Renaissance: The arts during the Marcos regime

The extremely active, albeit exaggerated, Philippine contemporary art scene aside, one remembers an earlier golden period of art about 50 years ago, during the ascendancy of President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos and his First Lady, Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

Reading through the now antediluvian articles on art during the Marcos regime, one is struck by the creative flowering of several major artists in so many fields.  Despite the difficult political climate, the arts flourished to a remarkable degree, to an intensity unmatched in the past and perhaps in the present.

Madame Imelda Romualdez-Marcos had her mantra:  “The good, the true, and the beautiful.”

*unfinished*

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The memories of a city

As the famous writer Nick Joaquin wrote:  “Manila…  my Manila…”

Postwar, the First Lady knew that her husband’s heart was with another, more beautiful, more considerate lady.  She had a volatile temper and it led to scenes even during Malacanang palace receptions.  A snickering “de alta sociedad” was witness to banging doors and loud screams.  At times, she would adeptly lock the hapless President in his bathroom so he could not go out to see his lady love after dinner.

At the Bayview club, grand heiress sidled up to Visayan scion who was dancing with Manila patrician and asked dryly:  “Why are you dancing with that slut?”  Manila patrician retorted:  “And just who is the slut between us?”  A catfight ensued between Manila patrician and grand heiress [ ala Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter { Joan Collins } versus Krystle Carrington { Linda Evans } in the 1980s hit TV series “Dynasty” ] and became their claim to notoriety in the decades to come.

To the social Baby Boomer generation now in their early 60s, one of the most memorable wedding receptions they attended was that of a presidential grandson and an aristocratic bon vivant’s daughter in Forbes Park just 3 months before the declaration of Martial Law.  The brownies offered to the guests had been surreptitiously spiked with “marijuana” [top growth] by the couple’s artist friend and his girlfriend and the city’s “de alta sociedad” became “high” with it.  Even the most staid members of high society found themselves dizzy or off-balance and had to sprawl on the grass in the garden or sit on the “piedra china” Chinese granite slabs leading to the front door.  Everyone had such a great time.

At an IMF International Monetary Fund conference in Manila, the Marcos blue ladies were shocked to discover bigtime jeweler and pretty Blue Lady in a catfight in a guest bedroom.

The jealous son of a lumber magnate shot the pretty daughter of a Visayan “de buena familia.”  Mrs lumber magnate sought the protection of the First Lady so her son would not get the death sentence;  Mrs knelt in front of the First Lady at the Malacanang palace and implored her assistance.  First Lady:  “Alright.  I will help you.  But I never want to see your face again.”  Thus began the end of the family’s fabulous fortune.

During the First Lady’s “reign,” the Malacanang kitchen staff were always on their toes following her every dictate and whim.  A cursory look at the loaded buffet table at any time of the day and the inevitable question with a raised eyebrow “Yan lang ba?” [ “Is that all?” ] would send them scurrying everywhere to prepare more dishes to be served.  A second question “Nasaan yung…?” meant that they better have that item served ASAP.  The correct and only answer, no matter how difficult or impossible the request, was “It’s coming, Madame.”  The staff could not answer in the negative because that meant instant termination.  The First Lady kept a bountiful table from breakfast to midnight supper.  She required a certain number of dishes at any one time.  She required that the serving dishes always be full, no matter how many guests had eaten already.  She required that there always be fresh, not reheated, food on the buffet tables, from morning until midnight.  During her time, no guest at the Malacanang palace could say that he had not been well-fed.

At the Malacanang palace, bigtime jeweler brought her splendid jewels to sell to the First Lady.  Unfortunately, Herr doktor, whom she never liked [ the feeling was mutual ], was hanging around, as usual.  The First Lady fitted the ruby parure [ suite ] with obvious delight before a grand mirror.  When bigtime jeweler insisted that her ruby suite was from Van Cleef & Arpels, and that the clasp of the big necklace had the acronym VCA, the First Lady requested Herr doktor to confirm.  He did.  Comically.  “Ma’am, I see VCA…  VULACAN!!!”

After a while, beautiful and refined patrician lady started avoiding her erstwhile good friend grand heiress, including the latter’s willful sisters.  When asked by close friends why, she said:  “So foul-mouthed.”  Not about bad breath, but the endless cuss words.

At the funeral of an affluent Visayan grande dame known for her style and jewelry, the younger daughter was desperately tapping the glass top of her mother’s coffin:  “Mommy, Mommy!!!  Wake up!  They’re fighting me!  Mommy, Mommy!!!”  The grande dame had just passed away in the hospital when the protracted war for real estate, USD $ placements, & magnificent jewelry erupted between her children.

The First Lady and an irrepressibly elegant Blue Lady got into an argument about the First Lady’s daughter dating the son of an automotive magnate.  First Lady:  “Why are you interfering in this?  Remember…  You’re only an adopted daughter.”  Elegant Blue Lady:  “I may only be an adopted daughter, but I was not poor and never had to sleep on milk cartons like you.”  First Lady slapped elegant Blue Lady.

At times, the First Lady would hold receptions at a pavilion on the other side of the Pasig river.  But all the guests would first assemble at the Malacanang palace and then cross the river by a prettified ferry.  On one of those occasions, everyone was shocked when an elegant overweight lady, the heiress of one of Manila’s grandest, old line, “de buena familia,” clumsily slipped from the planks and fell into the murky Pasig river.  In a gesture of chivalry, her equally overweight husband, a tycoon and ladies’ man, promptly dove into the river and rescued her along with some PSG men.  It was only right because all of his big business ventures were practically bankrolled by his wife’s large inherited fortune.

At a big reception at the Coral ballroom of the Sheraton hotel, irate wife — a daughter of a prosperous market vendor — attacked her husband’s mistress — a beautiful mestiza of distinguished southern Luzon bloodlines.  They mussed up each other’s hairdo in a catfight that had them both rolling on the carpeted floor, and irate wife left in a flurry.  Nonplussed, Cool Mistress asked fellow guests at the table:  “Whooooo was that???”

To shrug off her son’s disappointing marriage to a country girl, leading uberwitty socialite sighed:  “At least, someone at home can do my nails now…”

In Paris, at the Clignancourt antiques market, Herr doktor was advising his best friend, the czar of fashion, on a Louis XVI [ Louis Seize / Louis the Sixteenth ] “lit ala Polonaise” canopy bed.  When told of the [ expectedly ] exorbitant price, czar of fashion asked Herr doktor:  “If we buy Louis XV [ Louis Quinze / Louis the Fifteenth ], maybe it’s shorter, and cheaper?”  Herr doktor bonked czar of fashion on the head, just like in cartoons.

Observing that her daughter-in-law had kept her petit bourgeois ways, leading uberwitty socialite quipped:  “Aw, you really can’t spin cotton into silk, can you?”

After a notorious bombing in the south where scores were killed and injured, medics were attending to a beautiful and elegant “de buena familia” Blue Lady who was one of those badly hurt.  When they had to remove her dress to see the extent of her injuries, she pleaded:  “My dress!  Please do not tear my dress!  It’s Chloe, from Paris!  There’s a zipper at the back…”

During the first MIFF Manila International Film Festival, the maids and the valets at the Malacanang guesthouses had a field day attending to the celebrity guests, some of whom liked to lounge naked in their guestrooms in between engagements.

