Jun Lopez and Menchu Tantoco-Lopez: “Everybody says our house is like a museum,” informs Menchu. A veritable museum of artworks and antiques, and the Promised Land for Star Wars and Marvel fans.
‘Be a blessing to others and may the Force be with you’
Igan D’Bayan (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Let me say it like Yoda: two of the nicest, these people are.

Jun Lopez spent an afternoon with us, talking about how Filipinos love to put Last Supper décor in their dining areas as well as the story behind Rembrandt’s “The Prodigal Son.” Menchu Tantoco-Lopez made sure that the merienda she served us didn’t contain any shrimp once she found out I am allergic to shellfish. Just as a mom would. She even texted her chef.  

What is the first thing you do upon waking up?

MENCHU TANTOCO-LOPEZ: Pray. I say my morning prayers.

JUN LOPEZ: Exactly the same thing. We grew up in Jesuit school, Ateneo. We have friends who are priests and nuns who come to our house and watch movies with us. It’s not easy to be as devoted as them. But we try to assimilate what they do.

What is your favorite spot in your home and why?

One of Jun’s most prized pieces: A Last Supper bas-relief given to him by his parents.

MENCHU: The dining room, while I am setting the table. The garden also.

JUN: My home theater, my office upstairs where I watch TV and listen to music.

How do you describe your home? Your homemaking style? 

MENCHU: It’s a museum. My friends tell me I am a saint because I allow Jun to put up all these things (laughs). They are his toys — all over our house.

JUN: I just enjoy it being eclectic. As long as it relaxes me, it’s fine. When I stared working at the Rustan’s office, we had goldfish. Then after work, we watched movies. Whenever I go to London, I’d see a lot of historical antiques. That’s how the collection grew I even have an authentic fighter-jet ejection seat in my office.

Which  pieces of furniture or home accents have a sentimental value to you and why?

MENCHU: (No particular piece of furniture), but I treasure the pieces of jewelry given by my mother before she passed away. Such as these ruby earrings.

Jun’s favorite painting at The Hermitage is Rembrandt’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” He even talks about the lessons of this parable with his children as well as during management meetings at Starbucks.

JUN: The Last Supper (bas relief) given to me by my father and mother. It was from our dining table (from my childhood home). 

What books are on your night table (current reads)?

MENCHU: Magazines about flowers and travel.

JUN: I don’t like reading books. I always ask “What is the bottom line?” Even in business, it’s all about (aiming for the essential and treating) communication as an art. It’s about doing your job well. Menchu works very hard until now — day in, day out. She is a Tantoco lady: for them work is not work, it’s pure enjoyment.

What is the last thing you do before going to bed?

MENCHU: Pray also.

JUN: The first thing I do in the morning, pray din. I got my morning and evening prayers from Fr. Tito Caluag. It is important to dedicate yourself to our Father in heaven.

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