The Odd Couple

The seniors of any society possess real treasures in terms of memories and experiences.  And it was my privilege and honor to have sat down a few days ago with some senior Kapampangan “kabalen” — powerful, influential, and prominent politicians in their time — who regaled me with so many of their memories, among them comic but genuine recollections of the first Kapampangan president, “Cong Dadong,” and his [ second ] wife, “Ache Eva”…

“First of all, Cong Dadong was not exactly the “poor boy from Lubao.”  True, he was not rich in the way the old line Spanish mestizo hacenderos of Lubao, Floridablanca, and Guagua were [ like the  Arrastia, the Toledo, the Toda, the Ynfante, the Velez, and the Gonzalez { originally Bravo } were ].  But destitute, he was definitely not.  His father, Urbano Macapagal, a poet, was actually already a political leader in the town.  The distinguished philanthropist Don Honorio Ventura of Bacolor, then the Secretary of the Interior during the Quezon presidency, saw the potential of Cong Dadong and financed his law studies at the University of Santo Tomas.  That was the start of something big.”

“When Cong Dadong first ran for representative of the first district of Pampanga in 1949 upon the urging of several local leaders to President Quirino, he earnestly requested the heiress Carmen ‘Mameng’ Angeles Buyson of Bacolor to desist from running for the office.  Mameng Buyson was a virtual shoo-in for Congresswoman because of her expensive, high education and her ‘hacendero’ family’s great wealth.  Cong Dadong reasoned to Mameng that a ‘poor Macapagal’ from Lubao could not win against a ‘rich Buyson’ from Bacolor.  In true ‘de buena familia’ form, Mameng graciously acceded to his request.  Cong Dadong won the seat by a landslide.”

“Well, Ache Purita, his first wife, died of sickness in 1943.  She was a sister of the handsome actor Rogelio de la Rosa.  Three years later in 1946, he married the Pangasinense, Ache Eva.  Ah, she was one difficult woman.  Basically a good woman, but a difficult one.”

“It was a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.  Ache Eva did not like us Capampangans because she felt that we discriminated her because she was Pangasinense, aside from the fact that she was the second wife when the first one, Ache Purita, was Capampangan and one really beautiful woman, outside and inside.”

Oh, that marriage had its share of quarrels like everyone else’s.  There was the time when his first grandchild with Ache Purita was baptized.  Cong Dadong arrived late dressed only in his “camisa chino” [ the buttoned undershirt of the “barong tagalog” ] and he seemed to be in sixes and sevens.  With obvious irritation, he explained that Ache Eva did not want him to attend, and in the ensuing argument she had torn his “barong tagalog” to shreds!  He requested liquor because he just wanted to drink.  He drank himself to stupor that night.  We all remember that well.”

“We joked him that he and Ache Eva were following in the footsteps of President Manuel Roxas and his First Lady Trinidad de Leon.  Cong Dadong just shook his head.  President Roxas and his First Lady Dona Trining were memorable for their marital squabbles, mainly because of his lady friend, Juanita MacIlvain — sometimes in plain view during functions, sometimes only the angry exchanges were heard behind those Malacanang rooms.  Many of our older colleagues attested to that.”

“One time, [ Congressman ] Francisco “Paquito” / “Quitong” Nepomuceno brought some Angeles town officials to the Malacanang palace to meet with Cong Dadong.  The waiting room had photographs of the presidents and their first ladies.  When one town official peered closely at the photo of Ache Eva, Paquito warned:  “E ca lalapit caya, abe!  Quietan na ca niyan!”  [ “Don’t go near her, friend! She will bite you!” ].  They all laughed.  Well, to their amusement, the joke reached Ache Eva and she was livid!”

“Imelda Romualdez-Marcos was NOT the first Philippine first lady to have a collection of fine jewelry.  Evangelina Macaraeg-Macapagal preceded her to it.  And before Ache Eva, it was Leonila Dimataga-Garcia.  Ache Eva collected fine jewelry and she definitely preceded Imelda Marcos as a VIP client of Liding Miranda-Oledan.  Ache Eva had a very considerable collection!  Look at President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo closely during official functions, she wears beautiful jewelry which are NOT new but actually vintage.  Those are from Ache Eva and most likely purchased from Liding Oledan.  Ache Eva also bought from the other major Capampangan jewelers of the time like Tinay Gonzalez and Ache Ines Lugue-Sarmiento, the mother of Fe Sarmiento-Panlilio, who rose to the international big leagues during the Marcos years and became ‘The International Jeweller.'”



