Monday, May 14, 2007

Untold Pinoy Story No. 12

The Zobel Mansion

The daughter of a noted musician, Ayen Munji was a club singer doing the Asian circuit. In one of her singing engagements at the Brunei Country Club, she was spotted by Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei. The next thing she knew, she was the Prince’s wife. Actually the prince’s fourth wife.

Ayen abandoned her singing career and lived the glamorous life of a true princess. With her newfound wealth, she reportedly gave all her siblings a cool million bucks each. One of her brothers who is a nurse in the United States reportedly owns a gasoline station now. Thanks to Ate Ayen.

Ayen knew that the day will come when she would fall from the prince’s grace. No matter how much she tried to be a good wife to him. And she was smart enough to realize this.

Long before Ayen parted ways with the prince, she started building her dream house in Ayala Alabang. All the materials used for the construction of her dream house were imported. Ayen personally supervised the construction without ever leaving Brunei. She regularly received videotapes of the construction activities. That’s how she monitored her dream house’s progress.

Ayen’s dream house stands on a large lot where the majestic mansion of Inigo Zobel (Don Enrique Zobel’s heir and husband of former Palmolive girl, Maricris Cardenas) used to lord it over. The Zobel mansion was so exquisitely constructed that no one in his right mind would dare level it to the ground in order to build a new house.

Singer and former Keep on Dancing co-host Franco Laurel once passed by the neighborhood to visit his uncle who lives a few blocks away. He was horrified upon seeing that the Zobel mansion was being demolished to build a new house. Franco quipped, “They’re destroying the Zobel mansion to build another house? How OA naman the new owner.

The dream house that Ayen built is really palatial. Ayen’s bedroom alone occupies an entire upper floor. Sharing the space below Ayen’s bedroom are the rooms of her new husband and her children.

But these days, Franco Laurel has stopped criticizing the new owner of the Zobel mansion lot.

In fact, Franco has nothing but praises now for this new owner of the Zobel mansion lot.

Because Franco Laurel now lives in the new mansion that Ayen Munji built on the Zobel mansion lot.

Because Franco Laurel is the new husband of Ayen Munji.

And you probably know the rest of Ayen Munji and Franco Laurel’s love story.

Image from

NEXT: Reaping Untold Fortune and Fame for a Song


haaynaku said...

finally, the wait is over.

ayen's story was aired over abs-cbn's "maalala mo kaya" years ago.

i wonder what happened to her and franco. they're not very active in showbiz anymore.

Anonymous said...

gaano katagal ang marriage ni ayen sa sultan?

SandalMan said...

another cool entry.

Anonymous said...

hi nick,

nice story...but again, i have a little correction when i forwarded your story, a friend said that:

maricris cardenas was a Camay Girl not Palmolive...

hope you don't mind...

Nick said...

Hey Jo.
They still appear on TV once in a while for some musical specials.
And they're probably busy with Uva.
Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks for your e-mail, too. That was really a good one.

Hey Pao.
I think they were married for at least seven years.
Last week, I rushed to Barnes and Noble in Union Square after work for the book reading/discussion of Chuck Palahniuk's "Rant:An Oral Biography of Buster Casey" and Irvine Welsh's "The Bedroom Secrets of Master Chefs". Chuck Palahniuk is the author of "Fight Club" which was made into a movie starring Brad Pitt while Irvine Welsh is the author of "Trainspotting" which was made into a movie starring Ewan McGregor. Chuck's reading was so unique and full of surprises (I hope to be able to write about it in my other blog.)It was the most exciting and most fun book reading I have ever attended. However, it was Irvine Welsh's reading which brought the house down. And I was thinking of your stories while he was reading chapters from his book. The crowd was really howling like crazy. Irvine was really a big big hit. Try getting hold of his book and you'll find out why.
On impulse, I got two copies of each of of their books (with their signatures, of course!)Judging fron New Yorker's reaction to Irvine's novel, your stories have a big market here. Think about it.

Hey Lee.
You haven't been updating your blog lately.I hope everything's fine with you.

