CURRENT EVENTS MANILA July – December 2011


  1. December 27, 2011 at 6:29 am

    For the second straight year [ 2010, 2011 ], many businessmen, be they small, medium, & big, are complaining that their Christmas sales, as well as their annual sales, are lower than any they had during the 10-year Arroyo presidency.

    Is that a vindication of PGMA or what?

    Malacanang economic managers, please take note. You know what Business can do when it is unhappy. Business can cause big problems politically.

    Please remember that the bottom line of everything material is MONEY. PGMA & FVR understood that very well.

    Happy New Year 2012!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  2. December 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Javier “Javy” Jalandoni Garcia passed away of a heart attack at only 40 years old in Bacolod city, Negros Occidental. His remains lie in repose at the Capilla del Senor of the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati city.

    Our sincere condolences to his wife and children, his parents “Richie” Garcia & Regina “Giging” Soriano Jalandoni-Garcia, and siblings.

    Toto Gonzalez

  3. Presy Guevara said,

    December 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    We commiserate with the victims of Sendong. Be assured help is coming from expats in DC Metropolitan area. Both the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc and Feed the Hungry are sending aid through proper channels. Other Filipino organizations are mobilized to fund raising as well,

    WE may not have control over weather, but we can mitigate destruction caused by flooding. Let’s stop illegal and careless logging in all areas of the Philippines.

  4. December 18, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Our most earnest prayers & sincerest thoughts for the people of Cagayan de Oro city, Iligan city, and the other areas who were badly affected or even killed by the heavy rains & flooding of typhoon “Sendong.”

    More than 500 people are dead and more than 500 are missing. The numbers of the dead and the missing rise every hour. The swathe of destruction expands every hour. Hundreds more are feared dead.

    [ The destruction cut through all socio-economic classes. Even a grandson of the prominent Pelaez family had to be rescued from the roof of their house in the dead of night. ]

    Let us all send our help through the proper charitable channels.

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. Myles Garcia said,

    December 9, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Hindi pa mabigat…and you don’t have to bring the Trining the yaya or Doming the tsuper to hold them if one’s neck gets too tired!! 🙂 🙂

  6. December 9, 2011 at 6:06 am

    I’ll be happy with the paper cutouts, Myles!!! No insurance required!!!


    Toto Gonzalez 😀

  7. Myles Garcia said,

    December 9, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Preview of the sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s Bling and her other Tchotchkes at Christie’s New York this week!!

    Wait for the paper-cut-outs of the jewelry. Even that’s for sale!!

    Can the Meldy’s/Mely’s run over there??

  8. November 18, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Businessman Edilberto “Berty” Valisno Yujuico passed away 4:19 a.m. today from a lingering illness; he was 60 years old. His remains will lie in repose starting 4:00 p.m. today at the mortuary chapel of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel church, Broadway avenue, New Manila, Quezon city.

    Our sincere condolences to his widow, Rosario “Charo” Gonzalez Cancio-Yujuico and to their children.

    Toto Gonzalez

  9. November 17, 2011 at 8:04 am

    The UST Christmas Concert Gala is on 01 December 2011, Thursday.

    For the past 4 years since 2008, it has been the loveliest evening of the Christmas season.

    Thank you for the invitation, Fr. Andoy, Fr. Didoy, Maricris, Jonathan, Andrew, & cousin Vicki.

    Toto Gonzalez

  10. November 6, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Bacolod and Cebu doyenne Lourdes Aguilar de la Rama-Osmena [ Mrs. Sergio Chiong Veloso Osmena Jr. ] passed away today at the age of 98.

    Our sincere condolences to the family.

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. October 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    National Artist Salvador Bernal passed away today, 26 October 2011, Wednesday.

    Our sincere condolences to the family and to his colleagues in the production design industry and the academe.

    Toto Gonzalez

  12. Myles Garcia said,

    October 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Mr. Allera, maybe it’s time to move on? There are other girls and titles coming up after all??

  13. ariel allera said,

    October 6, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    MISS UNIVERSE 2011: The Filipina Beauty’s Grace and Brains Beyond Universal

    Much as I’d like to blog about something new, I can’t afford to let go of my own share of retrospect on last September 6’s Miss Universe 2011 event. Quite understandable, because aside from being a pageant fanatic, a frustrated beauty queen, and a mentor to aspiring beauty queens, I will always be proud of every Filipino, past and present, who has made a mark in any international beauty quest.

    Miss Philippines Shamcey Supsup may not have come home with the coveted Miss Universe 2011 crown, but she’s brought pride and honor to our country by placing 3rd runner-up. Talks and blogs have it that she should’ve placed higher. As far as I’m concerned, she could have either clinched the crown or gotten the first runner-up position had most of the judges been receptive to and respectful enough of her honest-to-goodness answer to such a make-or-break question asked during the final round. However, I’d like to think that the result was fair, and I highly respect the judges’ decision.

    In all fairness to Miss Angola Leila Lopes (the winner), she had the most beautiful face among the 15 semi-finalists. She reminds me of her fellow exotic beauty from her continent, Nigeria’s Agbani Darego, who won the 2001 Miss World crown in South Africa, but had been misplaced at Miss Universe 2001 held in Puerto Rico a few months prior (Denise Quinones of the host country won the night). Anyhow, Miss Ukraine Olesya Stefanko (first runner-up) was also seductive and glamourous.

