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*

The Culmination

Of course, it will never happen again (not in that way, at least), but oh, the memories…  the memories!!!

As dozens and dozens of us jocose, loquacious, costumed (not to mention bejeweled) guests were walking from the cafe pavilion towards the big pavilion in the moonlight, by the river, lit by torches, I told myself:  “This is one of the magical evenings of your life, Toto, savor it for all its worth…”  And indeed, it was magical:  under the moonlight and the fiery torches, one could still see the sea of shimmering silks of brilliant colors, embroidery, appliquees, sequins, and the glittering gems, both genuine and faux, of this happy and privileged troupe come to honor their good friend and to enjoy the lavish feast of the senses he had laid out for them.

There was something in the air that evening:  some kind of indefinable happiness, joy, and insouciance which permeated everyone and everything.  Yes, the insouciance was infectious.  We were all carefree that evening, free from all problems and inhibitions, merriment was the order of the night.  For that one moonlit evening, Ado’s “1,000 most intimate friends” were not their usual selves:  NOT taipans, taitais, dons, donas, big businessmen, big businesswomen, real estate developers, shipping titans, logistics moguls, ambassadors, diplomats, senators, congressmen, mayors, technocrats, bankers, financiers, architects, jewellers, interior designers, fashion designers, antique dealers, chefs, photographers, writers, gourmets, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, etc..  All were just well-wishing party guests out for a great time.  We were laughing at ourselves, amazed at how we managed to dress in those splendid, even outlandish costumes.  The ladies mock-blamed Ado:  “My goodness!  Only Ado can get us to do these crazy things!” while adjusting their headdresses, checking their jewelry — earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, & anklets, and inspecting their shoes.  The gentlemen preened like peacocks, pleased with their handsome appearances and opulent garb, and chuckled among themselves.

Oh yes, in Manila, there are parties and there are parties.  But even heedless Php millions spent, a top hotel ballroom in its entirety, Php 10,000/pax dinners, endless French grand cru wines and champagne, top live bands, an AAA guest list clad in Brioni and Chanel with suitably well-dressed yayas carrying their “it bags,” shod in G.J. Cleverley & Blahniks, and arriving in the latest Benzes & Bimmers, top party planners, Crane invitations, gold and diamond jewelry and Cristal Baccarat giveaways, do not necessarily a great/fantastic party make.  I have observed that firsthand.  In fact, I’ve witnessed, shellshocked, several such parties fall flat for some really unusual and weird reasons.  But Ado Escudero’s 80th bash,  for all its amusing, charming, and bewildering hiccups, had that all-too-elusive MAGICAL SPARK which will forever distinguish it as one of the greatest fetes every held in the Philippines.

And it was not an entirely A-List party, not at all.  Ado himself was very clear about that from the start and was the first to declare it candidly.  He knew it would not sit well with the several society/sassiety rags covering his bash — the usual spiel “Who are all these people???!!!” — but he didn’t care.  He wanted his many, many friends, a thousand of them to be specific, at his 80th milestone celebration, regardless of economic and social stature, indeed all sublevels of class A, B, & C were present, although of course there were many of Ado’s truly affluent peers present.  Truly, he is au courante:  politically correct and in tune with the times.  It is also why his party, despite the seeming opulence and lavishness of it all, has not merited the usual media brickbats of conspicuous consumption and social insensitivity from socialist/leftist critics and commentators.  Bal populaire it certainly was not, but yes, Juan & Juana de la Cruz, a great many of them, were present at their Ka Ado Escudero’s grand 80th celebration, and they enjoyed it to the same degree — got all dressed up, ate a lot, danced merrily, and had a whale of a time — like everybody else.

I belonged to the Morocco contingent of heiress Maria Victoria “Marivic” Madrigal Vazquez (a granddaughter of Vicente Madrigal, one of the Philippines’ richest men of all time), so I had to line up with them.  Her merry troupe included socialite Patty Johnson-Jalbuena, Lipa City Colleges owner and VP Glecy Mojares, Hermes & Bulgari Manila exec Nympha Javier-Valencia, senior journalist Ethel Soliven-Timbol, designer Raul Luancing, and several others.  My dear friend, top costume designer Eric Pineda, dressed fantastically as Jadis, the Ice Witch from Narnia, complete with LED lights, joined the troupe.  I was dressed by Eric Pineda and bejeweled by top couture jewelry designer Gerry Sunga, another dear friend, as “Suleiman the Magnificent,” Emperor of the Ottoman empire (Turkish actually, but then everybody was a delightful mishmash anyway).  It was a splendid costume which drew rave reviews from practically everyone present.  Before the Morocco contingent was the Bali one with heritage advocate Cora Relova and thespian Tony Marino;  after Morocco was the Hawaii contingent with leading publisher Gus Vibal and his friends.

