Maria Luisa “Ising” Madrigal Vazquez, the last member of the illustrious Madrigal family, died last week of complications from pneumonia. She was 88.
The youngest of the seven children of post-World War II tycoon Don Vicente Madrigal, Ising was said to be the apple of her father’s eye. Like most of the Madrigals, she was involved in real estate, including the development of Everest Memorial Park.
As entrepreneur, she acquired the local franchise of the French salon Franck Provost.
Art patron and businesswoman Maria Victoria Vazquez said that first thing that comes to people’s minds about her mother is her kindness. Although she was very charitable, she was discreet about it.
“She was good to everybody,” said Vazquez. “(But) like Tita Chito, they were feisty when they asserted their rights.”
Ising—in contrast to her elder sister, banker, philanthropist and society doyenne Consuelo “Chito” Madrigal-Collantes—shunned the limelight. Still, it was said that she had one of the most fabulous jewelry collections in town, and she had a shoe fetish.
“You don’t hear much about my mom except that she’s so nice. Everybody loves her. She was a loyal friend,” said Vazquez.
Raul Manzano, investment banker-turned-editor, recalled how Ising treated him like a son. “I’m the adopted Vazquez,” he said.
Manzano’s parents were close to Ising and her husband, Dr. Daniel Vazquez. In his student days in California, Manzano made the Vazquez place his second home. During his graduate studies at the University of San Francisco, he would drive daily to the Vazquez residence in Foster City, San Mateo County, for a meal and good company.
When Manzano worked for Jardine Fleming in Hong Kong, he lived in the Vazquez apartment which he shared with Bella Vasquez. She was then working for American Express. The Vazquezes visited the apartment only twice a month. Ising always made sure that Manzano was taken care of.
“She’s very down-to-earth,” said Manzano. Unlike Chito, who hosted big parties in her residence, Ising preferred intimate dinners in her apartment. On Saturdays, Manzano would catch Ising and her friends playing mahjong. Then they would all hear Mass and partake of merienda cena.
He will always remember her love for travel and good food and her cheerfulness, which brightened up her surroundings.
However, life wasn’t always hunky-dory. One of the saddest moments was the successive deaths of Ising’s children in 2009. Bella, the youngest, died of sepsis, blood poisoning set off by infection. Three months later, Juan Miguel, president of the pre-need company Permanent Plans Inc., died of a stroke in the first-ever Ironman 70.3 race in the country.
Ising was in the hospital, recovering from a back injury and two strokes, when Miguel died. The children kept the news from her for three months, and waited for her recovery.
“It was painful, but she put up a brave front,” said Marivic.
Ising’s remains are in the Madrigal mausoleum in Alabang. For surviving members Dr. Vazquez, Marivic and Bea, and “adopted son” Manzano, Ising’s generosity of spirit will always linger in their memory.