    Shamcey Supsup was exceptional. She’s a dead ringer for Binibining Pilipinas-International 1996 Yedda Marie Mendoza Kittilsvedt and Binibining Pilipinas-Universe 2007 Anna Theresa Licaros mixed. She had the best walk and the best style. She displayed the most grace and elegance, and delivered the most substantial answer in terms of honesty and conviction. Moreover, who wouldn’t have been impressed by the fact that, of all the five finalists, she was the only one who needed no interpreter? For that she should’ve been given extra points.

    Any true-blue Filipino everywhere would be proud of and happy for Shamcey’s feat at the pageant. But because we can’t please everybody, some may have blamed her for sounding too fanatically religious in her response to the final question:”Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person that you love? Why or why not?”

    She replied, “If I had to change my religious beliefs, I would not marry the person that I love, because the first person I love is God, who created me. I have my faith and my principles, and this is what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God, too.”

    I could hardly see anything wrong with that, with being honest and humble in a beauty pageant. It’s just so unbecoming that some title-holders won in their respective competitions owing to their answer that the judges and the audience wanted to hear. Hence, most contestants are pressed to answer against their personal choice and opinion, because they’re afraid to lose their chance of winning.

    Please spare Shamcey, for she stood her ground with conviction as a God-centered human being and pride as an exemplary Filipina. Born brainy and bold, she did not come through a traditional method of training wherein beauty-queen wannabes are taught to lie and be politically correct for the sake of winning.

    I reviewed the pageant a few days ago. Donald Trump was right about choosing Brazil as this year’s host country, because its culture is so rich as it was evident in the pageant’s stage. It might not be as majestic as that at Miss Universe 2000 in Cyprus (crown won by my all-time favorite beauty queen, India’s Lara Dutta) or as big as that at Miss Universe 2004 in Equador (Australia’s Jennifer Hawkins was crowned), but Brazil’s production was awesome. It was festive that they let each of the candidates introduce herself onstage, rather than having the segment pre-taped from a separate location. It could, however, have also been taped onstage beforehand, but to the televiewers worldwide it looked as if it was done live.

    I wish the present organizers could create an opening production number again that’s as visually enthralling as that of Miss Universe 2004, wherein USA’s Shandi Finnessey brought the house down with her hip-swaying. Such dance number may be a good ice-breaker for all those delegates coming from different countries and competing for one coveted crown. Plus, let’s face it: It’s pleasing to see all equally beautiful women dancing together, isn’t it? If I may remember it right, legendary pageant choreographer Scott Grossman did it and made it classy. He’s the hot man onstage, during his terms with the organization, who was tasked to hand bouquets to special award winners, the runners-up and, of course, the Miss Universe.

    This year’s production number into each segment (the swimsuit competition as well as the evening gown competition) was eye-popping. What I like about Miss Universe compared to other pageants is that, like science, it undergoes change and development, as the structures of the universe. Gone are the days when girls dilly-dallied in their evening gowns. Such old-school style is common in neighborhood and municipal beauty contests, and even in some national and international pageants except for Miss Universe and Miss World. I found this year’s host Andy Cohen as delicious as his voice and accent. To me he’s the hottest host that Miss Universe pageant has invited.

    To Shamcey Supsup, thank you for uplifting the image of our country. The same goes to Maria Venus Raj, for placing fourth runner-up in last year’s edition of Miss Universe pageant: You paved the way for aspiring Filipina beauty queens. On the other hand, it’s quite interesting to note that it was also in (Sao Paulo) Brazil where our very own Chat Almarvez bagged the first runner-up award in the prestigious Ford Supermodel of the World 2010 competition. A big thanks to her as well.


    To those who were not able to read, let me share an article that I wrote about Shamcey Supsup before she left the country to compete in the Miss Universe 2011 pageant. I hope that, through this, you will get to know more about our very own beauty queen and admire her brains beneath those Chi-done waves, not to mention have a glimpse of her inner being through the grace and elegance of her tsunami walk. Thank you.

    SHAMCEY SUPSUP: Beauty, Brains and Beyond

    A beauty-and-brains combo can be hard to find among pageant contestants. More often if a candidate is too pretty, her Intelligence Quotient is scarcely high enough to match. There may be others who are blessed with a little bit of everything — lovely face, smooth skin, curvy figure, height of five-feet-seven or better, or just enough guts to say something during question-and-answer.

    But if you’re judging a beauty contest, and there’s one girl onstage standing before you, alongside her equally gorgeous fellow contestants, and you knew that she graduated with Latin honors and she was a board topnotcher, why would you have to look around and find someone else?

    This year, our country has chosen its national queen whose charm is as unquestionable as her wit. Recently crowned Binibining Pilipinas – Universe 2011, Shamcey Supsup has proven a woman’s worth by defining beauty at par with brains.

    She’s not the first title-holder who has graduated Magna Cum Laude (from the University of the Philippines-Diliman), but her placing first in the 2010 Philippine Architecture Licensure Examination is what makes most of us hold her in higher esteem — than winning that coveted crown of the night. In a country where kids are told to study hard as soon as they start going to school, Supsup will serve as a role model for young girls out there who want to make a stride into the world of pageantry.

    While most national beauty contests require girls to be at least high school graduates who are between 18 years old and 25, a completed undergraduate educational attainment will still be the best preparation, let alone weapon.

