We got an interesting feedback to last week’s story on high society heiress Suzie Madrigal Bayot filing concubinage case against her husband, Paqui Ortigas.
(A background note: Suzie was a schoolmate and is a good friend of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at Assumption.) The text message from a friend, whose family is from Manila’s social Old Guard, said: “FYI, sa batch ni GMA, ang daming victims of philanderers, including my own cousin. Sakit ng generation nila ’yang philandering!”
That’s interesting; I didn’t know a husband’s philandering could be measured per school batch, just like Yahoo trending-as in Trending Now: Husbands of Class ’69 fooling around, with Type A – The Help, Type B – The Best Friend, Type C – The Driver/Messenger.
Seriously, could philandering—Manila context—be generational? We don’t know if there are studies or empirical data to shed light on that, but we do know that the earlier generations, while they’re strong and driven women, have been reared to defer to the man of the house, to subsume their self-interests to those of their family.
In contrast, today’s young girls know not only how to flash their bare midribs, but also to turn the guys in their dainty finger.
“Not only are they good in playing mind games,” a guy in his late 20s told me about today’s dating game, “they also know how to ‘feel’ your ATM.”
Lucky for them, today’s girls have limitless options, from shopping to dating. More often than not, they maximize their ability to choose, when it comes to guys. And young as they are, they can be worldly and bold.
A seasoned fashion designer, over merienda out of town, told me recently how shocked he is with many of his debutante clientele.
“For their debut, they want to look like ‘bold’ stars!” he said, referring to their taste in clothes—meaning bare this, slash this. And that’s not even talking about makeup. After all, their icons are Lady Gaga and the Kardashians. (Madonna who?)
That’s for 18-year-olds. Now, for seven-year-olds—well, more and more little girls are celebrating their seventh birthday with a dance, just like in a debut. Sometimes it’s held in a hotel ballroom, with seven little boys, each offering a stem of rose.
Cute? There’s premature childbirth, there’s also premature coming out.
Adi and Uncle Mon
While P-Noy won’t make it to the wedding this afternoon of his ex, the beautiful and gracious Shalani Soledad to Rep. Roman Romulo, Shalani will nonetheless enjoy the presence of men who are close to her heart.
Her father, businessman Adi Aguirre, who reentered her life only recently, will be around. Her uncle, Mon Soledad, who helped raise her, will also be around.
While her mom Evelyn worked overseas, Shalani grew up with Mon, his wife and their sons. Mon, who not known to many, was with media (covering the airport and later with the government information office) in the martial law years, has always been protective of his niece—through her college years and even when she began her stint as Valenzuela councilor. It was he who convinced Shalani to go into politics. He calls her konsehala or councilor.
She met her father Adi a couple of years ago when friends, with the blessing of her mom, decided to set up a meeting between father and daughter in a Makati hotel. Father and daughter have bonded since that significant day.
It is said that it is Uncle Mon, as Shalani calls her guardian, who will give away the bride in the wedding at St. Benedict Church in Westgrove, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
If there are what you call “Boracay virgins” to describe first-time visitors to this forever-hot destination, then we must be “Sinulog virgins.” It was the first time for us and our friends to see Sinulog, the annual must-go festival in Cebu. And we did it on a spur of the moment, to the pleasant surprise of our Cebuano friends.
When it comes to crowd energy, Sinulog is like Boracay, multiplied a hundred times. “It’s one big party,” said our Cebu friend, describing the social scene this religious-cultural festival has evolved into.
Radisson Blu, where we stayed, was our comfort zone.
But after the Radisson coaster dropped us off in downtown Cebu, we got our taste of the mammoth pageantry—and partying. You had to inch your way through the thick crowd that was moving relentlessly, through restaurants and bars that were overflowing. The young, many of them sporting body paint, were in Boracay mode—gyrating, singing, rapping, hip-hopping. The scene was a visual and audio overload.
From the Radisson Blu’s viewing site at Starburst restaurant, we watched the parade of floats and delegations, a nonstop activity that began at 10 in the morning, where the celebs and townfolk merged into one anonymous army that cut across ages, economic classes and genders (although the gays stood out, as they do in any spectacle).
Our friend Annie Ringor, a first-time Sinulog visitor, couldn’t get over the information that those giant props and stage paraphernalia were lugged through the entire parade by the participants; they were not allowed to wheel them. At one time, the winning delegation had as many as 900 participants who included the logistics people, not only the dancers.
Simply overwhelmed by the sight and volume of humanity, we didn’t have the energy to go to the grandstand to watch the performances. “Now you know why some Cebu City folk just decide to stay at home and watch the performances on TV,” said our Cebu friend.
Not daring to strain our tennis-battered knees, we didn’t do the length of the parade, and instead did what any woman would do when in a dilemma—shop!
Sunday afternoon became our “Sinulog at SM Northwing.” There we headed to our favorite Cebu destination—Promod, where the slashdowns were impressive, and our finds simply good (no woman would admit otherwise).
We capped the day watching the fireworks at SM—the second night of pyrotechnics display. The previous night, a fireworks competition was held, participated in by manufacturers from all over the country.
It was on Monday morning that Sinulog became an unforgettable experience for us—we had the very rare privilege to come close to the original image of the Sto. Niño de Cebu which dates back to 1565.
We visited the Basilica de Sto. Niño where it is enshrined. There we felt the solemnity of Christian faith, the quiet yet strong fervor of the common folk. It is said that more than a million people have visited the Basilica during the Sinulog festival to queue up for the original image of the Sto. Niño. The queue continued that Monday.
Fr. Tito Soquinio, OSA, guided us through the rectory in the Basilica made of corral that dates back to 1764. In this site, in the ruins, the Sto. Niño image was found in 1565.
The image is now encased in bullet-proof glass.
In the library in the rectory is displayed a huge wooden double-headed eagle sign of the Hapsburg Dynasty which conferred the highest rank to the Sto. Niño.
Thanks to our Cebu friends Marissa Fernan and Teresin Mendezona, we felt the religious fervor of the Sinulog—of course, if we may add, two days after the lechon lunch of Elvira Luym.
Former CCP president Nes Jardin, a judge in this Sinulog as in previous years, said that perhaps 4 million people made it to this festival. He cited studies that revealed the Sinulog makes billions of pesos in revenues—a good point that buttresses his advocacy to recognize the creative industries in the country.