Hey Anonymous.
Thanks for your feedback. I really appreciate any kind of feedback.
But I am certain that Maricris was a Palmolive Girl and NOT a Camay girl. (I'll bet my bottom dollar.) Paquita Roces, Maritess Revilla, Rosie Revilla, Toni Rose Gayda and Crispy Santamaria were all Camay girls but definitely not Maricris Cardenas. Hilda Koronel and Sharon Cuneta were Lux girls. But Maricris Cardenas was the only Palmolive girl that really made an impact. (And I think Inigo Zobel will agree.)
I still clearly remember images from Maricris' Palmolive TV commercial to this day. She truly posseses one of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen. Unforgettable face.
I hope that you'll leave your name next time so that I could properly acknowledge you.

Anonymous said...

Franco Laurel always seemed a bit gay to me...

Anonymous said...

hi! great blogs. i'm looking forward to your next entry.

can you post a story also of ruffa guttierez (including her brunei-yuki story, tafe it-take it scam, and her alleged marriage to a certain richard daloia).

Anonymous said...

Maricris was indeed a Palmolive girl, and so was her sister Maricel. Maricris had also appeared on the print and TV commercials of Johnson baby lotion. Of'course that was before she became Mrs. Zobel. Really an unforgettable face.

BTW, great blog you have here. Keep the post coming! Cheers!

Didi said...

I am loving every bit of your blog! It's like a mystery unraveling at every sentece! Nice one.. I will surely visit often! :) I will also link you up!

I'm impressed! :) I'm so glad I was brought to this page.. :) Coolness!!

Anonymous said...

between the two of us, i think you have a much better chance of making it big :P

YOU tink about it :)

i have a long way to go, man. i dont know if i should attend witing workshops or not. too much knowledge can restrict one's creativity, i think.

Citizen of the World said...

Is Uva still making good business?

Anyway, there's a lesson to be learned from Franco's comment.


Nick said...

Hey Anonymous #1.
Re. Franco, I would not dare venture into that. You may want to ask Maribeth Bichara instead.
Please leave your name next time.
Thanks for dropping by.

Hey Anonymous #2.
Thanks for your kind words.
I hope that you would leave your name next time.

Hey Lani.
Thanks for speaking out and confirming that bit of info about Maricris. I truly appreciate your feedback.
Watch out for my next story. I hope you like it.
Thanks for dropping by.

Hey Candishhh.
Yes, please link me up.
I'm so glad that you were brought to this page (by accident, I guess.)
I hope that you'll also like my next story. Watch out for it.
Thanks for the kind words.

Hey Pao.
Are you back from HK? Hope you had a great time.
Between the two of us, you are the writer. You are a writer by profession. I am not. And I'm certain that you'll make it big in the next few years.
I don't even know if I could really write. I have never had anything published, except for a couple of comments which was published in Time Magazine.
If you want to publish a collection of your stories someday and you desperately need an editor, you can count on me (at your own risk!Hehehe).
If you would ever attend workshops, don't accept everything that they say as gospel truth.
It's true that education sometimes hinders knowledge. So be cautious.

Hey Dylan.
I hope that Uva does well.
And Franco is probably right after all.
Thanks for the visit.

Anonymous said...

Great blog you have here! I happen to know your site when a gay officemate gave me the link to your story no. 10. And so I was able to read all of your interesting stories and so since then I am hooked. Oh by the way, isn't the architect behind Brunei sultan's 1,788-room palace is Enrique Zobel?

Anonymous said...

Ayen's mansion in Alabang costs a whooping php180M!!! our family friend is the contractor who reportedly earned millions in this project! -CHARLEMAGNE-

Nick said...

Hey Kimmy.
Thanks for your kind words.
Check out my next story.
Thanks for dropping by.

Hey Charlemagne.
Thanks for sharing that information about Ayen's mansion.
Watch out for my next story.
Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

It was actually the Prince who fell from Ayen's grace, not the other way around. Ayen was the one who asked for the divorce.

Nick said...

Hey Anonymous.
Please leave your name next time.
Thanks for dropping by.

Anonymous said...

hey nick,

in your reply to pao earlier, you said you had another blog. what is it? what is it? what is it?

pls tell me. i wanna read your other stories. please, please.