The fruits of summers past














































Comedy Relief: High-Flying Mistress

This true story happened in the late 1970s and I had forgotten about it until my aunts, visiting from the United States, recalled it yesterday.  I assure you that it is a classic for all time…

An aunt of mine [ a first cousin of my mother ], a highly successful professional in her late 40s, was flying home to Manila from San Francisco, where she kept a really beautiful house in Hillsborough [ “Hillsboring” to her children  😛 ].  As always, she took Japan Airlines, First Class.

She took her seat and in a while was joined by another Filipina, pretty, in her early 40s.  My aunt introduced herself using her maiden name, for that was how she was known professionally and socially.  The younger lady was pleasant and they enjoyed their conversations throughout the long flight.

As always when ladies get together, they got to talking about their lives, their husbands / boyfriends, their children, their work, their health…

“I’m married, with five children.  We were married in 1952.”  my aunt volunteered.

“I’m still single, but I have a slightly older boyfriend;  he’s 49 and he’s a businessman.”  the younger lady responded.

“My husband is also a businessman… and he’s 49 too!”  my aunt exclaimed.

“Oh, that’s nice, men are so reliable at that age, don’t you think?”  remarked the younger lady.

“Yes, finally!  By the way, my husband is an architect… but his hobby is collecting guns.”  my aunt stated.

“Oh what a coincidence!  My boyfriend is also mad about guns… and he’s an architect too!”  exclaimed the younger lady.

Still suspecting nothing, my aunt asked:  “So what’s your boyfriend’s name?  Maybe I know him.  Manila is so small.”

“Manila is so small.”  You bet…   😛   😛   😛

“****** ******* [ my aunt’s husband ].”  revealed the younger lady.


My sweet, sweet, sweet aunt saw all the stars, constellations, and galaxies of the universe… !!!!!!!!

Needless to say, there was a godawful quarrel the minute my sweet, sweet, sweet aunt arrived at her house in Manila…

Bwahahahahah!!!!!!!!   😛   😛   😛

Comedy relief: “Dive” bars

Once in a while, funny memories inexplicably return with a full whammy, leaving me laughing heartily to the wonder of other people around who think that I’ve gone bonkers [ well, they’re probably right  😛 ].

I remember my Daddy, my Mommy, and her good friend Tita Nena D. gathered around the dining table for “merienda” one afternoon decades ago [ in the 1970s ] and laughing endlessly about something they called “dive!”

“Dive”???!!!  It was only years later that I understood what “dive” was… it was a quaint euphemism for sex.  😛

Daddy, Mommy, and Tita Nena D. were terribly amused, with their sides splitting, because an apparently still randy, short, late seventysomething uncle of Mommy had tried to have a final act of passion, a “final round” of sex with his petite late seventysomething wife, in the process splitting his urethra permanently, causing hospitalization and a permanent relationship with his catheter.  The unimaginable thought of the two shriveled seventysomethings getting it on drove the younger fiftysomethings to endless bouts of laughter.   “Nag-‘dive’ pa kasi!!!”  the three guffawed.

Two decades later in the early 2000s, we were again treated to a “dive” comedy within the family by Mommy’s randy, divorced seventysomething Reyes cousin.  One literally hot April night, he brought two sexxxy streetwalkers from Quezon avenue back to his “bachelor pad” for some “double happiness”…  And indeed, “double happiness” it turned out to be!!!  During the course of the too-hot-to-handle debauched and bawdy sex, he had a stroke from his unmanaged hypertension!!!  The two female hotties apparently left in a huff out of fright, thinking they had killed him [ which they actually did, in the most sensual sense! ], leaving him paralyzed and helpless.  At around 5:00 a.m., he finally succeeded in calling my Mommy, only managing a faint groan.  Frantic Mommy and his gay go-for rushed to his “bachelor pad,” which they found locked securely.  After many tries with a nearby locksmith, they finally succeeded in entering his rooms where they found him in all his naked glory, motionless, in the comically compromising position where the stroke and the two hotties had left him, surrounded by vintage American porn and all manner of antediluvian sex toys.  Frantic Mommy rushed him to the nearby Episcopal hospital, where he was admitted to the ICU.  My conservative and proper Mommy’s “press release” to the family [ even to her “kids,” would you believe??? ] and the relatives was that “he had suffered greatly from the heat during a recent trip to the northern highlands and that had precipitated the stroke.”  “Felt the heat,” you betcha!!!  He actually survived and even partially recovered.  Since his stroke he has been trying to get some long-delayed, badly-needed sex — even just a “hand job,” please! — from his female caregivers these recent years, but to no avail.  “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!!!”  Harharhar!!!   😛