When leading uberwitty socialite was told that an aging former Vice-President would be leading the Opposition to Ferdinand Marcos in the next election during the mid-1980s, she quipped:  “We don’t mind a dark horse… but what are we going to do with a dead horse???!!!”

After Herr doktor and his BFF the czar of fashion had a terrible and final falling-out, Herr doktor rechristened his erstwhile friend as “the scar of fashion in Asia.”

Asunder

We all think “telenovela” plots are way out, whether they are Filipino, Korean,  Mexican, whathaveyou…

But indeed, Truth is stranger than Fiction.

The following story is happening to friends of mine.  Although affluent, they are not “in society.”  But what is happening has jarred me enough to want to share it with you…

Jake and Faith have been married for 15 years and seem like the perfect couple:  both goodlooking, intelligent, hardworking, prosperous, and visibly in love.  Jake is a vice-president in a multinational corporation and has several businesses of his own.  Faith is a born entrepreneur, a hardworking businesswoman who imports exclusive boutique beauty products and other luxury items from Europe and from the USA.  They have no children.  After several tests, it was determined by the doctors that it was Faith who had the fertility problem.

Jake and Faith were unfazed, and since they had the resources, went to every single fertility doctor they could find.  After exhausting their list in Manila, they proceeded to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Bangkok, San Francisco, and New York.  None of the doctors could get Faith pregnant.

Unknown to Faith, Jake had become despondent and was losing faith in himself.  He desperately wanted to have children, not just one, but several.  For Jake, adoption of someone else’s child was totally out of the question.

About a year ago, on a business trip down south, Jake found himself visiting Bernie, his former flame.  Bernie is from a rich political clan, the daughter of an influential, longtime politico.  Jake had bowed out of her life years ago when he was a nobody careerwise and could not afford Bernie’s affluent style of life.  Unknown to Faith in Manila, Jake’s visits down south to Bernie became more frequent.  Before Jake and Bernie could realize what was happening, Bernie became pregnant.  Not wanting a scandal to blow up, her parents sent her to the USA to give birth there.  

Bernie gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  Jake was delirious with happiness.  Bernie’s parents were not happy about her illicit relationship with Jake, not only because she was a mistress, but they felt that he was not rich enough, influential enough, and important enough for them, although they were very happy about their new grandson, a new heir to their political dynasty!  Bernie’s father sat Jake down and pointedly told him that the baby boy would carry their surname instead of Jake’s for as long as Jake could not marry Bernie and make an honorable woman out of her.  He stated in the strongest terms that Jake should leave his wife Faith and marry their daughter Bernie.

Bernie, for her part, also told Jake in the strongest terms that he should marry her, that he should have his marriage to Faith annulled ASAP since they could not have children anyway.

All that time, Jake carried on with his loving wife Faith back in Manila as if nothing was happening…

Three months after the birth of his son with Bernie, and ready to be expelled from their marriage and their home, Jake finally mustered the courage to tell the truth to Faith, expecting the worst.

But Faith, kind and understanding woman that she is, did not go into a rage.  Calmly, she told Jake that she was very hurt, but that she completely understood his situation.  How could he live without children of his own knowing full well that he was a healthy man capable of producing them?  Faith assured Jake that she was ready to live their life with his son from Bernie.  However, Jake did not tell Faith that Bernie and her family are pressuring him to leave her and marry Bernie instead.

Where do they go from there???!!!

I know Jake and Faith well.  Faith is a wonderful woman whose only fault is that she cannot have a child.  I can only conjecture what prompted Jake to return to Bernie and…

If this isn’t an unraveling “telenovela,” I don’t know what is…

“Bagnetized”: 3 days in Ilocos Norte

As with most things, it started with a call on the cellphone… from my dear friend Cindy R-V…

“Would you like to come with us to Laoag for 3 days?  Sept 10 – 12, Monday to Wednesday.”

“Can I get back to you, Cindy?  I have several things to check first…”

I studied my schedules and figured out ways to reconfigure everything just so I could “escape” with my friends to Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

“OK.  I can go.”

************************************

That late Monday afternoon, we all found ourselves at the “Cafe France” at the Centennial Terminal:  Cindy R-V, Naynay V, Raqui R-L, Evelyn H-R, and Pinky R.  Tata P sat with us while she waited for her flight to Bacolod.

The flight to Laoag on PR 228 was a pleasant and quick 55 minutes.  At the airport lounge, we were greeted by Imee’s staff who hung pretty red ribbons with innovative shell and coconut designs on us as a welcome.  We were whisked to a Coaster which took us in 20 minutes to our designated hotel, the “Plaza del Norte” in Paoay.

I did not expect much by way of accommodations because I had been visiting Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte on and off for the past 20 years and I was content with a clean room and a clean and functioning bathroom, no matter how basic ( of course that rule did not hold at the upscale Fort Ilocandia hotel ).  What mattered to me was that I was with good friends and that I would certainly have a wonderful time.

The “Plaza del Norte” hotel, all of 3 years old, was a completely pleasant surprise:  all white, clean, neat, spacious, and sprawling.  It had been a project of Bonget’s when he was governor of the province.  It certainly was of a new generation of hotels in Ilocandia.  My room, 105-B, overlooking the courtyard and swimming pool, was good-sized, clean, neat, and uncluttered, with a clean and well-planned bathroom.  I was happy with my accommodations, given my various interesting experiences with hotels in Ilocandia.  I knew I was in for a really good time.

Dinnertime was at the hotel’s “Cafe Ayuyang” and everybody opted for the all-you-can-eat Mongolian Grill ( although all of us went once and that was it ).  It wasn’t half bad for the limitless seafood and meats you could pile on, which were then cooked on a grill in the patio outside.  What I found interesting was that soumak ( a Persian spice which tastes mildly of Chinese “kiamoy” ) and cumin were included in the garnishes;  I put generous amounts knowing full well I would probably smell “Arabo” the next day ( well, periodic sprays of Annick Goutal’s “Eau d’Hadrien” took good care of that! ).  Kapampangan that I was, I had to make additional orders of “Bagnet” & “Kalderetang Kambing.”  The “Bagnet” was very well done and was enjoyed by everyone at the table.

We were already at the table when the other guests arrived.  Dulce R arrived, and so did Fe R-G.  They had driven up from Manila and it had taken them 9 hours.  Betsy & Co. would be arriving the next day for the D-Day ceremonies.    

( Cindy, her daughter Naynay, Cindy’s sister Raqui, Cindy’s sister-in-law Evelyn, Evelyn’s daughter Pinky are from the Miguel Romualdez line;  Cindy is his granddaughter.   Dulce is from the Vicente Orestes Romualdez line; she is his granddaughter by his first wife Juanita Acereda.  Daniel Romualdez Sr. of Pandacan, Manila and Trinidad Crisostomo Lopez of Leyte (( originally of Basey, Samar )) had 3 sons:  Norberto, Miguel, & Vicente Orestes ). 

( Fe Roa-Gimenez headed the personal assistants of Mrs. Marcos during the Malacanang years. )

After what seemed to be a long after-dinner chat with the R cousins, we retired to our rooms at 10:00 p.m..  I fell asleep quickly because I had not slept adequately the previous night.  We would also have to leave the hotel at 8:30 a.m. the next day for the 95th birth anniversary mass for the late President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos ( born 11 September 1917 ) at 9:00 a.m. at the old Batac parish church.