    Not only will it have molded their minds, thus making them more confident throughout the competition, from pre-pageant interviews to the final question-and-answer in the coronation night, it will be easy for the winner to fulfill her duties and responsibilities during her reign. And then, she can pursue her long-term dream, be it in show business, or in the corporate world, or in the medical profession. It depends, though, on the girl’s physical potentiality and mental preparedness. Mutya Ng Pilipinas 1993 Michelle Aldana was still studying Speech and Drama at the University of the Philippines-Diliman when she joined the pageant. Her stature, spontaneity and fresh Filipina beauty won for our country the last Miss Asia-Pacific title.

    Supsup will be competing in the Miss Universe Pageant come September, to be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There’s no question to the way former Miss Universes have been selected, but almost always the Miss Universe Organization is hounded by controversies about their basis for selection of the semi-finalists. Many pageant experts and analysts have wondered how come that lousy lady from Europe made it to the semi finals, while this elegant lass from Asia barely did.

    It goes without saying that results are always unpredictable and that we can only expect the unexpected. However, as soon as the semi-finalists start strutting their stuff and pivoting their way onstage, we cannot help noticing one or two finalists looking so out of place in swimsuit and in evening gown. Our country has sent sexier and prettier delegates to all international beauty pageants out there, but to no avail. We might as well support someone like Shamcey Supsup whose resume is as eloquent as her personality, a representative who can interact well with her co-candidates, the press, the sponsors, the organizers, the bigwigs of the host country.

    Never mind the Final Question segment, for we cannot blame delegates who answer in their mother tongue. Intelligence is not measured by someone’s command of English, in a country where they’re using their native language as medium of instruction. But if we talk about a non-English speaking finalist’s gist of her answer, only the interpreter can admit to either translating her thoughts as is, or glossing over its content to make it sound more sensible.

    And if, God willing, Shamcey Supsup brings home the crown this year, then she will be the third Miss Universe from the Philippines since Margarita Moran won in 1973 and Gloria Diaz in 1969. But all the same, she will always be a full-fledged, one-of-a-kind icon of beauty and brains, born to be our country’s cream of the crop, donning the sash as the Philippines’ most beautiful woman, wearing the medal for being the most intelligent architect around.

  14. September 22, 2011 at 8:04 am

    “La Naval de Manila 2011” at the Santo Domingo church, Quezon avenue, Quezon city.

    2011 Theme: “Ina ni Kristo, Ina ng Buhay”

    Enthronement ceremonies
    29 September 2011, Thursday, 5:00 p.m.

    Novena Masses
    30 September 2011, Friday, 5:30 p.m.
    to 08 October 2011, Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

    Grand Procession
    09 October 2011, Sunday, 4:00 p.m.

    “Mabuhay si Kristo, Mabuhay ang Birhen!!!”

  15. Kathy de Guzman said,

    September 20, 2011 at 3:39 am

    Pity the old woman, the mother of Manny Pacquiao. Her naivette maybe refreshing, but after sometime it gets irritating. The press are making fun of her and the old woman thinks she’s cute. Nakakaawa.

    As regards the other Mrs. Pacquiao, she should stop parading her Hermes and what’s inside her bag. I mean it’s her choice not to show them to prying reporter, but she does. I guess that’s the great divide between the rich and the nouveau rich/arriviste: the former is secure in themselves, they need not flaunt what they have; the latter would show off what they’ve got at the drop of a hat. Poor taste really. In fact there are magazines who have regular articles for that stuff – “what’s in the bag of…”; what ______ can’t live without”; :what’s in the closet of ______”. And these arriviste are willing victims.

  16. Myles Garcia said,

    September 19, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I know it’s pretty wicked…but I didn’t create it. Merely enjoyed them. See some photos of Mommy Dionisia as “Ms. Universe” –, posts #548 and #549. And some of the Utube links are quite outrageous, too!!

    BTW, I totally agree with Alicia’s quoting the FPN’s dona’s assessment of Manny Pacquiao’s earning his place in the sun via his own HONEST sweat, blood and guts. Should put to shame all those pekeng robber barons and baronesses. Just don’t let him see those posts on SkyScraperCity! 😉

  17. Kathy de Guzman said,

    September 19, 2011 at 5:06 am

    I agree with Myles Garcia that regardless of the domestic feelings, Ms. Supsup landed where she is supposed to land. Please, no more insinuations that she should have won, that the choices were political, ad nauseam.

    At the end of the day, the Miss Universe winner is nothing but the spokesperson for the Trump Group of Companies.

  18. Myles Garcia said,

    September 18, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    Kathy de Guzman wrote re Shamcey Supsup: All her moves are put-on and masyadong aral.


    But all of them (the contestants) were like that. I believe the training period at the actual pageant is even more intensive and rigorous than it is at the Stella Araneta level: that’s why the pageants run for a 3-week period. If it’s put-on; then all 89 gals are guilty.

    As I wrote in the other thread (not knowing this was here); I think the results–regardless of domestic feelings–were fair. After all, there were 9 minds there casting their various choices…so collectively, the ladies ended up where they honestly ranked. She just didn’t glow and radiate confidence as the others did. To be a winner, you have to act like a winner.

    Re Dionesia moving into the rarefied Ayala villages, well…La Imierda and Annabelle will finally have a new soulmate! 🙂 LOL!!

