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*

“Tirar la casa por la ventana”: The Filipino hosts and their entertaining

It would be his birthday and he had asked his 30 closest friends to come for “a little dinner.”  Because his parties are always such wonderful occasions, no one declined.  Since his place is outside the metro, he asked us to be there by 5.30pm.

Marivic and I decided to have a convoy, although I rode with her so we could chat during the long ride.  It was a Sunday afternoon, and traffic was mercifully light.  We left Makati at 2.30pm.  We arrived at 4.00pm, without really knowing that our invitation was for 5.30pm.  His numerous staff carried our things into the house.  We were assigned the big guest bedroom.  Marivic had brought her personal assistant Mary Jane to help her dress.  Our host was in his palazzo-style bathroom, he had just finished bathing and was getting dressed assisted by his valets.

Curious about the dinner party preparations, Marivic and I wandered around the vast “little house” and into the hotel-style kitchen where there was a flurry of activity.  The numberless, uniformed staff was busy and all over the place.  We met the new head chef of the family, a 40ish Filipino-American who had taken his culinary studies at Cornell, and had actually worked at Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry” at Yountville, at Alice Waters’ “Chez Panisse” in Berkeley, and other top restaurants.  He was very friendly and although very busy, he took the time to explain the dinner menu to us as well as offered samples of the exquisite hors d’ oeuvres that would be served during cocktails.  Marivic and I happily accepted our de facto merienda and nibbled away at the savories.

It was already a big kitchen by contemporary standards (indeed a commodious house unto itself), and it could hold long tables where the chefs could prepare dozens of plated dishes for multicourse dinners.  One side was entirely covered by antique cabinets filled with wonderful antique glassware and chinaware.   But I was surprised at the fact that it was still insufficient space for a sitdown dinner for 36 pax, service ala Russe.  Hence, the preparation area for the dinner with table after table extended to the back hallways and the service areas of the big “little house.”  I even accidentally bumped lightly into a table with several exquisite, antique crystal decanters which were to be used for the wines that evening;  good thing nothing was damaged.

The countless staff rushed to and fro.  Easily 200 of them.

I completely understood and enjoyed the complicated dinner party preparations (as long as I am not the one giving/hosting the fabulous dinner), and so did my good friend, who must have witnessed, hosted, and experienced much more as a heiress, a member of one of the country’s richest and most hallowed families.

“You can’t entertain like this without staff, more staff, and lots of staff!!!”  I commented.

“That’s true.”

We wandered into the dark and cool dining room, with its long mahogany table elaborately set for 36 pax.  36 place settings on a proper linen damask tablecloth with linen damask napkins, silver chargers, multiple silver flatware, and multiple crystal stemware.  The center of the table was occupied by big porcelain decorations adorned with fresh blooms, various French porcelain vases bearing fresh roses, and interesting carved candles.  Three crystal chandeliers lit the long room discreetly.  The dinner would be a French degustation, service ala Russe.  Naughtily and merrily, and rather improperly, we looked for our places at the table and looked at the place cards of who else would be there.  “Opap,”  “Johnny,”  “Manny,”  “Arnie,”  “Helen,”  “Cora,”  “Patis,”  “Tito,”  “Gop,”  “Snooky,”  “Tonying,”  “Ingrid,”  “Raul,”  “Reynaldo,” et al.  What fun!!!

We enjoyed watching the elaborate “backstage” dinner preparations as it reminded both of us of how our families entertained back in those days…  It was “deja vu”…

I imagined that it was quite like a “Le Grand Couvert” of Louis XIV at Versailles…  or a dinner at Baron James de Rothschild at his rue Lafite townhouse in Paris…  or a dinner at the van der Luydens’ for the Duke of Saint Austrey in Edith Wharton’s novel “Age of Innocence”…  It was a production on the scale of Cecil de Mille or Sergei Bondarchuk…

“No one does it like this anymore…”  Marivic said.