************************************

I was late for the departure time of 8:30 a.m.!  I was late!

Imee’s efficient staff briefed us on the activities for the day.  We were assigned a “Grandia” van driven by a kind Manong Erwin, who worked for the mayor of Currimao town as well as the provincial governor’s office.  We finally left the hotel at 8:32 a.m..  According to Manong Erwin, Batac town was only 20 minutes away.  It was a wonderful sunny day and we drove through picturesque Paoay… we passed by an elegant Mediterranean-style villa by the lake and were told that it was Rudy Farinas’, further on was the road that led to the storied Ferdinand Marcos resthouse “Malacanang ti Amianan.”  We passed Paoay town proper, by the famous “earthquake baroque” church, and I noted that the town plaza had been improved from years ago ( there was a time when the tennis court at the back of the church was the major development ).  We were disappointed to hear that the “Herencia” restaurant, famous for its delish and cosmo “pinakbet” and “bagnet” pizzas ( think of Manang Biday meets Alice Waters ), had relocated.    

We were yacking about “those days” and before we knew it, we were already in Batac town.  Probably because the van had an identifying mark or something, the police and the barangay tanods waved us to the “VIP entrance.”  Make no mistake about it:  It was Marcos town and the profound affection and great esteem accorded to the late President Ferdinand Marcos was not only visible but palpable even to non-Ilocanos like us.  We drove into the Batac church patio, filled with various contingents waving flags and banners awaiting the arrival of the Marcos family, the de facto royal family of Ilocandia.  We alighted from the van and entered the church, which was already nearly full with various contingents as well — men, women, youth.  Cindy led us to a vacant pew in the middle of the church when an announcement was made that the first 5 pews were reserved for the guests of the Marcos family; the people occupying them immediately stood up and transferred.  We took the 5th pew on the left side — Cindy by the aisle and me by the other end.  In front of the first pew were the individual pews reserved for the Marcos family.  A lady in black and white whom no one recognized sat at one of the individual pews.

As I was wont to do, I took in the church interiors while waiting for the ceremonies to start.  Austere, Ilocano austere.  I observed that the Batac church did not yet have “Imee’s touch,” nor “Ma’am’s touch,” nor the faultlessly elegant “Irene’s touch.”  However, I noted a beautiful, elegant lifesize statue of the “Immaculate Conception” in the center niche of the main reredo;  it seemed to be the work of one of the famous Quiapo ateliers prewar.  On the right side ( the Epistle side ), there was an interesting, overpainted antique statue of “La Virgen con Nino Jesus” on a niche, possibly early 1800s or even mid-1700s.  I was seriously studying what was before me when the other live Virgin, the Madonna of Malacanang herself, finally appeared…

A growing hubbub at the church entrance signaled that The Eternally Beautiful One, the former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, had finally arrived.  She glided up the aisle, resplendent in a deep red silk terno and her signature pompadour, amidst the characteristic flurry of security men, assistants, politicians, and media — just like the “old days.”  Whatever one thought of her, the lady simply had an amazingly potent and lasting megawatt star power.  The excited congregation clicked their cellphones endlessly.  As she neared our pew, the group stood up to greet their “Auntie Meldy.”  She was happy to see her relatives and associates and “beso-beso ed” one by one.  When it was my turn, she paused momentarily and gasped:  “Ay, anak ni Poling!  Kamukhang-kamukha!” ( “Poling” was Froilan Zialcita Romualdez, her first cousin, son of Manila mayor Miguel Romualdez )

The group laughed.  “Ma’am, hindi anak ni Poling ‘yan.  Si Toto Gonzalez iyan, kaibigan natin.”  they explained.

“Pero mukha kang Romualdez!”  she insisted.  “Toto Gonzalez!  Ikaw nga!  Bakit hindi ka na bumisita sa akin?  Ang saya ng kuwentuhan natin…”  I just smiled and nodded.  ( Long ago, Mandoy’s daughter Eliza told me that her Auntie Meldy enjoyed my company, intrigued as she was by my knowledge of the Manila families, the establishment, the Marcos circle, and also of the New York, London, & Paris social sets, the top jewelers, etc.  — in short, my knowledge of her world. )       

She sat down at the end of our pew and exchanged more pleasantries, unmindful of the scheduled ceremonies.  At the same time, a steady stream of people queued up to greet her.  Natural charmer that she was, she was unfailingly gracious to all.

Signaled by Atty. Eden Volante, Mrs. Marcos stood up from our pew to take her place in the individual pews in front.  She looked askance and gestured towards the lady in black and white ( whom no one recognized ) who continued to sit on one of the pews, seemingly oblivious to Mrs. Marcos’ arrival:  “Sino siya???” Mrs. Marcos asked.  Later during the mass, we all found out to our comic relief that the lady was none other than the lector.  Hahahah.    

After some time, Bonget ( Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ) and Lisa ( Atty. Lisa Cacho Araneta-Marcos ) arrived with their security detail.      

The sprightly octogenarian Fortuna Edralin Marcos-Barba, the last surviving sibling of President Marcos, arrived, wearing a cheery printed red-and-white dress.  Mrs. Marcos greeted her affectionately with “beso-beso.”

Last to arrive was “Gov” Imee ( Maria Imelda Marcos ), looking morning fresh in white “abel” ( Ilocano woven cotton ).  No, Irene ( Irene Marcos-Araneta ) was not present.

*unfinished*

The Families of Political Tradition

The political dynasts of the Philippines.

ALONTO [ Mindanao ].

AGUINALDO [ Kawit, Cavite ].

President Emilio F. Aguinaldo.

Minister of War Baldomero Aguinaldo.

Prime Minister Cesar Emilio Aguinaldo Virata [ Baldomero Aguinaldo’s grandson ].

Supreme Court Justice Ameurfina Aguinaldo Melencio-Herrera.

Rep. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya [ also presently Liberal Party Secretary-General ].

Mayor Federico Aguinaldo Poblete.

Mayor Reynaldo Aguinaldo.

Vice Mayor Emilio Aguinaldo IV [ also known as “Orange”;  husband of ABS-CBN news anchor Bernadette Sembrano ].

AQUINO [ Tarlac ].

General Servillano Aquino.

Benigno Aquino Sr.

Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III.

BAUTISTA [ Cavite ].

Leonides Sarao Virata.

Prime Minister Cesar Aguinaldo Virata.

Senator Ramon Revilla.

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr..

COJUANGCO [ Tarlac ].

Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Murphy Cojuangco Jr..

President Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco-Aquino.

President Benigno “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III.

Congressman Jose “Pepe” Chichioco Cojuangco Sr..

Congresswoman Mercedes “Ditas” Murphy Cojuangco-Teodoro.

Congressman Jose “Peping” Sumulong Cojuangco Jr..

Secretary of Defense Gilberto “Gibo” Cojuangco Teodoro Jr..

Mayor Miguel “Dors” Cojuangco Rivilla.

CRISOLOGO [ Ilocos Sur ].

Congressman Floro S. Crisologo.

Governor Carmelita “Carmeling” Pichay-Crisologo.

Vicente “Bingbong” Crisologo.

General Fabian Crisologo Ver.

CUENCO [ Cebu ].

DURANO [ Danao, Cebu ].

EJERCITO [ San Juan, MM ].

President Joseph Estrada.

Senator “Jinggoy” Estrada.

Mayor “JV” Ejercito.

