I received a very interesting and very famous book from longtime dear friends Tito & Patis Tesoro for my birthday…
“”January 02, 2011
We know that you do all these activities [ w/ the exception of prayer? ] well but perhaps you can gain additional insights from this volume.
Tito & Patis [ Tesoro ]””
And so I finally read the famous bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert through a succession of quiet, solitary evenings in bed. It was really a very interesting read, specially for more “sensitive” beings [ it will certainly not appeal to dense macho men ]. What I found remarkable was that Elizabeth Gilbert was able to verbalize, and very specifically at that, a lot of complex things human beings feel that are very difficult to express, leading the way for me to sincerely empathize with the many human dilemmas in the book. That was the wonder, at least for me.
“Eat, Pray, Love” and the constant search for happiness, meaning, and balance also reminded me of not a few Gonzalez women relatives who lived / live life with the same intrepid spirit as the author, Elizabeth Gilbert.
I remember my late uncle Brother Andrew at dinner telling one of his many beautiful nieces, just before her big society wedding [ complete with the couture wedding gown, serious jewelry, Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park wedding, Manila Polo Club reception, around-the-world honeymoon, their first home in Ayala Alabang, fully furnished, interior designed, landscaped, with four new vehicles in the garage… ]: “Young lady, I hope you will not leave your husband when you become bored with him someday…”
He had reason to be worried and he had reason to say that. Many of the Gonzalez de Sulipan women were and are beautiful, intelligent, hardworking, willful if not strong-willed. Several of them were long-suffering wives of abusive, philandering / wayward, take-you-for-granted husbands who, all of a sudden, simply packed up their bags with absolutely no melodrama or high strung emotions and left to start new, happy lives. It was always that unexpected, spontaneous, calm and collected, even cool “I’m tired of this. Goodbye.” quality which surprised everyone, which marked them as “Gonzalez women.”
One wonders if it’s a “curse” that started with the ancestress, Maria Amparo “Mariquita” Gonzalez y de los Angeles [ + 1890s ], a beautiful, intelligent, strong-willed woman who, flouting all hypocritical Victorian conventions, engaged openly in a “marital” relationship with Fray Fausto Lopez, O.S.A. of Valladolid, Spain, the “cura parroco” parish priest of her hometown of Baliuag, Bulacan, and had six predictably goodlooking children. “Mejorar la raza.”
The second son Joaquin studied in Madrid and Paris [ was one of the first “ilustrados” ] and became the first Filipino ophthalmologist [ he rose to professional prominence [ as one of the first Filipino medical doctors ], secretly supported the Katipunan, became the representative of Pampanga during the 1898 Malolos Congress, and later became the first rector of the first state university established by Emilio Aguinaldo in 1899, the “Universidad Cientifico-Literaria de Filipinas” ]. He married the Pampanguena heiress Florencia Sioco y Rodriguez of Bacolor and Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga, from an affluent landed family who consistently supported rebellions and revolutions and whose women were firebrands in their own right. Florencia’s mother, Matea Rodriguez y Tuason, an alluring and wily woman who buried two rich “hacendero” husbands, became the biggest financier of the revolutionary Katipunan in Pampanga. Such were the fiery origins of the Gonzalez woman.
A beautiful aunt, just one of the many renowned beauties in her family, in her search for true love, had relationships with five men in succession and had a child with each of them.
A beautiful and intelligent aunt belonging to the most distinguished and most conservative branch of the family was just about to get married — the “traje de boda” was ready; the church and the reception had been arranged; the invitations had already been sent out — when her parents found out something utterly unacceptable about her fiance and canceled the wedding at the last minute. She bore it all with remarkable dignity and stoicism, became a top ranking educator, and never thought of marriage for the rest of her life.
And why worry? Because it’s there, because it’s genetic, because it continues to happen in this day and age…
A beautiful and rich cousin started off with a “good marriage” to a suitably affluent gentleman whom she eventually left out of irreconcilable differences. She proceeded to a second relationship with a separated man which had the total disapproval of her conservative and pious “Catolico cerrado” parents who forthwith cut off all support. She endured the financial hardships but left him as well. She is in another relationship and hopes that all will be well.
A beautiful, intelligent, and rich cousin left the strictures of a confining marriage to a rich scion and sought her happiness with a sportsman with no financial and social cache.
An alluring, intelligent, hardworking, and ambitious cousin went through a succession of career changes and a soured marriage with a closet gay man before finding her metier and emerging as the top practitioner in her chosen field.
A beautiful, well-off, and sheltered cousin, courted by a posse of eligible bachelors who seemed to bore her, became like a moth to the flame when she almost succumbed to the charms of a fast-talking, married / separated playboy / man-about-town / boulevardier.
An appealing, intelligent, and hardworking niece became involved with a veritable procession of suitable and unsuitable men through high school to college to postgrads before finally finding true love and settling into a conventional marital relationship.
An alluring, intelligent, and hardworking niece refused to be involved with an inveterate playboy like her father and threatened to settle with an innocuous sportsman with little professional potential and less financial prospects, but one whom she could completely control.
Such startling women, the Gonzalez. “Nasa loob ang kulo.” Beware.