Fausto Gonzalez was certainly the most colorful among the Gonzalez brothers. He was the youngest among the ten brothers. He and Joaquin were the “aduang bunso”—the two youngest ones. Being the youngest gives one an edge over all the others. Normally, the mother is strict with the eldest. She fights tooth and nail to instill in them her values, her dreams.  Then the “middle children” are usually the ones who are rambunctious, noisy, doing mischievous things to get attention.  But after getting worn down with resistance to discipline, a mother normally just gives in to the what the youngest  ones want.  Besides, they are usually the cutest, most lovable of the lot…… In the Gonzalez household, the three eldest ones were the most disciplined.  Fernando and Jesus became  prominent physicians, and Augusto became “the millionaire.” The middle children didn’t do so bad.  Virgilio became a wealthy businessman and doctor in Cebu, and Bienvenido became a president of the State University.  Javier died early, so he didn’t get to reach his potential.

Take a look at the picture of the seven brothers. Who catches your eye among them?  Fausto does, with his unmistakable attention-getting black-and-white shoes.  He has also crossed his legs.  You go higher, and catch the twinkle in his eye.

Joaquin may have married a vivacious, party-loving socialite, but it was Fausto who married an heiress, the daughter of a shipping magnate.  Amparo de la Rama, of the de la Rama shipping lines, no less.  Fausto  was the man of her dreams—charming, witty, debonair, and he swept her off her feet, just like in the movies.

They had a child, Fasuto Jr.,  also known as “Dodong”, the apple of their eye.

Unfortunately, Amparo was afflicted with tuberculosis.  At that time,  there seemed no cure for tuberculosis.  Antibiotics were not known.  Fausto brought Amparo to Switzerland, hoping that the “fresh, clean, air” would bring her back her health. Alas, Amparo passed away in 1929, just three years after their marriage.

Fausto tried to forget his grief by going into many projects.  Foremost among this was his desire to give his son, Dodong, the best – be it in education, or whatever his needs were. So he hired several governesses to tutor him. They were all single, good looking, and experts in their field.

With son Dodong safely in the hands of the governesses, Fausto became a sought-after,  rich, charming bachelor.  He travelled to the US and to Europe to forget his grief.  A Banker [1]met Fausto during one of these travels.  He said that Fausto was the heartthrob of all the girls who attended the party. There were even times when Fausto would wear a sash from his shoulders to his waist, just like what the royalty wore. Then he would dish out his calling card which said:

Fausto Gonzalez Y Sioco

Count of Apalit”

This poor banker would find himself relegated to a corner while all the girls fawned on Fausto.

In 1938, Fausto even brought home with him one of these girls. She was in all the Family Reunion pictures of that time. All the brothers of Fausto looked at him with envy. The girl was Erna, from an East European country. Another feather in Fausto’s cap.

This “travel abroad as a cure for to forget a heart problem” was one of Fausto’s recommendation to his brother Fernando, when the latter’s son fell in love with a girl they didn’t deem suitable to marry.  There was nothing wrong with the girl, only that she didn’t belong to the list of marriageable girls from Pampanga who had the purses to match the beauty the family had put as a standard for the Gonzalez boys to marry. Fausto recommended that the son be sent to Paris to study art.  Fernando didn’t have the largesse of his brothers pockets, but he decided to give this proposal a try.   When the son was in Paris for three months, the girl showed Fernando a marriage certificate that was contracted before the son’s departure.  Immediately, the son was sent home, and the marriage was accepted.

Fausto also went into politics.  He ran for a seat in the Assembly as a “Anti-Independencia”. [2] He won very easily, with his support from all his sisters-in-law all over Pampanga – the Mercados and Arnedos in Apalit, the Rodriguezes in Bacolor, the Salgados in San Fernando, and the Elizaldes in San Luis–, plus his charisma and wit.

However, the bullet that killed his brother Augusto put a damper into the lives of all the Gonzalez brothers.  It showed that one’s life could be snuffed out in a split second.  Fausto did not run for re-election.  The family went into mourning and possibly a reevaluation of their lives, their priorities and their goals.  Brother  Fernando also died a few months before this incident. Everything changed overnight with that one bullet.

Fausto married for the second time.  Her name was Pastora Cordero, and they had a son Mundy and four daughters—Florencia, Rosalinda, Ernestina, and Divina.  Fausto jokingly said these daughters were named after the women in his life:  Florencia his mother, Ernestina for the East European lass, etc.

[1] The Banker was Mr. Ramon Raceles. He told this story to the author in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1985.

[2] Eglantine J. Gonzalez-Franco,  “Doña Clementina Elizalde-Gonzalez:  A Tribute, Quezon City, 1991, p.11.