Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Cebu Philippines: The Sensational Elopement of Milagros and Manuel Cuenco

Milagros and Manuel Cuenco, circar 1935

The Sensational Elopement of Milagros and Manuel Cuenco

I learned about the elopement of my uncle and aunt later on life. Before then, I always took them as just another normal couple with six children, part of the landscape of my youth in Cebu. My mother had only one brother, Manuel.

At this point in time, I can probably mention their names. They have both passed on, and their lives have slipped into the realm of story.

The writer, Concepcion G. Briones wrote about the elopement of Manuel Cuenco and Milagros Veloso (circa 1930s) as follows: (source: Life in Old Parian)

Another sensational elopement landed its protagonists on the front-pages of Cebu's newspapers and weeklies. The youngest daughter of one of Cebu's oldest millionaire families and the handsome scion of Cebu's most powerful political families,eloped one day.

The couple had been, in the language of the day, "going steady" for quite a while. But they probably had a falling out when the novio went abroad to pursue further studies. A year or so afterwards, avid society watchers woke up to read an announcement that Cebu City was to see another big and brilliant wedding uniting the lovely herioine and another scion of one of its wealthiest families.

All preparations went into full-swing. Gifts from both sides of the two families arrived by the car-load, from morn until night. Gowns for the bride and her attendants were ordered from Manila. The caterers were readied and the engraved invitations were sent out to Cebu's 400. Everything was set.

Except the heart of the bride-elect.

One day, in the stillness of noontime, when the bride's family was gathered in their big sala after luncheon, probably talking about the forthcoming nuptials, the bride-elect simply went down the stairs of her parental home in house-dress and slippers and walked calmly to a shaded sidewalk where the car of her old and longtime fiance was parked. Posthaste, they drove off to a somnolent seaside town, then proceeded to Negros, where they were married.

Meantime, the city that the couple left was bewildered. The elopement was the talk of the town. I learned from gossip columns in vernacular weeklies of that period that the distressed mother of the bride motored to the home of the benedict to inform him and his family that, indeed, an elopement had taken place. She offered her apologies. The matriarch, likewise, ordered the wedding gifts returned and cancelled all the wedding preparations.

But the seven-day wonder did not end there. Because, unfazed by the sad turn of events, the handsome, though frustrated bridegroom, a gentleman of the old school, tossed a big dinner-dance on the day set for his wedding! If my memory has not failed me, it took place in a low-slung clubhouse somewhere along Mango Avenue. Many of his younger relatives and friends were invited to the soiree. I was then studying at the Junior College of the U.P. in Lahug and one of his cousins took me to the dinner-dance.

As we entered the hall, we were exceedingly surprised, because we were welcomed by the reception line composed of the stood-up bridegroom himself and all the attractive would-have-been bridesmaids, dressed in their wedding finery!

l-r: Manuel Cuenco, Mariano Jesus Cuenco, Archbishop Jose Cuenco, Miguel Cuenco

Circa 1932 Seated l-r: Consuelo Cuenco, Filomena Alesna Cuenco, Teresita Cuenco, Manuel Jesus Cuenco, Carmen Cuenco; Standing l-r: Concepcion Cuenco, Manuel Cuenco, Lourdes Cuenco

Circa 1955 Children in front l-r: Florentino Reyes, Teresita Reyes, Manny Gonzalez, Ana Manguerra, Federico Reyes, Cecilia Manguerra; Standing l-r: Victoria Manguerra, Mercedes Rodriguez, Consuelo Cuenco Reyes, Teresita Cuenco Gonzalez, Concepcion Cuenco Manguerra, Milagros Veloso Cuenco, Senator Pacita Madrigal, President Ramon Magsaysay, Governor Manuel Cuenco, Mariano Jesus Manguerra, Jr. , Antonio Gonzalez

Read also
Cuenco Family - "Remembrance of Things Awry, The Families of Old Cebu"
The Old Families of Colon Street
The Cuenco Cousins in Paris
Lola Remedios and Her Sayas
Mariano Cuenco Website

Tags: Cuenco, Cebu, Philippines, politics, history, elopement, Concepcion Briones, Cuenco Family, Sugbo, Bisaya

This is all for now,

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