“Tita Chito…  Tito Luis!!!  Even Mommy.  Even when we were in the US.  But when we returned…  she had tired of entertaining like this.”  she continued.  (Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal-Vazquez-Collantes, Arch Luis Maria Zaragoza Araneta, Maria Luisa “Ising” Madrigal-Vazquez.)

I recalled:  “We don’t do it like this anymore.  But I enjoyed it for some 35 years.  We did during the lifetime of my Lola Charing and then during Bro Andrew’s heyday.   He passed away in early 2006, and even then no longer during his last years…

“But I’m sure you and your M cousins still do it this way…”  I conjectured.

“Not really.  Oh, there’s always a lot of good food.  Tables set with good plates, glasses, silver.  Buffet.”  Marivic related.

“It’s 2015.  I wonder if anybody has the time to plan, execute, and host these affairs…”  I mused.

“One can have these elegant dinners catered.  But the true luxury is in having everything in your own house (or houses, as the case may be):  great food and wine, a large and efficient household staff, many sets of French and English china, crystal, and silver.  Beautiful linens.  Suitable after-dinner entertainment.  Old master, modern, and contemporary paintings, antique and contemporary furniture, Eastern and European rugs, flowers from the garden.  The works…”  I thought aloud.

*unfinished*

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.”

Memory tidbit: Garden flowers

The searing heat of summer also brings back memories of childhood gardens, specially Lola Charing’s garden.  The garden of “Dona Charing” (Rosario Espiritu Arnedo-Gonzalez) was famous in the 40s, 50s, 60s, & 70s for its big American roses, in a city where even small roses did not thrive naturally.  During its heyday, a group of hardy gardeners kept that Eden in bloom rather expensively.  And we grandchildren had the run of the place, specially during the summers of the 60s & 70s.

*unfinished*

Memory tidbit: Immaculate Sorbet

Perhaps because of the searing heat these days, I remembered the traditional “Buco Lechias” sherbet which was made in a wood-and-steel “garapinera” churn with lots of rock salt outside (to keep cold?).  As far as I knew, it was made in every good Capampangan household.  In Lola Charing’s home, it was made by the mayordomo, Benito Nuqui or “Bito” for short.  “Bito” was modernized to “Bits” in the hip 60s.  LOL.

I was a preteen in the late 70s (born 1967).  Lola Charing had passed on in mid-1977 and my uncle Brother Andrew FSC of De La Salle University became the principal figure in the family.  Brother Andrew had the most luxurious and demanding gustatory tastes.  In one of those phases, he became obsessed with producing an excellent “Buco Lechias” sherbet.  He insisted that the “Buco Lechias” sherbet of his childhood (late 40s) at Lola Titay’s (the Arnedo ancestral house in  Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga) had the WHITEST lychee fruit flesh, not the pale pink ones in the cans currently available.  Of course, the flesh of the lychees in the “Buco Lechias” sherbet at the Arnedo house was white, because Lola Titay and her younger sister Lola Ines used only fresh lychees bought all the way in Binondo.  So he sent Bito to Binondo/Chinatown to look for the whitest lychee fruit flesh.  Well, what did he expect?  It was the Marcos years and there were tight import controls.  No whitest lychees.  Just cans and cans of lychees with pinkish fruit flesh.  Bito returned with the palest pink lychee fruit flesh.  No can do.  Bito was scolded.  Bito was sent back to Binondo/Chinatown and — nobody knew how he did it — but he returned with the whitest lychee fruit flesh!!!  Brother Andrew finally had his excellent “Buco Lechias” sherbet with the whitest lychee fruit flesh.  Brother Andrew was satisfied, at least for that Sunday.

I remembered that at Lola Charing’s house sherbet and ice cream were served on etched crystal stems on porcelain saucers for everyday.  During beautiful lunches and dinners, sherbets and ice cream appeared on chic, Art Deco Christofle footed bowls on Brussels lace doilies on matching Christofle saucers.  Of course, I know all about the metallic taste that silver imparts to food, but I’ll use beautiful silver anytime.

