Monday, March 24, 2008


I must confess that last night I was once again on the blog of that poor disenfranchised Australian man (google whistleblower + Australian + Boracay). Ever since it came onto the scene two weeks ago, that blog has just been burrrning with vitriolic statements about Manila's supposed "upper" crust. Specifically, jabs were made about the apathy and insularity of Manila's "true" elites and the delusions and deviousness of Manila's "pseudo" elites. And truth be told, it's been riveting reading. Now, let me make it clear that I am not taking pleasure in watching these people being taken down a notch, but moreover, I'm only reading it because it's an insight into the travails and machinations of Manila's misbehaving "burgis" class. And what I gathered here is this: There is NO such thing as "high society" in a country that was built by the money of glorified farmers (hacienderos) and merchants (the Ilustrados). Period. The stark reality here is that the Philippines has NOT had royalty in over 3 centuries, so the concept of being "elite" in the Philippines is totally manufactured. Jeez, even the Zobels and Sys and Gokongweis had their beginnings as simple shopkeepers. So having said that, ANYBODY can be "High Society". In a good way, everything becomes quite democratic, the field is level when it comes to choosing who should be our society's "icons". But sadly, instead of choosing Filipinos of merit/morals to be our role models in defining the modern Philippine lifestyle, it seems that the mainstream media has chosen to glorify pretentiousness and choose posers as the ones the masses should emulate. And as I kept clicking through the blog, it was really shameful to see where this has all come to.

But then again, ever the optimist and proactivist that I am, perhaps we should start looking at this situation in a different way. So how about this? In lieu of finding people to tear down, let's look for people that we can celebrate instead. Let's take a good look around us and find Filipinos out there who should really be our role models, our icons, our "High Society" so to speak. So please allow me to nominate people who I think should be considered as Philippine High Society to replace the ones that have failed us in oh so many ways.

My nominee for this month: Guillermo Ramos.

Now, you guys might not know of this person from Adam but I think he has all the ideals of what Filipinos out there should emulate. I have known this man for years and can verify that he is a bonifide law abiding, non-littering, twice-a-day bathing, tax-paying Filipino citizen who has never nicked couture from anyone's collection nor cash from anyone's life savings. He is a cultured man in a committed interracial gay relationship, a graduate of University of St. Thomas in the district of Sampaloc, and runs his own design agency in Intramuros. Guillermo has never been known to beat his maid, leave any bar bill unpaid, nor laugh at anyone's shortcomings. He also lives in a lovely flat overlooking the Manila Bay sunset and travels the world once a year. And for the last few years, instead of throwing an ecstasy fuelled birthday party for some sorry set of snow moochers and parvenus, he celebrates his birthday with street children in Pasay City.

And he'll be doing it again this year as usual. I just recieved this in my mail:

Hi Carlos! You're invited to come help me celebrate my birthday at the Pangarap Shelter for Street Children. 2503 Taft Avenue corner Escobal Street, Pasay City (its about 150 meters from the Libertad LRT Station, direction: EDSA) on Sunday, 6 April 2008 at 4:00 pm. In lieu of gifts for me, please see the attached wish list for the boys (ages from 10-17). You will also have the opportunity to purchase some of the wonderful products made by the residents as part of their income-generating project.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Please RSVP by April 3.

Wish list:
Toothpaste (sachets)
Bath Soap
Laundry Soap (powder or bars)
Shampoo (sachets)
Combs and hairbrushes
Nail cutters
Pens and school supplies
Soy Sauce
Cooking oil
Tomato and Fish sauce
Rice (the shelter consumes at least 1 sack of rice each day!)

Now that's what I call class. That's what I call "High Society". Take that as a lesson, Gucci Gang.

Now if anyone out there wishes to donate anything from Guillermo's wish list to the orphans on his birthday. Please just text me at the number on the top of my blog and I'll find a way to get it to them.

How about you? Anyone out there you wanna nominate as a member of Manila's New High Society?