Mayor Guia Guanzon Gomez.

GUSTILO.

JOSON [ Nueva Ecija ].

Tomas Joson.

Eduardo Joson.

KIRAM [ Sulu ].

LAUREL [ Batangas ].

LEVISTE [ Batangas ].

LOPEZ [ Iloilo ].

Benito Villanueva Lopez.

Vice-President Fernando “Nanding” Hofilena Lopez.

Congresswoman Hortensia Lopez Laguda-Starke.

LUCMAN [ Mindanao ].

MACAPAGAL [ Pampanga ].

President Diosdado “Dadong” Pangan Macapagal.

President Gloria Macaraeg Macapagal-Arroyo.

MADRIGAL [ Manila ].

Senator Vicente Lopez Madrigal.

Senator Maria Paz “Pacita” Paterno Madrigal.

Senator Maria Ana “Jamby” Abad Santos Madrigal.

MAGSAYSAY [ Zambales ].

President Ramon Magsaysay.

MARCOS [ Ilocos Norte ].

President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

Governor Maria Imelda “Imee” Romualdez Marcos.

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr.

MASTURA [ Mindanao ].

OSMENA [ Cebu ].

President Sergio Osmena.

PENDATUN [ Mindanao ].

RASUL [ Mindanao ].

RECTO [ Batangas ].

ROMAN [ Bataan ].

ROMUALDEZ [ Leyte and Manila ].

Justice Norberto Romualdez.

Mayor Miguel Romualdez.

First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

Ambassador Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez.

SINGSON [ Ilocos Sur ].

Governor Luis “Chavit” Crisologo Singson.

SINSUAT [ Mindanao ].

SUMULONG [ Rizal ].

TAMANO [ Mindanao ].

TILLAH [ Mindanao ].

The Families of Entrepreneurial Tradition

ABOITIZ [ Ormoc, Leyte and Cebu ].  The Aboitiz are one of the Basque immigrant families who have risen to the pinnacle of economic importance in the Philippines.

Paulino Aboitiz.

ARANETA [ de R. Hidalgo ].

Atty. Gregorio Soriano Araneta.

Atty. Salvador Araneta.

ARANETA [ Bago, Negros Occidental ].

J. Amado Araneta.

Jorge Araneta.

CACHO.

CHAN [ Negros Occidental ].

CHIONG VELOSO [ Cebu ].

Nicasio Chiong Veloso.

Genoveva “Bebing” Chiong Veloso Singson-Villalon.

Sergio “Serging” Chiong Veloso Osmena Jr..

Dr. “Vicki” [ Chiong Veloso-Singson ] Gonzalez Belo.

CO BAN KIAT [ Binondo ].

COJUANGCO [ Malolos, Bulacan and Paniqui, Tarlac ].

Ysidra Estrella Cojuangco.  Founder of the immense Cojuangco fortune.

Melecio Estrella Cojuangco.

Tecla Chichioco-Cojuangco.

Jose Chichioco Cojuangco Sr.

Antonio Cojuangco.

Eduardo Chichioco Cojuangco Sr.

Pedro Sumulong Cojuangco.

Eduardo Murphy Cojuangco Jr..

CONCEPCION [ Manila ].

Jose Concepcion.

Raul Concepcion.

CU-UNJIENG [ Binondo, Manila ].

Guillermo Cu-Unjieng.

CUYEGKENG [ Binondo, Manila ].

DEE C. CHUAN [ Binondo, Manila ].

DE LA RAMA [ Bacolod, Negros Occidental ].

Esteban de la Rama.

DE LEON [ Bacolor, Pampanga ].

Jose Leoncio Hizon de Leon Sr..

DE LEON [ San Miguel de Mayumo, Bulacan ].

Narcisa Lim Buencamino-de Leon.

DE LOS REYES [ Cavite ].

Crisanto de los Reyes.

Rodrigo Berenguer de los Reyes.

Geronimo Berenguer de los Reyes.

DE SANTOS [ Tondo, Manila ].

DE YNCHAUSTI [ Manila ].

DEL ROSARIO [ Manila ].

Ramon del Rosario.

ELIZALDE [ Manila ].

ESCALER [ Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga and San Miguel, Manila ].

Sabina Sioco-Escaler.

Jose Sioco Escaler Sr.

Ernesto Ocampo Escaler Sr.

Michael de Leon Escaler.

ESCANO.

GABALDON [ Nueva Ecija ].

GOKONGWEI [ Cebu ].

JALANDONI [ Jaro, Iloilo ].

JISON [ Silay, Negros Occidental. ]

Francisco Lopez Jison.

LAZATIN [ San Fernando, Pampanga ].

Serafin Lazatin.

Jesus Singian Lazatin.

LEDESMA [ Jaro, Iloilo ].

Julio Ledesma.

LEGARDA [ Manila ].

LIZARES [ Talisay and Bacolod, Negros Occidental ].

Enrica “Dicang” Alunan-Lizares.

Nicolas “Colay” Alunan Lizares.

LOPEZ [ Jaro, Iloilo ].  The “ne plus ultra” of Ilonggo entrepreneurship.

Eugenio “Ening” Hofilena Lopez Sr..

Fernando “Nanding” Hofilena Lopez.

Victoria Ledesma Lopez-Araneta.

Vicente “Cente” Villanueva Lopez.

Eusebio “Sebio” Villanueva Lopez.

Rosario “Sayong” Villanueva Lopez-Santos.

Maria “Bibing” Villanueva Lopez.

Paz Villanueva Lopez-Laguda.

LU YM / LU DO [ Cebu ].

MADRIGAL [ Manila ].

Vicente Lopez Madrigal.

Antonio “Tony” Paterno Madrigal.

Jose “Belec” Paterno Madrigal.

Consuelo “Chito” Paterno Madrigal-Collantes.

MAGSAYSAY [ Zambales ].

MONTILLA [ Pulupandan, Negros Occidental ].

Agustin Montilla.

NEPOMUCENO [ Angeles, Pampanga ].

Juan de Dios Nepomuceno.

ONGSIAKO [ Manila ].

ORTIGAS [ Manila ].

Francisco Barcinas Ortigas Sr.

Ignacio Vargas Ortigas.

Francisco “Paquito” Vargas Ortigas Jr.

Ignacio Ortigas.

OSMENA [ Cebu ].

Severo Osmena.

Sergio Osmena Sr..

Sergio “Serging” Chiong Veloso Osmena Jr..

PADILLA [ Lingayen, Pangasinan and San Miguel, Manila ].

Narciso Padilla.

Barbara Padilla – Resurreccion Hidalgo.

Sabino Bibby Padilla.

Ambrosio Bibby Padilla.

Nicanor Padilla.

PANLILIO [ San Fernando and Mexico, Pampanga ].

Luis Dayrit Panlilio.

Pablo Dayrit Panlilio.

Fe Lugue Sarmiento-Panlilio.

PATERNO [ Binondo, Manila ].

Paterno Molo de San Agustin.

Maximino Molo Agustin Paterno.

Martina Paterno-Zamora.

Susana Ramos Paterno-Madrigal.

Dr Jose Ramos Paterno.

Simon Ramos Paterno.

Vicente Tirona Paterno.

Manuel Veloso Paterno.

Simon Roces Paterno.

Victor Pardo Paterno.

PRIETO [ Manila ].

Mauro Prieto.

QUE [ Manila ].