“Yaya!  Where’s my mirror?”

“You look faaabulous, darling!”

“I’m hungry…  I’ll eat anything…  Anything!”

“You eat one bite and your costume will pop open!”

“Ferdie (driver), go to the car and get my hopia!”

“Ha ha ha!  While you were having your make-up done earlier, Bobby & I went back here and had cocktails.  We’re OK!”

“You know, I already gained weight since I had my costume made!  The waist is tight!  Argh!”

“What do you expect?  You keep on eating out!”

“I couldn’t decide on what sari to wear… and what jewelry to wear…  pink diamonds with the blue sari, or blue sapphires with the pink sari?  yellow diamonds with the green, or emeralds with the red?  Or rubies?  I feel underdressed…  You all look so fantastic!”

“I don’t know about you but I’m wearing all fake!  I don’t care if anything falls while I’m drunk!”

“Mrs. Marcos is here!”

“Is Eden Volante with her?”

“Ay!  My heels!”

“I told you to wear your wedgies, but you wouldn’t listen.”

“Oh dear, my make-up’s already running… help me to retouch!”

“Mygawd!  You have the whole Rustan’s beauty section in your bag!”

“Oh no, this bag goes after the retouch, I don’t want to have to lug it around.  Yaya!  Carry this bag after I finish, OK?  And be careful!”

“Hi Gorgeous Guy!  How about dancing with me tonight?”

“How about something more than just dancing tonight, Gorgeous Girl?!”

“What about me, Gorgeous Guy???  I’m Gorgeous Gay!!!”

“Well, OK, you too…”

LOLOLOL

We all stood on the wooden bridge leading to the big pavilion awaiting our turn to be presented when fireworks announced the forthcoming arrival from upstream of Ado in his 2-storey pagoda escorted by other boats with pyrotechnics and performers.  It was a sight to be remembered by his guests for all time…

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

It was Conrado “Ado” Escudero’s 80th birthday and he finally held his long-promised, and equally long-awaited Oriental ball, “The Carnival of the Four Continents.”  It was a celebration he had anticipated since he was 70, 10 years ago…

It was the culmination, the highest point of Ado Escudero’s very giving and very social life.  But certainly not the end.

Far from it.

*unfinished*

Comedy relief: Instagone!

Because her US-based nephew was in town for 2 weeks for his niece’s beach wedding in Boracay island, Parsimonious Auntie had invited her nephews and nieces for lunch ( siomai (( from “Forbes” notwithstanding )), what else???!!! ) at her Grey Gardens-style home in gated Makati ( remember the movie “Grey Gardens” from 2009 starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange? ).  One could hardly move with the palimpsest of possessions, of great worth and the worthless, since PA at her advanced age could no longer make distinctions ( not that she ever did ).  There were beautiful paintings ( Fernando Amorsolo magsasakas & lavanderas, Anita Magsaysay-Ho tinderas & chismosas, Romeo Enriquez portraits of the family trolls ), furniture ( enough original Batangas mesas altar to make the top collectors swoon ), and objects ( silver “paliteras” toothpick holders and “buyeras” betel nut & cigar trays from several roots of the tree, Ch’ing dynasty rose, vert, & jaune vases, etc. ), juxtaposed with PA’s latest finds from the 168 mall in Divisoria, “Wellmanson”s” & “Sophie’s” in Quiapo, & the Greenhills “Tiangge,” but they were all coated with what seemed like a year of dust, despite the presence of several household help, who had once complained to their mistress that she had too many things for them to clean, to which she replied matter-of-factly:  “Mayaman ako.  Kaya marami akong gamit.  Wala tayong magagawa tungkol do’n.”  ( “I’m rich.  That’s why I have so many things.  There’s nothing we can do about that.” )

The house looked frozen in time…  A beautiful niece, married to a superrich Asian businessman, was fascinated with already-“antique” perfume bottles ( perfume, not EDT eau de toilette ) in a vitrine in Parsimonious Auntie’s master bedroom, the lot of them from the 1950s, mostly from PA’s mother-in-law, Lola Bruja Mahjongera.  What fascinated her the most were 2 bottles, 1 big and 1 small, sporting capes and headdresses.  She had seen them in that cabinet since she was a small girl in the late 1950s.         

