The Families of Intellectual Tradition

Brains, brains, and more brains…



ALZONA [Binan, Laguna and Taft avenue, Manila].

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 [R. Hidalgo street, Manila].

Atty. Gregorio Soriano Araneta.

Atty. Salvador Zaragoza Araneta.

Luis Ma. Zaragoza Araneta.

BAUTISTA Y LIN [Santa Cruz, Manila].

Ariston Bautista y Lin.

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

Atty Higinio Benitez.

Conrado F. Benitez.

Dr. Helena Zoila Tirona Benitez.

Purissima Helena “Petty” Benitez-Johannot.



Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Mike Defensor.


Jose W. Diokno.


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

Atty. Jose Sioco Escaler.

Ernesto Ocampo Escaler.

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

FABELLA.  JRU Jose Rizal University.

Dr. Armand Fabella.

FLORENTINO [Vigan, Ilocos Sur].

Leona Florentino.


Manuel Gallego.

GONZALEZ [ Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga and Ermita, Manila].

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.

Rev Fr Gabriel Tancinco Gonzalez SJ.  ADMU Ateneo de Manila University Board of Trustees.  Ateneo de Naga.  Xavier University.  Grandson of the Vienna-trained Dr Jesus Lope Sioco Gonzalez.

GUERRERO [Ermita, Manila].

Lorenzo Guerrero.  Painter.

Leon Ma Guerrero I.

Bishop Cesar Ma Rodriguez Guerrero [1885-1961].  Renowned in the Filipino Roman Catholic church hierarchy as a saintly man.

Dr Alfredo Ma Guerrero [married Filomena Francisco].

Ambassador [Atty] Leon Ma “Leony” Francisco Guerrero II.  He was the Attorney-General during the notorious Julio Nalundasan murder case involving the young Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

Carmen Maria “Chitang” Francisco Guerrero-Cruz-Nakpil.  Famous writer, wit, journalist, and social doyenne.

Gemma Guerrero Cruz.  Miss International 1965.  Famous art and heritage advocate.

Enriqueta Ana Filomena Lisa Guerrero Nakpil.  Famous writer, wit, art historian, art curator, gallerist.

Fernando Ma Guerrero.  Poet, journalist.

Wilfrido Ma Guerrero.  Playwright.


KALAW [Lipa, Batangas].

Teodoro Kalaw Sr..

LAUREL [Batangas].

LAVA [Bulacan].

Dr. Jesus Lava.

LEDESMA [Jaro, Iloilo].

Carlos Ledesma Ledesma.

Zafiro Ledesma.

LEGARDA [R Hidalgo street, Manila].

Benito Cosme Tuason Legarda.

Dr Alejandro Roces Legarda.

Dr. Benito Fernandez Legarda.

Atty Katrina Legarda.


Teodoro Locsin.

Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin.

Leandro V. Locsin.

Cecilia Araneta Yulo-Locsin.


Eugenio “Ening” Hofilena Lopez Sr.

Victoria “Vic” Ledesma Lopez-Araneta.

MANAHAN [Binan, Laguna and Manila].

Juan Manahan.

Dr. Constantino Perez-Canon Manahan.

Juan Ledesma Manahan.

Dr. Antonio Perez-Canon Manahan.

Dr Martin “Martin” Pedrosa Manahan.

Maria Luisa “Didi” Pedrosa Manahan-Layug.

Dr Maria Regina “Regina” Pedrosa Manahan.

Atty Antonio “Tonico” Pedrosa Manahan.

MARCOS [Batac, Ilocos Norte].

Dr Pacifico Edralin Marcos.

President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.

Maria Imelda “Imee” Romualdez Marcos.

Ferdinand “Bong”/”Bongbong”/”Bonget” Romualdez Marcos.

Irene “Irene” Romualdez Marcos-Araneta.


Paz Marquez-Benitez.

MASTURA [Mindanao].


Senator Ruperto Montinola.

Aurelio “Aureling” Javellana Montinola Jr..

Aurelio “GG” Reyes Montinola III.

NAKPIL [Barbosa street, Quiapo, Manila].

Julio Nakpil.

Arch. Juan de Jesus Nakpil.

Arch. Angel Ernesto Sancho Nakpil.

Dr. Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita.

ONGPIN [Binondo, Manila].

