by Chris Antonette P. Pugay

Every Filipino considers his family as one of the most, if not the most,
valued possession in his life. Filipino families are generally closely-knitted and
in most cases households accommodate extended family members. Even those
who belonged to the powerful, rich and in”uential clans could not deny affection
and devotion to their family members. Political leaders and statesmen were not an

In 17 March 1965, Nicanor Patricio.s interview of former First Lady Luz
Banzon-Magsaysay, wife of former President Ramon Magsaysay, was published
in the Daily Magazine, barely eight years after President Magsaysay.s untimely
demise. It was through the said article that Mrs. Magsaysay shared to the Filipino
people glimpses on how her beloved .Monching. was like as a husband and father
to their three children. The details of the said interview would be highlighted in the
succeeding portions of this piece of writing.

According to her recollection, she and .Monching. met in Manila in 1931
when she was 16 and he was already 24. She was studying at the Instituto
de Mujeres during the time while he was already working at the Yangco Trans
Company. Their families were friends with each other, thus, .Monching. did not
have a hard time !nding a way to be near her. Driving his car, he took the young
Luz and her sister Consuelo to their school but would take a longer route to have
lengthy time to stare at his beautiful passenger seated at the back seat. Just like
a usual scene in a romantic !lm, their eyes would meet and both would feel mixed

.Monching. was an avid and persistent suitor. He would always visit
Luz and showered her with gifts. Initially, Luz was having second thoughts on
accepting him for she was worried regarding their age gap. But just like a valiant
knight, .Monching. was able to show her his distinct qualities that captivated her
heart. After a two and a half years of courtship, Luz vowed to give her heart
to Monching. On 10 June 1933, wedding bells tolled at the Lourdes Church in
Intramuros, signifying the couple.s exchange of vows.

As a husband, .Monching. was mature, gentle and responsible. It was not
surprising that he was also able to portray the role of a doting father to his three
children. Mrs. Magsaysay recounted how her husband longed for a son, though
the coming of Teresita and Mila.their two daughters were tenderly welcomed by
him. His long wait ended with the birth of his son Ramon whom they fondly called

Mrs. Magsaysay disclosed that her husband was a .hands-on. father. He
would play with his children, attend to their needs and, if possible, would not allow
his children to do household chores particularly Teresita who had been very sickly.
If his schedule would permit him, .Monching. would take his wife and children to

Luneta and then bring them to a downtown restaurant to eat Chinese food. Those
were the simple joys of the Magsaysay family not known by all.

Just like any other husbands, Mrs. Magsaysay admitted that her .Monching.
was very particular on how she dresses, especially in important events and
occasions. He would tell her frankly if her hairdo does not actually look good or if
a dress does not !t her the way he likes. She also shared that she and the former
president also had their own share of marital problems and quarrels but passed
all of them with “ying colors resulting to greater fondness and love for each other.
She elaborated that the two of them were very close and he would tell her all his
problems and ask for her counsels.

In the same interview, Mr. Patricio tried to ask the former !rst lady regarding
the last days that she spent with her husband prior to his ill-fated “ight to Cebu
where he died in a plane crash. Tears swelled out and the pain of losing one.s
loved surrounded the air. As a prudent journalist, Mr. Patricio did not insist and
decided to divert the topic and instead asked questions concerning her grandchild
who was with her all along the interview.

Monching. or President Ramon Magsaysay was considered one of the
best, if not the best, leaders the Philippines ever had. He touched the lives of
millions of Filipinos through his sincerity, dedication and love for the poor people.
He imposed on himself a just and upright public and private life that he later passed
on to his siblings, children and grandchildren. Despite the fact that he was a public
property, he made an effort to !nd quality time for his beloved family and offer them
the best but not to the expense of his dearly loved Filipino people.