It was early Tuesday afternoon when I received a phone call from my mother. Art collector and jeweler Benjie Yap had informed her earlier that Teyet Pascual had passed away after a massive heart attack just that morning. I was in shock—and I am still not over it.
Dr. Eleuterio Pascual is also known as Teyet to his friends and family. I’ve known “Tito” Teyet (sometimes I call him Tito, sometimes I call him Teyet—I don’t know why I omit Tito, but it must have been the odd time or two that he’d tell me not to call him “Tito”) from year 2000, when he styled my wedding in 2001.
Teyet often got asked to style weddings, but he often declined because it was perhaps too tiresome to do. So when he had said yes, it was truly a remarkable gift.
I still remember that initial conversation we had. He was all about opulence, drama, and all things grand. And at the time (before I joined Metro Weddings Magazine), I had dreams of an ethereal, all-white and ultra-simple wedding.
When I relayed my ideas to him, he gave me a wide-eyed stare and said, “You want me to just sew together different white retaso from fabric stores as your table linens?” He glared at me! I think he found it incredulous that I would want a “simple” wedding.
From then on, I knew to leave all the styling details to him. I just concentrated on making sure I had the right dress, and took care of my friends and colleagues from Hong Kong who were flying into the country for my wedding. I was going to be a guest at my own wedding, because when friends asked me what my wedding theme was, I told them, “I have no idea. It will be a surprise. All I know are my colors—Tiffany blue and ruby red.”
I entrusted the day to Teyet entirely. I was a stress-free bride (though I’m sure it was anything but stress-free for Teyet at the time).
On my wedding day, I was blown away with what he had done. It was magical, to say the least. He transformed the whole tent into something that would’ve fit right into the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, and that’s with him and his team being given less than six hours to work, as the venue was previously occupied for an event.
There was twinkling candlelight in very tall glass candelabras with swags of fresh sampaguita (the only flowers for the reception, which also added to the heavenly scent that permeated the whole venue), and crystal roses and stemmed aqua stones with Swarovski-encrusted balls (in place of real blooms) in vases occupied each table.
My friends and colleagues from Asiaweek, Star TV, Businessweek and the International Herald Tribune crowded around Teyet Pascual that night, some of whom wanted to feature him as a Philippine personality. Much to my friends’ disappointment, he shook his head and waved off the offers. “Such a humble man for someone so talented and accomplished. Others would have jumped at the chance to be featured by international media,” my friends later said.
Teyet had one of the most extensive collections of candelabras, antiques, important paintings, all sorts of objets d’art, curiosities, and fashion and home accessories. Getting invited to his condominium unit (he and my parents lived in the same building) was always a treat—I always felt like I was being transported to old Paris.
I even had the distinct pleasure of going to his house in Quezon City on more than one occasion during the planning session for the wedding of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s son Mikey to Angela Montenegro. Teyet had this distinct eye for putting even the most unconventional things together beautifully and tastefully. And he worked his magic again on the wedding day of Mikey and Angela.
When Rep. Imee Marcos came up with this idea of turning her mom Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos’ old trinkets and fashion accessories into a new line of fun fashion accessories called The Imelda Collection, I received a call from Teyet again, asking me to take part in that endeavor. I ended up as Mrs. Marcos’ media relations liaison for that project, and handled all the international media coverage for her, from CNN to Star TV to W Magazine.
I was excited to have been part of that, as it was another wonderful opportunity to spend time with both Teyet and his very good friend, Mrs. Marcos. To have spent that much time with them is a privilege that I will always cherish throughout my life.
It was also through Teyet that I first met my editor, Thelma Sioson-San Juan. I still remember that afternoon in the old headquarters of ABS-CBN Publishing in San Antonio Village in Pasig, when Teyet accompanied me to see Thelma. He did not have to accompany me, but he insisted on coming along. He said he also wanted to surprise his good friend.
Teyet was a man of the “old world” who was never without new ideas about almost anything and everything. I was a social greenhorn, and Teyet had selflessly taken me under his wing. He was a mentor and a very good friend, in the truest and purest sense of the word.
He gave everything and asked for nothing. Through him, I listened, I watched, I learned. Truth be told, I didn’t need to hear the things he taught me, because most of the lessons really came from observing him not just as a friend, but as a person—how he dealt with different types of people, his approach to life and society, and most of all, his unwavering support and loyalty to his friends.
Perhaps the most unforgettable moment with me was when he, together with Lito and Kim Camacho, visited my father in the hospital. My father had been ill with lung cancer for six months, and it was only the day before that we began receiving visitors who wanted to see my dad. Teyet, Lito and Kim were there when he took his final breath. That happened 10 years ago, and it’s still as vivid in my mind as if it happened only yesterday.
Teyet’s last message through his trusted butler, Edwin, was to congratulate me on being on the cover of Lifestyle Asia. I had been traveling a lot for work in the last two years, and I am just so saddened that I didn’t get to see him before his untimely departure.
Teyet was one of the kindest and most selfless persons I knew. Philippine society has lost a real treasure of a man, and I have lost a dear friend. Thank you so much for everything, Teyet. I will hold all memories of you close to my heart.