  19. Kathy de Guzman said,

    September 14, 2011 at 7:22 am

    On Ms. Supsup winning:

    Hohumm. As one Filipina tweeted: she looks ****** and such an **** name.

    All her moves are put-on and masyadong aral.

  20. September 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Vice-President Jejomar Binay declared his intention to run for President of the Philippines in the 2016 elections today…

  21. September 13, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    For winning as the 3rd runner-up in the Miss Universe 2011 beauty pageant held today in Sao Paulo, Brazil…



    Toto Gonzalez

  22. Philip Santos said,

    August 17, 2011 at 7:05 am



    He was SUPPOSED to have been blackballed for membership at the Manila Polo Club, the Manila Golf Club, and, just a few days ago, at the Wack-Wack Golf Club.

    SUPPOSEDLY, the boards of all the three clubs were consistent in explaining that they did not have a problem with Manny Pacquiao at all, only with his retinue of bodyguards and hangers-on.

    BUT according to the officers of those clubs…


    And even if he did apply for those memberships, I say: Take the hint, buddy. They don’t want you there. And you don’t need any of them “peso billionaires” either. YOU’RE MANNY PACQUIAO, THE MAN!!!

    Philip Santos

  23. Alicia Perez said,

    August 9, 2011 at 6:51 am

    This is what a characteristically grounded and diplomatic, true-blue, multibillionairess-heiress had to say about the issue at a dinner in FPN last night…

    “There is nothing wrong with Pacquiao buying property here, it’s a good investment. He should buy as much as he can because he won’t be a champion boxer forever. The properties will bring him good income. But he and his family shouldn’t live here. Pobrecitos… You people will poke fun at them endlessly and they certainly don’t deserve that! They deserve to be happy in a familiar place with all the familiar people they love. And Pacquiao certainly deserves our respect because he has prospered honestly by his blood, sweat, and tears, which I cannot say for some people who have moved in here!”


    Alicia Perez

  24. Alicia Perez said,

    August 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Imagine Jinkee Pacquiao “hanging out” with Maricris Zobel, Lizzie Zobel, Kitkat Zobel, Bea Zobel “Jr.,” Sofia Elizalde, et. al..

    Imagine Dionisia Pacquiao “hanging out” with Bea Zobel, Mercy Tuason, Nene Quimson, Pamen Elizalde, et. al..

    Imagine what will certainly be reality in a while.

    “Sic transit gloria mundi.”

    Alicia Perez

  25. Philip Santos said,

    August 8, 2011 at 7:32 am

    DESPITE RUMORS to the contrary running around in Manila’s high banking circles… that Manny Pacquiao did not have the Php cash to buy the Php 388 million Cambridge Circle, North Forbes Park house; that the homeowner, banker Lorenzo Tan, forfeited the Php 20 million deposit; that Chavit Singson collected his Php 50 million real estate agent’s commission from Lorenzo Tan; that no bank would lend Manny the Php money because of the obviously high risks; that Manny lost a whopping Php 70 million at “sabong” ( cockfighting ) a few weeks ago, blah, blah, and blah…

    Manny Pacquiao DID BUY the house on # — Cambridge Circle in North Forbes Park — originally the house of Marcos era-technocrat Roque Tordesillas. It is between the houses of Menchu Pena and that of Patricia “Patty” Gonzalez Cojuangco ( supposed to be the very house where actress Gretchen Barretto tried to expel her boyfriend Tony Boy Cojuangco’s daughter Patty years ago; she could not because the house really belonged to Patty and not to Tony Boy — it had been a gift from her very rich maternal { Paterno-Tuason and ex-Gonzalez Calderon } grandmother, the formidable Maria Lourdes “Marilou” Tuason-Gonzalez-Guingona { not from her very rich paternal grandmother Imelda Ongsiako-Cojuangco } ). It is directly in front of the Indonesian embassy residence and the house of Loren Legarda.

    Construction is ongoing, supervised by the architect, Anton Rodriguez Mendoza.

    The proof is all there at the Forbes Park barangay hall.

    What a merry-go-round…

    Philip Santos

  26. Marina Sanchez said,

    August 8, 2011 at 6:24 am

    THEY will make “mincemeat” out of the Pacquiaos. The Pacquiaos may already be richer than them, but the snobbery of the establishment families will not be outdone.

    The British royals had this attitude towards the arriviste Wallis Simpson: “We may defer, but we do not accept.”

    Marina Sanchez

  27. Alicia Perez said,

    August 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    What do you people think of Manny Pacquiao’s planned move to Forbes Park?

    Alicia Perez

  28. Marina Sanchez said,

    August 7, 2011 at 7:10 am


    Certainly not! Excuse me! I actually pity Vicki for settling for the short end of the stick [ and I don’t mean Hayden’s “stick,” mind you! ]. As the old saying goes: “Why buy a cow when milk is so cheap?”


    Marina Sanchez

  29. Alicia Perez said,

    August 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm


    I’ll turn the question around: Could it be that you are just envious of Hayden Kho for bagging Vicki Belo? It sounds more logical!


    Alicia Perez

  30. Philip Santos said,

    August 6, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Alicia & Marina,

    Could it be that you ladies are just envious of Vicki Belo for bagging Hayden Kho?

    Philip Santos

  31. Marina Sanchez said,

    August 5, 2011 at 7:05 pm


    Likewise, I really don’t smell carpetbagging / golddigging on Hayden with Vicki.