Roman Tanbensiang Ongpin.

Alfonso Ongpin.

Roberto Velayo Ongpin.

Jaime Velayo Ongpin.

Cynthia Velayo Ongpin-Valdes.

Deanna Velayo Ongpin-Recto.

Maribel V Ongpin.

Rafael “Apa” V Ongpin.

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

Justice Sabino “Bino” Bibby Padilla.

Senator Ambrosio “Brosi” Bibby Padilla.

Justice Teodoro “Teddy” de los Reyes Padilla.

Atty. Sabino “Binoy” Belling Padilla.

Atty. Eduardo “Eddie” Padilla Lizares.

Nicanor Narciso Damaso “Danny” 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 [Intramuros, Binondo, and Santa Cruz, Manila].

Joaquin 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 [Binondo and Santa Cruz, Manila].

Maximino Molo Agustin Paterno.

Pedro Alejandro Molo Paterno.

Dr Maximino Devera Ignacio Paterno.

Vicente Tirona Paterno.

Simon Roces Paterno.

PEDROSA [Leyte].

Secretary Pio Pedrosa.


Vice-President Emmanuel Pelaez.

PONCE-ENRILE [Baliuag, Bulacan].

Atty. Alfonso Ponce-Enrile.

Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile.

QUIASON [San Fernando and Angeles, Pampanga].

Justice Camilo Danganan Quiason.

Dr. Serafin Danganan Quiason.

Atty. Enrique “Eric” Imamura Quiason.

REYES [Trozo, Manila].  FEU Far Eastern University.

Nicanor Reyes.

Dr. Lourdes Reyes-Montinola.

RIZAL-MERCADO [Calamba and Binan, Laguna].

Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

ROCES [Binondo, Manila].

Joaquin “Chino” Roces.

Alejandro “Anding” Reyes Roces.

Alfredo “Ding” Roces.



Rafael Salas.

SYCIP [Binondo, Manila].

Washington Sycip.


TEEHANKEE [Binondo, Manila].

Justice Claudio Teehankee.

Atty. Manuel “Dondi” Teehankee.

Dean Julio “July” Teehankee.

Dean Ben Teehankee.

TEODORO [Marikina].

Gilberto “Bert” Teodoro Sr..

Gilberto “Gibo” Cojuangco Teodoro Jr.


Francisca Tirona-Benitez.


Bernardo “Bernie” Villegas.

Ramon Nazareth Villegas.

VIRATA [Imus, Cavite].

Leonides Sarao Virata.

Cesar Aguinaldo Virata.

Luis Juan Lammoglia Virata.


Jose Rafael “Joe” Rico McMicking.


Alfonso Yuchengco.

Helen Yuchengco-Dee.

Yvonne Yuchengco.

Vicencia “Vic” Yuchengco.

Mary Constance “Connie” Yuchengco-Gonzalez.

Vivian Yuchengco.

ZOBEL DE AYALA [Intramuros, Binondo, San Miguel, and Ermita, Manila].

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.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala [Jaime Zobel de Ayala Pfitz].

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala [Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala Miranda].

Fernando Zobel de Ayala [Fernando Zobel de Ayala Miranda].








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.

Lunch out

Not only the good food, and the scintillating company, but the cool air, the trees, plants, flowers, and the colorful “koi” fishes in the various ponds that make dining at practically everyone’s favorite resto in distant Tagaytay, no matter how frequent, so pleasant…

Shine on, Silver Moon!

Bette Davies once quipped:  “Old age is no place for sissies.”

She was right.

So this is what it’s like to get old…

Holy Week 2012 reflections

At the start of Holy Week 2012, I decided that I would visit two people very dear to me:  73 year old fellow aesthete “Cong Albert” Albert Salgado Paloma [ cousin of my Gonzalez-Salgado cousins ] and my great grandaunt, nearly 102 years old “Imang Bets” Beatriz Tiamson Rodriguez [ Rodriguez first cousin of my paternal great grandmother Florencia Rodriguez Sioco-Gonzalez, o 1860 – + 1925 ], both living in San Fernando, Pampanga…


Cong Albert was in great spirits despite his kidney ailment.  His kidney treatment actually allowed him to eat anything, so we shared a luxurious “Bacalao ala Vizcaina” and a decadent “Lamb Shank Caldereta,” both unforgettably delicious.  Bishop Socrates “Soc” Villegas in Dagupan, a good friend and client of his, had just sent him a bag of king prawns, so he was thinking of making a nice “Sinigang”…

Illness had barely dampened Cong Albert’s spirits and he was his usual acerb, comic self.  We talked about the latest goings-on of our relatives and friends and as always, it made for very interesting conversation.