“Nag-‘dive’ pa kasi!!!”  we twentysomethings guffawed.

Yes, we should all be careful before we “dive”… specially since we are not getting any younger!!!   ;P   ;P   ;P

Reminiscences of Old Pampanga

Last Sunday evening, 30 May 2010, we were at Albert Salgado Paloma’s Rory Cameron-Lady Kenmare-“La Fiorentina”-“Le Clos Fiorentina”-overlooking-the-French-Riviera like house [ think white, white, white halls of noble proportions with classical antique Filipino furniture and genuine French antiques effortlessly put together with Albert’s tremendous, inimitable style and chic ] in San Fernando, Pampanga for his annual reception celebrating the town [ now city ] fiesta in honor of “San Fernando, El Rey.”

The big draw of an Albert Salgado Paloma invitation for me is to relive the lunches and dinners of the Old Pampanga I remember from my childhood and youth:  the delicious and luxurious Spanish and French-inflected Capampangan food cooked at home, presented on large antique porcelain, ironstone, and silver platters and laid on beautiful antique hardwood tables;  an assortment of fine wines;  the many tables elegantly set with china, crystal, and silver on linen damask;  and the genial company who knew one another, whose parents knew one another, and whose grandparents and great grandparents knew one another as well.  I’m sure it was a similar draw for many of the other regular guests.

Dinner was a grand concourse comparable to the five star hotel buffets:  Italian gnocchi, tagliatelle, and penne in various sauces, A large Lapu-lapu fish as “Pescado en Mayonesa,”  Dory filets with capers and butter sauce, “Relleno de Pollo,” Roast Turkey with all the trimmings including glazed yams, “Caldereta de Cordero [ lamb ]” braised in French red wine, Angus Beef carvery, Albert’s famous long-simmered “Fabada Asturiana,” Smithfield Virginia ham, young “Lechon,”  fresh asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, Mixed Greens salad with unusual dressings.  Steamed Japanese rice for those who wanted some.

For desserts, there were fresh fruits and many cakes and pies from Manila’s most fashionable pastry shops.  There was also a delicious “buco” sorbet, tinged with pandan and exquisitely laced with “dayap” lime rind.

Later in the evening, when most of the older guests had left, Albert and I finally got around to talking, and as always, he was a vivid window to a vanished world, to a Pampanga long gone, even if he was already of the PostWar generation…

“Albert, how did one spell Benito Ullmann?  One l, two ls?  One n, two ns?”  I asked.

[ Benito Ullmann was the part-German first husband of Albert’s grandaunt, the very rich businesswoman Teodora Salgado y Basilio.  After his death, she married a full Spaniard, Dr. Saa, who was, of all things, a magician.  She had no children though, thus she partitioned her many holdings between her several Salgado nephews and nieces. ]

“Ullmann… two ls and two ns.”

“Benito Ullmann was in the luxury imports business.  Was he a part-owner of ‘La Estrella del Norte’ or did he have his own firm?”

“I don’t know about his involvement with ‘La Estrella del Norte’ but he had his own firm.”

“I remember your telling me years ago that the famous Arnedo Paris porcelain dinner service was ordered through Benito Ullmann’s firm… Therefore, the Grand Duke [ Alexis Alexandrovich of Russia ] must have ordered it immediately from Benito Ullmann after his visit to the Arnedos in Sulipan in 1891…”

“Yes it was.  It was Tirso Ballesteros and his mother Joaquina Arnedo-Ballesteros who told us.  They were there when we visited the Arnedo house in Sulipan… a long time ago?”  he confirmed.

