Mistaken Impressions

I did not feel the need to express this previously but now that this blog is being read by so many people — usually 1,000 but as many as 3,000 in a day — I feel that I must say something about it…

I am amused, but simultaneously alarmed, that many people have mistakenly pegged it as a blog ABOUT Philippine high society; the country’s rich and famous; Manila’s “old rich” and “new rich”; the city’s fashionable people.  It isn’t and I never intended it to be such.

I began “Remembrance of Things Awry” in August 2006 as a compilation of family stories — however trivial and nonsensical — for eventual submission to an archive of Pampanga history.  After so many years, it dawned on me that in my immediate family, I am the last one to maintain ties in the old hometowns of Sulipan – Apalit [ Gonzalez / Arnedo / Escaler ], Bacolor [ Rodriguez ], San Fernando, Angeles [ Quiason, Henson ], and Arayat [ Reyes / Dizon ] in Pampanga as well as perhaps being the last living witness to already neglected and forgotten, but nevertheless significant and considerable,  unwritten familial histories.

Somewhere along the way, I was joined by like-minded people with similar backgrounds and interests.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that so many of them actually came from the country’s most hallowed families.  It is their continued presence and participation that has established the “social” tone of this blog and given the impression that it is entirely about affluent Filipinos, which is not true.

Apologies for the disappointment, but this blog is NOT about Philippine high society; NOT about the country’s rich and famous; NOT about Manila’s “establishment” and “nouveaux riches”; NOT even about the city’s fashionable people.  The unexpected truth is that I, Toto Gonzalez, am not even interested in “Manila society,” if it even exists.  For how can one truly be “society” if one has less than USD $ 10 billion these highly inflationary days???  To me, the only “society” that matters is the fantastically rich international one that shuttles between New York, Paris, London, Hong Kong, and now, Moscow, Beijing, Shanghai, New Delhi, and Singapore.

In this blog, I write about the things that went the way they shouldn’t have — oftentimes funny, occasionally sad.  Come to think of it, it’s about Life.  Nothing more and nothing less than that.  The notions of “high society” are actually very far from its essence.

Welcome to “Remembrance of Things Awry”…

31 Comments

  1. November 19, 2015 at 10:05 am

    hi, sir toto! i’ve discovered and been checking your blog from time to time since 2010, and i must admit i was fascinated and could truly relate on almost all the topics especially those who are related to the old rich families.

    both of my roots are from malabon, but my † mother (antonia villongco siochi-santos) who was born and raised in pre-war times ermita, manila would shower me with all the stories of how genuinely aristocratic lives were including that of her own family during those times. she would tell me that it could be at par with the aristocrats in europe then. her father, pedro siochi, was the well-known contractor of the president quezon’s era. he was the one who built almost all the historical buildings of the city of manila, etc.

    thus, i thank you for your articles about the families of malabon, and i would try my very best to contribute factual informations especially among the families listed there, what with a tons of stories that my mother showered me. keep up the good work. God bless. :))

  2. Susan Peralta-Schafer said,

    November 14, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Hi Toto, I stumbled your blog and it is very interesting and fascinating. I am in Australia and this brings back memories from back home. More power to you

    Susan Schafer

  3. Helmuth J Zotter said,

    November 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Toto,

    thank you for your reply. I am a bit slow sorry. Glad you liked the restored painting.

    Cheers
    Helmuth

  4. karin lebacq said,

    October 24, 2012 at 12:18 am

    I just stumbled on this blog. I was time-machined back to the seventies Manila. Anyway, should anyone out there remember my mom, Josie Lebacq (wife of Amb. Bob Lebacq): she passed away peacefully on monday, with my Dad holding her hand. She reached the respectable age of 86 and was well enough to enjoy the attention my father got on his 90th birthday on october 9.

  5. March 31, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Mike:

    If I remember right, the default setting was that the latest comment was at the bottom, just as you want it. However, we got endless requests from the readers that they wanted to have the latest comment at the top. And so, after many hits and misses, we were finally able to adjust the setting sometime in 2008.

    Sorry, but majority wins. Most of the readers want the latest comment at the top.

    Warmest regards to your 94 year-old mother. We sure would like to hear what she would remember about prewar Manila.

    Toto Gonzalez

  6. Mike Jordana said,

    March 31, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Toto, it sure would be more convenient (for me, anyway) if the comments on your blog entries were to flow from oldest to newest (i.e., newest at the end. The way it is now, when I print one of your blogs, complete with comments, for my 94-year-old mom to read (and she prefers to read them in chronological order), she gets frustrated with having to move upwards, from later to earlier pages, and then read downwards while reading a particular comment.

