Around a month ago, I was invited along with my fellow bloggers to Ms. Tingting Cojuangco's home. We had a lovely dinner and a nice conversation on the "Elegant Filipina".
With Ms. Tingting and my dearest blog friend Pax:
This time with the male bloggers Sef and Paul:
For those who only see her on the glossy pages of magazines or on the society columns of newspapers, it’s easy to dismiss Tingting Cojuangco as just one of the elites belonging to one of the most prominent political clans in the country.
Saw this beautiful photo of Ms. Tingting on her younger years, very elegant ever since!
But Margarita “Tingting” Delos Reyes Cojuangco, wife of current Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, has achieved so much in her storied life. She is proof that elegance knows no age and that living a life of substance is truly what completes a woman.
When we asked her "What is an elegant Filipina?" Ms. Tingting's answer was stuck inside my head:
It's an overall thing, and something to do with etiquette. It's not only about what she wears, but how she carries her clothes. It is not just the physical appearance or what we see, but what she is in the inside.
"But how do you distinguish who is elegant and who is not?"
Consistency. Even when a woman is just at home, she still takes care of herself and makes sure she always looks nice even when no one sees her.
Ms. Tingting told us that the black off-shoulder is her favorite piece from Zara, and she has a lot of this in her closet. Also, when asked for her favorite brand, she replies with no hesitations, "None. I will try anything."
Tingting married Peping, President’s Benigno Aquino’s III uncle, when she was only 18. They have five daughters, Liaa Cojuangco-Bautista, Josephine Cojuangco, Mikaela “Mikee” Cojuangco-Jaworski, Margarita Demetria “Mai-Mai” Cojuangco-Zini, Regina Patricia “China” Cojuangco-Gonzalez.
Family photos I saw in her living room:
“I married Peping at an early age so I wasn’t able to finish college. Finishing my education had always been a dream and a promise I made for myself.”
She completed her college degree in three years, took her master’s degree at the University of Santo Tomas and later took up her Masters in National Security Administration at National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), and earned doctorates in criminology and Philippine history. Very impressive, and I think it's cool that we are both Thomasians!
Elegance is more than just physical appearance and “branded” clothes, to Ms. Tingting it’s practically “in born” taught by mothers.
“There are lots of beautiful women, especially this generation, but elegance is a lifestyle that takes years to develop. Elegance is about being educated, being cultured. It is about being refined in your actions, how you talk, how you walk, how you live your life, not just when you are in public, but every single minute of your life,” she explained.
With this, Ms. Tingting has found a new advocacy: “Tingting’s List: The Elegant Filipina”. This project aims to uplift the Filipina. The proceeds of the event will go to the Kabayan Weaving Arts and Crafts, Kabayan, Benguet Province and women scholars from Tanauan, Leyte who are training to become dressmakers under the Special Training for Employment Program (STEP).
"The Elegant Filipina list is mainly to teach," says Ms. Tingting.
Group photo with Ms. Tingting:
I'd love to meet true elegant women and get inspired by their way of life, the way I was inspired that night with Ms. Tingting. Excited to find out who are these Filipinas on the list! The awarding event is scheduled on September 22, 2015 at the Diamond Hotel Ballroom.
“Tingling’s List: The Elegant Filipina” is made possible by Diamond Hotel, DMCI (Vic Consunji), Berjaya Philippines, Globe Telecom, Century Tuna, Baguio Oil, Ralph’s Wine and Spirits, Malaysia Airlines. Special thanks to Sheridan Hotels, Toni & Guy, Seven Fridays, Uratex Philippines, Eskaya, Florsheim, Wacoal, HyC 150, Carlo Rossi.