Albert continued:  “Those plates were displayed in two “vajilleras” glass-fronted cabinets in the “comedor” dining room.  Tirso and his mother Joaquina told us that the majority were actually in a storage room.  They were beautiful!  Where are they now?”

“With me.  Most of them anyway.  Some are displayed at the ‘Museo de La Salle’ in Dasmarinas, Cavite.”


“I didn’t know Tito Ocampo was from Mexico town.  I thought the Ocampos were from San Fernando…”

“Tito’s father was an Ocampo from Santa Rita.  His mother was a Paras from Mexico.  That’s why he has that property there.”

“Interesting to note how old Dr. Sandico [ Mayorico Hizon Sandico ] and Imang Jane [ Jane Lazatin Garcia ] married off all their children to equally old Capampangan families.  I remember Dr. Sandico very well, he was a perfect gentleman… to the hilt.  He was also quite emphatic about people of good family:  ‘galing sa mabuting pamilya,’ he used to say.”

“Yes, they’re of very good family.  Their Hizon ancestors were painted by Simon Flores.  You’ve seen them?”

“Yes, Saturnino Hizon y David and his third wife Cornelia Sison.  It turned out that Saturnino Hizon was actually the direct, maternal grandfather of Dr. Sandico.  His mother Pilar Sison Hizon-Sandico was a daughter of Saturnino and Cornelia.  I remember the Saturnino portrait very well because he was buck-teethed.  They were already given to the children.  Then they were restored by Helmuth Zotter, the Austrian.  Very expensive!”

“There used to be a big Simon Flores painting right across from this house when I was young.  A family portrait with several people.  Lindy Locsin [ Architect Leandro V. Locsin ] bought it.”

“Which family was it?”


“Oh, if Lindy bought it then it’s the one with the mother-in-law.  There were three Quiason family portraits — the three were brothers — that hung in San Fernando before the war.  Another one, with just four figures [ Cirilo and Ceferina Quiason and their family ], is in the Central Bank Collection.  Another one is really dark, in the Central Bank too if I’m not mistaken. I’m a Quiason by descent, through my mother, by the way.  The baby in the Central Bank portrait, the one whose pee-pee was burned off by his own cigar, was my mother’s maternal grandfather { Jose “Yayang” Quiason y Henson }.”  I related.

Albert countered:  “Lindy also bought three portraits by Simon Flores from the Cunanan ancestral house in Mexico town.  The very old, probably 1780s, thatch-roofed house that used to stand on the site of the Methodist church now, right beside the old town church.  The parents of Mariano Cunanan and another one.”

“By the time I saw the house in the 1950s, the Cunanans had already become Methodists.  I guess that’s why the Methodist church now stands on the site of their ancestral home.”

“The Quiason are descended from the Cunanan:  Cirilo Quiason y Cunanan.  His mother was Maria Cunanan and his father was Modesto Quiason.”  [ FYI:  Our Cunanan is NOT related to Andrew Philip Cunanan, the assassin of Gianni Versace in Miami.   😛 ]

He added:  “Lindy had the big Quiason portrait and the three solo Cunanan portraits restored by no less than the principal restorers of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.”

“Do you think Lindy would have bothered to record the names of those three Cunanan portraits by Simon Flores?”  I asked.

“Knowing Lindy, yes, he would have.”

Albert recalled further:  “That Cunanan house had the most beautiful segmented “cabecera” dining table I ever saw:  Neoclassical, with tapering Sheraton legs, and discreet bone and kamagong inlay.  Their sideboards in the “comedor” dining room were a pair of longer and bigger than usual Sheraton-type altar tables, tapering legs, restrained bone and kamagong inlay, and all.  Beautiful!!!”