    It’s manageable when the comments are brief, but when they run over a page, she has to work her way back to the comment beginning so she can then continue moving upwards to the beginning of the next comment, and then begin reading downward again.

    It’s like reading a series of Western-language articles in a Chinese newspaper.

    Anyway, I don’t know if WordPress allows you to change how your comments are laid out, but I would sure appreciate if you could look into it.

  7. Alfred&Cess Gonzalez said,

    November 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Re our post( #16) of Feb15, 2009…we need to make a correction
    “…I’m sure you know Ters and Freddie Olbes, who are the children of Tita Teresa Favis Olbes, Guadalupe’s other daughter…” (this should have read Ramona Gonzalez de Favis’ other daughter, not Guadalupe’s!! ) To those concerned, especially our beloved Ters and Freddie Olbes, our apologies!
    And to you, Toto…warm regards and abrazos!
    Alfred and Cess Gonzalez

  8. Christian Palma said,

    March 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    To All Whom It May Concern,

    I would like to thank all of you especially the blog administrator for taking the time and consideration with put this blog together so sucessfully.

    Without people such as Toto, Taddy and may others, this would never have been possible. The education, knowledge, experience, and memories gained from their blog would be of great information for any and all heritages by keeping memories alive. I took the liberty of reading several diffrent blogs of interest. The direction and presentation was above and beyond my expectations. Bravo on a job well done. Well worth the time and effort spent. Thank you for giving us the ability to preserve our family history and enlightening us on the different stories that have been shared. I enjoy it very much and always find my self eager to hear other stories.

    Cordially Yours,

    Christian Manao Palma
    Los Angeles, Ca. USA

  9. November 25, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Helmuth:

    Thank you.

    How nice to meet you, even just online. I was at the FEU Far Eastern University last week for an operetta and the administrators pointed out Teodoro Dumlao’s mural which you had restored recently.

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez 🙂

  10. Helmuth Zotter said,

    November 23, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Dear Toto,

    I enjoy reading your blog very much.

    Best regards

    Helmuth Zotter the Austrian

  11. Doris Kim said,

    October 3, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Hi, Toto, I certainly did not come from affluent family, but we were comfortable. I love your blog because it resonates with my childhood. I grew up in the Marcos era, and I think during our time, experiences were not so different, especially life in the provinces. I love when you talk about your childhood days. Filipino culture after all is Filipino culture, it is just some people have a little bit more than the others. I have not been home in 15 years, and I feel you bring home (the Philippines) closer to me even if I was not there.

  12. jj macam said,

    May 28, 2010 at 2:22 am

    toto i adore u for u effort..in our family a handfull of us were looking back at our famillial past..u are my guiding compass. and i thank you..

    ” character transcends class”

    we can only understand ourselves better if we know our past.

    jj macam

  13. cecille a. sunico said,

    March 24, 2010 at 11:11 am

    you completely enumerated the chanuangco brothers including the missing domingo. i said missing becuase it is only now that domingo was identified. domingo is my great, great grandfather. my grandfather higinio sunico is domingo’s grandson. where did you get the information about domingo?

  14. Elena Schlieske said,

    February 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    Yes, I stayed with Tita Teresa in Forbes Park when I was a child. I remember Freddie coming home at 5:00 am from the nightclubs. It has been a long time since I have visited the Philippines. I had a difficult life growing up, but I am fine now. You might remember my father Gene Schlieske, who has since past away.

  15. Dupi said,

    December 30, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Carl Grady, please email me at dupicogan@gmail.com and tell me who you are.

  16. Carl Grady said,

    December 29, 2009 at 5:08 am

    My best to Naty and all of you. I miss you.

  17. Guadalupe Gomez: aka Dupi said,

    December 10, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    I just got a call from my mother Helynne Gomez, married to Fernando Gonzalez Gomez (my Father). My Father is brother to Pepe, Lupita, Luisito, Antonio and Pilar Gomez. Maita, Patti, Ditas, Cita and Naty are my first cousins. This is why I write. My mother called to say that upon her return from the Philippines, Naty had a major heart attack. She is in Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, CA and is having emergency surgery today, December 10, 2009 at 2pm. Please pray for her health and recovery. I will write when we know anything more.

