As far as I could remember, my father, Cesar P. Macuja, had always been the quintessential “whole-brained” man — someone who had a finely tuned business sense and whose prodigious skills in marketing and finance strategies saved the day for many institutions he worked for in both the public and private sectors.
At the same time, he was well-read in the classics, sang with a natural tenor, danced circles around everyone at parties, and had excellent writing skills that were best put to use (in his own words) in “poems and love letters”. Dad’s keen intellect and sound reasoning will always be his most remarkable assets.
I will never forget what he said to me almost three decades ago when I was at a crossroads in my life: “Lisa, what do you want your life to be 20 years from today? Now decide what you will do now.” To this day,
I regularly seek his sage advice whenever I have to make crucial decisions whether for my personal life or for Ballet Manila, of which he is the chairman. My mother, Susan Pacheco-Macuja, has always been a graceful, attractive, patient and pious woman. She is the eternal optimist who always sees the brighter side of life. I probably inherited my sunny disposition from her. And with her penchant for words, no one would ever guess that both her parents were deaf. It is amazing how, despite their physical disabilities, my grandparents were able to raise and educate five hearing children, who all grew up to be professionals.
A more recent family portrait with Joly, Gia and our loving parents, Cesar and Susan
Like most women of her generation, Mommy gave up her job after marriage in order to devote her full attention to her husband and children. Hers was a charming family that was ideal by any standards: she had a devoted and loving spouse with a highly successful career, with whom she was blessed with four happy, healthy and – ehem – good-looking children.
My older brother Joly is now the finance officer of Manila Broadcasting Company. Jerry, who came after me, was an aspiring theater actor whom we lost in a car accident in 1984, just before his high school graduation. Our youngest, Gia, is a London-based musical theater actress and teacher who occasionally comes home to perform with Ballet Manila as part of the trio, West End Mamas.