QUE PE [ Manila and Hong Kong ].

ROXAS [ Manila ].

Domingo Roxas.

Bonifacio Roxas.

Margarita Roxas de Ayala.

Pedro Pablo Roxas.

SALGADO [ San Fernando, Pampanga ].

Filomena Salgado.

Teodora Salgado-Ullmann-Sa.

Erlinda Salgado Miranda-Oledan.

SANTOS [ Malabon ].

Roman Rodriguez Santos.

Augusto Andres Santos.

SORIANO [ Manila ].

Andres Roxas Soriano Sr..

Andres Soriano Jr..

SY [ Manila ].

SY-QUIA [ Ilocos Sur and Manila ].

Vicente Ruperto Romero Sy Quia.

Gregorio Sy-Quia y Encarnacion.

Pedro Sy-Quia y Encarnacion.

TAMBUNTING [ Binondo, Manila ].

Ildefonso Cosiam Tambunting.

TAN [ Manila ].

TANTOCO [ Malolos, Bulacan ].

Bienvenido Tantoco.

Gliceria Dimaano Rustia-Tantoco.

TINIO { Nueva Ecija ].

TUASON [ Manila ].

Antonio Tuason.  “Duque de Binondo.”

Gonzalo Tuason.

Celso Tuason.

VALDES [ Manila ].

VELASCO CHUA CHENG CO [ Binondo, Manila ].

YANGCO.

YAO [ Manila ].

Yao Shiong Shio.

Greta Yao.

Jose Yao Campos.

Jose Campos Jr.

YUCHENGCO [ Binondo, Manila ].

Yu Tiao Qui.

Enrique Yuchengco.

Alfonso Yuchengco.

Vicencia Yuchengco.

Helen Sycip Yuchengco-Dee.

Vivian Yuchengco.

YUTIVO [ Binondo, Manila ].

ZAMORA [ Manila ].

ZOBEL DE AYALA [ San Miguel, Manila ].

Margarita Roxas-de Ayala.

Antonio de Ayala.

Jacobo Zangroniz Zobel.

Trinidad Roxas de Ayala.

Enrique de Ayala Zobel.

Alfonso Roxas Zobel.

Mercedes Roxas Zobel-McMicking.

Enrique Zobel y Olgado.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala.

Jaime Augusto Zobel.

Fernando Zobel.

The Families of Intellectual Tradition

Brains, brains, and more brains…

ABAD-SANTOS.

ALZONA.

Dr. Encarnacion Amoranto Alzona, Ph.D..  B.A. in History from the University of the Philippines in 1917;  M.A. in History in 1918.  M.A. in History from Radcliffe College in 1920.  She was the first Filipina Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1923.

ARANETA [ de R. Hidalgo ].

Atty. Gregorio Soriano Araneta.

Atty. Salvador Zaragoza Araneta.

Luis Ma. Zaragoza Araneta.

BENITEZ [ Pagsanjan, Laguna ].  PWU Philippine Women’s University.

Conrado F. Benitez.

Dr. Helena Zoila Tirona Benitez.

Purisima “Petty” Benitez-Johannot.

DEFENSOR.

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Mike Defensor.

DIOKNO.

Jose W. Diokno.

ESCALER.

Atty. Jose Sioco Escaler.

Ernesto Ocampo Escaler.

Bishop Federico “Freddie” Ocampo Escaler, D.D..

FABELLA.  JRU Jose Rizal University.

Dr. Armand Fabella.

FLORENTINO.

Leona Florentino.

GALLEGO.

Manuel Gallego.

GONZALEZ [ Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga ].

Dr. Joaquin Lopez Gonzalez.  He was one of the first “ilustrados,” one of the first Europe-educated Spanish-Filipino doctors in the early 1870s.  He finished his medical studies at the Universidad Central de Madrid and proceeded to apprentice with the famous ophthalmologist Dr. Louis de Wecker in Paris, who years later trained Dr. Jose Rizal.  Dr. Gonzalez was one of only two representatives from Pampanga to the Malolos Congress [ the other being Jose Rodriguez Infante ].  He was appointed by President Emilio Aguinaldo as the first Rector of the first state university, the Universidad Cientifico-Literaria de Filipinas, the Malolos Republic-established forerunner of the UP University of the Philippines.

Atty. Francisco Javier Eligio Sioco Gonzalez.  One of the first Filipino Ll.M. graduates of Yale University.

Dr. Bienvenido Ma. Sioco Gonzalez.  The sixth President of the UP University of the Philippines and the visionary who transferred the campus from Manila to the sprawling hectareage in Diliman, Quezon city.

Atty. Joaquin “Jake” Tomas de Aquino Valdes Gonzalez.  Founding/charter member of the Sigma Rho fraternity of the UP University of the Philippines College of Law.

Atty. Gonzalo Walfrido “GG” Rafols Gonzalez.  He was a famous corporate, intellectual property, and labor lawyer.  He served as a regent of the UP University of the Philippines.

Dr. Eva Beatriz Rafols Gonzalez.  Dean of the UP University of the Philippines and the PWU Philippine Women’s University.

Macario Diosdado Arnedo Gonzalez / Brother Andrew Benjamin Gonzalez F.S.C. of the De La Salle University [ 1940 – 2006 ].  The longtime President of the DLSU De La Salle University and the visionary who oversaw its exponential expansion.

GUERRERO.

Leon Ma. Guerrero.

Carmen “Chitang” Guerrero-Cruz-Nakpil.

KALAW.

Teodoro Kalaw Sr..

LAUREL.

LAVA.

Dr. Jesus Lava.

LEDESMA.

Carlos Ledesma Ledesma.

LEGARDA.

Dr. Benito Legarda.

LOCSIN.

Teodoro Locsin.

Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin.

Leandro V. Locsin.

MANAHAN.

Juan Manahan.

Dr. Constantino Manahan.

Dr. Antonio Manahan.

MARCOS.

President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

MARQUEZ.

MASTURA.

MONTINOLA.

Senator Ruperto Montinola.

Aurelio “Aureling” Javellana Montinola Jr..

Aurelio “GG” Reyes Montinola III.

NAKPIL.

Julio Nakpil.

Arch. Juan Nakpil.

Arch. Angel Nakpil.

Dr. Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita.

ONGPIN.

Roman Tanbensiang Ongpin.

Alfonso Ongpin.

Roberto V. Ongpin.

Jaime V. Ongpin.

PADILLA.

Justice Sabino Bibby Padilla.

Senator Ambrosio “Brosi” Bibby Padilla.

Justice Teodoro “Teddy” de los Reyes Padilla.

Atty. Sabino “Binoy” Belling Padilla.

Atty. Eduardo “Eddie” Padilla Lizares.

Dr. Dominga “Minguita” Belling Padilla.

Maria Teresa “Maite” Padilla Gallego-Zaldarriaga.

Marissa Padilla.

Violeta Padilla Gallego-Kramer.

Atty. Dominique “Monique” Padilla Gallego.

PARDO DE TAVERA.

Felix Pardo de Tavera.  He was exiled to the Marianas islands on account of his perceived libertarian ideas;  he was joined in exile by his wife, the heiress Gertrudis de Gorricho.

Trinidad Hermenigildo “T.H.” Pardo de Tavera.

Dr. Mita Pardo de Tavera.

Xavier Pardo de Tavera Loinaz.

Dr. Marc Loinaz.