    Dupi Gomez-Cogan

  18. Jesus Oria said,

    September 30, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Every Thursday afternoon, I play Scrabble at the Sylvania Senior Center located in Sylvania (suburb of Toledo, Ohio) and one of the persons I play with is Filipino whose name is Ramon Taroy. Anyone familiar with that name?

    J. Oria

  19. toto gonzalez said,

    July 2, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Kathleen:

    Nice of you to visit me online!!!

    It was wonderful to have met you last Saturday at Saint Peter’s Shrine in Apalit, Pampanga. We were honored to have had many members of the Tetangco family, including your father Jaime “Boy” Tetangco, at our Gonzalez-Arnedo gathering in honor of “Apung Iru.” I hope to see you and your family again next year.

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  20. Kathleen Tetangco Dolorin said,

    July 2, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Hello Toto,

    We enjoyed your luncheon to honor St. Peter’s fiesta on June 27. Although I can’t remember the name of the delicious, flaky cookies you served, they were really good and reminded me of the “Jesuits” we used to buy from a French baker at South Coast Plaza. I told my husband about them and the way I described them was, “remember those pastries you used to inhale from Champagne Bakery?” He surely remembered soon after that.

    Anyway, your site is quite interesting, being that you touch on both Filipino history (specifically about Pampanga) as well as current events. I’ve been away from the country for quite a while that I have not kept up with all the changes that have transpired here in the Philippines.

    That’s quite a remarkable collection of fine china and antique collection you’ve got there, would you happen to have any Eames you’d like to part with? Ditto, I also became quite enamored with anything French on my first visit there. There’s no better place to spend the day than basking in the sun at the Jardin du Luxembourg or window shopping at Galleries Lafayette. Better yet, sipping one shot of espresso after another (heck, make it an afogato while I’m at it) over a historical based book, (preferably about the Boleyn’s) on a bench along Le Marais.

    Age of Innocence is a great period movie, have you had the chance to watch “Perfume?” It’s an excellent movie based on Patrick Suskind’s novel. It’s set in 18th century Paris and centers around a boy who becomes consumed with finding the right scent. He eventually finds it in the least expected source: dead women…

    Anyhow, I look forward to future updates on your site as well as next year’s fiesta.

    Kind regards,

    Kathleen Tetangco Dolorin

  21. May 20, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Taddy:

    Wa naman. Heehee. 🙂

  22. Dr. Taddy Buyson Gonzales said,

    May 20, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    toto
    ayintindyan cu, balu ta nung ninu ing “dyengwin”, e wari?

  23. alfred de oglou gonzalez and cecilia abad gonzalez said,

    February 15, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Hi Toto!
    Don’t have a clue what just happened…We posted something that showed up as comment no.7 and added an additional comment that should have been no.8…and suddenly the original post disappeared!!!
    In a nutshell, hope we are not being redundant, Alfred wanted to pop in and say hello…it has been quite some time since his last post…he wants you to know that he just became a new and improved husband. We were married in a simple but beautiful ceremony in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve… we are thrilled and so very happy!
    Interestingly, I happen to be a Gonzalez from the Guadalupe Gonzalez line (my Mom, Nena Cuevas Abad’s father, Carlos Cuevas is a son from Guadalupe’s first marriage.) Her sister was Ramona Gonzalez de Favis,
    mother of Tita Cecing Favis Gomez (mom of Maita et al) and Tita Betty Favis Gonzalez (In fact, I posted something on this site about Tita Betty’s passing some months ago. )I’m sure you know Ters and Freddie Olbes, who are the children of Tita Teresa Favis Olbes, Guadalupe’s other daughter…

    Alfred and I have known each other since we were 14 and 16, respectively, and feel so fortunate to have found each other in our 50’s. For two people who have not been back to Manila in over 25 years…finding each other was like like finding our home. He asked my late father, Tony Abad, for his blessing to marry me at my Pop’s 80th birthday party…such a romantic, old fashioned gesture from the Madman, ex DZRJ DJ and lifelong rocker…We know we are lucky to have found love at our age!!!
    I must say, sites like yours provide us a venue for reliving the life we left behind so many years ago and it is always such a pleasure!

    We are hoping to get back there sometime soon as Alfred is dying to see his first grandchild, Stella Teresa, daughter of his son Freddie and daughter in law, Anne. So that’s the other big news…Alfred is a grandfather!!! And he couln’t be more excited about it!

    If you happen to you see Betsy Malca say hello from us… she and Margie Moran published a coffe table book of anecdotes about “”Growing Up Gonzalez” Have you read it?