“My only ‘recuerdo’ of that Cunanan house is the smallish grooved marble top table from the ‘sala.’  Without knowing its provenance, I bought it, along with many other first rate antiques, for a small fortune in 1997 from Rene Dizon who had acquired it, together with the late ‘agente’ Mamerto “Mamer” Ocampo, from the family in 1972 in exchange for a new color TV.  Rene didn’t even know it was the Cunanan house, all he remembered was that it was the old, long, thatch-roofed house beside the Mexico church.  Then I learned that the old, thatch-roofed house used for ‘Filosofo Tasio’ in director Gerry de Leon’s classic 1961 ‘Noli Me Tangere’ was  the Cunanan house in Mexico, Pampanga.  Years later, you told me that the Cunanan house had beautiful old things and it was right beside the Mexico church where the Methodist church stands now.  So you see, after all those years, all the bits and pieces of information finally jived.  I guess that buying that grooved marble top table from Rene was sheer serendipity, as always.”


“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cunanan family had those silver “paliteras” toothpick trees…”

“Sonny Tinio remembers being told long ago by Hizon [ de Mexico ] descendants that the old house had twelve of them and that they were distributed to the children…”

“Very believable.”

“Te Hizon still had two of them before his beautiful San Fernando house was damaged by lahar.”



Comedy Relief: Overeating

My younger brother, sister-in-law, and I had dinner last night at the popular “Tao Yuan” Cantonese restaurant in Ermita, Manila [ it’s like the Cantonese clubhouse of Manila, where many of that community meet;  they were introduced to it by their friends Atty. Antonio “Tonico” Pedrosa Manahan and his wife Angela “Yanni” Laperal Heras ].  We ordered a lot and ate a lot.  Since my sister-in-law didn’t care for Peking Duck, and my brother, father of three kiddies that he was, was careful with his diet, I ended up eating most of it… not that I minded.

All that overeating reminded me of a particularly abusive lunch I had in Hong Kong with my sister some years back…

We ordered…

“Shark’s Fin Soup.”

“Suckling Pig.”

“Steamed Shrimps.”


“Braised Sea Whelk.”

“Deep-Fried Crab.”


“Peking Duck.”

“Yang Chow Fried Rice.”

The head waiter shook his head and frantically crossed his arms:  “No, no, no… This is too much for the two of you…  too much!!!”

“No, no, no, we’re hungry.  We’re ordering all of that!!!”  I assured him.

The food came and it covered the entire round table.  I was actually embarrassed because there was all that food and there were only two of us on opposite ends of the table.  We looked like greedy people, very greedy people indeed.  The other tables had four dishes at most.

So my sister and I ate very well.  Actually, I ate most of it.   😛

When we got to the pavement, my legs suddenly froze and there were sharp stabbing pains where my legs connected to my torso [ uric acid?  cholesterol? ].  I had to stagger to the nearest lamppost for support, where I leaned immobile, and in considerable pain, for a little more than ten minutes while my sister browsed the nearby window displays from where she stood…

Hahahah… but that didn’t stop me from crossing Nathan Road to “Haagen-Dazs” for five scoops of ice cream!!!

After that, my sister and I resumed our shopping… until it was time for dinner…


So if you hear that I landed in the Emergency Room of Saint Luke’s Hospital, you’ll know exactly what I was up to.   🙂   🙂   🙂

A matter of principle

“We should go back to those days…”

“Sadly, it’s all about the money these days.”  I declared flatly, cynical as always.

“But we really have to go back to those days…”

He nodded in agreement.

“Well, that’s the way it goes:  it’s just all about the money.”  I shrugged.

“But it shouldn’t be that way, it shouldn’t be about the money…”

“They will have to pay for every vote… it’s really all about the money now.”  I sighed.

“Well… but we really should go back to those days…”

“I don’t know if that’s possible…”

It was only when I left the building that I realized I was like her in that way:  Idealistic.


No matter what happens, I will still vote for “G1BO” Gilbert Cojuangco Teodoro!!!

In consonance with MY candidate, I have nothing against the other presidential candidates.  I am sure that they too have the capabilities to serve as the next President of the Republic of the Philippines.  But I have to say that G1BO has MORE CAPABILITIES to serve as President than the others.