PATERNO.

Pedro Alejandro Molo Paterno.

Vicente Tirona Paterno.

Simon Roces Paterno.

PEDROSA.

Secretary Pio Pedrosa.

PONCE-ENRILE.

Atty. Alfonso Ponce-Enrile.

Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile.

QUIASON.

Justice Camilo Danganan Quiason.

Dr. Serafin Danganan Quiason.

Atty. Enrique “Eric” Imamura Quiason.

REYES.  FEU Far Eastern University.

Nicanor Reyes.

Dr. Lourdes Reyes-Montinola.

RIZAL-MERCADO.

Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

ROCES.

Joaquin “Chino” Roces.

Alejandro “Anding” Reyes Roces.

ROXAS.

SALAS.

Rafael Salas.

SYCIP.

Washington Sycip.

TANADA.

TEEHANKEE.

Justice Claudio Teehankee.

Atty. Manuel “Dondi” Teehankee.

Dean Julio “July” Teehankee.

Dean Ben Teehankee.

TEODORO.

Gilberto “Bert” Teodoro Sr..

Gilberto “Gibo” Cojuangco Teodoro Jr..

VILLEGAS.

Bernardo “Bernie” Villegas.

Ramon N. Villegas.

VIRATA,

Leonides Sarao Virata.

Cesar Aguinaldo Virata.

ZOBEL DE AYALA.

Jacobo Zangroniz Zobel [ Jacobo Zobel Zangroniz ].  The outstanding Renaissance man of the Zobel clan.

Enrique de Ayala Zobel [ Enrique Zobel de Ayala ].  He established the “Premio Zobel” to preserve the Spanish language in the Philippines.

Filipino nary-tage, not heritage

“I don’t have any explanation why the Filipinos are like this…???” and Bambi threw her arms in the air.

After Bambi had spoken, there was an open forum and Mary, a Canadian, asked:  “Why don’t the Filipinos establish an organization that will maintain and conserve these historic structures … something like Britain’s ‘National Trust’?”

We all knew that we already had HCS Heritage Conservation Society, of which several in our group were members.  But funding so that it could have “teeth and claws” was an entirely different story…

It isn’t just those pine trees in Baguio which everyone is babbling about;  the overly emotional public outcry is probably the work of the dirty tricks department of a law or public relations firm in Manila.  The beautiful Baguio of old [ Session road, Burnham park, Baguio cathedral, the convents of various religious congregations, elegant mountain villas and gardens in the Leonard Wood area, Wright park, “Mansion House” the presidential summer residence, the original Baguio country club, the American Camp John Hay, etc. ] has long been ruined anyway by political greed, disorganized development, and multitudes of squatters from all over the country.  It isn’t like the SM group is committing the gravest sin removing those pine trees;  far worse atrocities have already been committed and even more are in the offing.  It’s sooooo much else all over the country and inside all of us…  Sooooo much of our national heritage has been destroyed, is still being destroyed, and will still be destroyed — all in the name of “progress.”  We Filipinos inherited the “disposable” mentality imposed subliminally by our American colonizers:  We throw everything away, including ourselves.  We have thrown our sense of national identity away in a frenzy of “globalization,” to the extent that our youth now want to emulate our black, Negro brothers — not even in their native Africa — but in hiphop Harlem in New York city, in the United States.

The problem with a lot of the Roman Catholic parish priests, specially those assigned to the heritage churches, is that they sincerely think that what they like for their parish churches is beautiful and suitable, when most of the time, it is exactly the opposite…

Very rare are the likes of Diocese of Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco D.D. who engaged the services of patrician artist Rafael del Casal “carte blanche” to redesign the Immaculate Conception parish church to the Cathedral of Cubao.  Both Bishop Ongtioco and Mr. del Casal are gentlemen of uncompromisingly elegant tastes and their collaboration has been exceptional.  Combined with the generous funding of Captain Oca and the other benefactors, the result is an absolute artistic marvel unique in these islands [ except for the very few areas where Mr. del Casal was not involved ].

It’s the “Uglification of the Philippines,” and the average Filipino is powerless against it.  Poor guy.  What he thinks is beautiful is actually ugly by world standards.

Unless the Filipinos of culture and resources act — the intelligentsia, the culturati, and the plutocracy — there will be nary a trace of “Filipino heritage” — whatever little of it remains — in the near future.

Excellence and erudition: Salvador “Badong” F. Bernal, 1945 – 2011

26 October 2011, Wednesday, was a sad day for Filipino arts and culture.  Production designer par excellence, design doyen, scholar and researcher, cinephile, poet, ADMU Ateneo de Manila University professor, CCP Cultural Center of the Philippines stalwart, “Father of Philippine Stage Design,” and National Artist for Theater and Design Salvador Floro Bernal “left the scene,” so to speak.

That midmorning [ at 9:00 a.m. ], he had gone downstairs to give instructions to the staff for the day, including what he had decided for lunch, and returned to his bedroom.  There, he rested on his couch.

He did not wake up for lunch.

Salvador Bernal, “Sir Badong” to his talented proteges and students, finally saw “the greatest production” he had always wanted to see…

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His unexpected passing caused much grief among his professional family, specially his proteges and students.

Badong used to tell his close circle that the men in his family passed away of heart problems in their 50s.  “He thought he was ‘overstaying’…” recalled Rafael del Casal.

“If you had the chance to know him, if you became close to him, you would have known that, despite that cantankerous temperament, he had a heart of gold…  He was a pure soul.”  reminisced artist Rafael del Casal.

************************************

From the Malacanang palace:  “We are saddened by news that National Artist for Theater and Design Salvador Bernal passed away in the afternoon of Oct. 26, 2011. We join our countrymen in mourning the death of one of our cultural pillars, and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and the entire artistic community.”

“Beyond his impressive career as an artist, he made it his mission, as a teacher, to pass on his knowledge to those who will have to stand in his place in the coming generations. He did his part to ensure that Philippine Art will continue to be dynamic and relevant, even as the torch is passed from old masters like him to emerging talents in the nation’s artistic landscape.”

From the NCCA National Commission for Culture and the Arts:  “[The death of] Salvador Bernal is a great loss to Philippine Arts as he has contributed greatly to the growth of theater design in the country.”

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His bier was most elegant, even more than the ones I had seen at the chichi “Capilla del Senor” and the “Capilla de la Virgen” mortuary chapels of the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park and at the Heritage Memorial Park in recent memory.  After all, it was the collaboration of several leading artists known for the excellence of their tastes:  artist Rafael del Casal, production designer Gino Gonzales, floral designer Tony Padilla, and lighting designer Shoko Matsumoto.  It was all green and white:  sprays of various white flowers [ the largest lilies from Holland I had seen to date, among others ] set on beds of deep green tropical plants and topiaries accented by a few thick candles on verdigris bronze stands and carefully lit by a few halogen spotlights set the stage for an impeccable elegance.  There was not a single wrong note.  And because Salvador Bernal was a National Artist of the Philippines, a pair of uniformed guards, standing at attention, flanked his bier.  It would have been pretentious anywhere else but it looked completely appropriate there.