    That’s all for now…thanks for your wonderful site…

    Wishing you all the best, continued success, “primo”,

    Alfred and Cess Gonzalez

  24. alfred de oglou gonzalez and cecilia abad gonzalez said,

    February 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Clarification: Somehow the post did not print Alfred de Oglou Gonzalez and Cecilia Abad Gonzalez for the previous post!! thanks

  25. alfred de oglou and cecilia abad gonzalez said,

    February 15, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Greetings, Toto!
    Alfred says hi…long time no write…wants to share with you the good news that he is a new and improved husband…we were married in a simple, but beautiful ceremony in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on 12/31/08. Interestingly, I am a Gonzalez as well from the same line as Maita, Cita, Patty, Ditas, Joe, Naty and Mig
    Gomez’ Dad, Tito Pepe, who was my maternal grandfathers’s half brother. He was Carlos Cuevas, son of Guadalupe Gonzalez from her first marriage, while Tito Peps was from her second. His wife , Tita Cecing, was actually also his first cousin… daughter of my great grandmother, Guadalupe Gonzalez’ sister Ramona Gonzalez de Favis. I am sure you know Ters and Freddie Olbes who are among Ramona’s many grandchildren. My Mom, Nena Cuevas Abad comes from a huge family…I read so many blog entries about our relatives earlier in the beginnings of this most interesting site. I posted something about the passing of Tita Betty Favis Gonzalez many months ago.

    I have known Alfred since I was 14, so it is truly remarkable that we found each other again in our 50’s…it’s like going home again after being away for so many many years. At my late father’s 80th birthday party last September he very touchingly asked for my family’s blessing to marry me…such a old fashioned gesture from the Madman ( ex DZRJ DJ and rocker!) We know we are blessed to have found love at our age…and we are enjoying every moment!!
    Thanks for this fabulous site…it brings those who have not been back to Manila (notably, more than 25 years for us) a little bit of the life we left behind.
    Alfred recently became a grandfather to a beautiful baby girl, Stella Teresa, daughter of his younger son Freddie and daughter in law, Anne …so I know that will motivate us to get back there for a visit soon! Alfred is dying to see his very precious first grandchild!!!
    Wishing you continued success…
    Our warm regards,”primo”…
    Alfred and Cess

    PS If you see my cousin Betsy Malca, say hello for us…she and Margie Moran published a coffe table book full of anecdotes about “Growing Up Gonzalez”…Have you read it?

  26. Francis Navarro said,

    February 8, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Hola Toto,

    I am a Filipino living in Madrid. After finishing my PhD at the Universidad de Salamanca I decided to stay over and work here. I am about to embark on a research project on Filipinos/Spanish Nationals who were involved in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. I came upon photographs at the archives showing some Filipinos during the turmoil here. Would you know of any sources that might help me in my research. Thank you!

  27. mike reyes said,

    January 27, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I just stumbled upon your blog, I like your intent and that you keep it real, not “trying hard” high society. You’re right, it can’t exist in Manila anyway. By the way, weren’t you known as Gon* before? I do remember you in my disco days with my sister. You were funky and fun, and also very nice to all. Congratulations on this successful blog and keep it up!

  28. December 25, 2008 at 10:31 am

    Diana:

    Thank you so much.

    Old families like the Arguelles and the Limjoco have beautiful heirlooms. I’m sure so many are just hidden in the closets of the family houses.

    But what is so nice about families like yours is that the substantial resources have been maintained through the generations. Much better than mere heirlooms in my opinion.

    Cheers!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  29. December 23, 2008 at 1:19 am

    How I wish I had some of my family stuff. My family stuff has been whittled down to my granfather’s pince nez, a mother of pearl handled, and gold tipped writing pen of my great grandmoter. A silver match box, and a silver, actually I don’t know what you call it, it slips over a belt and a tiny 1800’s purse was hung on it, from my great grandmother, Anastacia Ochoa Arguelles.

    Being from such a large family, my dad Ramon Limjoco had 10 brothers and sisters, much of the family “beautiful stuff” was parcelled out and now resides in hundreds of households around the world.

    At least each of us have a little slice of our ancestors lives. I treasure mine, they take up little space and are personal items that remind me so well of them.

    Thanks again for your blog, it’s really fun to read.

    Diana

  30. December 23, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Toto, Well put about the intent of your blog! Jollie good show!
    Diana Limjoco
    http://www.limjoco.net
    http://www.djl.net

  31. Cristine Rojas said,

    October 4, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Love your blog! I hope i can invite you for lunch, merienda, or dinner. Have a nice day!

    Cristine


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