    Marina Sanchez

  32. Alicia Perez said,

    August 5, 2011 at 6:51 am


    No, I really don’t smell carpetbagging / golddigging on Hayden with Vicki.


    Alicia Perez

  33. Marina Sanchez said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Don’t be naive, Alicia…

    Of course, Hayden is marrying Vicki for the money. It’s cruel to say, but Hayden is nothing without Vicki ( well, except for THAT ). If I were Vicki with all that hard-earned money, I would take a good, long look at the mirror and ask myself the hard questions. I know there are talks about “prenups,” but talk is cheap…

    Did you ever see Hayden’s notorious sex videos? If you did, then you should not wonder at all why Vicki cannot live without him. Such a stud is rare these days!

    I agree with you: poor Cristalle and poor Quark.

    Marina Sanchez

  34. Alicia Perez said,

    August 4, 2011 at 6:55 am

    I’ve been told that Hayden has been the one pressing constantly for marriage to Vicki. I wonder why…

    Vicki has admitted time and again that she cannot live without Hayden. I wonder why…

    Poor Cristalle and poor Quark. But then, children have to make their own futures anyway, without their parents.

    Alicia Perez

  35. Alicia Perez said,

    July 31, 2011 at 6:33 am

    Koyang Pete and Ate Josephine: Two deaths & an unfinished eulogy
    A COMMITMENT By Tingting Cojuangco (The Philippine Star) Updated July 31, 2011 12:00 AM

    (Editor’s note: Pedro Cojuangco, the eldest brother of former President Corazon C. Aquino, passed away last July 20 at 84. During his funeral Mass last July 26, his sister Josephine C. Reyes, 83, succumbed to death while delivering a eulogy. We asked the author to write on how these two deaths shocked and saddened one of the oldest political clans in the country.)

    Losing a family member feels like losing a part of yourself. This is because a family member who passes away was once part of your life. It is with family members that one starts to build dreams. And the dreams of this particular family I speak about began with the migration of a Chinese gentleman HoSiKoHoWaNGKo from Amoy, China (translated in the alibapa as Jose Cojuangco) arrived in the Philippines.

    A generation later, Jose’s son Melecio married Tecla Chichioco from Malolos, Bulacan who had four sons, Jose, Antonio, Eduardo and Juan. Two matriarchs dominated the Cojuangco family. Tecla from Hacienda Bakal in Talavera, Nueva Ecija and Malolos while Ysidra, her sister-in-law in Paniqui, Tarlac. Grandchildren, nephews and nieces, Ate Lulu, Antonio, Peping, Passy, Danding, Ditas, Rory, Isabel and Manoling treasure memories of their thriftiness and steadfastness.

    In the late 19th century, Lola Tec would journey from Malolos to Manila on a carabao or horse-driven cart — not an air-conditioned van — to gather produce for her almacen in Malolos to sell imported linen, bagoong and salt, meat and vegetables. In Paniqui, Ysidra dealt in rice and money lending. Those were days of pioneers, when Tarlac was open territory for a person of foresight and industry. From their hard work the Cojuangco empire was built.

    Cojuangco women have always played outstanding roles in the family. The very recently departed Josephine Cojuangco-Reyes was an educator, principal of the Far Eastern University girls’ high school, dean of the Institute of Arts, its president and chairman of the board of the Far Eastern University, and chairman of the Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation. A hands-on matriarch, she was on top of every administrative function, from the financial aspects to regular meetings with the college deans. On her way out from the Nicanor Reyes Auditorium (named after her husband Noring) where her ashes were brought for necrological services, the loudest applause commemorated her achievements.
    Fiery ladies: Former President Corazon C. Aquino with Josephine C. Reyes

    I loved her so that I chose Ate Jo to assist Peping in putting on my toga and cap for my graduation day at the University of Santo Tomas.

    Marisse, who knew her mom was close to her brother Uncle Joe, said to my husband the day her mom died: “Please take care of us.” The lady in charge had left her family of 36 behind. During Ate Jo’s lifetime she recalled this amusing incident regarding her father: “Ready to load gas, the station attendant said to Papa, ‘Pahingi naman ng tip.’ ‘O sige,’ said Papa reaching for his wallet. The gas attendant said, ‘Hindi ho tip. Tip ho sa kabayo, dahil maraming kabayo ang anak ninyo.’”

    The Cojuangco biographer, Marisse, wrote in Tide of Time that her mother would always be the tour manager whenever she traveled with her parents, bringing all the tickets and supervising the designation of rooms: “My grandfather was a neat, organized man, but my grandmother Metring held all the checkbooks,” referring to Demetria “Metring” Sumulong Cojuangco, the astute and determined matriarch, wife of Jose Cojuangco Sr.

    It wasn’t easy in 1962 to be accepted into the huge Cojuangco clan. If there is a Cojuangco trademark, it would be their closeness, so that other people seem to feel shut out. The shyness, sometimes interpreted as arrogance, arises from the fact that there are certain nuances of cultural behavior that they alone understand and they are protective towards one another.

    Marisse had this interpretation: “The Cojuangcos pride themselves on the closeness of their family ties.” She was asked who her friends were. “Apart from a few, I mostly named my cousins. Birthday celebrations usually meant sending invitations to other family members. Even at Malacañang gatherings, when we were invited by my aunt, the Jose Cojuangcos milled around together. With a few exceptions, we are timid in approaching acquaintances, and as a family, we stick together. In celebration and in grief, we are more comfortable being with each other. But our family, despite the fact that circumstances and history have forced us into the public eye, has tried to remain private.