It’s just a matter of principle.   🙂   🙂   🙂

Juan de la Cruz says…

We all know that it is the majority of the Filipino people — the 99 % — who will choose the next President of the Republic, so I have kept my eyes, nose, and ears, specially the ears, open to know what the pulse of the contemporary Filipino is…

Some answers made me proud, some made me cringe…

THE MAID:  “Ako para kay G1BO, kasi ang tali-talino niya sumagot sa mga tanong sa TV.  Tapos, ang cute pa niya.  At ang asawa niya na si Nikki, ang ganda-ganda, tisay na tisay!”

THE FAMILY DRIVER:  “Iboboto ko si Villar.  Matutulungan niya kaming mahihirap.  Gusto ko sana si G1BO, kaso ka-alyado ni Gloria, ayaw ko na.”

THE SALESGIRL:  “Ako solid Noynoy.  Syempre Aquino iyan.  Anak ni Ninoy at ni Cory yan, alangan namang magloko.  Bait yan.”

THE WAITER:  “Si G1BO.  Kasi narating na niya yung pinapangarap ko sa buhay.”

THE TAXI DRIVER:  “Gordon ako.  Galing niya kasi, tandaan natin ang ginawa niya sa Subic.  G1BO sana ako, kaya lang dala ni GMA, ayaw ko na ng kahit sinong konektado sa kanya, sobra raw ang kurakot!”

THE JEEPNEY DRIVER:  “Erap!  Sino pa ba?  Isa siya sa amin!  Malaking pagkakamali yung pinalitan siya ni Gloria.  Dapat maipagpatuloy niya ang mga programa niya para sa aming mga mahihirap!”

THE CARINDERIA COOK:  “Kami solid Erap!  Siya dapat ang maging Pangulo kasi napakabait niya!  Mahal namin si Erap!  Si Erap para sa Mahirap!”

THE TRICYCLE DRIVER:  “Ako Villar.  Mahirap kasi siya na umunlad.  Baka magawa niya sa amin yon.  Ayaw na namin kay Erap, napagbigyan na iyan, palpak naman.  Halos wala na kaming makain no’ng panahon niya.”

THE TRUCK DRIVER:  “G1BO!  G1BO!  Iba na yung matalino at magaling, kitang-kita niyo naman yung ebidensiya.  Wag naman tayong maghalal ng magnanakaw at mangmang, mangmang na nga tayong lahat pagnanakawan pa tayo…”

THE MANICURIST:  “Noynoy kami.  Iba na yung matino, kahit hindi masyadong astig.  Yung mabait.  Yung hindi magnanakaw at hindi mang-aabuso.  Si Noynoy!”

THE CIGARETTE VENDOR:  “Villar.  Sabi kasi ni Mang Dolphy.”

THE GARBAGE MAN:  “Sino pa kundi si Erap?  Siya lang ang nakaka-intindi sa amin!”

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what Juan de la Cruz is saying.  Take your cue from here.

Kun See Fa Chai!!! Kong Hei Fa Choi!!!


It’s the Year of the Metal Tiger…

I’m a Fire Horse [ 1966 – 67 ], what does it hold for me?

Happy afternoon surprise

I was having a perfectly boring humdrum Monday workday when I randomly checked my cellphone and it showed that I had had a missed call.  From Tito Tito L..  So I called back immediately.  He told me that Tita Rory C.-L. wanted to talk to me and gave the cel over to her.  She told me that she, Tito Tito, Tita Ophie M.-B., and my Tita Martha H. had just had lunch together.  She said that they wanted to see me and would like to come over if I wasn’t busy.  Anytime, anytime, with pleasure, I said.

A million thanks to you

Dear Friends,

As that Pilita Corrales ditty from the 1970s went:  “A million thanks to you…”  A million thanks to you indeed, for today “Remembrance of Things Awry” — — reached the 1,000,000 hits mark since starting in August 2006 [ 1,000,402 hits — not counting me — as of 8:00 p.m. ].  I know it’s “peanuts” compared to the great Filipino blogs which already have millions of hits.  But then, we all know this blog isn’t for everyone, right?

A Million Thanks to All of You!!!  And of course, a million thanks to, the blog host.

Now, are you ready for the “Toto Gonzalez Show” on the Net???  Hahahah.


Toto Gonzalez   😀   😀   😀

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