  1. March 8, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    […] Source: The Odd Couple, Remembrance of Things Awry […]

  2. Maria de la Rosa said,

    November 8, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Purita de la Rosa:

  3. Maria de la Rosa said,

    November 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Diosdado Macapagal’s granddaughter Ria Salgado-Llanes wrote an article about her grandparents’ love story in the Inquirer. This came out on Valentine’s Day in 2007. The article had the picture of Purita de la Rosa.

    You can email me for the picture.

  4. November 6, 2009 at 2:50 am

    rosette, please be reminded:

    From now on, comments with no real names, no email addresses that can be confirmed, and no reliable identity checks will no longer be allowed.

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. PCA said,

    September 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Mikey Arroyo made a fool of himself… Come to think of it, he is a FOOL period!

  6. Dr.Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    September 17, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    perhaps the lady ambassador referred to was Amb. Isabel Caro-Wilson?

    the interview of Mikey was like a comedy skit similar to Saturday Night Live spoofs!
    thanks for putting it here, for the record.

  7. zippo said,

    September 8, 2009 at 6:03 pm


    GMA has no step-siblings…. she has half-siblings (they share the same father).


  8. fabulouslawyer said,

    September 6, 2009 at 8:15 am


    truly unfortunate for his constituents. He looks like a baa baa black sheep. Please visit this site. “…sue me in court,” said he.

  9. gshaw said,

    September 4, 2009 at 11:26 am

    the notorious sons of GMA got their greed from the father’s blood if you look at how humble her only brother is and step siblings.
    Lulie is the only one left with no scandal, yet..

    Mickey is the greatest clown in that family but he is still a politician in Pampanga.
    that’s unfortunate..

  10. tambo said,

    September 2, 2009 at 5:51 am

    After the lady ambassador (?), this Erap appointed family descended in Madrid, they say the children were colegialas too but they were horrible as described by the Pinays in Madrid. Nakakahiya.
    one married daughter fooled around with a muchacho, as rumored in Madrid that time.
    Is that almost correct TT?

  11. zippo said,

    August 28, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Liding Oledan and Teyet Pascual have the most vile mouths this side of Philippine society. They have a special place in hell — both of them will be placed by Satan in one enclosed room to have only each other sniping at the other for all eternity!


  12. talagang tsismoso said,

    August 28, 2009 at 5:43 am

    The incident happened during the 1970’s Yes Pepe Oledan was our Ambassdor to Spain but at first when President Estrada was Elected he would boast that he was Promised the Ambassadorship of the Court of St James when his credential was forwarded it was politely declined by the court so insead he was appointed to Spain by President Estrada, he served there until the ouster of President Estrada and was replace by President Arroyo’s nominee for Ambassador of the Philippines to Spain Joseph “Lani” Bernardo,

    In Defense of Pepe Oledan he did Graduate High School In the Pre War De La Salle College

  13. tambo said,

    August 27, 2009 at 6:33 am

    And was the husband the ambassador to Spain during Erap’s time?
    He was the joke of the diplomatic circle because the ambassador could not even speak simple English. The wife ( Liding?) was so angry because she realized they had to deal with problematic Pinay domestics. All the time she dreamed of hobnobbing with the duquesas, princesas, celebrities or at least Srt. Isabel Preysler.
    The Pinoy staff at the embassy were SHOCKED at the gutter language of that family. They petitioned Manila for a change PRONTO!!!!

  14. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 27, 2009 at 5:42 am

    TalagangT, wow! What a story!! When did this happen?

    How come we have not heard that from the tita l*ding here?

    You think a clip will be posted on YouTube soon??

    Yeah, I never trusted that Liding. Even in her pics, she looked like a real maton!!

  15. talagang tsismoso said,

    August 26, 2009 at 11:26 am

    The incident involving Liding Oledan and Reme Ramos happened during the birthday celebration of Offie Recto in her Forbes Park residence when Liding was snubbed by Mrs Marcos then suddenly Liding choked Reme with her two hands when Mrs Marcos learned about the incident she advised Reme to get a medico legal then Mrs Marcos asked Josie Vergel de Dios to accompany Reme to Makati Med the next day after the incident Liding took the first flight out of Manila and went avoid any legal action from Reme, To think Liding has huge debt of gratitude to the father of Reme who used to head the Pawnshop Division of Monte de Piedad where Liding used to pawn her Jewelries

  16. PCA said,

    August 25, 2009 at 1:04 am

    GMA reminds me of Stuart Little! Nasa ngipin ang pagkakahawig!