    “Among ourselves, we are careful in our actions, since we do not wish to hurt the feelings of any relative. We of the third generation do not wish to ‘lose face’ in the eyes of our elders, so we will exhaust all possibilities before asking a favor from one of them. This idiosyncrasy has caused many to raise an eyebrow about the Cojuangcos’ capability to do others a favor, especially during the time Auntie Cory was president. It is something the family understands, but to others it is an invisible wall that the Cojuangcos unintentionally put up, so that closest friends are not ‘in; on our deepest feelings, secret anxieties and fears.”

    Anon-show of emotions is the result, something us in-laws understood eventually, by association with our spouses. The joke before was that the Cojuangco

    women became hard of hearing because they heard nothing since their husbands hardly spoke. Cory would say, “My father really was a saint. My mother was the stronger of the two. But when my father died, she was completely lost.”

    I witnessed the hurt and apprehensions of this great family that withstood financial difficulties and heartbreak during those dark years of martial law. It was something Koyang Pete had encountered in 1963 when his bank, First United, which Papa had organized on his own without his brothers, was threatened by new banking regulations established by the Central Bank in the years of martial law. Koyang Pete explained that the First United Bank needed partners to meet the new regulations regarding paid-up capital to merge with another bank.

    “Every time we would discuss a merger with somebody, it would always end up with ‘Let’s clear this up first with the Central Bank.’ The Central Bank would tell potential bank partners, ‘Clear it up first with Malacañang,’” leading all transactions to nothing, after being squeezed by the Marcos machinery. The family finally sold First United Bank to Danding Cojuangco, their cousin.

    The Harvard-educated Koyang Pete related other difficulties of the family, particularly with regard to Pantranco, another family-owned company. Pantranco desperately needed new buses after the giant floods of 1971 and 1972, which devastated the roads of Central Luzon. Pantranco applied for a fare increase through the Public Service Commission. Hino, a Japanese company, offered to sell buses to Pantranco if the Philippine National Bank could guarantee a loan to the Cojuangcos. The answers were always “no” and the companies were taken over by the Marcos government.
    The Cojuangcos: Pedro Cojuangco (seated, second from right) with Passy Teopaco, Jose Cojuangco, Josephine Reyes, Cory Aquino and Teresita Lopa. Standing are Sari Cojuangco, Esting Teopaco, and Tingting Cojuangco

    Yet the Jose Cojuangcos weathered every difficulty because we were taught to act as one and obey the head of the family, never to speak against each other, keep feelings to ourselves, especially if they ran contrary to the thoughts, wishes and decisions of the eldest member who held the reins. In fact I would hear my children tell their dad “Dapat sinasabi mo na” from the results of the family board meetings. Ate Jo and Peping would say, “Ah sabi ni Koyang kasi…” Our children decided with their cousins to attend the board meetings with the adults’ permission. They settled the order of business. Faster, straightforward, quite frankly — but deferring to the head of the family, Koyang, again for his perusal. One signal, one feeling, no words needed to be uttered and they complied. Even if no member of the family forced the others to follow, everyone simply complied.

    The six days of Koyang’s wake was a celebration of his life. They were sad days primarily but the Tarlac priests reminded us of Koyang Pete’s kindness. Three days before he died Sari and their son Mel brought Koyang to the hospital. One call from one member of each family was enough to “pass the word” about family, occasions and news. It was kept from us.

    As our children and their cousins grow older they no longer tell us seniors of their family emergencies so as not to worry us. They take care of what they can, but one time Liaa texted her dad: “Uncle Pete doesn’t look well. Come to the I.C.U. tomorrow, take your Tranxene now.” Three days later Pedro Cojuangco and family members crowded the main hallway of the Makati Medical Center waiting for Liaa and Jake to prepare Koyang’s lifeless body for us to pray over him. Sari said, “He was wobbly, he couldn’t keep his balance. Me acuerdo ahora que (I remember now that) Pete would say loudly. ‘I love you, Sari Cacho.’” If flowers indicated the affection for the man who died from kidney infection that spread to his pancreas, he had hundreds of white flowers, so many that Ate Jo commented, “When I die, I want colored flowers.”

    The day of his burial heavy rains matched our melancholy mood. Traffic had caused a delay in the ceremonies with Sari and her family arriving late and with Ate Jo and her daughter Marisse Reyes also arriving from Wack Wack, like Sari. The Mass proceeded with Mikee as the lector for her Ninong Pete with readings from Joel Cojuangco-Lopa. Koyang and Sari’s granddaughter Margarita, son-in-law JM Araneta and Marisse Cojuangco-Reyes.

    “Our brother Pete has fallen asleep in the arms of Christ. Let our grief and sorrow change to rejoicing. The Mass is ended, thanks be to God.”

    It was time for the eulogy and Ate Jo was escorted to the altar of San Antonio Church by Peping with smiles from a private joke they exchanged. She stood and began:

    “Good morning. At family gatherings or even when we just sat around the table we eventually talked about the memorable good old days. Here are a few of those recollections. Papa and Mama’s first child was stillborn and named Ceferino. After him, Koyang and I were born, just a year and a month apart. Terry Lopa came next. After her, we lost a sister Carmen who succumbed to meningitis at age one year and a half. Our only memory of her was a big picture in Papa and Mama’s bedroom. Our house on 1259 Agno St. Malate and other houses on that street were burned by the retreating Japanese soldiers during the liberation of Manila. Then came Cory, Peping and Passy.

