Titans of Taste: Arturo de Santos

If the adage “Money can buy everything” is true then Arturo de Santos certainly bought everything…



  1. April 20, 2012 at 2:55 am

    For the record, the father of Arturo and Alicia de Santos-Maloles was not JOSE, but FELIPE Ongsiaco de Santos. Please note. Jose Mariano de Santos is Arturo’s uncle. B. Escueta April 20, 2012

  2. Enrique Bustos said,

    January 5, 2011 at 3:26 am

    The collection of Orientalia (Chinese and Indochinese ceramics), archaeological finds (Stone Age tools, pottery, metalwork,and jewelry) of Arturo de Santos was loaned to the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1968, it was displayed in the 4th floor of the C.C.P.’s Museo ng Kalinangang Pilipino. Former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos offered to buy all of the collection of Arturo de Santos aside from the one loaned to the C.C.P. she said she planned to exhibit it the Planned Museum at the back of the C.C.P. designed by Architect Leandro Locsin in Lindy Locsin’s master planned for the C.C.P. complex he designed an out door amphitheater and a museum complex but the planned amphitheater was redesigned and was made the Folks Art Theater and planned Museum was not built

  3. alex r. castro said,

    January 3, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Arturo was the son of Jose Santos and Concepcion Cabarrus of Manila. He had a brother, Alberto and a sister, Alicia de Santos, the original Miss Luzon in the 1931 court of Maria Kalaw, who resigned her title. Arturo was born in Manila in 1912. He took up Medicine at the University of Santo Tomas and it was as a medical student that he was asked to be the King Consort of the queen-elect of the 1932 Manila Carnival, Emma Zamora.

    Arturo combined his love for science and the creative arts. He was also practicing medicine when, from 1939-40, he went to New York to study painting and metalcraft at the Columbia University. When Word War II came, he rendered service with the Red Cross and with the American Navy as a surgeon.

    After the War, he dabbled seriously in the decorative arts which soon became his main vocation, designing the interiors for 12 houses of members of prominent Philippine families. From 1959-1960, he was in Hong Kong, doing the interior design of the partly-Philippine owned Ambassador Hotel, which, at that time was one of the most modern hotel in the colony.

    It was his stay in Hong Kong that spurred his collecting interest in Chinese ceramics and furniture. He became an accomplished interior designer and his services were sought after by many high society families, including the First Lady, Imelda Romualdez, for her many building projects. An aesthete, he also collected Philippine sacred art, santos, paintings, pre-colonial jewelry. He housed his collection in a pre-war European style house that he owned. In 1966, he offered his collection to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, making the offer through the architect Leandro Locsin, who designed the Center.

  4. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    January 1, 2011 at 5:38 am

    Dr. Arturo de Santos had an oil portrait of his sister in one of the rooms in his house. It was part of a family portrait of his sister with her family done by Amorsolo. Dr. de Santos strongly disliked her family for some personal reason. He cut off the portrait of his sister and discarded the rest and literally cut to pieces the one of his nephew for making his sister unhappy.

  5. December 30, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    My maternal grandma Carmen de Santos Pineda loved her gay cousin Arturo, she died very young in the early 60’s. I was only 5 years old then and yet a day doesn’t die that I don’t think of her. All my de Santos, Moreno, de Leon and Barcelona cousins are close and dear to me.

  6. Enrique Bustos said,

    December 22, 2010 at 4:12 am

    Arturo de Santos has a sister Alicia de Santos-Maloles when Arturo de Santos died his nephew Octavio Maloles II sued the estate of Arturo de Santos because being the nearest relative and the only child of Octavio Maloles I and Alicia de Santos Octavio Maloles II claimed he should be the sole heir of his uncle’s estate and he also claimed his uncle Arturo owed him money but Atty Pacita Ongsiako delos Reyes-Phillips produced a last will and testament that states all assets of Arturo de Santos will be placed in the Arturo de Santos Foundation which she headed along with other relatives of Arturo de Santos slowly Atty Ting Phillips eased out the other members of de Santos family in the board of the Arturo de Santos Foundation she claimed she loaned money to her cousin Arturo de Santos today after the death of Atty Ting Phillips the one who heads the board is a niece of Atty Ting Phillips, Atty Vicky delos Reyes

    Atty Vicky delos Reyes is now fighting judicial attempts to share her inheritance of her childless aunt’s fortune with her aunt’s American husband and his son and also the claims of the children of the late Carlos Moran Sison

  7. December 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm


    That’s interesting. I always thought that the reason the Arturo de Santos collection devolved to Pacita Ongsiako de los Reyes-Phillips was that she was the closest surviving relative. I didn’t know she claimed that he owed her $$$ money.

    Money makes the world go round…

    Toto Gonzalez

  8. Enrique Bustos said,

    December 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Arturo Cabarrus de Santos first housed his Art Collection in his house in Pasay during the 1970’s the government planned to extend Edsa to Roxas Blvd properties around the area were expropriated by the government the houses of Arturo de Santos Rene Knecht and Maruja Roxas needed to be demolished in order to extend Edsa Maruja Roxas Transferred her entire house from Pasay to Forbes Park Rene Knecht sued the government and tried to stop the expropriation Arturo de Santos was offered by her cousin Ting delos Reyes-Philipps to transfer all of his collection to Bauhinia St in Forbes Park then first lady Imelda Marcos tried to buy all of the Arturo de Santos art collection she told him it will all be placed in Museum she is building at the back of the Cultural Center of the Philippines to be designed by Leandro Locsin but the negotiation bogged down when Mrs Marcos decided to use the funds for the construction of the Museum for the Construction of the Folk Arts Theater because the Philippines was going to host the Miss Universe pageant After the death of Arturo de Santos all of his collection went to Ting Philipps because she claimed Arturo de Santos owned her money for all the help she extended to her cousin Arturo de Santos during his lifetime

  9. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    December 11, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Dr. Arturo de Santos, Dr. Jesus S. Eusebio, Dr. Cristino S. Lazatin and Arch. Gabriel Formoso were schoolmates in Ateneo, circa 1930’s.

    It was Arch. Gabriel Formoso who did the house of Dr. Eusebio in Sta.Mesa Heights with the collaboration of Arturo de Santos in the early ’50’s.

    Even before the planning was done, Arturo de Santos already knew what furnishings would be placed in the house.

    He personally picked the various chandeliers, brass furniture in Spain and it was Mr. Eliseo Canilao who took charge transporting them to Manila.

    The fountain in front of his residence in South Forbes he said was given to him by Dr. Lazatin when the Singian Clinic was refurbished after the war.

    Among his fabulous collections which he dearly cherished, were the Kamagong aparadores. He said our “kamagong” wood was as priceless as the “chichimu” wood of China, of which he had an enormous collection of furniture made of that wood. He showed the characteristic “chicken scratch” of the chichimu wood to differentiate it from the other wood commonly used by the Chinese.

    He was scholarly when he described his collections. He knew the intrinsic value of each item he collected, all of which he truly treasured.

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