The nephews and nieces ( all adults, very well-off, with their own families ) snickered among themselves when they came upon their aunt’s big framed family photo from the late 1970s by a society photographer hanging in the stairwell.  Something was different in the family pic… 

Parsimonious Auntie had roundly cut out her former daughter-in-law’s face and replaced it with the one of the new daughter-in-law, whose photo however, was of a different proportion ( not to mention a different era ) to the former daughter-in-law’s body, making her look like an alien…  It looked “beyond ridiculous.”

Observations between the cousins were exchanged in hushed tones…

“Cutting ***** off and putting ***** like that…  so funny!”  observed a senior nephew. 

“Why didn’t she have that done professionally?  It looks awful!”  asked a kind niece.

“Ssshhh…  She’s proud that she did it herself!  DIY!”  an acerb niece warned.

“Hah???  She did it herself???!!!”  they all asked, incredulous.

“Do you honestly think she’ll pay for Adobe Photoshop services by a pro???!!!” the acerb niece retorted.  They all kept quiet.     

A witty techie nephew pointed at the family photo and quipped the best line:  “BUT HEY…  THAT’S THE ORIGINAL ‘CUT & PASTE’ !!!”

( “Best Face” by Android??? )

Bwahahahahah!!!   😀   😀   😀

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.

Musings: on “gilded lives”

“Oh-my-God.”  is all I can utter as my jaws drop to the ground…

Close friends tell me their life stories and I wonder why their considerable individual fortunes have not spared or even shielded them from life’s vicissitudes, or frankly, misfortunes of every shape, size, and impact…

How nice to wake up in 1,000 thread count French sheets;  to groom up in an entirely German bathroom;  to dress in beautiful European clothes, and shoes, and bags;  to have a delicious breakfast with family on china, silver, and linen, served by several household staff;  to go to work driven in one of your 12 luxury vehicles steered by one of your longtime, loyal drivers;  to hold your primary office in a prestigious corporate address;  to lunch with your business partners at the current best restos;  to dine elegantly in your friends’ equally beautiful houses with their similarly impressive art collections;  to travel abroad comfortably,  always B.C., with the better airlines and and to stay in the better hotels;  to live better than 99.99999 % of all people in the planet…

Or is it???

How nice to be rich, whatever that means…

But very much like the average Juan de la Cruz and the regular Joes of the world, they are, incredibly enough, struck down by everyday frustrations, personal and professional failures, personal and corporate bankruptcies, separations and divorces, family feuds, loneliness and unhappiness, unusual health issues, chronic and terminal diseases, and ultimately, even death.

Perhaps that is why it’s termed as a “gilded” life, not a “gold” life…  it’s only a thin, really thin, veneer of gold on the outside…  even if it’s “fire-gilded” or “dorado de fuego”…

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.” ]

The most beautiful Filipina ladies of their times

“Mirror, mirror on the wall…  Who are the fairest Filipinas of all???”

The Power of Beauty…

These are the most beautiful Filipinas as acknowledged by their social peers…

Pura Garcia Villanueva-Kalaw.

Guia Gonzalez Balmori.

Josephine “Nene” Beley Murphy-Cojuangco [ Mrs. Eduardo Cojuangco Sr. ].

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

Maria Aurora “Baby” Aragon Quezon [ Mrs. Manuel Quezon ].

Susan Magalona.

Natividad Osorio-Aguinaldo.

Emma Benitez-Araneta-Valeriano.

Ruby de Leon Roxas-Roxas.

Rosario “Charing” Locsin Soriano-Lopez [ Mrs. Eduardo Lopez ].

Celine Lacson-Heras.

Imelda Trinidad Romualdez-Marcos [ Mrs. Ferdinand Marcos ].

Maria Soledad “Gretchen” Oppen-Cojuangco [ Mrs. Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. ].

Aurora “Rory” Murphy Cojuangco-Lagdameo [ Mrs. Ernesto Lagdameo ].

Mercedes “Mercy” Reinares Arrastia-Tuason.

Ingrid Sala-Santamaria.

Sylvia Younge Montemayor-de Leon.

Amy Gustilo-Lopez.

Diana Jean Barnes Lopez.

Rosemarie Gil.

Margarita “Tingting” de los Reyes-Cojuangco [ Mrs. Jose Cojuangco Jr. ].

Angelina “Chona” Lazatin Mejia-Lopez.

Violeta “Viol” Delgado-Cojuangco.

Margarita “Maita” Favis Gomez.

Gemma Guerrero Cruz-Araneta.

Isabel Arrastia Preysler.

Gloria Diaz.

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

Claudia Lopez Bermudez.

Cherie Gil.

Monica “Nikki” Lopez Prieto-Teodoro [ Mrs. Gilberto Teodoro Jr. ].

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

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