting who got arrested for stealing $12 million worth of gold. It’s on the NY post. How is she related to the famed Tambunting jeweler of Manila? When I saw the name, my first reaction was, Pinoy na Pinoy.

  17. isabella said,

    May 1, 2009 at 10:39 am


    who is the other couple you are talking about? it’s so obvious their wedding is a big ‘telenovela’ needed to be staged for the fulfillment of R*xas’ political ambition.But wait, who wants K*rina to be our first lady?

  18. Babblefish said,

    May 1, 2009 at 7:43 am

    OMG! Is it true? Could it be? Please oh please do tell…
    One of them happened recently, right? The bridegroom’s high school friends are way too generous with their opinions, the Ateneans…
    And the other one is also marrying a media personality?

  19. larry leviste said,

    May 1, 2009 at 3:07 am





  20. fatima153 said,

    May 1, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Any estimates for the star’s package talent fee for this reality show?

  21. bing_a_abad said,

    April 30, 2009 at 3:52 am

    hi. any discussion thread here about the (forthcoming) marriage of the cubao-capiz-bacolod heir to the abs-cbn star?


  22. PCA said,

    April 24, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I heard from someone that ** is the daughter of a former employee of the T*mbuntings: a case of “Cinderella” meeting her “Pawnshop Prince.”

  23. l*ding said,

    April 23, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    not her, tsismoso.

    baby or more popularly known in the manila polo club as the “kabuki queen” is NOT the one involved here. she is very liquid, very rich and her houses in dasmarinas village are more than enough to land her on the top ten list of having the most houses in that village. it’s someone close to her/worked for her. i advised baby to help that woman so everything can be fixed and makati will be happy again.

  24. zippo said,

    April 22, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    Is “I won’t name her” the lady named by Vic Agustin in his column today (i.e. the supposed lady-in-waiting of Tabako’s beloved)?

  25. fatima153 said,

    April 22, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Will any sidewalk vendor accept a check as a guarantee unless it’s a mgrs check, as partial payment or deposit for example? Who’d be afraid of penalties if the account lacks funds?

    Karma will tell, by getting back from those mentally dulled from being born with a silver spoon, the unfair profits gathered by the tougher previous generation.

    They can be thankful it’s not in the form of hospital bills in the millions, ending in the patient’s death. Or a kidnap ransom payment ending in the death of the kidnapped.

  26. talagang tsismoso said,

    April 22, 2009 at 4:25 am

    Rosemari* Bos*h J*menez-*renas.

  27. Thundernut said,

    April 21, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Thanks L*ding for your scoop. Quite a complicated labyrith! How could “I won;t name her” gamble her good name in an everybody-knows-who Manila? Even the ubiquitous pawn shop jeweller is now tainted. Only the litigation experts will benefit from this. An old Filipino adage is recalled: “Naghangad ng kagitna, sang salop ang nawala”

  28. l*ding said,

    April 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Agnes H*ibon*oa really lost her patrician upbringing to confront “i wont name her” in the hospital of all places. QUE HORROR! what money can do, all the breeding received all these years can be lost in a snap.

  29. l*ding said,

    April 21, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    some matronas and solteras entrusted their heirloom and “Imeldific” quality jewels to “i wont name her” so “i wont name her” can sell it at a premium. “i wont name her” together with her cohorts instead pawned those Imelda F and VVS1 quality diamonds, and those meldy c. colored rubies, mely *echanova quality emeralds. the checks that were supposed to guarantee payments to our fellow matronas and solteras bounced higher than one roxas triangle and all hell broke loose… hay greed… covet more and lose more.

  30. zippo said,

    April 21, 2009 at 9:55 am

    l*ding, i read about it at vic agustin’s column yesterday. please give us the low-down.

  31. isabella said,

    April 21, 2009 at 4:40 am

    Dear Liding,

    I just read from cocktales of vic agustin about the jewlry scam in Manila involving high net worth individuals.Really Manila is getting interesting every year!

  32. Thundernut said,

    April 20, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    L*ding, tell us more. Must we be warned?