    “Papa and Mama were always taking care of business in Tarlac and so we were left in the care of our aunts and uncle, first in Sampaloc and then in 1259 Agno. The blessing of that house coincided with the year of Cory’s birth, 1933. So many happy memories.

    “Being of Chinese ancestry, Koyang was the ‘favorite’ – he was the eldest and he was male. I got just as many academic awards as Koyang but only he got the Hills Brothers coffee cans filled with coins from Lola Tecla — Papa’s mother. In those days ordinary people, much less children, did not have bank accounts. Banks were for big business and rich city dwellers.”
    Family portrait: Josephine C. Reyes and Nicanor Reyes III (center) with their children and grandchildren. Standing are Anton Reyes, Quincy Reyes, Nicole Reyes, Martina Reyes, Natalia Reyes, Mika Reyes, Ivanna Reyes, Kym McMurray, Jenna Reyes, Bianca Reyes, Oshy Reyes, (second row) Katrice Reyes Tucci Reyes, Kyler Reyes, Kit Reyes, Marisse Reyes, Linda Reyes, Maxwell Reyes, (third row) Keryn Reyes, Kij Reyes, Jeffrey Reyes, Via Reyes, Jaybee Reyes, Michelle Sacramento, Jay Sacramento, Juna Miguel Reyes, Annavi Reyes, Keith Reyes, Nino Reyes, Rowena Reyes, Ritchie Reyes

    To our surprise she then paused and said, “I am sorry, I cannot continue this eulogy, I’m dizzy.” Peping approached her when she grasped the podium and caught her as she fell backwards. Our niece Marla C. Teopaco and my daughter Liaa rushed to the altar believing she had merely fainted. Family members sat perplexed. The members of the family who were doctors rushed up to the altar. Two from Cojuangco-Rivilla’s side. Dr. Suey C. Rivilla and Marla Rivilla Tan, rushed up with Suey’s husband Dr. Jake Manalastas, Liza Cojuangco, Danding and Gretchen’s daughter married to Dr. Nick Cruz, head cardiologist at St. Luke’s. Jojou Sumulong-Bautista, married to Dr. Maria Imelda Bautista, head pediatrician of St. Luke’s, and Liaa tried painstakingly to revive Ate Josephine at the altar of San Antonio Church with Noy’s doctor and nurse. There was also Dr. John Gomez.

    As Ate lay behind the podium, Liza rushed to get her father Danding’s first aid equipment and brought it up to the altar. Passy, who had gone to the altar, said “Ate… Ate…” to wake up her sister. Liaa and Marla called “Auntie Jo… Auntie Jo…” Air and oxygen were administered. Pin embraced Marisse and her dad. Esting stood stoic.

    The doctors took turns pumping her chest to resuscitate her. Dr. Marla Tan attached the dextrose with the Malacañang doctor who had brought the emergency equipment from the President’s ambulance. Everyone in the church sat transfixed in their pews. Ate Lulu Cojuangco-Revilla gave Mikee a prayer book for the mourners to pray the rosary. Family shawls were brought up to cover the medical proceedings and I knelt with China and Celda to cover Ate. Six other priests and Father Jerome behind the doctors blessed Ate who had just received Holy Communion by the coffin of her brother Pete. Ate’s children, Linda, Kit, Tucci and Marisse, stared like us in disbelief. We were shocked by the unexpected proceedings. After almost an hour Dr. Nick Cruz decided with Jake Manalastas that Ate Jo should be brought to St. Luke’s. The doctors put her on the gurney. We covered her body with a black shawl. What a difficult decision it was for Peping and Passy to make: whether to remain with Koyang Pete or follow Ate Jo. I told Peping that his brother-in-law Esting Teopaco and I would stay with Sari. Celda and Marla asked their mother what she wanted to do. “I have to think,” she answered but Peping and Celda took Passy with them down the aisle for the hospital trip.

    At St. Luke’s, Ate could not be revived. Forty-five minutes later she was formally pronounced dead from ventricular arrhythmia. Her children were beside her with Rina, Kris, China, Peping and Passy.

    On our way to the cemetery, for Koyang’s burial, China told us Ate had expired. What a tragic day for us but God in His wisdom had blessed Ate. She died by the altar of God, below His feet. That was our consolation. To quote Father Kennedy of Tarlac, “It is my dream to die also by the altar of God.”

    The continuation of her eulogy follows, as it was read by Marisse at the funeral Mass of Ate Jo the evening of Koyang Pete’s morning burial:

    “Koyang knew the history of the First United Bank and was more than qualified to work there. Koyang finished elementary and high school in La Salle Taft, always at the head of his class. He received the Edward Dougherty award for general and academic excellence from Manhattan College in New York 1949 and got his master’s in business administration from Harvard University Business School. Then he returned home. He rose from the ranks — starting as executive assistant to the EVP before he became the president of FUB, now UCPB.

