06 June 2009

Bigamist Celebrates Birthday

Dear Readers,

How can a MISTRESS be called a Mrs. ?

Bigamy is a CRIME in the Philippines but it's OK at The Star!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lucio Tan's Wife Celebrates Birthday Week

by Tim Yap

MANILA, Philippines – It must be fate, as her birth certifica says “Lucia,” but friends call her Letty. As in Letty Tan, or “Auntie Letty,” a woman with a good heart and wife of Lucio Tan, one of the richest men not just in the Philippines but in the world. This week marks her birthday, and it was celebrated quietly over lunches and dinners thrown by friends from here and overseas.

Theirs is a not-so-secret society of Manila-based tai tais, some with their husbands in tow, who travel the world and live the good life. “We make sure to stay active to combat Alzheimer’s,” says Auntie Letty over lauriat at a posh Chinese restaurant at the new Elements Mall in Kowloon side, Hong Kong. “We play mahjong together and enjoy good food. Go ahead, eat it while it’s hot,” says the very hospitable and warm woman wearing an earth-colored top which somehow accentuates the giant rocks drooping from her ears and on her finger. A friend proposes a toast, and she humbly accepts.

If some women aspire to be an Audrey or a Jackie, Auntie Lettty seems to be an Elizabeth. In fact, she looks like the Asian version. And, just like Elizabeth Taylor, they are both well loved, and like to live large.

Just a day ago her daughter-in-law and her granddaughter met her at the Hong Kong airport upon arrival. Both were wearing masks. One case of swine flu had just been reported in Hong Kong. Auntie Letty made sure that her grand kids were all right, and proceeded with her activities. She asked me how my flight was, and me being asleep in the plane almost all the time, I told her everything was good. “Lucio always makes sure of, number one, the safety of the passengers.” She said this with the assurance of a pastor repeating the words of a priest during a sermon. “I’m glad you enjoyed,” she says with her trademark head bow as she touches your shoulders.

“She’s really a very nice and sincere woman,” said a friend who has known her for a long time. “Nice” could be an understatement as I personally saw how she took care of her guests, serving the ones seated to her left and right with gusto, making sure they enjoyed the meal as much as her. Occasionally they would talk about issues concerning the Philippines. “I knew it! Lucio told me that for sure, Manny Pacquiao would win this one!” She then changes the topic and manages to acknoweledge one of her guests, thanks him for supporting her charities. “Thank you so much because every time my foundation approaches you for my outreach programs, you never say no. I appreciate that,” she bows her head in gratitude.

Later on, they would make a roll call of the best restaurants around town. Their group’s reach stretches from Manila to Hong Kong and all over China. In fact, last Friday they left for Xiamen province to visit Auntie Letty’s ancestral home there. In between social functions and another birthday lunch hosted in her honor, she had to visit her niece, who was having her house blessing that day. “I have to attend to so many things while I am here, because for me, family is most important. I make sure that no matter what, I am here for them,” she tells me over the phone, informing me that she might be a tad late for lunch.

Over Thai lunch at Benjarong, with her small circle of friends complete, a birthday cake is brought out and they all sing her a happy birthday song. She chuckles in delight, and says to all something she has been saying all this time, throughout all the dinners and lunches hosted for her, as her friends propose a toast.

“I am truly wealthy because I am surrounded by my true friends.” And she toasts back.

Originally sourced from Philstar (you know the paper that steals from bloggers!)

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