  33. Thundernut said,

    April 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm

    Oh, Larry, you are ever so funny and ever so wise in letting go of caring. I’m just glad you did not spell the first u in CB with an i. I would have convulsed in laughter.

  34. l*ding said,

    April 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    have you heard of the millions lost in the jewelry investment scheme? some of my comadres are suffering from delirios due to this.

  35. divina said,

    April 19, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    those girls were full of hot air…

  36. larrylevi said,

    April 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm


    Oh, the D-List, how they mushroom overnight.

    Wannabe Gossip Girls, methinks in a truly COUTURE BADUY manner.

    Which I indulge in, once in a while.


  37. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 19, 2009 at 7:43 am

    all those names, liding.

  38. l*ding said,

    April 16, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    “totally b list” these h*lium cl*b members: they’re NOT the alex eduques, marianna zobels, marco lobregats, amado foreses, jake zobels, andy sorianos III, jaime tuasons, mike huangs, anton ramoses, et. al..

    the cl*b is headed by some “pawnshop / lending business heiress”… i’ve called t*reret and although its one of her grandnieces through her nephew, she totally abhors the girl… wasted a lot of Php millions already.

  39. Presy Guevara said,

    April 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Accent? How come nobody’s doing anything about the Taglish manner of speech by younger Filipinos and some elite wannabes? Don’t you ever get sick hearing them pronounce “siya” as shah? What about the proliferation of the phrase “sohbra talaga” and the way they deliver “parang” as pah-rang adapting the short English sound of a? There’s many more to quote ad nauseum. SOS, the richness of our native tongue is fading away.

  40. zippo said,

    April 15, 2009 at 8:23 am

    one of the h*lium cl*b girls was a flower girl at my wedding 17 plus years ago. now i feel soooooo old.


  41. periphery said,

    April 15, 2009 at 2:37 am

    GI, hahaha, I totally empathize with your eye roll.

    TT’s accent comes from Brent, I believe, not Assumption. LOL

    It’s really kind of funny reading about Manila’s latest batch of self-proclaimed “bright young things”, like this TT, or the girls with initials HC, JF, and HB, or boys like JS and JF. All moving in the same ISM-Brent-British School circles, according to my younger cousin. What can I say… sometimes I get really bored and I become a glutton for punishment. But really, it’s fun. Kind of like when you see a car wreck and you can’t not look. That kind of fun. LOL. I have to agree that it’s a very eye-roll-worthy, vacuous crowd, though.

  42. l*ding said,

    April 15, 2009 at 2:03 am

    im not gonna dignify that show. im not giving any oxygen to that obnoxious idea! THE IDEA!!!

  43. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 14, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    Re Babble’s post and Facebook clip … it all looks so phony and pretentious. Then there is this pseudo-Manila/Assumptionista ‘accent.’ ***rolls eyes*** It really sounds hideous on the wrong people.

    And that guy…not bad looking for a Pinoy..trying to record a ‘rap’ song. Oy!! Get real, wilya. Or is this really the new urban, upscale set of Manila? Lord, help us.


  44. social climber said,

    April 14, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    She didn’t order the chopper to fly that fateful afternoon. They were eating in the dining room when all of a sudden one of the women who was going on that chopper whispered to the president and then left to board the chopper.

  45. Babblefish said,

    April 14, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I meant, are they serious or is it just a spoof? I’m hoping it’s the latter. The grammar is atrocious, the idioms inappropriate, and the references are too, uh, common. “EXPECT for pure-grade, high-end, Real Drama from Real People in this same Town we now call Lux*Manila.” I… am… at a loss for words.

  46. periphery said,

    April 14, 2009 at 10:11 am

    T*ra Tambunting is a real person. I don’t know about any of the others.

  47. Babblefish said,

    April 14, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Speaking of no*veau…

    Found this while trawling the web. It’s “The Hills”, Pinoy version. If the link is incorrect, just look for The H*lium Cl*b on Facebook.

    Is it real, or is it faux? Tell me what you think.

  48. LX said,

    April 13, 2009 at 4:24 am

    Toto, nice blog. Will be RSSing you.

