Monday, February 09, 2009

Untold Pinoy Story No. 20

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry eyes;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven gaudy day denies.

So goes the famous poem of Lord Byron who wrote it after being struck by the beauty of his cousin whom he first met while she was mourning for the loss of a loved one.

Like Byron’s cousin, this southern girl was legendary for her beauty. It was therefore not surprising that Ateneans trooped to her school to get a glimpse of her as she waited for her chauffeur-driven car in front of her school.

However, when this beautiful southern girl turned 16, those awestruck Ateneans got the shock of their young lives. The object of their adolescent fantasies was gone in the blink of an eye.

Because the beautiful southern girl suddenly got married to a young man named Armando. And as if teasing her Atenean admirers, Armando was from Ateneo’s rival school. Yes, the man that this beautiful southern girl married was a La Sallite.

Attended by Manila’s elite, her much-talked about wedding to Armando was solemnized at the San Marcelino Church. The equally lavish reception was held at the Jai-Alai Sky Room.

Soon, the beautiful southern girl got pregnant with Armando’s child. She was excited.

But it was a tough time to start a family. World War II was raging. The newly-wed couple had to run and hide in their air-raid shelter in Paco all the time.

It was during one of these air raids that this beautiful southern girl’s life was changed. Forever.

She and Armando were comfortably settled in their air-raid shelter when Armando suddenly realized that his dog was missing. Armando was terribly upset. He loved that dog very much. Despite her protestations, Armando decided to come out of their hiding place to look for his dog. Hours passed. But Armando has not come back. She started to get worried.

The next day, Armando has still not come back. She got scared.

After two days of searching, she came face-to-face with her worst fear. Armando’s lifeless body was finally found. He was fatally hit by a sniper’s bullet.

She was devastated. Although the war had made everyone emotionally scarred, she took more serious blows than most girls her age. Because there she was. Pregnant at 17. And without a husband. In the middle of a war.

But life had to go on. She found comfort in the baby in her womb.

Soon, the war finally ended.

It did not take long before it was time for her to give birth. Attending to the delivery of her baby was a male gynecologist who had just returned to Manila after his residency in the best hospital in the United States: the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The male gynecologist was such a charming man that even his pregnant patients as well as the nurses in the hospital instantly developed a crush on him.

But the gynecologist did not easily succumb to the temptations offered by these women. After all, he had already a beautiful girlfriend who was a former Miss Philippines.

But when the gynecologist laid his eyes on the southern girl for the first time, things changed. Something magical happened.

The young gynecologist was captivated by the southern girl’s incomparable beauty. Instantly.

Love at first sight. That’s what it was.

It did not matter that they were exact opposites. While she was aggressive and gregarious, he was extremely shy and quiet. But they seemed to be perfect for each other.
They were destined to be together.

In the guise of visiting her baby boy, whom she named after her husband, her love-struck gynecologist regularly travelled all the way from UST Hospital in Manila where he worked to her house in Mandaluyong just to see her.

True love, indeed.

The unusual courtship ended in a simple wedding in San Juan.

During her wedding, guests were amazed at her unmatched beauty as her new husband escorted her outside the church after the ceremony. Appropriately enough, her new husband was the namesake of the familiar young boy who usually serves as escort to the most beautiful woman during the traditional annual religious procession which is duplicated in every town throughout the country every summer.

Soon, she gave birth to her first baby with her new husband. To celebrate the occasion, her new husband gave her a diamond and ruby pin. When their second son was born, he gave her a jade ring encrusted with diamonds.

In addition to her son with Armando, the new couple’s undying love for each other was blessed with a total of three sons of their own. A testament to their true love for each other.

Her son with Armando later became a familar name among car racing enthusiasts.

Her second son with her new husband became a respected stage actor whose equally talented daughter and son also ended up as stage performers.
The goodlooking son of their youngest son is currently a state representative in Hawaii.

Her eldest son with her new husband currently directs some of the most successful Pinoy shows on TV (Wowowee, ASAP, Sharon, etc.) and manages the career of some of the biggest names in Pinoy show business today (e.g., Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Anne Curtis, Bea Alonzo, etc.).

Her famous gynecologist husband was widely known as the well-respected director of one of the best hospitals in the country: the Makati Medical Center.

On the other hand, she was popularly known as a socialite and a vivacious media personality. Together with a respected writer-cum-newspaper columnist-cum-film critic, she co-hosted a popular late-evening talk show on TV.

As a beautiful southern girl, we knew her then as Miss Ledesma.

When she married Armando at 16, she became Mrs. Eduque.

After she married her gynecologist husband, Constantino, she became Mrs. Manahan.

But most of us knew her as the beautiful Elvira.

Yes, Elvira Manahan.

And most of you probably know the rest of her remarkable story.

Image from

Next: Move over Charice. Move over Arnel. Move over Lea. This guy is probably the greatest Pinoy in the world music scene. Bar none!


Anonymous said...

hi nick,

just when i thought your stories will be a semestral thing, here comes another, and too soon, too.


this is a very nice one. really, i know nothing about Elvira Manahan, except that she is one of those ladies who becomes more beautiful as they age.

joey again.

Nick said...

Thanks Joey. I wrote this piece hastily (Hope it didn't show.)as a reaction to your previous comment. And also to mark the season (no matter how corny it may sound). I'm glad you like it though.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Your words are always captivating and the research that goes into your posts must take a lot of time.

Another great story. I do know of Elvira Manahan.

Thanks again Nick! I have featured 12 of your stories on my blog when you disappeared for a while. And thank goodness - - you're still well!

Keep writing. I love reading your posts.

Nick said...

Thanks, Chuva.I'm glad you like my stories. Did you read them all? Which one do you like best? Why?

Anonymous said...

wonderful, nick! you're always a good read. more please! :)

Nick said...

Thanks for the kind words, Cali. Please let me know which story you like best.

Anonymous said...

Wow nick, your stories are beautiful. I hope you give us an update soon!

Nick said...

Thanks, Arasecci. I'd like to know which of the stories you like best. And why.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back nick. nice reading as usual

Nick said...

Thanks, Lee. I'm equally glad that you've always followed my blog and read my stories. It's loyal readers like you who inspire me to keep on writing. Hope to hear from you again.

Anonymous said...

hi nick,

this is really a nice story....but among the rest, id say the stories of the muslim princess and of dorothy are by far one of the we cant find any trivias like these elsewhere.....keep on writing...cant wait for your next pinoy story....

Unknown said...

Hi Nick,

I do not know why it is only now that I have discovered your great posts. My interest is not actually into showbiz people, but what you have here is far more than just mere stories but facts, and equally interesting and surprising at that.

I started reading just yesterday, needed to take a sleep few hours later BUT has not forgot browsing to the same site again to read all others.

Great! real great stories...

girl named shai said...

Got this one right--my former officemate is the daughter of Mr. M is why. Hehe.

A new friend and I were talking about Gary V, and at almost the same time, we were rushing to tell each other about his untold love story. Turns out we've been reading the same brilliant blog. It's been such a long time since I got back to your site. Kind of makes me thankful your posts are few and far between.