They’re a couple whose pictures you love looking at in glossy magazines. You enjoy reading and hearing about them, and dream that your love life would be like theirs.
Talk about the life of the beautiful. That can be said of this lady who seems to have kept her looks from the time you became aware of her awesome presence in the Manila social scene in the 1980s.
Ching Cruz is eternally lovely and gracious. Then, she meets her man who is besotted with her.
Lucky indeed is the man who loves her. Philip Cruz is a successful businessman, the son of the legendary FF Cruz, who played a key role in postwar reconstruction as a geodetic engineer who became a construction tycoon. Of his many gifts and advantages, as well as his achievements, Philip’s marriage to Ching, the quintessential beauty and brains girl, stands out. But if she were a jewel, which she is, she would be a multi-faceted gem, being a businesswoman, a philanthropist, a patroness of the arts, international traveler, one of Manila’s top hostesses, and a hall-of-famer in the best-dressed lists of the country.
Now and then, one spots the couple both wearing white. In the case of Philip, reminiscent of his father, Felipe Sr., a self-made billionaire who always wore white which did not only reflect the old man’s practicality, humility and relaxed demeanour, but most importantly, his integrity.
When you see Philip and Ching channeling the great man who preferred a low-key life, what comes to mind is cool sophistication, elegant grooming and, fittingly, the freshness of love that they share.
As time has proven, theirs is a perfect match, a meeting of the minds, to use the expression, and hearts, of course. And this becomes evident when they are seen together, whether dancing in a party, holding hands in a restaurant table while gazing at each other as though they see the moon and the stars in each other’s eyes, and when travelling, something that they enjoy because they love discovering the wonders of this world together. Not to mention that, of course, Ching loves to shop. But not just shop, but shop wisely and smartly, which says a lot about this woman. Cruising is also another favorite activity of the couple, although that was before the pandemic and when they were not busy with their respective businesses and causes.
Ching, one sees without thinking much, is one lady who is comfortable in her own skin. Relaxed and at home in any situation, she exudes simplicity, effortlessness and presence, the last a unique trait. When you’re talking to Ching, you know that you are important to her. She is not one of those matrons who have a thousand things in mind. She can stare at you in the eyes, listen and contribute intelligently to the conversation.
What is her secret? This woman knows what she wants, and she knows how she stands in this world. At the center of her life is the Diving Being, and this is “especially true in our relationship,” she describes the love that she and Phillip share. “Our marriage is not still. It is a process, it is dynamic,” she says. “We are constantly nurturing it because it’s the only way for love to grow, like a plant that needs to be constantly cared for.”
Of course, they love being together just relaxing in their beautiful home, a mansion nestled in the most exclusive enclave of the metropolis. Here, she reigns when she entertains, but here too, she does not take center stage. ‘My guests are more important than myself,” says Ching. “Why invite people to impress them? I ask them to dinner because I want them to enjoy.” No wonder she is rated first class when it comes to entertaining, and that’s not just about her. It is the total ambience that distinguishes her entertaining style from those of other hostesses. The food is superb because they are a couple who enjoys excellent cuisine. “It’s not just about the taste. It’s about eating right. We eat healthy,” she affirms.
Element of surprise
A big factor in their relationship is their agreement in many aspects of their life. “I don’t believe in watching your husband too close. Why gag someone you love? It is important that you trust him and that you allow him his personal space,” says Ching, who is, as the expression goes, confidently beautiful.
If she is assured that she is Philip’s queen, it is because the couple finds the time to be together and talk. “I know his needs and he knows mine because we articulate our thoughts and feelings,” claims Ching. “When you love each other, you discard the guessing game.”
That is not to say Ching no longer amazes Philip, the way he fell for her the first time he saw her. On the contrary, she keeps him excited to this day over how she would, for example, look in a party that they are attending. Up to the last minute, Philip does not usually know what she is wearing. That makes him excited, like he was a prom escort waiting for his girl to descend the staircase. Which is a scene that has happened time and again at the foot of their famous grand staircase. “An element of surprise is important in a relationship,” stresses Ching.
Such is this couple who found each other at the right time, when he was looking for the woman who would stand by his side as a partner. Having found the right match in each other, they chose to forge a happy future together.
Today, they are not only an ideal couple among the most sought-after guests in every must-go-to event, they also look beyond themselves and their well-being as they engage in mindful philanthropy choosing the right beneficiaries
“We try to be good citizens because we love this country. And we do our part in promoting the education of our youth, among other causes. We share our blessings because it is the only way to live and to be happy,” says Ching, a multifaceted gem of a woman who radiates love, beauty and grace.