    BUT — what’s news about this commentary? Is this even a surprise?

    I say, MOVE PINOYS! Commentaries are helpful, but we’ve got too much of them already. I say ACTION is far more interesting. And worth reading about.

    Just my two cents.

  49. l*ding said,

    April 12, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    hay naku mga hijas and hijos, manila is so full of families whose fortunes are QUESTIONABLE. ONE DAY i will write a book to further the flames of suspicion on where their wealth came from. nakakadiri sila… and may gana pang ibalandra sa publico ang mga bahay at travels nila( mga mukhang atsay naman, que horror)…. the height!!!

  50. Isla said,

    April 11, 2009 at 1:11 am

    I followed that tragedia as well in the Inquirer and was completely under the impression that it was only due to very poor weather conditions, but one thing I must say and that is that regardless of human error, my deepest belief is that the Allmighty has already from the moment we are born given an expiry certificate to each and every one of us: day, time, how.
    It gives me, at least, great comfort emotionally because one of the pillars of my existance and spirituality is NEVER to question the mysteries of our Lord’s Will.
    And if I’m so categorical about it it’s because since I was a child I was very sickly and have had the last rites performed upon me several times. I will never forget the words nor the annointment “Ergo ti Absolvo in Nomine Patris, Filii et Espiritu Santo” but for some strange reason here I am, bouncing around and very sorry that I’ll miss meeting G.I. in Manila.
    I’m so exhausted from work that aside from being with my friends and Filipino “Pinsans” I can’t wait to go to Palawan.
    May God grant them eternal peace and comfort their families.

  51. not a fan of gma said,

    April 10, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    makes you wish that rather it were the midget and her greedy family on that chopper

  52. Presy Guevara said,

    April 10, 2009 at 4:21 pm confirms and explains with clarity Larry’s comment on the dangers of flying around Baguio after 2:00PM. It added further that even the Japenese forces knew about this condition during their occupation of the Philippines. It would be difficult to accept such a sad occurence during Holy Week, still I hope the families of the victims can find solace in this tragedy. May the bereaved find peace in the promise of the Ressurection.

    A Blessed Easter to All.

  53. larry leviste said,

    April 10, 2009 at 2:24 pm


    The Hobbit in the Summer House in Baguio supposedly ordered that chopper to go fly in the afternoon.

    It’s an absolute truth, flying round that area after lunch is DANGEROUS.

    So the lives of all her staff snuffed out because of avarice and arrogance.

    The whole 5 coffin funeral is at Malacanang this weekend.

    WHAT A TERRIBLE OMEN and bad fung shui for the Ayokos.

    In May, one will suffer a terrible stroke said my soothsayer friend.

    EXTREMELY bad year for the Ayokos and thier minions, lackeys and cohorts.

    Ay buhay, parang LIFE.

  54. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 10, 2009 at 6:47 am


    See what you’re missing by not coming to the Bay Area.

    Are you going to GPS me? I could arrange for closed-circuit TV coverage; but I’m afraid it’ll cost more than a Pacquiao-de Hoya package. 🙂

    8:00 pm, Saturday.


  55. Isla said,

    April 9, 2009 at 5:50 am

    I arrive at MNL on the 18th April, very late at night from Hong Kong.
    At what time do you perform because I love cabaret?

  56. zippo said,

    April 7, 2009 at 11:28 pm


    My friends and I are hopping on a van on Thursday morning to go for a visita iglesia around Pampanga. Apalit will be our via crucis station for “the Ressurection of Christ” hence it will be our last stop.

