Getting To Know Margarita Over Dinner

I’ve only known her as the mother of my crushes(yup crushes, she has good genes), Mikaela Maria Antonia, Margarita Demetria, and Regina Patricia. She was often found in the lifestyle section of the broadsheet, sometimes the entertainment section and was described as a socialite. She writes for the Philippines Star and she bears the name Ting Ting Cojuangco. By the way those girls are Mikee, Mai-Mai and China Cojuangco.

Ting-Ting seems to be a very “masa” name for a woman of her class, joining the likes of Jun-Jun, Bing-Bing, Din-Din, Ben-Ben and others. Her real name is Margarita delos Reyes Cojuangco, born April 29. I might says she’s born with a silver spoon but I can personally say she was not raised the same way.

I, among other blogger friends were lucky to be invited and visit her home at Dasmarinas Village, Makati. It took me hours to prepare what to wear, questions to ask and also how to behave, I mean we’re talking about meeting a Cojuangco here.

As we arrived  we were greeted with a smile and it felt like we’re very much welcomed. It lessened the tension I was feeling. The receiving house or area is we’re we stayed, a very museum-like area. It’s home to a lot of native Filipino artifacts, arts and a lot of family portraits. Judging by how it was set up I can tell that she loves the Philippine culture, the Filipinos and her family.

We were first introduced to her collection of Filipino treasures and arts. It wasn’t my first time seeing antiques and artifacts, I’ve been to couple of  museums but it was probably the first time that the owner of the treasures was the one showing it to us.

You can tell that she was happy and proud of her collection. I felt the happiness too, it’s contagious as I am a lover of Philippine art too but no collection to back it up. It was the Amorsolo painting that really made my heart skip a beat. The way she showed her collection didn’t feel like she was boasting.  She had explained details of every piece of artifact she collected. She explained what it was made of, where she got it, and what it was used for. We were like kids listening to a teacher showing off some toys, it was a happy experience.

After the brief encounter with her collections we had a small talk with her, questions ranged from personal to political which was very much welcome to answer all. I got the chance to know more  about her.

There are couple of interesting facts about her that I just recently discovered. She is a Full Colonel, Reserve Forces of the Philippine Army, I was surprised! She has a lot of military background, that’s the probably one of the reasons she loves and supports the police and the army.

– Chaiman of the National Defense College of the Philippines Educational and Development Foundation, Inc. since 2003.
– Honorary Member, Philippine Military Academy “Matikas” Class 1983 since 1995.
– Director, Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Foundation since 2000.
– President, Philippine Public Safety College since 2004. Check out http://www.ppsc.gov.ph/

Those were just a few of her military backgrounds. She was also very known personality in Mindanao. She has around 26 years of Muslim studies. She spent a lot of her time in Mindanao where she gained the trust of our Muslim brothers. She was supposed to run for vice governor in ARMM but election was cancelled by President Noy. Having said that, I asked her if there was a really an Aquino-Cojuangco Feud. Just as I suspected, it was the media that brought it all up. She explains that they were even supporting Noy during his campaign for presidency.

Our talk was cut short when her husband Pepeing came. Just like her, he was all smiles. I really can’t forget his smile, it was very welcoming. It was more like a lolo visited by his apo’s. Then we were invited for dinner.

Dinner was nothing fancy, a typical family dinner to describe it. It was roasted chicken and ground pork with string beans plus banana and mango for desert. I was surprised to learn that she does not know how to cook. She explained that when she was young they had a great cook and her mom advised her not cook.

Over coffee we were able to get to know her more as a mom. She was not a strict parent she let her daughters be what they want to be. and let her grand children play with her priceless collections of artifacts. It was from her that Mikee grew her love for riding horses. She brings Mikee along with her when she goes to Batangas to ride horses.

She mentioned that all her daughters approved of her running for senator this 2013 it was just they were concerned on how she will take it if she loses.  I understand her daughters sentiment. What if? How will she take it. In the short time that I have got to talk to her I know that she is a strong person. She can take anything they throw at her, she can take even failure.

It’s not her degrees, not her clan, nor her political experiences that I admire about her. It’s her being a mother, a lover of Filipino arts and culture, and the love for our Muslim brothers that I like a lot about her. I wish  her luck.

PS: follow her on twitter @TingCojuangco an like her facebook page for updates https://www.facebook.com/TingCojuangco or you can even add her as a friend https://www.facebook.com/tingting.cojuangco.3

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