Star: Our presidents and their women (Excerpt)


HINDSIGHT – F. Sionil Jose – The Philippine Star 

The Akademyang Filipino has scheduled a conference on the presidency. Because of my physical condition, I won’t be able to attend the conference.

Sociologists have a tendency to describe societies as either matriarchal or patriarchal, depending on their perception of whether leadership was vested on a man or woman. Ours is supposed to be patriarchal for the leader is almost always a man. Granted, but what happens at home? We are not privy to it. Let us just accept the fact that many women – as wives – are often the major influence in a man’s career. The wife – but what if there are other women?

Here is my take which is a look at the presidency and the women that influenced it.

Mrs. Aurora Quezon, the wife of President Quezon, was quite reserved, and very few knew how much she influenced the president. Quezon was well known as a womanizer. A lot of the information I have about him on the subject was from his private secretary, Serapio Canceran, who became a very good friend.

General Romulo once told me, Quezon missed an important appointment in Washington because he was in Los Angeles with the movie star, Greer Garson. He also dated another movie star, Marlene Dietrich. I saw only one of Quezon’s girlfriends, the movie actress, Amparo Karagdag. She was petite and truly lovely. She was shooting a scene in front of the Manila Hotel.


In 1938, when I came to Manila, Quezon’s womanizing was already the talk in the tienda. It was said that his tuberculosis heightened his libido. Surely, Quezon was our playboy president…

F. Sionil Jose
Author: F. Sionil Jose

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