    Z 🙂

  57. asdf said,

    April 7, 2009 at 5:19 am

    often i have noticed that dazzling appearances are meant to distract the viewer from deeper truths. talk about theatrical effects, pinoys have them in spades. what is amazing is how long such fancy acts sustain themselves, far too long after the real ones have been hocked and sold … one would think people would clue themselves into the truth earlier but no …

  58. Sabin Arranz said,

    April 7, 2009 at 1:50 am

    The thing is, if you actually have an Enzo in Manila you’ll never be able to drive it anywhere. The car sits so low to the ground that even the “low profile” speed bumps in the premier villages will scrape the bottom of your car. And forget about driving it on any of the public roads, what with their potholes, cracks, and all. LOL

    In my neck of the woods, there’s a little dive-y, dumpy burger joint in unincorporated Menlo Park, where owners of Ferraris and Lamborghinis and Aston-Martins gravitate whenever it’s a weekend with really good weather. The lucky few who actually have one of the Italian supercars, like F40s or Enzos, all have to take circuitous routes from Atherton, Portola Valley, and Woodside to Menlo in order to avoid any speed bumps. And they have to park curbside, because the little climb from the road to the parking lot scrapes their cars. Haha.

  59. zippo said,

    April 6, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    knowing one’s material worth is not as important as knowing one’s self worth

    z 🙂

  60. fatima153 said,

    April 6, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Only your accountant knows how much you’re really worth year to year because designer goods might show the indebtedness and capricho level only. This might just be the tip of the iceberg, the business and etc personal loans being underwater. Credit privileges can collapse anytime.

    So if someone expensive-looking taps you for a loan or credit, you might become number 300 in his/her creditors list. Counting all investors, how many creditors would Legacy have now? The 11th commandment: Be not impressed by peacock feathers, dig deeper.

  61. Garganta Inflamada said,

    April 5, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Que barbaridad!!

    BTW, for Bay Area posters and lurkers, if you have nothing to do on the evening of April the 18th, and are in the mood for some ‘cabaret’-type entertainment, drop me a line. I will be singing for my supper. Kindly ask Snr. Toto for my email, identify yourself and I will send you the details.

    Hasta lluego…

  62. charlie said,

    April 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Yes! Some people in the Philippines seem to have this fascination with being part of the so called 400 list. What I find very sad is how people from nothing become rich and famous and suddenly put up airs of being born into wealth. I can’t imagine how they convince themselves of this “reality.” These people are by any standards intelligent (e.g., bankers, doctors, businessmen = both legit and questionable) yet they seem to think that they can delude everyone. Sometimes I am led to believe that money can be the cause. Then again, there are many very decent wealthy people so I guess its really a matter of their vanity turning them into fools… oh well… whatever makes them happy!

  63. tisoy said,

    April 4, 2009 at 12:15 am

    in reference to the “ducking the pecking” blog, i still have in my contact print files of manang hortense’s…in her fabulously intricate terno with seed pearls and matching parasol…grand entrance at nelly garden for the lopez reunion in 1987 or 1991 (?). i think she sang “ang maya”…what else? chloe romulo gave a flamenco number. the iloilo group had an egyptian inspired number while the manila group led by audie gemora prepared a broadway repertiore. there was also an itik-itik dance number of the ilonggo kids.

    i just do hope of more iloilo reunions. of course, it was well-attended compared the the ones held in antipolo.

  64. Marge P. Santos said,

    April 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Toto, thanks. I just want people to know how it is living on the other side of the road. 🙂

  65. l*ding said,

    April 3, 2009 at 5:45 am

    hijo y hijas,

    Delusions of self-importance are common in Manila Society. I am nearing my golden years and if there’s one lesson I will impart to my grandchildren, I hope they will not follow that first line. We live in a society that is reeking with poverty yet some of the so-called “Manila’s 400” are callous of their responsibilities. I pity this country. What a waste!

  66. April 2, 2009 at 4:35 pm


    Thank you for that. It’s interesting because it’s The Truth. It is how 99.99 % of Filipinos really live.

    What I wrote about is not my world, I assure you. It’s THEIR world which, by some curious circumstance, intersects with mine. I merely observe; I do not pass judgment. Whether I am the better or the worse for it, I do not know.

    What I have observed through the years is that Wealth, which should afford one Everything, protects one from Nothing. There is an unbelievable amount of difficulty, even shock and horror — fractious family relations, distrust and deceit among family members out to forward their individual interests, splendorous but sad lives, lifelong resentments, terminal diseases from stress — in the lives of those who have much, in the unfathomable way that there is so much emotional compensation — in terms of family unity, helping one another, happy, uncomplicated lives, simple but genuine joys — for those who have less.

