PASCUAL with Mrs Imelda Marcos-Photo from philstar.com
Several months ago, I received news that two of my high school contemporaries had died. There were no fanfares or a national press release about their death but just an announcement in FaceBook. Last week, however, one of my classmates in Chemistry from University of the Philippines died and his death was front page in the National Inquirer-The Philippines National Newspaper with a wide readership worldwide. His name was Dr. Eleuterio “Teyet” Pascual. Dr Pascual was one of my ten classmates that graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1955, at the University of the Philippines(UP), Diliman, Quezon City. He also had obtained a Ph.D degree from Switzerland.
During our 50th Chemistry Reunion in 2005, Teyet invited the Chemistry class of 1955 for a pre-reunion party in his condo in Makati. I was not able to attend, but four of my classmates did. I asked all those that attended of their impression about the party. All I heard was about the décor of his condo. I was told all the walls was filled with art work including the ceiling in the bathroom, that guests felt they are in a museum. Pascual did not attend our 50 years of Chemistry reunion. However his coffee table book, the Paintings of Juan Luna was on sale. I was planning on buying one, but at that time I had run out of pesos, plus the price of 5000 pesos( about $120), I considered exorbitant at that time and could be put in good use with other gift items instead of the coffee table book.
The other day, when I read the three articles about his life and accomplishments, it reminded me of my own mortality. It appeared that a few readers were jealous of his accomplishments, based on comments on the articles about his life, his friendship with Imelda Marcos, the Macapagals and other the rich and famous in the Philippines social and political life.
Some of the antiques in Pascual Collection- Image from traveleronfoot.wordpress.com
Here's an excerpt from one of the articles, written by Thelma Sioson San Juan, including some comments from other readers. I will not mention the names of the commentators, but the comments are very, very interesting, indeed.
Teyet Pascual: Another ‘man of gentility’ leaves
MANILA, Philippines—Dr. Eleuterio “Teyet” Pascual: Filipino collector, style arbiter and a power behind the throne.
Why? What’s the story about Teyet? I texted back our editor in chief after she sent me the message early last Tuesday morning that I should write it. Is he preparing another stop-the-press type of event worthy of the news page, I asked.
That was when I was told that Teyet had died early that Tuesday morning, Nov. 20. He woke up at three in the morning and told his household staff that he could hardly breathe. They rushed him to Makati Medical Center where he died a few hours later, apparently due to cardiac arrest.
The news of his sudden death spread fast—on Facebook, in text messages, at social gatherings—among artists and the culturati, the café society (or what remains of it), the high society, the old political order, the society snoops, or even just among friends who had had unforgettable lunches and dinners with him, or people who merely knew of him.
Pascual held no position in government or in big business, not even in a culture institution. Yet he was famous, his name denoting not only prominence, but also a certain power that was quite hard to define, partly because it was something he hardly wielded yet he held—behind the scenes. Pascual was one of the country’s foremost art collectors, a patron of the arts and culture, a social arbiter the past three decades.
The following are some comments, I found revealing and interesting including my own.
1. This article reminded of emperor Nero fiddling while Rome burned. there is just too much poverty in the Philippines to gloat in this. fortunately, in the final analysis, you cannot take it with you.
2. Art collector or art thief?!!!!
3. I just wonder if Teyet supported charitable organizations for the alleviation of less privileged Filipinos
4. Why is it a number want to portray themselves as "Holier than Thou" and when we criticize people as if we are the only righteous people here on earth. I may not know the Marcoses and number of their friends but let us not condemned their friends as well. Is it a case of "inggit" because the person was rich? If the had committed evil things let them answer it before God. The least we can do is try to live uprightly if not morally. (Inggit means jealousy.).
5. Can anyone be spoken of as "good" if he keeps thieves, murderers, and liars as his closest of friends? And don't anyone dare tell me that Christ did such a thing, because the good Lord sought to CHANGE those people, not BECOME one of them.
6. "Manila society." HA! You mean the Manila inbred that is so deep in delusion that they can't discern a Marcos from a Cojuanco from an Arroyo from an Aquino... Oh wait, they're inbred so they must all be the same.
7. Another Marcos crony bites the dust, and the world is a little brighter for it.
8. Now I understand why Midas Marquez was so fanatical in defending a corrupt Thief Justice. He must have inherited it from his uncle, who was also loyal defender of a corrupt regime till the end ... must be running in their blood.
9. This is not opulence, this is cultural decadence trampling over cultural sensibilities. Similar to the NAZI's pre occupation in trying to define and defend a cultural direction detached from social responsibility. They called it cultural rennaisance, but it really was the trappings and excesses of a kleptocracy as it tries to redefine escapism as culture.
10. When I visited Teyet in his Pacific Plaza residence more than a decade ago, it was to interview him about his plans for the wedding of Mikey Arroyo to his distant cousin Angela Montenegro. It was an experience like no other for me. Right at the entrance, I was mesmerized by what I saw. As I later wrote in my lead, ““Elegance is not the only word that comes to one’s mind when entering the home of art collector Eleuterio Pascual. Madness too, as one strains to look up at the ceiling and wonder at the sight of masterpieces that should perhaps be kept in a bank vault.
Last but least is my comment as follows:
11. Dr Eleuterio Pascual was my classmate in Chemistry at the U of the Philippines ( 1951-1955). I remember him to very friendly. During our 50th Chemistry Alumni, he gave a pre-reunion party in his condo in Makati. I was invited but was not able to attend due to a schedule conflict. This was an invitation that I always regretted, since I was not able to see his art collection in person. I only saw his coffee book ( Juan Luna Paintings) that was for sale during our reunion in UP. May his soul rest in Peace, Amen
Finally may I ask “Who among you my dear readers had a classmate whose death made front page in a National Paper”?
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