Filipina Claims Her Grandmother was Anastasia Romanov, Inquirer’s Editor Shouts “Stop the Presses!”

As a rule I try not to pay too much attention to the general idiocy that characterizes the output of the Aquino Administration’s official newsletter, but every so often The Philippine Daily Inquirer will publish something that is just too stupid to ignore. Case in point, a two-part story published May 13 and 14, which the Inquirer’s editors felt was worthy of their paper’s front page:

Filipino’s grandmama could be Russia’s Anastasia

‘Grandmama’s’ mystery identity: The quest goes on

The story, which is written by the “granddaughter”, a woman named Caty Petersen, is essentially this: based on the facts that one of her grandmothers was of Russian descent, had the nickname “Tasia,” and vaguely resembled the late Grand Duchess, Ms. Petersen believed she was the fabled Anastasia, a conclusion that was cheerfully confirmed by a ‘spiritual medium’.

Obviously this tale displays both an extraordinary lack of critical thinking skills and a level of desperation in seeking personal validation that must have any therapist with an Internet connection drooling at the potential bonanza in billable hours Ms. Petersen represents. In case anyone is actually wondering, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, the youngest daughter and fourth of five children of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife the Tsarina Alexandra, was born in June, 1901 and killed, along with the rest of her family, the family doctor, and three servants, by Bolshevik troops on July 17, 1918, aged 17 years, and coincidentally, unmarried and childless. The remains of the Tsar, his wife, three of their daughters, and the four non-family members of the party were discovered and positively identified in 1991; the other two children were found in a separate grave and identified in 2007.


And “Tasia” is not actually a nickname for someone named Anastasia, nor for the Grand Duchess in particular who, according to a 1983 history written by Peter Kurth, was called by the nicknames “Nastya,” “Nastas,” “Nastenka,” “Malenkaya” (which means “small” or “little” in Russian), “shvibzik” (meaning “imp,” because Anastasia was apparently an extraordinarily ill-behaved child), or the French form of her name, “Anastasie”.

You can decide for yourselves whether Ms. Petersen’s grandmother (on the left, from the Inquirer article) looks anything like Anastasia (on the right, in one of her last official portraits):

The problem here is not Ms. Petersen – she is completely entitled to be an attention-seeking, gullible fool if that’s what she wants to be – but rather the frustrating choice of one of the country’s major media instruments to, yet again, endorse some of the worst character traits of the Pinoy as front page news. Of course, perhaps we should not be surprised; this is a newspaper which, after all, keeps a specialist in paranormal matters on staff, whose last article was a serious discussion of the positive aspects of one of the most internationally-embarrassing scams to come out of the Philippines in the last five centuries.  And we wonder why the rest of world has a hard time taking this country seriously.


About BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

Post Author: BenK

I write a column for The Manila Times on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Most of the energy sector and the heads of several government agencies probably wish I didn't.

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43 Comments on "Filipina Claims Her Grandmother was Anastasia Romanov, Inquirer’s Editor Shouts “Stop the Presses!”"

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[…] Filipina Claims Her Grandmother was Anastasia Romanov | Get Real Post. Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInMorePrintEmailRedditDiggStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Posted in: Media | Tagged: Anastasia, attention whore, Get Real Post, hero worship, Inquirer, media, news, Philippines, psychics, say what, unjustified pride […]


And I was the said Grand Duchess in a previous life. Haha. They just look alike! A lot of people look like someone else, even from the past.And it’s impossible for the Romanov family to have any present-day descendants, because they all died. Why pay attention on this trivial matter? WTF.

Mary Ann

It should be mentioned that a well publicized debate over which daughter, Maria (according to Russian experts) or Anastasia (according to US experts), has been recovered from the second grave cannot be settled based upon the DNA results reported here. In the absence of a DNA reference from each sister, we can only conclusively identify Alexei – the only son of Nicholas and Alexandra.


More opium for Pinoys addicted to the Big Lie, eh?

The idea that the author is suggesting that there’s a chance her grandmama was Anastasia is just ridiculous. Looking at the portraits, it is ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that her grandmama does not resemble any of the Romanovs. Probably for lack of common sense, people are actually defending the author because they say she isn’t “claiming” that her grandmama is the grand duchess, and that there is just the “possibility”. But based on the simple but strong evidence (the picture) THERE IS NO SUCH POSSIBILITY. Forehead protrusion which shape the eyebrows, the nose, the eye shape, and even the curves on the… Read more »

And despite the really thick DNA and historical evidence from 3 countries that says Anastasia was in fact murdered in Yekaterinburg, Pinoy Pride absolutely, positively must insist that the child made it to the Philippines and survivd here. The evidence is just a conspiracy theory. An espiritista gave her professional opinion, so it must be true.

[face > keyboard]


[…] rather its lowest. This nation, whose people define their worth by their association with boxers, imaginary royal ancestors, and people who aren’t even from this country, is obviously going to take a long time to learn […]


Holy Royal Crown, Batman!!! Call the PDI and maybe the Bulletin, since no one really reads these guys — I have a kooky old photo album telling me I’m the great great grandchild of Emperor of China.

Oh and by the way, I have a nice bridge I’d like to sell you.

Traveling Morion

Another controversial, interesting article of PDI,,,

Bill Steffen

I hate that “Joe” thing too


They don’t look like each other… Anastasia, based on the pics, has smaller eyes, longer nose, and less rounded face than the other one…

Mary Ann

a DNA test will clear all of this. Those who commented as if they knew everything about this inferior ”full of mysticism” nationality called PINOYS must have a Ph.D in History after their surnames.And was given power by whoever their Supreme being a right to judge, underestimate and laugh to their fellow human who eat, fart and defecate like them..Thank You Sarcastic Intelligent , Supreme Race… (tamaan bukol}


Funny how PDI flipped the wikipedia photo and printed it that way than look for another…

janice daulong

i,too was interested when i heard the article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer,perhaps it might be true…esp when she asked for her grandma to seek for her ancestors,her grandmama replied that they might kill them all if they do so….there’s a possibility

John Paul

I just regarded the whole thing as a wonderful piece of creative nonfiction. After all, the grandmother never claimed she was a Romanov.

nelson ongpauco

baka alam ng abs-cbn dahil ang mga teleserye ay puro nawawalng bata na biglang lumalabas pagtagal ng estoria ,,hahahah!!!!

so mr benk whats your problem? are you a racists? why such comment of yours is very deliberating and insulting? i think for your information you have no right to be a writer or author. can you prove those insulting freakish comments of yours to the public about the philippines? if you said mrs petersen is entitled on her own thoughts about her pursue for searching the roots of her grandma then she has the right to search whenever possible way, which anyways i believe what story she said is all true about her grandma and thats only she is… Read more »

Funny how Pinoy Priders actually look up to the very unlikely event that the old Russian lady was Anastasia, and make it a point of pride.

If the story was simply about White Russian/Royalist refugees coming to the Philippines and treated warmly by Filipinos, it would be a really interesting story (damn, I’m Greek Orthodox myself and Orthodox are a very rare bird in PI). But it just had to denigrate into being a cockamamie fairy tale story with conspiracy theories.


don’t look now. but after the PDI printed scientific findings, by one Lawrence de Guzman (PDI researcher), the claimant wrote a reaction on 20 May 2012. to me, the reaction established some interesting motives of the claimant. unfortunately, this sad episode does not seem to be ending. regards.