  17. Dr.Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    August 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Even after her term Inday Garcia maintained her friendship with the Capampangans. Once I saw her in a luncheon hosted by Curing Salgado Henson in Hizon’s Za’s Cafe with Pitang B. Eusebio, Carmen Buyson, Pacing Gueco Romualdez , Amparing Villamor and with my mom whom we fetched after the lunch.
    No fuss with her lifestyle. And she was loved for it.
    It was believed that she was the most liked First Lady.

  18. August 23, 2009 at 11:10 am


    Re: Reme Ferrer-Ramos.

    It was my mistake, not Caloy’s. Hasty editing. 😛

    Toto Gonzalez

  19. zippo said,

    August 23, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Caloy, it was Remê (not Remy) Ramos.

    But re: President Garcia, whom I believe is your grandfather, I think, historically, he was a really under-appreciated President. In a period when nobody could get elected without the support of the American government and the American industrialists who did business in the Philippones (e.g. Harry Stonehill, etc.), he had the cojones to introduce the Filipino First policy. This resulted in the Americans’ wholesale support of Diosdado Macapagal in 1961.

    If only President Garcia chose a more winnable Vice-Presidential Running Mate in 1957 (with due respect to Speaker Laurel) — say Genaro Magsaysay or Gil Puyat or even Arturo Tolentino, then Cong Dadong, who incidentally lost in the Senatorial election 2 years before that, would not have been elected Vice-President.

    Have you read Constantino’s thesis about Pres. Garcia? Constantino believes your “Papa Loy” was the greatest pre-Marcos President we had.

    Z 🙂

  20. August 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you, Caloy!

    Readers, please note:

    Mama Yoya = First Lady Leonila Dimataga-Garcia

    Papa Loy = President Carlos Polistico Garcia

    Carlos “Caloy” Garcia Campos is their grandson.

    Toto Gonzalez

  21. Caloy Campos said,

    August 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    True, Mama Yoya had purchased some pieces of jewelry from Liding Oledan, but they were few and small, of Filipiniana design to go with her “ternos,” usually of gold and small pearls. Mama Yoya and Liding were close friends.

    When Senate President Marcos left the Liberal Party in 1965 and joined the Nacionalista Party, it was Mama Yoya who welcomed, introduced, and facilitated Mrs. Marcos’ entry into the circle of the Nacionalista Party ladies like Pitang Buyson-Eusebio, Mariquit Javellana-Lopez, et. al..

    In fact, when Mrs. Marcos and Liding had a “falling out” during the early Martial Law years because of an incident involving Liding and another Blue Lady, Reme Ferrer-Ramos, wife of Architect Jorge Ramos, it was Mama Yoya who persuaded Mrs. Marcos and Liding to patch up.

    Papa Loy had a program called “Filipino First.” He wanted Filipinos to own the industries, not the foreigners. In keeping with that program, he supported Filipino businessmen like the Oledans. It was Mama Yoya who paved the way for the Oledans to apply for loans at the PNB to expand their business as well as to construct their building along Ayala Avenue. So it’s true that the Oledan Building rose during the Garcia presidency, not during the Marcos one.

  22. larry leviste said,

    August 22, 2009 at 10:14 am

    GMA’s voice can be likened to fingernails scratching a blackboard.

    A cat in heat on a hot tin roof.

  23. rouge said,

    August 22, 2009 at 9:02 am

    how funny….but true! alangan na mamumunga ang santol ng duhat. like mother…like daughter!

  24. fabulouslawyer said,

    August 21, 2009 at 7:13 am

    cielo m. salgado is beautiful. shelooks kind. on the other hand, GMA is not beautiful. she looks cruel. maybe i am wrong. maybe i am right.

  25. August 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm


    I have all the answers to your questions but you will have to email me at as the email address of your comment is not functioning.

    Thank you.

    Toto Gonzalez

  26. Cousin Paz said,

    August 20, 2009 at 7:29 am

    Cielo M. Salgado did write an article for a local magazine many moons ago about her cruel life with the 2nd Mrs. M. It was a case of Cinderella and her stepmother. It is no wonder why she and GMA are at odds even today in as far as political parties/affiliations and choices are concerned.

