The Marcos Era Part II: Martial Law 21 September 1972 – 17 January 1981

I remember 17 January 1981, the day President Ferdinand Marcos officially lifted Martial Law.  That evening, my mother and I were at the Cultural Center of the Philippines for a performance of the pianist Cecile Licad.  As always, Cecile’s patron Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos was in attendance.  Although it was a gala performance, there seemed to be an attempt at understatement:  Madame Marcos was not in a long dress, but in a short cocktail one, red and black if I remember right.  After the performance, Madame Marcos descended the stairway surrounded by her retinue but she made the effort to cordially greet the people who approached her.  My mother complimented her:  “Congratulations!  It is because of you that we have Cecile Licad.”  And Madame Marcos happily rejoined:  “No, Cecile is there because of all of us.” gesturing at the assemblage.  The mood of the evening was happy, cheerful, and hopeful.  Nine memorable years in Filipino History had officially come to an end.


  1. larry leviste said,

    November 29, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I remember that night too, Ernest Santiago ( rest in peace Mother ) had his legendary disco Coco Banana have an all night till dawn party kasi wala ng curfew.

  2. Sabin Arranz said,

    November 29, 2009 at 8:04 am


    Would that she had just become content being patroness of Cecile Licad, the CCP, and Rowena Arrieta.

    Instead, she decided that she also had to be patroness of George Hamilton and Giorgio, of Van Cliburn and Van Cleef & Arpels.

    If only.

  3. Myles Garcia said,

    November 28, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    A lot of it were utter pretenses and vain, empty follies to disguise the pernicious efforts at the behind-the-scenes pillage and looting of the vital parts of the economy.

  4. Jules B. Vergel de Dios said,

    November 28, 2009 at 2:41 am

    I have no recollection or whatsoever
    any other First Ladies
    patronising the Philippine Arts
    than La Meldy herself…

    One stalwart is the still existing
    Philippine High School for the Arts
    of the National Arts Centre in Maquiling…

    Never in the Philippine Arts History
    did the Yslas de Filipinas produce
    so much of these internationally-renowned
    artists except during her time

    – she is an Art herself
    after all… ONLY Her


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