From ‘de buena familia’ to ‘binuenas na familia’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

MANNY Pangilinan

Your mantra for the week:

“How good it feels to be a friend to all.”



MANNY Pangilinan

Think about these things. In science, it’s called energy. In religion, it’s called God. Love is the son of God. The son of God isn’t a person, it is love. And the greatest essence of this energy is also love which permeates the whole universe.


This energy-love calls to all of us. It says, trust Me, use Me and assist Me in creating greater good in the universe. For you are you as Me. With you, I co-create continuously greater good.


Begin with your body temple. It was made in my image and likeness. But many times, through your thoughts and feelings, the things you speak and do, you create havoc and disharmony in your body. And therefore, disease comes to pass. But then you can do something about it.


In Energy, you will find Me. And I am the only One Power. Trust Me. Use Me. Assist Me. And create prosperity in your life.


Through the change in your consciousness, miracles happen. And consciousness changes through prayer. In the midst of any challenge, pause and pray any time during the day.


As you continue asking questions about everything in the universe, the answers are always revealed as you live with trust, confidence and joy. In all your relationships, there are gifts for you to discover, untold blessings for you to receive.


JOHN Gokongwei Jr.

Each person that passes your way, know I am there. No matter what his appearance, no matter what he seems to be, I am there as I am in you even when you’re down on yourself.


Even when you feel you’re not worth very much, I am there. When you call on me, I respond, but many times you do not hear, for you’re not listening and you have lost your trust.


You must realize that I am here for you. Trust Me. Use Me. Assist Me. The universe is reminding you, love is the son of God. Love is the essence of energy. Use Me. And move on to greater heights of expression. Use Me to create all that which is within you… the beauty, harmony expressing the very essence of order.


You have the power. You have the talent, for I am in you. There may be disappointments because through all challenges, there are disappointments. But you must remember that with every lesson learned, you grow in strength. Every challenge overcome, you grow in wisdom.


There is always a process that you can use. Look at the good, I say unto you. For as you do, you make it happen in your life. It is not just positive thinking. It is not just getting rid of the negative. It is bringing forth your desires. It is the greatest pleasure of my Universe to bring you all the good that there is.


First you must learn to bring peace within you. And remember that in the depths of this peace, like the depths of the ocean, it can’t be disturbed by the storms on the surface. It remains still. Storms come and go, but the stillness remains. Through that peace you can trust Me and use Me efficiently.


As you assist Me in co-creating greater good through your desires, remember it is Me desiring it for you. You deserve it. Just prepare your consciousness for it. When what you are desiring does not come to you, it is simply a call for a change of consciousness and that comes about through prayer. And in the midst of your prayers, you will see your true self. And have every reason to love yourself. And in loving yourself, become truly my child.


Love is the son of God. Every day, my beloved, there will be things to forgive. And you must find it in your heart to do so. No condemnation. No judgment, for I do not judge and never blame you.


Know that you are going through a process called Life. And so is each and every human being that surrounds you. They, too, make errors like you. Love them. It is when they make mistakes that you must love them even more.


When you truly understand that you never need my forgiveness, you will forgive your fellowman, because I accept you for all that you are… your weaknesses, strengths, your ups, your downs. All of you, my beloved. All of you.



Trust, use and assist that One Power which I AM. Yes, I am here and there and everywhere for you, for I Love You.


The list


The people I am writing about today comprise what is referred to as the alta sociedad, people from de buena familia, later on more popularly known as Manila’s 400.


Why 400? That figure does not really refer to the number of members of that “society,” but was first used in ancient Athens to describe the oligarchy that ruled the populace.


In America, the phrase “four hundred” was used to describe the wealthiest, most famous or most powerful social group.


Clearly, the Philippines adopted the phrase to describe the 60 prominent families from all parts of the country that made Manila their residence.


These families gravitated toward each other by virtue of their wealth, education, influence, achievement, breeding and “good taste,” according to writer Tarrosa Subido and several women journalists who covered the social beat.