  27. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 15, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Re the old Ayala Avenue: of course the first buildings there were the Ayala building on the corner; I think the Manila Bank Bldg, Commercial Bank way down at the end, the Madrigal and the Jalandoni buildings; and the Dona Narcisa de Leon Bldg on Paseo de Roxas. What was to have been the Aguinaldo building was just a framework for many years. I think that’s when their cultured pearl farm venture went bad…so they ran out of money/loans to finish their flagship bldg on Ayala.

    I know the old Rizal Theatre opened in 1960 (so, yes the tail end of the Garcia admin). But I think the Oledan building must’ve gone up around early or mid-Macapagal admin-time. I used to go there a lot 1969-1971 (so that was already well into Marcos II era).

    Re First Ladies and their jewelries: a woman knows when she is attractive or homely-looking. And I think Eva was brainy and realistic enough to know that not all the jewels in the world would change that…so I don’t believe she put much stock in amassing a world-class jewelry collection like her successor…who is/was rather shallow and quite vain, did. Mama Imierda had to surround herself with all these trappings of glory just to reinforce the reality that the poor girl had made good, and she was lording it over one and all.

  28. talagang tsismoso said,

    August 15, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Liding Oledan was not really very close to Mrs Eva Macapagal. Liding Oledan was the jeweler of another former First lady Leonila Dimataga Garcia, Mrs Oledan said before in a dinner when pcgg was investigating all marcos cronies and their was a plan to sequester her building in ayala avenue she said they already owned that building long before ferdinand marcos was president she said they bought the building during the term of president garcia. former first lady Leonila Garcia was a frequent guest of Mrs Oledan in their old house in Sta Cruz Manila.

    About the recent scandal of PGMA’s dinner in New York & Washington their a was two more meals aside from le cirque & bobby vans that was hosted for her in new york one was at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse on Park Avenue by Rep. Amelita Villarosa after the St. Patrick’s Mass; and dinner that evening at Bouley’s Restaurant by Rep. Hermilando Mandanas Batangas Representative on August 2 at the Bouley restaurant, which lasted from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

  29. bats said,

    August 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    I heard the daughter of liding oledan, tess who married a thai royalty opened a jewelry shop in bangkok does anyone know where the shop is located and what it’s name

  30. fabulouslawyer said,

    August 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    I wonder how is GMA’s relation with Ms. Cielo Macapagal-Salgado? Are they in good terms?

  31. fabulouslawyer said,

    August 14, 2009 at 7:58 am

    The President really looks like her mom. Please see the teeth.

  32. Dr.Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    August 14, 2009 at 2:59 am

    A “political leader” then was someone who had control of votes in his area, usually a barrio. He guaranteed votes to a candidate without using money. The political stalwarts of the province depended on those leaders along with the votes from the old families who could dictate to their “casamacs” whom to vote for..
    That was prewar politics.
    The political stalwarts of the province chose who would run for political positions.
    Carmen A. Buyson was chosen by Don Eligio Lagman, Don Sotero Baluyot, Don Pablo Angeles all former governors with the young politicians then Hon. Francisco Nepomuceno, Hon. Jose Lingad with the backing of the old families of each town. They wanted Carmen Buyson to be the first woman congressman of Pampanga.
    Cong Dadong humbly admitted then that his political journey started with Carmen Buyson giving in to him.
    Cong Dadong was close to the families of the Buysons and Eusebios because his first wife was a relative of the Eusebios of San Fernando.
    Dr. Jesus Eusebio was his personal physician and cumpare.
    Carmen Buyson entered the diplomatic service, becoming the first woman consul. She was a career diplomat. Her last post was in Rome in the 60’s.

  33. zippo said,

    August 14, 2009 at 1:54 am

    G.I., I hope “Mega Mall” does not in any way refer to the girth of Sen. Pangilinan’s spouse 😀

    C.Paz, Toto: I’ve been looking for a photo of Purita because I heard that she was a truly beautiful lady. No luck so far.

  34. Garganta Inflamada said,

    August 13, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Zippo, you are too funny. Took me a few seconds to make the connection…on the Mega-Dike and Sen. J. Madrigal story. S

    o, is “Mega Dike” Mega Mall’s sister? 🙂 🙂

  35. Cousin Paz said,

    August 13, 2009 at 11:51 am

    According to my mom, yes, she is really her mother’s daughter. She is truly a Pangasinense merely dressed in Capampangan clothing. And I cannot really stomach why Capampangans regard her as “their own.”