    “If you are old enough you will remember the Andrew Sisters, Song Rum and Coca-Cola. Papa was the manager of Paniqui Sugar Mills which was still standing after WWII. During the Liberation, an American tank destroyer battalion took up camp in the Ysidra Cojuangco compound. The central had not been destroyed by the retreating Japanese or shelled by advancing Americans. Providentially, a ‘good soul’ had left a surplus of panocha (hardened molasses shaped like a half of queso de bola.) A chemist, Mr. Batenga, provided the formula for converting panocha into rum, so they were able to generate money.

    “The main house was occupied by the American generals. We offered them drinks which were really made from alcohol from the distillery. They would bring Coke syrup and mix it with our alcohol to get drunk. In the morning, they felt good because alcohol made from molasses does not give you a hangover. They said the alcohol was good. We were asking the Americans to give us gasoline for an old jalopy, a 1920 Model T Ford. The car was so old the door wouldn’t open when Mama’s sister Lumen Boncan was trapped inside. When we told them the car we rode in ran on alcohol, they asked, ‘The same alcohol we were drinking? Don’t use the alcohol, we’ll give you gasoline.’ We started a distillery and sold Paniqui Rum for P8; a bottle of whiskey was already selling at P60.
    Family ties: Jose S. Cojuangco Sr. and Demetria S. Cojuangco (third and fourth from right) with children Passy Teopaco, Josephine C. Reyes, Teresita Lopa, Corazon C. Aquino, Jose S. Cojuangco, and Pedro Cojuangco

    “Word got around and Paniqui Rum was sold to American GIs in San Fernando, La Union and Okinawa. The line of trucks would wind from the Central all the way out to buy alcohol. So many other stories about Paniqui Rum. Koyang, who was 18 years old, was in charge of the sale of rum. When he finally left Paniqui for Manila he had sold $4 million worth, packed in sacks and loaded in two army trucks. Koyang said PNB had to count again just to make sure they had counted it right.

    “Koyang was 20 when we left for New York in 1946. Papa, Mama, all six of us, together with Monching Cojuangco and Lulu Cojuangco Rivilla with their cousin Tommy Lim, US-bound on a converted troop ship — the General Gordon. Many Filipinos were onboard, most of them family acquaintances, to study in the US. I think it took 21 days to reach our destination; not a comfortable trip, I tell you. After a few days’ stay in San Francisco, we all took the cross-country train to New York City to study in our respective schools — Koyang to Manhattan College, myself to Marymount, Tarrytown, Terry and Cory to Ravenhill in Pennsylvania, Peping to Loyola School in Manhattan, Passy in a day school. It was a wish of Papa to have a family picture taken with all of us in caps.

    “Koyang was the consummate ‘Big Brother.’ You could go to him whenever you were in need. Sometimes you didn’t even have to ask. When my children and I relocated to New York City, Koyang would send me a monthly stipend without fail. Forever a caring brother. In fairness, Peping is also like that.

    “On behalf of Peping and Passy and all the members of the family that Koyang has left behind, thank you and our deepest appreciation to all who expressed their sympathy in one way or another.

    “God bless us all.”

    God bless them both, whom we respected and loved so, so much: Koyang Pete and Ate Jo.

  36. Presy Guevara said,

    July 28, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    @ Alicia: Knowing how “forgiving” and “forgetful” the Filipinos are, I predict wide TV and pictorial magazine coverage – bigger than the Estradas’ and Alcasids’. It will be a feast for the press. Dr. Belo has a large following. Scandal proves to be an image builder these days, and to the romantics, “Love conquers all”. BTW, is it going to be a Catholic wedding?

  37. Alicia Perez said,

    July 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    And what do you people think of the upcoming marriage of Dr. Vicki Belo to Dr. Hayden Kho?

    Alicia Perez

  38. July 26, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Josephine Sumulong Cojuangco-Reyes, the maternal aunt of President Benigno C. Aquino III, passed away yesterday at Saint Luke’s Global City. She followed her brother Pedro Sumulong Cojuangco in less than a week.

    Our condolences to the family.

    Toto Gonzalez

  39. July 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Respected businessman Romeo Samson Villonco passed away.

    Our condolences to the family.

    Toto Gonzalez

  40. Alicia Perez said,

    July 21, 2011 at 4:03 am

    Pedro Sumulong Cojuangco lies in state at the Cojuangco-Sumulong residence along Palm avenue in Dasmarinas village. The last rites will be on 26 July 2011, Tuesday.

    Alicia Perez

  41. July 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    The much-respected Pedro Sumulong Cojuangco, the maternal uncle of President Benigno C. Aquino III, passed away.

    Our condolences to the family.

    Toto Gonzalez

  42. July 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Director Joey Reyes has written a beautiful tribute to his great friend, fellow director and production designer Don Escudero:

    Toto Gonzalez

  43. July 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm


    Yes, Don Escudero has left us [ Placido Artadi Escudero Jr. ]. Tats Manahan assured me that he left peacefully and painlessly.

    I’m at a loss for words.

    Toto Gonzalez

  44. Ipê Nazareno said,

    July 13, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Don Escudero passed away last Monday….

  45. Alicia Perez said,

    July 9, 2011 at 9:22 am

    What have you heard, Ipe???

    Alicia Perez

  46. Ipê Nazareno said,

    July 9, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Alicia, is it the “Kapitan”?

  47. Alicia Perez said,

    July 8, 2011 at 10:08 am

    One of the very richest Chinese-Filipino taipans lies very ill in his native Xiamen city in China. His several families are already assembled there.

    Alicia Perez

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