Photos by Noel Pabalate
She cooked me a mean arroz a la Cubana, which she knew I loved. And we sat at her table, where she watched me savor every bite. Even dressed to the nines, her hair pulled back into a sleek ponytail, gemstones dripping from her ears, Tina Jacinto was every inch a caring, nurturing woman. As Manila Bulletin’s party chronicler, her weekly column, “Having A Ball,” making a record of the most glittering social events, big or small or simply for the books, she would see beyond fabulous dresses, exquisite jewelry, breathtaking settings, and colorful personalities, always looking for the soul of things. Our parties had been put on indefinite hold, and so had her column, and it was in this limbo that Tina, with her love of poetry and serendipity, chose to say goodbye on a Sunday people in her social set would spend recovering from their parties the night before. Led by her husband, photographer to the “Faaabvlous” Rupert Jacinto, I gather some of her closest friends here to share a few words about Tina Jacinto, whose life had been a ball, a party to remember for a long, long time.
More than anything, Tina loved her children and grandchildren, after me of course.
They’re all in New York, so she looked forward to Vibering with them on a regular basis. The grandchildren were spoiled by Tina. She and the kids had a fond way of saying, “I love you forever and ever and ever...” to one another, trailing as they repeated the words ad infinitum.
When my youngest Liezl and her family still lived in Tokyo, we would visit them every Christmas, and Tina would always have a suitcase full of toys and goodies for our grandkids Keiji, Arisa, and Shinji. She would spend a lot of time with them, bring them to school, play with them. In New York, she would do the same with Julian, our son Jeremy’s son, and Vivienne, our daughter Jacqueline’s daughter.
Tina was every inch a lady. I’ve said it again and again that my wife, like her aunt Meldy Cojuangco, whom she idolized, is one of the most elegant women of our time. She always carried herself exquisitely.
Tina might have looked fragile, but she could be a fighter, if need be. Calm and softspoken, she carried a gentleness about her. She would not be heard saying anything nasty of any person.
I will miss her cooking, from beef Wellington to laksa. She made the meanest salmon pasta with saffron sauce. For our children, there was so much to learn from Tina, her inner strength, how she lived. “She touched the lives of so many, in all levels of society,” said our daughter Jacqueline. Whenever Tina met a person, she would listen and engage in a lengthy conversation.
My wife was a woman on the go. She was game for anything. The world was her oyster. She loved to travel. Hers, then and now, is an adventurous soul.
Tina and I were classmates. Maybe because we were both quiet and reserved, there grew a deep-rooted friendship between us since our early years.I will truly miss her. I follow her column religiously. May the good Lord take her into His loving arms.
She was always so lovely, dressed to the nines. Every time you saw her or talk to her it was like being graced with her inspiring good energy. Like a golden flower they don’t make anymore. She will be missed.
—LOVE MARIE ONGPAUCO ESCUDERO
Tina, Rupert, and I have been friends for over 45 years.Tina has always been elegant, demure, a perfect spouse to Rupert. Through the years, we had always been in contact, even when she was shuttling between New York and Manila until she finally decided to stay put.
One cannot say any unkind word about Tina. She was fiercely loyal, thoughtful, caring. She would call, in her very sweet voice, whenever she had good news to share, especially about my goddaughter Liezl and her family.
I will very much miss this lady. She was always first to arrive at an event, always dressed impeccably, always with a sweet smile.
I will always remember you, Tina, and our good times, our most meaningful times together. I honor you with these memories that will forever be in my heart.
Tina Jacinto was the epitome of true feminine beauty, a woman of sterling character, a woman of virtue as exemplified by her actions, the way she carried herself and related to others.She was truly beautiful, inside out. An amazing friend and exceptional human being. A great soul, may she rest in peace.
—CARLA LARRAZABAL-DEL PRADO
Tina was one person you could never hate. She had all the laudable traits this side of the earth. Tina was the epitome of a classy lady.
Tina and I found pleasure talking about anything beautiful, from clothes to jewelry to people and life in general. Ours was the kind of friendship I was hoping to keep forever. I had a chance to check on her during lockdown but I had no idea it was going to be the last time we’d say “I love you, sister” like we always did. It breaks my heart knowing she’s gone but she will always be remembered with fondness.
I am deeply saddened losing Tina, my friend for 60 years. I will always cherish the memories of our sporadic but always joyful gettogether at social events and photoshoots. Her beautiful smile, her lithe voice, her always happy and calm disposition, her kindness and always on-the-go working mode. Most especially,I loved seeing her being the perfect partner and wife to Rupert and finally a very loving mother to great children.
Tina was so sweet, so soft-spoken, so humble. She would never criticize people and she would always be there when you needed her.
When one loses a friend, a part of your heart goes with her. Tina was a friend who had no time limits. She needed no special occasions. Whenever we met up anywhere in the world, it was as if we had just parted the day before. So Tina, no goodbye. Till we meet again.
One of my most poignant memories of Tina, was her seated beside me during Sandie Poblador’s wake where we spent that evening talking about Imelda Cojuangco who was her bestfriend.
Tina to me , represented that era, and she embodied the continuum of past and present best of Philippine high society. Our common love for people and intricacies of Philippine society bound her to me in secret dreams and meaningful conversations and that wherever she went, always lent the place an elegant air in the most unassuming yet powerful grace that she was.
She would walk up to me and say the most heartwarming and encouraging of words which indeed was her persona. Only beautiful words came from her that was reflective of what contained in her heart and soul. She will always be the first lady of Faaavblous. I carry her in my heart. I love you, Tita Tina.