  36. zippo said,

    August 13, 2009 at 4:06 am

    You know what they say about the President…. she’s more of her mother’s daughter.

    Anyway, I got this e-mail message yesterday:

    I have a question of great moral dilemma. Your answer to the question at the end will size up your integrity as a person, your sense of judgment, and your ability to think correctly when you are under pressure.


    Suppose you are a struggling photo journalist. You are in Central Luzon shooting photos of a great typhoon which has breached the Pampanga Mega Dike. While shooting photos, you see President Arroyo and First Gentlemen Mike in danger of being swept away by a lahar torrent. They are clinging to each other while holding on to a small branch on a river bank. If you do not help them within 30 seconds, they will be swept away by the lahar and die. You have a choice between: (1) saving the lives of 2 people who have done so much injustice and brought tremendous misfortune to your country; or (2) shoot a Pulitzer Prize winning photo of the couple and, in the process, let two people die.

    QUESTION: (Think very very carefully before answering. Take all the time you need before giving your answer)


    Z 😀

    P.S. For the non-Filipino residents reading this post, the “Mega Dike” refers to the huge concrete levee constructed in the mid 1990s to prevent lahar from destroying several towns in Pampanga. Contrary to public perception, it does NOT in any way refer to one Senator Jamby Madrigal.

  37. Thundernut said,

    August 12, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    “E ca lalapit caya, abe! Quietan na ca niyan!” — Very funny Toto, very funny indeed. I’ve never met her in person and she never photographed well in newsprint. This tells a lot. OMG, am I convulsive!

  38. Faye said,

    August 12, 2009 at 5:17 am

    bestbudd…yes, Pres. Diosdado Macapagal was a widower. His first marriage was to a Capampangan, tall and mestiza – Purita de la Rosa, sister of Rogelio de la Rosa, the movie star. She died during WWII. They have 2 children…Cielo and Arturo.

  39. Dr.Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    August 11, 2009 at 4:53 am

    I was told that because Eva was the second wife and non Capampangan, she was not popular among the Capampangan gentry. And likewise Eva did not bother with them. Persona non grata, both ways.

  40. bestbudd said,

    August 11, 2009 at 2:35 am

    oh so its true GMA is a child from a second marriage. was her dad a widower before he remarried?

  41. larry leviste said,

    August 11, 2009 at 12:02 am


    If indeed today Dadong and Ache Eva were alive, WHAT WOULD THEY SAY to Gloria and Mike.

    ” Jobs well done ! ” or ” What is your exit plan ? ”

    Please post any thoughts on this querry…….

  42. Myles Garcia said,

    August 10, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Well… I have a very rather interesting anecdote about ‘Ache’ Eva (not to rake the muck but rather a nostalgic look back) which I cannot hold back on.

    GMA’s late mother and my mom were colleagues at PICAO during the Liberation months right after the cessation of wartime hostilities. PICAO (or Philippine…something American Ordnance, I believe) was like both the recovery camp for wounded American soldiers and/teaching hospital of what is now the PGH. They were either residents or interns-in-training of the UP School of Medicine. located right around the corner. Of course, it was a great relief to everyone that the fighting and killing were over, and it was time to rebuild broken bodies and shattered souls. So, it was a rather busy time for everyone around.

    Well, my mother relates that the young Evangelina Macaraeg (who was being courted by a rather dashing kapampangan lad, Diosdado Macapagal) was very often not at her station(s) or making the rounds everyone else was making. Instead, she and Dadong would go searching and find Eva off in some secluded corner, smoking American cigarettes and reading the lastest issue of Newsweek. So, the young Ms. Macaraeg was not negligent of her duties but rather, was off sharpening her mind on the larger picture and world events. 🙂

    The last time I met the current president was at the end of a birthday party of her brother, Boboy. The father was already VP but they still lived at the old manse in San Juan. We came to pick up my brother (he and Boboy were classmates at nearby St. John’s Academy), and here comes little Miss Gloria…in her rumpled Assumption uniform. It was a very brief encounter. ( She wouldn’t remember me but I remember the incident well…) because soon after that, they moved up to those larger digs by the Pasig.

    God, it all seems so long ago now…


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