Latest Stories

Not Quite There

Debut of a ‘properly wedded wife’


I’m glad no one had asked me what I planned to do with my life before I knew any better, or I’d have felt forced to give the question serious thought; I might have even drawn a roadmap to success and happiness. How ridiculous that would have been—to think one could actually plan one’s life! Indeed, looking back on every turning point in my long life, I don’t know how I could have planned it as it has gone. All I can say is I’m happy beyond expectation.

Classic Filipino plot

I was to my paternal grandparents’ manor born, of a 17-year-old girl from the other side of the tracks—the classic Filipino plot. My parents had eloped and, after some token time of banishment, were taken back into the Casa Manila-type home at 802 Taft Ave., where it meets Remedios Street at one end of the block and Pennsylvania Street at the other. I came eight months after the church wedding, but for the sake of the counting public, my parents celebrated their civil wedding anniversary a month earlier, thus making me, after all, a full-term baby.

Christened Teresita, after my grandmother’s favorite saint, I was called Chichit by uncles and aunts. On my own insistence, I became simply Chit. For some reason I was looked at as some kind of princess, possibly because I had become pretty and smart enough. Although my lineage was more statured than rich, good life seemed pre-earned for me.

I was barely 20 when my prince appeared. If I had any doubts, everyone else recognized him for me. Anyway, he fit their description of one. If my own inside bells weren’t ringing for me, I hardly noticed; applauding family and friends, accompanied by church bells, gave their own ringing approval.

The good life got even better as four children arrived to bring me joy. If there had to be a snake in paradise, my mother-in-law would be a desperate typecast choice—she was, in fact, generous to a fault. Well, she was given to dramatic childish outbursts in public, and I had been caught in a few of them, although, again, even then she could be more funny than hurtful. But I’m glad I served her as well as I had been programmed to do by my Lola Enchay.

“Never quarrel with your mother-in-law,” I can hear her telling me again and again. “You must not ever put your husband in the tough spot of having to choose between you and her. Even if he chooses you, as he must, he may never forgive you.”


I took 20 years to break. In my immaturity (now, there’s a real snake!), I could no longer contain the inexplicable discontent growing within me; the more I tried to deal with it, the more strength it packed. When it exploded, it exploded like a tsunami. My poor prince, probably clueless himself, did nothing, didn’t feel he needed to do anything, to understand what I was going through. In fairness to him, it could not have been easy to understand—it all began even before his time.

And so, the fairy tale that had fit everyone’s imagination except that of the prince and the princess cast in it had to end.

But an inconvertible believer in love, although not in fairy tales, I never doubted that somewhere out there was my right partner—for forever.

I would find unintended validation from the unlikeliest of philosophers—Apple’s Steve Jobs.

‘Being in love’

Steve (I already feel familiar) spoke of “being in love,” of “starting over,” of “the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.” Although he spoke in the immediate context of technological inventions, he drew an analogy to romantic love.

“You have to find what you love,” he said.  “As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So, keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

My present husband and I didn’t settle; otherwise, we wouldn’t have found each other.

If there were any casualties, they would only exist in the minds of unforgiving people, for whom nothing could be done right. Not that there wasn’t any bitterness all around, but everybody has the choice to let go—to feel “the lightness of being a beginner again.”



On June 28 we celebrated our seventh year of legally wedded bliss, which had been preceded by 23 years of the unwedded kind. And with this column, I’m debuting as a properly wedded wife in the traditional way—carrying my husband’s name. And while at it, I’m also changing my much-criticized picture with the one I have used in the book I’m launching on Thursday, 6 p.m., at PowerBooks, Greenbelt 4, Makati—my first book: “Personal Space and Other Essays,” published by Anvil, illustrated by Vergel—a collaboration in that sense.

You are all invited.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Anvil Publishing , Biography , book launch , Chit Roces , Creative Non Fiction , Language , Literature , Marriage , Relationships , Vergel Santos , “Personal Space and Other Essays”

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  5. Almost mugged on Chino Roces Avenue
  6. How healing waters accompanied my journey of faith
  7. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  8. ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  9. Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  10. Philippine novelist wins US book award amid cancer and ‘Yolanda’
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Saudi Arabia reports 3 more deaths from MERS virus
  • Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  • Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?
  • Napoles to have surgery on Tuesday – report
  • Mayor’s assassination linked to black sand mining controversy
  • Sports

  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months