    In the End, Everybody is Equal.

    Cheers and keep the interesting, well-written comments coming!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  67. Marge P. Santos said,

    April 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    When I read about your article, I can’t help but see our “different world”. Total opposites, I guess. I donot even recognize most of the brands you mentioned. It almost touched me and I can really relate with the masses. Can I just tell you how the have-nots like me live? Maybe it will sound corny, but true.

    When we cannot even afford weekly or even monthly trips to the salon, this rich crowd, schedules trips abroad just to get the newest hairstyle.

    When most cannot even afford to score a shirt (lucky if you have money for your birthday or you have extra dough from your hard-earned bonus during Christmas) or an undergarment, we even buy our stuff at the ukay-ukay even asking for lower prices, fighting for more discounts for used clothes.
    Undergarments, can be worn until the garter becomes bacony. Who cares? as long as they don’t fall off. If you really dig deeper in the “sale” boxes, these too can be bought from the UKs-Uks, with Hanes or other imported brands.You just have to be patient washing them twice or for whites, with chlorox.

    For us, shoes must be worn for years until it disintegrates. Or you can still “save” them if there is the friendly “sapatero” around who can still repair the old-styled rubber shoes (using rugby or do stitches) or change the whole sole of your kid’s school shoes bought at P300 for P80.(sole replacement looks like an old tire flattened, talk about recycling methods!).

    There are “Gucci” watches pegged at P200 or if you bargain, they can give them to you at P100! Well, talking about fakes. These watches, if you get lucky and friendly, 6 months is the best bet before it gets really smelly, smokey and rusty (because of perspiration).

    For us, jewelry spells P10 fake “pearl” earrings bought at Tiangges, native bracelets at P10 to P15 during an office summer outing at the beach and/ or a ensemble of shiny “diamond-looking” earrings, with partner necklace for P100.

    While minimum-wage earners usually trip to a nearby carinderia, they scrimp on a budget meal of P35, with free soup and more sauce for the viand. A single order of rice nowadays can only feed a five-year old or just imagine you are on a diet. The practice these days is you order a meal and get decently seated in a “turo-turo” while you unveil your “rice “baon” to make you last the whole day. This is really common especially to those who have big appetite, just so to save money.

    When looking for gift items, we usually wait for bargained items or eye on more practical or functional items like cups, plates or saucers, towels or any cheap buy one-take one items. Quantity, not necessarily quality stuff, as long as you have a gift.

    Cars are definitely out of the question. We thrive day-by-day riding the jeep with free smoke and powder dust, and still anxious to get your one peso or fifty centavo change from the forgetful driver.

    House means a single-room apartment, with a small sala, and two more steps to the kitchen cum diner. Rentals are a usual pain in the neck and to an extent, you enter into an argument or two with the landlord for delayed payments.

    Taking a vacation, too is not part of the system. Days-off are spent washing the clothes, ironing some of them, cleaning the house and going to the market. Going home to the province during long weekends or Holy Week is possible, but really needs planning because of transportation costs and of course, the “pasalubongs.”

    In our world, we almost live from day to day. If we have the free time, and we want to enjoy the night, we can buy a cheap brandy, feast on “isaws” for “pulutan”, and share a half-pack of cigarettes while friendly neighbors tinker on their old guitars for a Pinoy song or two. If the people you are talking about uses their “blood money” and spending them becomes a hobby, well, here we are in our own different world, working decently trying to make both ends meet.

    Well, this is our life.:-)

  68. zippo said,

    April 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    happiness = inner peace

    It took me 40 years (including 5 very painful ones) to learn that very basic equation.

  69. chong mo said,

    April 2, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Its always best to keep a low profile. This is not so true in that other neighborhood where the streets are named after National Artists. In this neighborhood, there are more cars than residents. The number coding doesn’t exist here. There are always more than 2 cars not covered. Its no big deal to be driving a Jaguar because your neighbor has a newer model. Its not surprising to find a Mini parked outside gathering dust because the new SUV has to be inside the garage. If you drive a AUV, you might have the same ride as your neighbors back-up vehicle filled with body guards.