Dear ol’ Imang Bets was seated upright on her bed, propped up on several pillows.  There was a lunchtime variety show on the TV, but she was looking blankly into space, muttering prayers.  I introduced myself, greeted her, and she took both my hands and kissed them.  But she could no longer recognize me.  It was alright, it was enough that I was with her.  There were some dark marks on her arms and legs;  Her assistant Charing explained that she got them during a bad fall some months ago and they had not recovered [ but what can one expect at + 100 years old? ].  Imang Bets told me that “Apung Misericordia” was in the house with her [ an antique wooden image of the Crucified Christ that was the center of Rodriguez family devotion for generations ].  She kept repeating a prayer that sounded like “Dear Jesus, forgive us our sins…”  Charing apologized that there was no big “ensaimada” nor my favorite “mamon tostado” in stock, which they usually served for “merienda” during my visits.  But it was enough, it was really enough, that I was there with dearest Imang Bets for a while.


Cong Albert and Imang Bets.  Two people who make my world rock.  45 years have taught me not to take anyone or anything for granted.  Because one day…


In the late afternoon, I stayed in the family burial ground for over an hour, seated on a prewar, precast bench, looking with deep affection at the gravestones and remembering all the people I had loved, and lost, to something we all call “eternity” which is something none of us fully understand…

What “Merry Christmas!”???

Christmas 2011 comes at a difficult time, particularly for us Filipinos, and even for our own family.

Tonight, during the traditional 10:00 p.m. Christmas Vigil Mass at our parish church, and before “Noche Buena” at our parents’ home, I will say a silent prayer of thanksgiving to God for all the many blessings throughout the troubled year that was 2011.  And I will also thank him for allowing me and our family to survive it all with grace, chutzpah, and even laughter.  I end the year 2011 practically bedraggled, beset by all kinds of health problems, career delays and blocks, financial issues, looming dilemmas, etc. [ and even uberrich friends tell me they’re in the same boat…?  😛 ].  I still have the wherewithal but I’m not getting anywhere.  In short, I’m a total mess.  I don’t know if it has something to do with my being a second-decanate Capricorn with the ascendant and the Moon in Virgo, or being a Fire Horse.  The rest of the family have it better, material resources intact as well, but I know that they too are just trying to get on as best as they can.

Inflation is unbelievable.  I might as well live in New York, Paris, or London with these increasingly First World prices!  One now needs 3X the money to live the life he has, posh, average, or poor.  What one could buy for Php 10,000 you now need Php 30,000, for Php 100,000 you now need Php 300,000, for Php 1,000,000 you now need Php 3,000,000 and so forth and so on.  I used to think that friends were bragging when they mentioned their staggering grocery bills at “Rustan’s” or “S & R,” but to my shock I’m not far off anymore…

There were just too many illnesses and deaths in our family and among our friends.  Sally d.G., one of our comptrollers, developed cervical cancer.  Former Supreme Court Justice Tito Camilo Q. [ maternal first cousin of my mother ] almost went blind.  Tito Fras Quiason Reyes [ brother of my mother ], Tito Manoling Quiason Yap [ maternal first cousin of my mother ], Tita Sonia Callanta-Yap [ wife of Tito Garding, maternal first cousin of my mother ], Uncle Jack Davis Horrigan [ husband of Tita Martha, sister of my mother ] passed away in rapid succession from stroke, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and heart attack from 01 September – 05 October.  Tito Josel Y. [ maternal first cousin of my mother ] developed prostate cancer but is in good spirits.  Tita Ising V. [ mother of my good friend Marivic V. ] is fading off to Neverland.  Tito Joe S. [ brother-in-law of my good friend Tita Regina A.-T. ] finally passed away after 2 years in the ICU of Makati Med just when Tita Carminia was excitedly getting ready for their 60th wedding anniversary.  Tito Tony M. [ husband of my good friend Tita Nening P.-M. and father of my LSGH GS classmate Tonico M. ] has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and is at Makati Med;  Tita Nening and family have decided to simply keep him comfortable to the last.  Just before Christmas, Richie & Giging G. [ Giging is a good friend, a maternal first cousin of Johnny L., married to my cousin Rose R. ] lost their eldest son Javy in the wink of an eye to a massive heart attack.  OhmyGod.  [ I myself do not feel well:  I am checking into Saint Luke’s after New Year’s day for 3 days of medical tests ].

