Patria Montamayor: The Doyenne turns 90

The doyenne celebrates her 90th

How do you start to describe Patria Montemayor? I may not be the best person to do so as I can count with a few fingers the instances I was able to have a long chat with her. Does an interview for a personality feature even count?

If there’s one word I can use to describe this woman it would be gracious. Countless synonyms for that word—classy, polite, well-mannered, diplomatic, etc.— and each will hold true. Did you know elegant, stylish, tasteful are synonyms of the word as well?

The matriarch with her son & great-grandson

What little I know about her, you may have known already. She’s a staunch supporter of the arts. For one, her contribution and participation to keep the Davao Museum from conceptualization until today have never waned. Stage a musical performance or a play and she will be among the audience.

From my point of view, her love for Davao is unquestionable. The civic organizations she’s part of take part in the improvement of the city and those who live in it. Most of us don’t know about it or see it because she prefers to be behind the scenes, unless she’s requested to do otherwise.


Honoring the celebrant

What put the exclamation mark on this was her statement about Hijos de Davao, a social club turned civic organization, which she’s one of the founding members. She said, ”This is our city and we should instill pride for place. I believe the only way for any city to develop is to help, and we help not because we are with Hijos, but because we are from Davao.” Inspiring words.


It was her party & she could dance all night if she wanted to


For years, I’ve always admired this woman from a distance and I can say I am lucky to have gotten to know her a small bit beyond the pleasantries of hello and how are you.


Precious moment. The great grandson dancing with the woman of the hour.


I guess the short interview for a feature does count. This was when she allowed me to take a glimpse of her past and her family’s, and Davao’s. 

She was most excited to share what she knows about Davao and it can fill volumes. She painted each scene vividly with her words. That’s how sharp her memory still is. 

Recently she turned 90. Nothing about her gives away her age. The party required a ballroom to fit family and friends. Nothing less than grand for the grand dame. It would have been great to witness the celebration of a milestone. 

Perhaps a bottle of cerveza a day did the trick (that’s one of her open secrets), and lots of love from the entire clan. Patria Montemayor is the Garcia matriarch, the doyenne, and I’m glad I met this fine lady who makes me smile each time she asks, “Where are you traveling next?” Yep, she reads my travel stories in SunStar. I’m happy. Thank you and all my best wishes to you, madam.

Moment with lola Pat


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Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.