Imelda Cojuangco

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Imelda Ongsiako Cojuangco, wife of the late businessman and PLDT pioneer Ramon U. Cojuangco, is a philanthropist and patroness of the arts. She is known also as 'Meldy', and 'Meldy Co'.

Mrs. Cojuangco was born Imelda Ongsiako y de la Paz, daughter of Dr. Ramon J. Ongsiako Sr. and Carmen de la Paz. Her siblings include Governor and Congresswoman Carmencita Ongsiako Reyes of Marinduque whose husband was former Immigration Secretary Edmundo Reyes, Ramon Ongsiako Jr (as associate of her husband who purchased PLDT) married to Nori Villanueva, Myriam Ongsiako Montelibano, et al.

The Ongsiakos then until now, are a prosperous Filipino Chinese family known for producing lawyers (or abogados de campanilla) and doctors in Manila.

Meanwhile, the bigger De la Paz clan is an old Manila family that trace its roots in nearby Bulacan and Pampanga back before the two provinces were sliced by the Spanish administrators centuries ago.

Among her philanthropic activities are being founding Chairperson of the J. Moreno Foundation, which awards scholarships to chosen students of the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. She is also on the board of Foundation for Lay Education on Heart Diseases, Inc; Relay for Life; and Opera Foundation. She is also on the Board of Advisers of the Association of Foundations, and founder of the Confradia de la Inmaculada de Concepcion that holds grand processions in Intramuros.

She is the second and last wife of PLDT owner Don Ramon Cojuangco e Uychuico, son of the unfortunate Dr. Antonio Cojuangco and wife Victoria Uychuico. Both were massacred by the Japanese during the last days of World War 2 in the De La Salle University chapel along Taft Avenue. Mr. Cojuangco's first wife, Nenita "Neni" de las Alas, a daughter of statesman Antonio de las Alas was also murdered together with her in-laws.

She was part of the Philippine Tatler's list of Who's Who of the Philippines, 2009.

She has five children. Her three sons are Antonio or Tony Boy Cojuangco, a respected businessman who used to sit in the PLDT, Bank of Commerce and ABC 5 boards; Ramon Cojuangco or Choy, and telcommunications executive Miguel Cojuangco or Mikey.

Both her daughters were married to the two boys of former Philippine presidential aspirant Jose Yulo of Negros Occidental, whose clan owns various haciendas in that island as well as the Canlubang sugar estate in Laguna province just south of Manila. One of these daughters is media mogul Maria Victoria or Mavie Cojuangco Yulo.

Mrs. Cojuangco has always been active in charities since her debutante years during the time of former President Elpidio Quirino. At that time, she was a close-in confidante of Victoria Quirino y Syquia (de Gonzales, de Delgado) who was also a young debutante acting as first lady in her father's administration (President Quirino's wife, Alicia Syquia of Vigan, Ilocos Sur was murdered by the Japanese).

During the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos, she became one of the closest friends or Blue Ladies of his wife Imelda Marcos and in fact, stood as wedding sponsor to the latter's younger daughter Irene's wedding upon her own marriage to Gregorio Araneta y Benitez, son of Luis Araneta (another hacendero family) and nephew of the former Senator Helena Benitez.

Within Manila's powerful and closed-in elite circles, Mrs. Imelda Cojuangco is known for her rubies much as Mrs. Imelda Marcos is known for her diamonds and Concepcion Industries heiress Mrs. Eumelia Concepcion Hechanova's emeralds.




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