    As you find out whom your neighbors are, you’ll notice that you’re their customer because they own a canning factory, you know of someone who went to their school, they are former or current cronies, gambled in their casino, stayed in their hotel, voted for them, had babies delivered, shopped in their groceries, etc, etc. The wealth in that neighborhood is simply amazing. Still, you can buy fishballs in the clubhouse parking lot.

    The funny thing is, no matter what car you drove, you all breathed the same polluted air from EDSA, suffered through the same traffic from Guadalupe to Ortigas, heard the squeal of the MRT from a distance, escaped the place during New Years Eve because visibility was down to about 8 feet, always took an hour to pick up kids in that great school with the domed sports arena just across EDSA, always wondered if the men in blue will catch for swerving, and almost shit in the pants during that EDSA rally that was filled in by hooligans and goons. You all smelled and drove through the garbage after that rally. Still, it was a great place to suffer. The relief once you got past the guard house is always priceless.

  70. PCA said,

    April 2, 2009 at 3:36 am


    I heard that the obnoxious son (congressman from our province) even slapped a board member. The stupid thing about is that the board member did not seem to mind; he just cowered in fear and accepted his “misdeed.” And this is about some issue on the illegal numbers game.

    Cousin Paz

  71. divina said,

    April 1, 2009 at 6:43 am


    Many years ago the boy was a nonchalant senator’s son. Very unassuming. A Kia Pride picked him up from school.

    His behavior was quite different from the elder son, who was an obnoxious, untalented, showbiz aspirant. But now it seems that the siblings actually have many things in common.

    Quite sad.


  72. Isla said,

    April 1, 2009 at 4:33 am

    All of the above brings to mind sound advice I was given recently by my chief legal counsel who is an international tax authority: “When you return to Madrid, I would rent a new apartment; as comfortable and elegant as you like in the neighborhood you’re used to but make sure from the outside the building has the charm and beauty of a Yugoslav bunker, change your Mercedes Benz for a very comfortable Volkswagen Passat with all the extras you enjoy and don’t be seen too often at the poshest restaurants and watering holes: best is to just attend private affairs or if you need an injection of grand luxe, leave for any city you like in Europe but keep a very low profile while at home. You know, he’s right. It’s far too dangerous on all fronts with the current economic crisis and the way the world has become to show any ostentation at all.
    The solid gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak was sold for a decent price, cash is in my account, and I bought a plain but nice steel watch and a very discreet Audemars Piguet dress watch on black crocodile strap and when I entertain I go out of my way to choose good restaurants that are über-low key. Even the Volkswagen I’m thinking of buying would no longer be my favorite navy blue with black leather upholstery but plain metallic grey with navy leather upholstery and I’ll ask Manfred, my driver, not to wear uniform but a plain suit and tie.
    Not a very clever move in today’s economic climate to publicly display anything at all; it won’t make people respect you any more and what’s important now is to have cash in the bank and very sound investments like very fine art and also flawless gems.

  73. larrylevi said,

    March 31, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    IN THE END, You can’t take it with you.

    Rich beyond comprehension yes, but we have all read in history how the GOD of KARMA will exact his pound of flesh on you or worse your children, grandchildren ad infinitum.

    I NEVER envied BLOOD MONEY. THe Ayokos and their minions will reap BAD KARMIC INTERVENTION this year. Just sit back and enjoy the show.

    Look at the Shah and McCoy who couldn’t come home to die. Because their own countrymen would not allow it. All that moolah and you couldn’t fly home. That’s too lonely and truly heartbreaking. But those are the breaks.

    Corruption will give you the darkest nightmares, the Edgar Allan Poe types. Nay, the Stephen King types.

    I have a wealth of honest memories, a cache of honest friends and a nest egg of positive spiritual albeit daily conversations with GOD.

    I have deep personal satisfaction and innermost happiness with that.

