Celebrity #DongYanWedding reminds every Filipino of their place in Philippine society

There are grand weddings like that of celebrity couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera (the “DongYan” couple), and there are grand classy weddings like that celebrated by Irene Marcos, daughter of the late former President Ferdinand E Marcos) when she tied the knot with industrial scion Gregorio Benitez Araneta in 1983 in the rustic town of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte.

Society writer Augusto “Toto” M.R. Gonzalez III wrote a personal account of how he remembers the 1983 wedding of Irene Marcos in his famous blog Rememberance of things awry. He recounts how something that could have turned out to be simply elegant turned into the humungous eyebrow-raising circus of the time…

In justice to the bride Irene Romualdez Marcos, what she really wanted was a small, private wedding with only the Araneta and the Marcos families and their close friends in attendance. It was her mother, the First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, who wanted a superproduction on the scale of the British royal weddings. It was also thought that President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos gave his reluctant assent to the superproduction because it pleased him immensely that the wedding would be held in his mother’s [ Josefa Edralin-Marcos ], “Nana Sepa’s,” quiet hometown of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte.

The extent to which the Marcoses and Aranetas attempted to geo-engineer the whole town of Sarrat was astounding…

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The entire stock of colonial Filipino costumes at the CCP was brought to Sarrat to dress its excited townsfolk. There was a directive that the people would have to be dressed in “turn of the century Filipino costume” if they would walk the town streets on the day of the wedding, so as not to ruin the colonial ambience so carefully executed.

The First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos ordered Sarrat town’s main road to “bloom” with white, pink, and red bougainvilleas. In the weeks prior to the wedding, the willing and excited schoolteachers of Sarrat were kept busy crafting old-style crepe paper bougainvillea flowers which were later attached to the actual bougainvillea plants lining the road. The effect was pretty and charming and impressed the wedding guests from Manila and abroad who thought they were all real flowers.

Santa Monica Church in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte where Irene Marcos wed Greggy Araneta in 1983

Santa Monica Church in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte where Irene Marcos wed Greggy Araneta in 1983

Notable amongst the guess was then girlfriend of Marcos’s only son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Jr…

Very beautiful was the current girlfriend of Ferdinand “Bonget” Romualdez Marcos Jr. at that time, the high society model Claudia Lopez Bermudez, daughter of the legendary society beauty Diana Jean Barnes Lopez [ certainly the most beautiful of the beautiful daughters of the hacendero Enrique Solis Lopez of Balayan, Batangas and his lovely wife of English-French descent, Wendy Payne Barnes of England ], Manila’s version of Scarlett O’Hara. The young Claudia was unforgettable in a white strapless dress with a single orchid on her ear. She looked like the proverbial White Rose. She was so beautiful that she could have been arrested for being more attractive than the Marcos ladies that very important day, had she not been the current girlfriend of the only Marcos son.

…and for all the extravagance that, to be fair, created all that expensive beauty and grace on display at the time…

[…] it was not the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer at Saint Paul’s Cathedral in London two years before, which ostensibly inspired it. But it was a singularly beautiful and elegant Filipino occasion on its own, the very definition of what is now termed and reminisced with awe as “Marcosian splendor.” For all their Bourbon excesses, President Ferdinand Marcos and Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos certainly gave the Filipinos some very memorable moments in their history.

Interestingly enough, beyond Mr Gonzalez’s article, not much material is on the Net that documents this grand occasion. Even more revealing, a Google image search for the Irene Araneta to Gregorio Araneta wedding yields next to nothing (although I quit searching at the third search results page Google served). It is as if the whole event was purged from the Net or never found its way onto the Net to begin with.

The key point that readers are likely to highlight here is that the #DongYan couple paid for their wedding with their (or the GMA Network’s) “hard earned” money while the Marcoses possibly paid theirs with illicitly-obtained public funds. Fair enough. Whatever way money splurged on ostentation is made is beside the point. The point we really need to highlight here is that grand “royal” weddings (including those organised by moneyed commoners) enjoy a long colourful history because they have a proven effectiveness for distracting the masses from their wretchedness while, at the same time, sending an important reminder that everyone in any human society has their proper place. It always works.

17 Replies to “Celebrity #DongYanWedding reminds every Filipino of their place in Philippine society”

    1. it constantly amazes me how many people come here, (possibly) read the article beyond the title, and comment off-tangent ramblings that would put an actual psychotic to shame. kindly cite the pro-marcos sentiment you read and drink your medication afterwards.

