MANILA, Philippines – They say “blood is thicker than water.” In the Philippines, family ties go beyond than just supporting the kids till they graduate from college. They also go beyond reunions and personal favors. In this country, despite the ever-changing society and evolving traditions, family remains to be the top priority among most Filipinos.
We turn to our families in times of need and celebrate our best times with them. So it’s no wonder that most Filipino families have great stories to tell, coming from earlier generations. These stories are passed on to the next in line, influencing the future with stories about lessons learned and great times.
Sometimes, these stories come with a valuable object – an heirloom. Not all families have one, but those who do show great pride and love for such items – not only for their monetary value but for the history they come with.
Recently, Ayala Land and Lifestyle Asia hosted an exhibit called “Luminous: Legacy in the Limelight.” 3 families were able to share their heirlooms to the public and why it mattered to them.
Rappler was able to catch up with some of the families’ younger members and we asked what they are willing to pass on to the next generation aside from their heirlooms.
Passion as foundation
Wellington Soong knows beauty and cars. He is the man behind Autostrada Motore Inc., a company that has made a name for itself in the Philippines as one of the biggest luxury car distributors.
So when it comes to heirlooms, it is no surprise that he has cars to pass on to the next generation – particularly his two sons who now help him run the family business: Marc and Jason.
“By 2015, this car will be 50 years old!” Wellington said, looking fondly at his 1965 Sunbeam Alpine Cabriolet. His face lighted up as he shared how he still drives this car every now and then to the golf course.
Marc admits that being the son of Wellington has its pros and cons. “I never really used it [my surname],” he said. “But I met a lot of friends along the way, [and] doors and friendships have opened because of ‘Oh, you’re the son of Will.’ It’s difficult, though, because I have big shoes to fill.”
Marc also shared that his Dad’s grandfather always said, “One can lose everything except his name.”
This, he said, was something his Dad and everyone else in their family lived by.
“We all try to – since there’s so few of us – carry our name properly,” said Marc. “Especially since there are very few Soongs around.
“All our brands are about passion.”
The Soongs have brought luxury car brands Maseratti, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Ferrari to Philippine shores. Since they are in the car business, Marc says it is the passion for cars that he wishes to pass on to his daughters.
“I have to make them learn how to appreciate cars. Also, the passion in what we do with everyday life. I like to pass the passion on to my kids.”
Built to last
Natalia Jacinto, daughter of Ramon “RJ” Jacinto who is better known as the Pinoy King of Rock and Roll, will someday own a portrait of her Dad’s family painted in the ’60s by Fernando Amorsolo himself.
Her grandfather, Don Fernando Jacinto, founded the steel industry in the Philippines.
“Two of my uncles – Joselito and Pocholo – helped run the steel industry when grandfather and grandmother migrated to the States,” said Natalia. “My uncles migrated as well, so my Dad had to take over.”
Her father is better known as a “music man.” He played the guitar since he was 16 and has been on stage for years.
RJ Jacinto is also better known for his radio station and chain of guitar shops.
It’s rather unusual for a man of music to be handling a business of such nature. But Natalia said her Dad has no problem watching over his family’s legacy, because his instinct for business is in the blood.
This business sense Natalia is determined to uphold in the family.
“I like the business sense that my father instilled in my brother and I. When we take over my Dad’s business, hopefully, I’ll be passing it on to my kids as well,” she said.
“I would like them to know what it is like to work for the family and to know our core values. That’s actually what my grandparents passed on to my Dad and his siblings, then to my brother and I, and I’ll be passing it on to my future kids as well.”
Beauty in the deatils
Carlo Calma is one of the Philippines’ most famous architects. He is known for his innovative designs and attention to detail – something he got from his father.
Carlo is the son of Pablito Calma, a well-known figure in the construction industry. An uncle, Lor, has also made a name for himself in interior design.
Coming from such a family is a blessing to Carlo. “I am thankful that I have always been surrounded by people who support me,” he said. “People who have the same vision on value and authenticity of art and appreciation of design.
“Growing up, having a discourse of the things surrounding us, you begin to step back and be critical about the world around you.”
“What’s funny enough is that my Dad didn’t grow up with a father. He lost his father during World War II. He would tell us that he hopes he did something right [as a father] since he never grew up with one.”
And it looks like Carlo’s father did a lot of things right. Carlo became one of the country’s best architects.
“Growing up, my dad would always bring me to [construction] sites. I’ll be this little boy, roaming around. He would always point out things to me. Particularly details. I guess now, I’m also into the details like my Dad.”
Carlo points out that his Dad was not the authoritative type. He was more of a friend to his son.
“When you see someone as a mentor, I think that’s proper parenting. Rather than you should not do this, you should not do that. It’s more like you let them do their thing.”
This, said Carlo, is something he wishes to pass on to the next generation of Calmas.
Another thing would be the urge to innovate. Carlo said he has yet to produce his best work. His father feels the same way.
“Even for my Dad, who’s in his 80s now, you always have to top it off. See what’s missing, what you have to improve.
“Life is a work in progress and we have always tried to improve and morph it differently. So you have a life that is interesting and evolving.” – Rappler.com
Photos provided by GeiserMaclang marketing.