The families they enumerated ranged from the Abad Santoses to the Yulos. Today, Manila’s 400 is structured with a sprinkling of members of de buena familia—but with a majority now coming from the “binuenas na familia” (families that got lucky).



I am using that term because these buenas folks used their talents, industry and imagination to become tycoons, or get elected or appointed to powerful government positions.


Also included are those who have achieved world recognition through their exceptional abilities and services given through cultural and humanitarian means.


Today, Manila’s oligarchy as in Athens includes the following who are also the 50 richest people in the country, according to Forbes magazine: Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, Andrew Tan, Enrique Razon Jr., John Gokongwei Jr., Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Aboitizes, David Consunji, George Ty, Lucio and Susan Co, Tony Tan Caktiong, Robert Coyiuto Jr., Emilio Yap, Roberto Ongpin, Iñigo and Mercedes Zobel, Manuel Villar, Andrew Gotianun, Beatrice Campos, Vivian Que Azcona, Eduardo Cojuangco, Alfonso Yuchengco, Oscar Lopez, Betty Ang, Jorge Araneta, Carlos Chan, Michael Romero, Eric Recto, Mariano Tan Jr., Frederick Dy, Walter Brown, Ramon Ang, Jose Antonio, Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Jr., Manuel Zamora, Jacinto Ng, Alfred Ramos, Gilberto Duavit, Menardo Jimenez, Edgar Sia, Bienvenido Tantoco Sr., Felipe Gozon, Alfredo Yao, Michael Cosiquien, Edgar Saavedra, Juliette Romualdez, Tomas Alcantara, Lourdes Montinola, Luis Virata, Philip Ang and Manuel Pangilinan.


This was the kind of oligarchy that the former dictator was trying to eliminate and substitute with cronyism.


Please take note, only 20 percent of these names could be found in Subido’s 1960s list of Manila’s 400. However, it must be emphasized that the list also included justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the ambassadors, national government officials and those who brought honor to the country. The criterion has not changed until now.


Oscar Wilde once said that the worse thing about being talked about is not being talked about. I now say that the worse thing about belonging to High Society is not belonging to it.


That’s the reason for the existence of so many so-called “mountain climbers.” They want to “belong” and will do whatever it takes to be there.


I sincerely believe everyone should aspire to be wealthy and be a blessing to others because the Universe is Abundance itself. I say this because the beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” has been long misunderstood to mean, “Blessed are the poor in money.” In metaphysics, poor in spirit means humble and teachable. It was in no way promoting poverty.


The difference


So, what is the difference between Manila’s 400 yesterday and today?



In the old days, newspaper society editors would call to ask if they could send their photographers to feature the parties of the de buena familia. But now, in the era of the binuenas na familia, photos of their gathering are sent to the press with accompanying stories.


Public relations (PR) personalities have become a new breed in high society. This stands to reason though, because in the ’50s, there were only 15 million Filipinos on record, and today there are at least 95 million.


Competition is keen. Many people want to be featured and noticed and, as they say in Filipino, “matira ang matibay.” Truly, PRs are having a heyday.


In the ’60s, no matter how large the number of people were in a celebration, it always felt like a family gathering. Today it is like attending a barrio fiesta where you see many people you don’t know. I guess we have truly become cosmopolitan.




I love people, all kinds of people including “mountain climbers.” However, there are ways and ways of social climbing and the keyword is subtlety. Hard-selling is the least effective way of doing it.


Here are some pointers:


1. Tell your PRs to pace your appearances in the society pages.


2. Don’t run where the photographers are whenever you see them.


3. Don’t wear too much jewelry. Ramon Valera used to describe people who did so as, “No dejo mas nada en el banco (They left nothing in the bank).”


4. Stop showing off your branded items. It is so déclassé.


All the above do not fall under the category of “good taste.” If there’s anything that stands out in the old 400, it was that everything was done in good taste. It is really difficult to describe good taste because it simply comes with good breeding.




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