On a perfectly sunny afternoon in early October following typhoons “Pedring” & “Quiel,” dam officials and managers let loose “excess” water from the Ipo, Angat, and Bustos dams [ without any kind of notification to the affected residents whatsoever;  what were they thinking??? ] which forthwith flooded Calumpit, Bulacan and portions of our hometown of Apalit, Pampanga, our ancestral barrios of Sulipan and Capalangan among them.  There was so much damage to property that wasn’t really reported by the newspapers.  What do you tell people whose only possessions in life are a small TV, small refrigerator, a single gas burner stove, an electric fan, and a sleeping mat… or even less???  How would you feel if you were them?!

With the onset of the 9-day “Simbang Gabi,” typhoon “Sendong” came blowing over Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in northwestern Mindanao setting off unbelievable, disaster epic-type floods which caused the deaths of an estimated 3,000 people.  It was a major, major tragedy.  The whole nation is in shock.

And if all that was not enough, many businessmen have noticed that this year’s Christmas sales, like last year’s, as well as their annual 2010 & 2011 sales, are falling below the prosperous figures they had during the Arroyo presidency 2000-2010.  An economic slowdown is already happening…

It is true what Roman Catholic priests say that if you base your celebration of Christmas — the birth of Jesus Christ — on material things, you are missing the point, as well as the fact that if you focus solely on those things without God’s guidance and blessings, you will never have enough to live the life of your dreams and ambitions anyway.  Great “food for thought”…

Nonetheless, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012, Everyone!!!

Toto Gonzalez   🙂

Birthday boy & girls

We gathered last night for dinner at “El Cirkulo,” not for the usual weekly lunch, to celebrate Jackie’s, Pinky’s, and Joe Mari’s October birthdays.  There were Nening, Marivic, Rica, Salie, Jiji, Mary, and I.

The food is always good, if not great, at Chef Jay Gamboa’s “El Cirkulo.”  And the service is good too [ a rarity in this city ].  We had an array of “tapas,” platefuls of them.  For the mains, Marivic had ordered “Slow Roasted U.S. Beef Belly,” “Slow Roasted Lamb,” and the veggie delight “Paella Montana.”  Matched with a very good Miguel Torres red, it all made for a lovely meal.

Rica gingerly pointed to the deadly “chicharon” in front of us and I made an incredulous face.  “You like that???”  “Gawd, that’s dangerous!  But I’ll eat it anyhow… hahahah…”  my lips smacking.

I related:  “You people have an idea of how ‘chicharon’ is usually the ‘last meal’ of so many ER cases???!!!  That’s according to the doctors at Makati Med and Saint Luke’s!!!”  The group laughed.

Marivic had brought a light chocolate birthday cake for our 3 merry celebrants.  She had sent her secretary on a wild goose chase to scour Makati for the perfect birthday cake.  “It was the only cake shop that would write all their names right there and then!  See… there’s Jackie, and Pinky, and Joe Mari!”   “We should have gotten from Marta, but you have to order the cake way ahead for them to write down names…”

The buzz was still about the successful “Angels & Monsters” auction of rare Filipino art and antiques by Boy V. at the LaO’ Center last 27 September, Tuesday, which I missed because of a business meeting but which Marivic and Joe Mari were able to attend [ although I had seen and studied everything the late afternoon before along with the gang — Paul & Co. — just as the items had been installed for exhibition ].  The great thing about the “Angels & Monsters” selection was that it consisted of Filipino art and antiques of such high quality and rarity that had not been seen en masse in some 20 years;  several of the items came from a major collector [ a sugar trader originally from Malabon ] with exquisite taste and the most exacting standards;  thus the major collectors and the Manila antique world were agog.  It was the usual crowd of “Cote de LaO’ ” — Boy V., Omeng, Kit, Tony M., Paul and Hetty, Renee, Stanley and Abbie, Joe Mari, Randy, et. al. joined by several “invisible” buyers — and it was a lot of fun, as always.