    2. Says the noytard who just accuse grp as a marcos hack only because he’s asshurt about the article. Iyan lang ba ang kaya nyong gawin mga alagad ni carandung?

    3. This is clearly an example of a member of the star-struck masses whose wretched life was forgotten by seeing the kiligness of the wedding.

  1. ..It is like the durian tree asking why he was not a mango tree, or if not that, why he was planted in PHL. Hahaha. Still, we have to make the best out of what we are and where we are.

    In any event, I don’t know if I could say Happy New Year, PHL. What we are witnessing in the combox of the earlier post by Ilda is a phenomenon of some kind — it is dumbness in full display after another, and it is still going on. Hey, PHL, we don’t have a problem of poverty, we have a problem of mentality in the middle class. We better solve this first or we won’t solve the problem of poverty.

    I am still dumfounded; it is really a first first-hand experience for me with full impact. Now, I fully understand what a friend in New York told me some time ago. He is part of a large headhunting outfit with HQ based in NY, and his assignment is to fill up executive positions of multinational corporations who have regional offices in Asia. Being a Fil-Am, he has a bias towards Pinoy executives and would typically look first for materials in Manila to fill up requirements in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He normally did find good material coming out of PHL, but he started noticing that those who graduated college after the period some time between 1990 through 1995 simply could not qualify — they are not even “trainable”. So, the moment he sees a resume that says graduated after 1995, he just throws the resume to his garbage can. He said it is unbelievable. It is like the pool of talent from Manila just disappeared overnight, into thin air. It has been a while that he now skips Manila and go to some of the other Asian cities when the requirement calls for an Asian executive. Now you see why I am dumfounded, I fully understand my friend’s predicament first-hand. And, I am really sad.

    1. …Just an addendum, let me quote my favorite from GK Chesterton: “The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.” Indeed, they could very well be very intelligent, and you could see this in the way they reason out their comments in the combox of Ilda’s post. I don’t know, though, if they realize they are exposing their poor education. It seems very much influenced by the values of local media, which is definitely not about education, but profit, and more profit — a perpetuation of utilitarianism and consumerism. So, what can we expect? We have a very large madhouse by the name of PHL.

        1. Yung android, may remedyo yan. Tanggalin lang bloatwares, ok na siya. Yung mga tao……….

          Well. Hihi.

  2. classiness is subjective, to me, parading around in turn of the century costumes looks stupid (as stupid as the current trend of dancing down the isle). but that’s just me. Anyway, I don’t think Dingdong and Marian was competing with anyone on having the ‘grandest’ wedding.

    by the way, this quote:

    “For all their Bourbon excesses, President Ferdinand Marcos and Madame Imelda Romualdez Marcos certainly gave the Filipinos some very memorable moments in their history.”

    makes me want to puke.

  3. ‘He normally did find good material coming out of PHL, but he started noticing that those who graduated college after the period some time between 1990 through 1995 simply could not qualify’

    Not sure if related but I remember early part 90’s that foreing show are actually english, free tv shows have definite schedules (ex. 6:00, 7:30 etc) and not something like “pagkatapos ng ____” and “bago ang ____” and that game show audience members are too ashamed to participate in contests where you get prize money. Or is there something bigger that I am missing.

    P.s. Our classrooms back then are actually classrooms, not sardine cans.

    Or maybe it’s just me.

  4. I got your point i am thinking that lavish lifestyle brought us to ruin, they are also a public figure. And as a Catholic i felt sad that my church was used as to show their lavish lifestyle, In our province i rarely see bishops, i only see them once a year during fiesta but that wedding able to brought that 8 Bishops and seven priest. That is so sad for my faith and the people let that happen even Pope Francis calls for a simple lifestyle for the Church and all the followers. From now own i will only trust The Pope. But sad to see lot Pilipino allow this to happen to our country.

  5. Remember that your “place in society” is only constricted by how you choose to live. If you want to get rich, then you work hard and save up. Without hard work and just depending on the lotto is not going to get you anywhere. You need to do things to get them done if you don’t want to be in a low place in society. In other words, actually do shit.

  6. No,but the upcoming Chiz Heart nuptial will. Yun ang kailangan batikusin. Sa hanay pa lang ng principal sponsors, halatang more of a business strategy.

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