The sherbet/ice cream phase did not end there.  Brother Andrew wanted a “Calamansi” sherbet.  He wanted it tart and dry, something like lime mixed with champagne brut.  Not sweet at all (Brother Andrew intensely disliked sweetish food that was not meant to be sweet, like spaghetti).  Odd, but “Calamansi” tended to sweeten slightly in sherbet form.  No can do.  It took Bito several tries to produce that tart and dry “Calamansi” sherbet, but he did, even if he couldn’t tell the difference.  Brother Andrew was satisfied, at least for that Sunday.

Now in 2013, I wonder why it didn’t occur to Brother Andrew to have a “Dayap” sherbet, when in fact fragrant “dayap” lime (“dalayap” in Capampangan) was used extensively — on practically everything — in our Capampangan/Sulipan cooking?

The best version of “Buco Lechias” sherbet that I’ve had in recent years — exquisitely and expertly tinged with “dayap” lime rind with a hint of French cordial — was served at dinner by my dear friend Albert Salgado Paloma, who is an equal (perhaps even a superior) to Brother Andrew’s luxurious and demanding gustatory tastes.  Worldly and elegant Albert thinks nothing of marinating Italian veal shanks in a very expensive French grand cru for his “Ossobuco” and of marinating goat meat in a very expensive French X.O. cognac for his “Caldereta de Cabrito.”  For Albert, luxurious excess is the only culinary way to go.  Truly Capampangan.

Back to Brother Andrew, the sherbet/ice cream phase did not end there.  He wanted the “Mantecado” ice cream of his childhood at Lola Titay’s (the Arnedo ancestral house in Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga).  Mind you, it was not the commercial, vanilla-flavored “Mantecado” ice cream you can buy at the megasupermarkets now.  Brother Andrew’s inherited idea of “Mantecado” ice cream was of thick carabao’s milk, full of egg yolks, and “dayap” lime rind shavings.  It was golden yellow with sprinklings of grass green.  It looked so chic!  If Hermes and Chanel made ice cream, that would definitely be it.  So Bito produced our family’s version of “Mantecado” ice cream with “dayap” lime from Lola Charing’s rose garden.  It was ambrosial.  I would have finished off a gallon if I were permitted to do so.

Comedy relief:  Remembering Brother Andrew’s predilection for “Buco Lechias” sherbet, I am reminded of the time when, already severely diabetic with counts from 300-500 in the early 1990s, Brother Andrew requested his dear first cousin Dr Erlinda “Linda” Arnedo Sazon-Badenhop to make him some sugar-free “Buco Lechias” sherbet, which she claimed she could.  Two or three Sunday lunches later, she arrived with the desired “sugar-free” “Buco Lechias” sherbet which she made herself.  Expectedly, given the Arnedo tastebuds that she had, it was delicious and Brother Andrew was in rapture.  “Are you sure this is sugar-free???  It’s so sweet and so good!!!  It’s delicious!!!”  Brother Andrew rhapsodized as he rapidly consumed 5 scoops of the concoction.  “Yes, Brother!  No sugar, definitely no sugar!”  she claimed most assuredly, with her characteristic deadpan.  Later, when Brother Andrew had retired upstairs (doubtless dizzy from the sugar rush LOL), we asked:  “Wow, Tita Linda!  Your “Buco Lechias” sherbet was so good!  And it’s sugar-free!  What’s your secret??!!”  “Easy!”  she replied, “I poured all the syrup of the cans into the sherbet!”  “HUH???!!!”  Aghast, we cried out:  “But Tita Linda!  That’s all sugar!!!  The syrup IS sugar!!!”    She insisted firmly but comically with a naughty smile:  “No, no, no!  That’s only syrup, NOT sugar!  Besides, how will it taste good without any of the lychee syrup???!!!”    TOUCHE.    LOLOLOL    ROTF    LMAO    !!!!!!!!!!!!

So this is what this warm, warm spell does to me.  It makes me think of sherbet and ice cream from the past.  From the distant past.

These days, I am delightfully condemned to the highly unusual, positively weird, molecular gastronomy, New Age ice cream concoctions of my brother Gene and nephew Gino.  But it’s a nice problem to have.  LOL.

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.

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…

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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…

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