The leading lights of Manila’s artistic world and its concentric circles filed past his bier…  arts patroness Irene Marcos-Araneta, women’s issues advocate and onetime thespian Sonia Malasarte-Roco [ widow of former senator Raul Roco ], top singer and composer Jim Paredes and his sister Lory, thespian Noni Buencamino, director Laurice Guillen, director Alexander “Alex” Cortez, ballet doyenne Alice Reyes, dance doyenne Denisa Reyes, ballerina Edna Vida, soprano Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, artist Ed Alegre, painter Lao Lianben and his wife Lilia, top art dealer Vita Sarenas, theater benefactor and onetime thespian Atty. Jose “Tito” C. Tesoro, doyenne of the Manila museum world and longtime Ayala Museum curator Sonia P. Ner, esteemed Filipiniana scholar Dr. Nicanor “Nic” Tiongson, National Artist for Literature Bienvenido “Bien” Lumbera, doyenne and muse of the Manila literati/culturati Gilda Cordero-Fernando, the Prior of the Santo Domingo church Rev. Fr. Giuseppe Pietro Arsciwals, O.P., the longtime ADMU president Rev. Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres. S.J., the Bishop of Cubao Honesto D. Ongtioco, D.D., et. al..

Former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, who began the CCP Cultural Center of the Philippines from 1966-69 [ the institution which Badong gave most of his professional life ], could not attend the wake but she mourned his passing and sent beautiful flowers.  President Benigno Aquino III also sent a wreath from Malacanang palace, as Salvador Bernal was a National Artist of the Philippines.

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[ Two of my dear friends, Rafael del Casal and Gino Gonzales, were proteges of Salvador Bernal.  Artist Rafael del Casal has become the favorite portraitist of long-established Manila society and has also become the much sought after consultant on church renovations in the country, following his spectacularly beautiful and successful redesign of the Immaculate Conception cathedral in Quezon City.  ADMU-educated Gino Gonzales, acknowledged as Badong’s “nino bonito,” took postgraduate studies at NYU New York University and through the years has become the top production designer in the Philippines. ]

[ Another dear friend, Eric Pineda, was a student of Salvador Bernal and followed his professor’s career into costume design.  As Badong occasionally said, costume design segued naturally into fashion design.  Aside from costume designs for television and theater productions, Eric Pineda has become a sought after designer of evening gowns for famous actresses and of wedding gowns and entourages, following the elegant wedding dress he created for actress Sunshine Cruz on her wedding to character actor Cesar Montano in 2000. ]

[ Another friend, Atty. Teresa “Tessa” / “Tabs” Bernal Tabora-Ledesma is a niece of Salvador Bernal, her mother being his sister Teresita Bernal-Tabora.  She and my younger brother Atty. Adolfo Reyes Gonzalez were contemporaries and good friends from their ADMU Ateneo de Manila University Law School days. ]

************************************

Addenda:

A personal reminiscence:

It was May 1999, and it was 6 months before my gemologist sister Rosario Clemencia “Rocelle” Reyes Gonzalez would marry the banker Nicanor Narciso Damaso “Danny” Padilla Lizares on 05 December 1999 at the Santuario de San Antonio.  She had always liked wearing late 1800s style “traje de mestiza” [ wrongly called a “Maria Clara” according to Filipiniana historian and scholar Martin “Sonny” Imperial Tinio Jr. “It’s called a ‘traje de mestiza’ .”  he stated definitively. ] and she had decided that such an elaborate “period” dress, executed to the last authentic detail, would be her wedding gown.  The dress would be a copy of one worn by our paternal great grandmother Florencia Rodriguez Sioco when she married Dr. Joaquin Lopez Gonzalez in July 1883.  Since the embroidery details were not visible in the antique photograph, collector Joey Panlilio suggested that the embroidery designs be derived from Filipino maestro Justiniano Asuncion’s famous 1870s portrait of the pretty Agueda Paterno [ Jaime C. Laya collection ].

Because Rocelle was the only daughter and the youngest to boot, our businesswoman mother Pilar Quiason Reyes-Gonzalez sent word through me to her future “consuegra” / “comadre” / “balae ” the affluent and patrician Maria “Mary” de los Reyes Padilla-Lizares that she would take care of her daughter’s wedding gown — certainly no expense would be spared — as well as those of the entourage as part of her contributions to the wedding expenses.  Mary Padilla-Lizares graciously agreed to my mother’s handling the wedding gown but generously stated that she would take care of all the entourage gowns, which were to be designed and executed by her de los Reyes relative Paching Valera-de la Fuente, niece of the late, great Ramon Valera [ daughter of Jaime Valera and Trinidad “Neneching” de los Reyes Reyes-Valera ].

Joey Panlilio insisted that only THE Salvador Bernal, and not any other couturier in Manila however favored by society, could recreate a genuine, late 1800s “traje de mestiza,”  So off to Badong the three of us went…

It was an altogether pleasant appointment.  Badong received us with his peculiar mix of dryness and cordiality.  He recalled that he had created the gown of another socially prominent Padilla wedding some years back, who expectedly enough, was a relative of Danny’s.  We showed him the 1883 photo of Lola Florencia Sioco-Gonzalez as well as an enlarged xerox copy of Justiniano Asuncion’s 1870s portrait of Agueda Paterno.  Studying the photos, he explained that the “traje de mestiza” underwent several adaptations through the decades, and that the silhouette, “the line,” of the 1870s was slightly different from the 1880s, although we could adapt the embroidery designs from the 1870s to the 1880s.  He suggested that we go to Lumban, Laguna and look for a competent embroiderer who could execute the designs on “pina liniwan” [ plain pina fabric ].  He inquired as to what the fabric of the skirt would be, as the 1800s originals were usually either of Chinese silk or European silk velvet/brocade/damask, and Joey Panlilio suggested “Chinese silk, thick Chinese silk.”  So off to Hong Kong it would be for the fabric…  Badong would take care of the “tapis” overskirt, since a married woman, by tradition then, already wore a “tapis.”

What I remember vividly was that, unlike other couturiers, Badong was completely disinterested in the monetary aspect of the contract;  he was not interested in the charges.  “It won’t be much, just the work.  Most of the materials are coming from you.”  he assured.

…………

Three months before the wedding in August 1999, with all the materials already in Badong’s atelier, we three made a visit to discuss the final design and details of the “traje de mestiza” wedding gown.  Joey Panlilio had brought a xerox photo of Princess Margaret’s 1960 wedding gown of white silk organza by Norman Hartnell because he thought that the skirt, made of 30 meters of fabric, should turn out like that, with a great train.  Badong studied the photo, unfazed.

A full mock-up of the “traje de mestiza” wedding gown in muslin already stood in the center of Badong’s atelier.  Rocelle was made to fit it and was asked to move in all directions, with Badong casting a critical eye, detailing further instructions to his head seamstress and the team as they nipped and tucked in certain sections, with the faithful assistant Maria “Marietta” Arcega making her own observations.  The results of the fitting were very satisfactory and Badong was all set.  Comically enough, Joey Panlilio, wanting to get the feel of the recreated “traje de mestiza,” insisted on fitting the muslin components himself, to the bemusement of Badong.

Amidst the spirited discussions, a puzzled and irritated Badong turned to Rocelle, the bride-to-be, and asked:  “Wait a minute… just WHO is getting married here???  Isn’t it you, hija?”

Embarrassed, Joey and I kept quiet instantly, and merely looked at Rocelle and Badong…

“What do you want, hija?  What do you really want?  This is all about you, not any of us…”  he asked her earnestly, wanting to accommodate her requests, if any.