“Sold!!!”  enthused Marivic.

“Toto, even the 3 ‘blandon’ [ large silver candlestand(s);  1800s ] sold, for youknowwhat…”  Joe Mari related.

“Well, who do you think it was?”  I asked.

“Wouldn’t it be Stephen Z.?”  I speculated.

“Not Butch and Ollie?”

“Not Butch and Ollie.  Only art for them — Asian art — their furnishings are totally modern.”  Marivic recalled.

“Manoling and Rose?”  guessed Joe Mari.

“But they don’t need to buy anything… They already have the most gorgeous things…”  I opined.

“Unbelievable…”  I shook my head in delighted disbelief.

Characteristically, the group was already making plans for the annual Christmas party.  At Mary’s in Dasma.  Theme:  Spanish.  Marivic took charge of the food assignments.  “I make very good ‘rabo de toro’!”  Nening said, and we all agreed.

“Your ‘galantina de pollo,’ Toto!”

“But our ‘galantina de pollo,’ although good, is not pure Spanish.  It’s French-Spanish-Pampango…”  I protested.

“Never mind, it’s good!”  Marivic declared.  “I’m going to make sure the paella is goooood!!!  Last time we ordered, it was…”  she shuddered.


“Relleno de pollo then?”  someone chimed.  “Ay, that’s so ‘plebe’… all those raisins!”  I countered.

As usual, I got assigned the desserts.  Rica blurted:  “What if I brought [ your ] ‘Tarta Madrid’???!!!  Hahahah!!!”

Then the inevitable line of veteran party planners came up:  “Why don’t we just have it catered and spare ourselves all the trouble???”  Hahahah!!!

“What happened to our tours???  Our travel plans?”

“Batanes in January.  Because Gigi said so.  Gigi L. not Jiji S..  She said:  ‘I’m sick and tired of those Pampanga and Laguna tours!!!  I want something more exciting…  Let’s go to Batanes!!!’ ”  I related.

“We’re also going to Iloilo and Bacolod in February.  Joe Mari will help us with Iloilo;  Adjie and Nena in Bacolod.”  I continued.

“What’s next?  Shanghai?”

“There’s the Bangkok Jewelry Fair in January…”

After dinner, Chef Jay’s sister Malu Gamboa greeted the group charmingly and inquired about our dinner, which we all replied had been very good.  “I really admire the way their family manages their restaurants.”  I commented.

“They’re very hands-on.”  agreed Marivic.

And there was the inevitable social responsibility / philanthropic dimension to the dinner…  Rising from her seat, Nening declared:  “Girls!  We’re going to the Santo Domingo church in Quezon city next Friday, 21 October, 2:00 in the afternoon.  We’re visiting Our Lady of the Rosary “La Naval de Manila.”  And they’re making many improvements in the church.  We’re going to see where we can help out.  Game???  Who’s going?”

And just like that, even with Roman Catholicism just a tad unfashionable in Manila these days [ except in the ranks of the affluent and powerful Opus Dei ], swamped as it is with all sorts of extremely fashionable Christian fundamentalists in Hermes and Ferragamo…

“I’m going!”


“Count me in!”

“See you there!”

By themselves, those positive responses were already miracles…  what with everybody’s “donor fatigue”…

Leaving the place, it was so nice to bump into the coterie of Jimmy & Connie, Vivian, Jenny, Sonny & Bal at the lobby as they had had dinner at “Tsukiji.”

All the right food at the right place with all the right people.   🙂   🙂   🙂

“Pinag de Candaba 2011”

One of the worst things we learned from America is that one can actually manipulate Nature for man’s benefit.  Well, we can now add it to the list of America’s alarmingly increasing ills.  After all, it was the Americans who had the bright [ and really stupid, in my thinking ] idea of ruining the magnificent beaches of Manila Bay [ just think of how Manila could have been the Asian counterpart of the French Riviera!!! ], filling them in to construct a nondescript road which they called “Dewey boulevard”…

But one should not fight Nature.