    The latest movies this summer ” Part One-Cha Cha Chamba at midnight ” followed by ” Emergency Rule Part two ” and ” Kunyari Opposition Candidate but is Our Guy Part Three ” could be very entertaining.

    Hold on to your loved ones, it’ll be a BUMPY ride.

  74. Mangaranon said,

    March 31, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    So very true. The priests and nuns are the first ones to be impressed. They are the first ones to judge. You should see how they shudder when they encounter someone rich, powerful, beautiful vs. one who is poor, ugly and nothing!

  75. Cristina said,

    March 31, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    I do remember some friends, the ladies of a onetime senator’s family, who were at the “Emp*asis” Salon at Rockwel* practically everyday during those early years. Their daily bill was +- Php 20,000.00 . Times 6 days a week. Times 4 weeks a month. Times 12 months a year. Impressive.

    And that didn’t include the generous tips.

    I don’t think a government salary for a position, no matter how high, can support that sybaritic lifestyle.

    Really remarkable.

    We all should think of entering government service. Sounds like fun.

  76. Bosie said,

    March 31, 2009 at 5:21 pm


    “He WAS a ‘nice boy.'”

    Does that mean he’s a “nice girl” now?

  77. Divina said,

    March 31, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    “One ring to rule them all.”

    Everyone gets corrupted by power.

    He WAS a “nice boy.”

  78. chorva said,

    March 31, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I’m so disappointed with PG*A’s youngest son D*to. Such a nice boy he was. Didn’t think he’d turn out to be like his old man. Oh well…
    Let’s just hope his wife won’t be consumed by greed as well. Was nice enough at HSBC, but one can never tell these days, especially when the husband gets bored and starts to spend more time with uhm, work…
    I hear the Macapagal-Arroyos are working on getting a good for-hire historian-slash-biographer to clean up the mess and gloss over their failure. I wonder how much that pays nowadays?

  79. chismax said,

    March 31, 2009 at 1:25 pm


    OOOWWWZZZ… Why hasn’t the Ton*boy – Gr*tchen fizzle – out been announced on “The Buzz” yet???!!!

  80. issima said,

    March 31, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    I’ve heard that before.

    She threatens to leave him every now and then but comes crawling back anyway. Face it, D*ndi may be a P*no but Ton*boy is a Coj*angco. There is a world of a difference, marriage or no marriage!!!

    Our friends have never understood why Ton*boy can’t just ditch her and be over with it. How can he allow himself to be hoodwinked like that?

  81. l*ding said,

    March 31, 2009 at 8:07 am

    we can now confirm that gr*tchen and ton*boy are now officially separated. gr*tchen gets to stay in her mediterranean dasmarinas mansion while ton*boy moves back to his own forbes park home… meldy must be smiling these days!!!

  82. madspartan said,

    March 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    I and my ilk – with blotchy skin, frizzy hair, less-than-white teeth, handmade baubles, sale-rack clothes, sensible shoes, Timex watch, moderate tax bracket, asian compact car and cookie-cutter housing development abode, – have not thrown our collective weight around nor realized the actual heft of our power.

    My little bit of hard-earned coin is among the drops in these people’s proverbial buckets. Whether in the form of purchases made of whatever they peddle (real estate, power supply, communications, banking services, etc.) or the bit that I turn over for the country’s operating expenses that end up in their pockets.

    If I cheat, renege, kite cheques, dodge my obligations, or steal – they’d be in trouble.

    I see them — I wouldn’t want to be them.

    This is my consolation. And my lament.

  83. March 30, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Indeed, especially in these economic downturn who can afford the decadent lifestyle unless you are a corrupt politician or a member of their family…….

  84. Thundernut said,

    March 30, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Many embraced the Reagan era philosophy of “Perception is Reality” and even applied it to everything they did or around them, until the bubble burst and they were left coughing in the dust. I still like Zippo’s life story. Affluence does not always buy happiness.

  85. jeremiah said,

    March 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    a very sad commentary of the times.

  86. Davis said,

    March 30, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    unfortunately, you’re right.

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