“It’s OK, it’s OK…”  she answered sweetly.

“Very well then, we’ll see what we can do.  Everything’s here:  materials, references…  Three months to go, right?  That’s enough time.”

…………

Characteristically professional as ever, the “traje de mestiza” wedding gown of Rosario Clemencia “Rocelle” Reyes Gonzalez from the atelier of Salvador Bernal arrived in big boxes with his expert and faithful assistant Maria “Marietta” Arcega, irons, ironing boards, floor mats, special hangers, and all kinds of equipment in tow on the morning of 05 December 1999.  After lunch, the make-up artists and the hairdressers did their parts, then Rocelle was dressed by our mother, Pilar Reyes-Gonzalez, Marietta of Badong, and Joey Panlilio [ who was an expert in the correct installation of “panuelos,” as taught to him by his grandmother, the leonine and elegant Luz Sarmiento-Panlilio ], assisted by a battalion of househelp.  The Santuario de San Antonio wedding was set for 6:00 p.m.

The embroidered pina “camisa” blouse and “panuelo” fichu collar had been embellished with hundreds of tiny pearls.  The “camisa” was expertly and faultlessly cut and constructed in the style of the 1880s, with billowing sleeves that were gathered just below the shoulder.  The “panuelo” had been lined with a sheer stiff fabric to enhance its line when worn.  Badong had created a lovely “tapis” overskirt  also of embroidered pina fabric [ which covered 3/4 of the “saya” of peach-colored Chinese silk ], embellished with thousands of tiny pearls, edged by handknotted silk tassels.  The “saya” skirt was a tour de force of sheer theater with yards and yards of thick, peach-colored Chinese silk [ 20 yards had been purchased in Hong Kong ].  It was where Badong’s superb costume design skills entered:  realizing that the fuller-than-full skirt, cut in the bias, along with its petticoat, would be heavy and hang awkwardly from the waist, he constructed an entire dress, sleeveless at the top [ over which would be worn the “camisa” and the “panuelo” ], so that the weight would be shared by the waist and the shoulders, therefore enhancing the fall of the skirt.  Despite all of that, Rocelle recalled:  “My ‘traje de mestiza’ wedding dress was surprisingly light, and it was easy to move around in it, it was not heavy at all.  It was cool and not warm to the body.”  Therein lay the genius of Salvador Bernal in the tradition of the great couturiers like Cristobal Balenciaga:  despite a dress being a glamorous piece-de-resistance, it was always light and comfortable for the wearer.

Thus, it came to pass that Rosario Clemencia Reyes Gonzalez, Mrs. Nicanor Narciso Damaso Padilla Lizares, in her 1880s-style “traje de mestiza” wedding gown, became one of the most memorable, one of the most elegant, needless to say one of the most beautiful of brides ever to walk down the aisle of the Santuario de San Antonio church in Forbes Park.

Thanks to the erudite genius of Salvador Bernal.

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*unfinished*

The most glamorous Filipina ladies of their times

Appearances, appearances, appearances… as defined by the legendary Diana Vreeland.

There are just some Filipina ladies who naturally have “star power”…

The Power of Glamour…

Yes, they all pleaded to be “simple ladies,” but by dint of inherited wealth, ancestry, social position, education, and exposure, they were pushed to the forefront of society with all the benefits as well as the attendant responsibilities.  Also, their wealth allowed them the luxury and privilege of looking beautiful in their maturity.

Pacita Ongsiako de los Reyes-Phillips.

Conching Chuidian Sunico.

Monina Acuna.

Mercedes Lopez-Araneta [ Mrs. Jose Araneta ]

Victoria Ledesma Lopez-Araneta [ Mrs. Salvador Araneta ].

Angela Olgado-Zobel [ Mrs. Jacobo Zobel ].

Mercedes Zobel-McMicking [ Mrs. Joseph McMicking ].

Virginia Llamas-Romulo [ Mrs. Carlos Romulo ].

Carmen Planas.

Lourdes “Lourding” Alunan.

Charito Moreno.

Telly Albert-Zulueta.

Clarita Tankiang.

Angelina “Gely” Fajardo-Lopez [ Mrs. Francisco Lopez ].

Lourdes Luciano-Ocampo [ Mrs. Fernando Ocampo ].

Victoria “Vicky” Syquia Quirino-Gonzalez-Delgado [ Mrs. Chito Gonzalez;  Mrs. Francisco Delgado Sr. ].

Maria Paz “Pacita” Madrigal-Warns-Gonzalez [ Mrs. Herman Warns;  Mrs. Gonzalo Gonzalez ].

Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal-Vazquez-Collantes [ Mrs. Luis Vazquez;  Mrs. Manuel Collantes ].

Maria Luisa “Ising” Madrigal-Vazquez [ Mrs. Daniel Vazquez ].

Josefina “Pitang” Buyson-Eusebio.

Nelly Montilla-Paterno-Lovina.

Lily de las Alas-Padilla [ Mrs. Ambrosio Padilla ].

Carmen “Chitang” Guerrero-Cruz-Nakpil [ Mrs. Ismael Cruz;  Mrs. Angel Nakpil ].

Priscilla “Prissy” de la Fuente-Sison [ Mrs. Carlos Moran Sison ].

Nelly Lacson-Gonzalez [ Mrs. Dindo Gonzalez ].

Letty Lizares-del Rosario.

Nena Lacson-Garcia.

Celine Lacson-Heras.

Sonia Gamboa-Santos [ Mrs. Horacio Santos ].

Imelda Ongsiako-Cojuangco [ Mrs. Ramon Cojuangco ].

Marie Theresa “Bebe” Gallardo Lammoglia-Virata [ Mrs. Leonides Virata ].

Chona Recto-Ysmael-Kasten [ Mrs. Johnny Ysmael;  Mrs. Hans Kasten ].

Mary Hernandez-Prieto [ Mrs. Leo Prieto ].

Joji Felix-Velarde.

Elvira Ledesma-Manahan [ Mrs. Constantino Manahan ].

Maria “Baby” Araneta Araneta-Fores [ Mrs. Raul Fores ].

Angeles “Nene” Tuason-Quimson.

Presentacion “Presy” Moreno Lopez-Psinakis.

Imelda Romualdez-Marcos [ Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos ].

Zita Fernandez-Feliciano.

Cristina Castaner-Ponce Enrile [ Mrs. Juan Ponce Enrile ].

Edith Nakpil-Rabat.

Fe Sarmiento-Panlilio [ Mrs. Jose Panlilio ].

Angelina “Chona” Lazatin Mejia-Lopez.

Maria Victoria “Minnie” de la Rama Osmena.

Maria Regina “Regi” Lopez Araneta-Teodoro [ Mrs. Enrique Teodoro Jr. ]

Amparito Llamas-Lhuillier [ Mrs. Michel Lhuillier ].

Gemma Guerrero Cruz-Araneta.

Isabel Arrastia Preysler.

Cristina Valdes.

Gloria Diaz.

Toni Serrano-Parsons.

Maria Victoria “Marivic” Madrigal Vazquez.

Margarita “Margie” Moran-Floirendo [ Mrs. Antonio Floirendo Jr. ].

Maria Cristina “Maricris” Cardenas-Zobel [ Mrs. Inigo Zobel ].

Rose Anne Cu-Unjieng de Pampelonne.

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[ *The list is restricted to the ladies of the “de buena familia.” ]

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