It happened with typhoon “Milenyo.”  It happened with typhoon “Ondoy.”  And it happened again with typhoon “Pedring.”  And it will happen again and again…

Centuries ago, the Central Luzon plains were occupied by a great body of water, the “Pinag de Candaba.”  And one of the settlements on its perimeter was the forerunner of the town of Calumpit.

The perimeter of the great lake was dotted with the pre-Hispanic settlements of the present-day towns of Calumpit, Pulilan, Plaridel [ Quingua ], Baliuag, and San Miguel de Mayumo in Bulacan;  San Isidro and Cabiao in Nueva Ecija;  Arayat, Candaba, Santa Ana, Mexico, San Simon, and Apalit, Pampanga.

Various historical articles relate that up to the 1930s, there was a considerable body of water where the Candaba swamp is located now.

So up to the present day, every time rainfall water accumulates, the “Pinag de Candaba” reclaims its natural, ages-old boundaries…

One shouldn’t fight Nature.  One should learn to live with its natural rhythms.

In fact, one should just build floating houses…  silly as it sounds…

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 “Ting” Ongsiako de los Reyes-Phillips.

“Conching” Chuidian Sunico.

Monina Acuna.

Mercedes “Chedeng” Alba Lopez-Araneta [ Mrs. Jose Zaragoza Araneta ]

Victoria “Vic” Ledesma Lopez-Araneta [ Mrs. Salvador Zaragoza Araneta ].

Angela Olgado-Zobel [ Mrs. Jacobo Roxas Zobel ].

Mercedes Roxas Zobel-McMicking [ Mrs. Joseph McMicking ].

Virginia Llamas-Romulo [ Mrs. Carlos Romulo ].

Carmen Planas.

Lourdes “Lourding” de la Rama Alunan.

Charito Moreno.

Telly Albert-Zulueta.

Clarita Tankiang.

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

Lourdes Luciano-Ocampo [ Mrs. Fernando Hizon 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 Walfrido Rafols Gonzalez].

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

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

Josefina “Pitang” Angeles Buyson-Eusebio.

Adelina Inez “Nelly” Montilla Montilla-Paterno-Lovina [Mrs Ramon Zamora Paterno;  Mrs Primitivo Lovina].

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

Carmen “Chitang” Guerrero-Cruz-Nakpil [ Mrs. Ismael Arguelles Cruz;  Mrs. Angel Ernesto Sancho 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 de la Paz Ongsiako-Cojuangco [ Mrs. Ramon Uychuico Cojuangco ].

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

Priscilla “Chona” Silos Recto-Ysmael-Kasten [ Mrs. Johnny Ysmael;  Mrs. Hans Kasten ].

Mary Hernandez-Prieto [ Mrs. Leo Prieto ].

Joji Felix-Velarde.

Victoria “Vicky” Pfitz Zobel de Ayala – Vallejo-Nagera [Mrs Vallejo-Nagera].

Elvira Bermejo Ledesma-Manahan [ Mrs. Constantino Perez-Canon Manahan ].

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

Angeles “Nene” Tuason-Quimson.

Presentacion “Presy” Moreno Lopez-Psinakis.

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

Zita Bartolome Fernandez-Feliciano.

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

Edith Nakpil-Rabat.

Fe Lugue Sarmiento-Panlilio [ Mrs. Jose Lazatin Panlilio ].

Angelina “Chona” Lazatin Mejia-Lopez [Mrs Alberto Javellana Lopez].

Maria Victoria “Minnie” de la Rama Osmena.

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

Amparito Llamas-Lhuillier [ Mrs. Michel Jones Lhuillier ].

Gemma Guerrero Cruz-Araneta.

Isabel Arrastia Preysler.

Cristina Valdes.

Gloria Diaz.

Cynthia Serrano-Araneta [Mrs Benito Valdes Araneta].

Toni Serrano-Parsons.

Esperanza “Baby Girl” Dimayuga Baluyut-Fricke.

“Frannie” Osorio Aguinaldo-Jacinto [Mrs RJ Jacinto].

“Bettina” Mejia Lopez-Osmena [Mrs Sergio Osmena III].

Maria Victoria “Marivic” Madrigal Vazquez.

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

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

Rose Anne Cu-Unjieng de Pampelonne.

Margarita “Gaita” Araneta Fores.


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

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