Thursday, May 18, 2006


In memory of the late Soozy, let's get a little chatty about the alta sociedad of this city of our affections. But now a lot less about the ones that are a complete waste of our rice, and more about the ones who set a pretty good example of what it means to be privileged in this country. As an example, let's talk about someone like Bea Zobel Jr. (pictured below with anonymous companion)
Now I like this chick. I like her style and her heart is in the right place. She is totally under the radar in the dog eat dog world of the Makati poofy class and yet a perfect example of how the elites of the third world should act. I have never heard stories about her snorting coke in the bathrooms of Nuvo or getting caught with fake luxury goods at Charles de Gaulle. She is only really seen at events that have to do with the arts, culture, her family's interests, and her favorite project, The Metropolitan Museum of Manila. You never see her overdressed at the launch of the latest Hello Kitty alarm clock scarfing free vodka before sunset. And I'm not blowing smoke up her ass because I'm close friends with this woman. I have only met her four or five times, but each time was a civilized encounter. The last one being a week ago, when I toured her and a representative of a French arts foundation.

She also seems to have different standards from you and I. When I showed her the Gardens of Father Blanco behind the museum, she said, "That's it? That is all there is?" In all the times that I have shown people the garden (pictured above, thanks Ren), people have either paused in delightful surprise, or gasped in overplayed amazement, but never - never - has anyone ever said, "That's it?" So naturally I explained to her the current situation here at the San Agustin Church. I told her that the garden is being managed on a shoestring budget and that it's current resident botanist, Onie, needed more plants to complete the original digest listed in the book, Flora de Filipinas, written by the garden's namesake and founder. She looked at me, blinked a blink, and then handed me enough funds to buy additional birds of paradise, champaca, camia, banaba, rosal, pandan, taheebo, tuba, ginger bird of paradise, sampaguita, jasmin, ilang ilang, kamuning, dama de noche, millionaire's plant, quiapo, torch ginger, and Schiflora Mt. Pinatubo to the collection. Now that's class.
I'll post pictures of the plants once they are delivered to Onie. Next project, hopefully, would be the final completion of the list (anybody out there want to donate more Philippine flowers to the garden?) and to renovate the disgusting bathrooms of the museum.