the wit and wisdom of imelda marcos



Don't forget to check out these other links:

Imelda's Photo Album

(Or, why one should be careful of the photographers one invites to a party.)


Fan Mail

(Or, why Filipinos have no sense of irony whatsoever.)



on money

Imelda's button"My economic theory is that money was made round to go round. Money was made to encircle man so that he would blossom with many flowers. The whole trouble is, the center is money. All the heads of people thinking about money. All the hands of people reaching out for money. All their poor little bodies working for money. They are running in all directions for money." -- November 1985, to Sandra Burton, in Impossible Dream

Imelda's button "I get my fingers in all our pies. Before you know it, your little fingers including all your toes are in all the pies." -- cited in Ang Katipunan, October 1980

Imelda's button "It's the rich you can terrorize. The poor have nothing to lose." -- in Fortune, 1979

Imelda's button "I'm like Robin Hood. I rob the rich to make these projects come alive... not really rob. It's done with a smile." -- in Fortune, 1979

Imelda's button "I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty." -- 1987

Imelda's button"It is terribly important to do certain things, such as wear overembroidered dresses. After all, the mass follows class. Class never follows mass." -- cited in Ang Katipunan, October 1980

Imelda's button "Daig ko pa si Cinderella." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"Win or lose, we go shopping after the election."

Imelda's button "I am being questioned (and) convicted with imprisonment for building the Philippine General Hospital, the premier hospital of the Philippines, that I did in the spirit of a mother's love, in creativity and ingenuity beyond technicalities, in my passion to serve the sick and the poor." -- quoted in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 1998 (contributed by Jose Cruz)

Imelda's button"The only gold my husband has is in his heart." -- quoted in The Far Eastern Economic Review (contributed by Asa Sajise)

Imelda's button"My decision (to run) was triggered by the economic crisis we now experience ... I want to remove our people from our economic crisis by using the wealth of the late president Ferdinand E. Marcos." -- on running for president, February 1998, quoted in a Reuters article

Imelda's button"This is the reason why I have decided to run -- so that I can manage the Marcos wealth properly for the direct benefit of the people." -- on running for president, February 1998, quoted in a Reuters article

Imelda's button"If you know how rich you are, you are not rich. But me, I am not aware of the extent of my wealth. That's how rich we are." -- after promising to give $800 million to poor Filipinos if she becomes president, quoted in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 1998

Imelda's button"Diligence, hard work, foresight, entrepreneurship and God's blessing." -- on how Ferdinand Marcos became wealthy, quoted in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 1998

Imelda's button"When they see me holding fish, they can see that I am comfortable with kings as well as with paupers." -- quoted in Today, April 1998 (contributed by Jane Po)

Imelda's button"President Marcos was investing in precious metals long before he entered politics." -- explaining their so-called hidden wealth, quoted in Today, April 1998 (contributed by Jane Po)

Imelda's button"Funny, I never shopped. Even my jewelry -- not a piece of my jewelry I bought for me." -- explaining that her jewelry were gifts from her husband, children and "even the dog," cited in an Associated Press report, April 1998

Imelda's button"I was born ostentatious. They will list my name in the dictionary someday. They will use 'Imeldific' to mean ostentatious extravagance." -- cited in an Associated Press report, April 1998

Imelda's button"Ferdinand had foresight and unbelievable luck. His success actually bordered on fiction." -- quoted in Werner Raffetseder's "Imelda and the Cash," Saga Magazine, April 1998

Imelda's button"I have never been a material girl. My father always told me never to love anything that cannot love you back." -- November 1996

Imelda's button"I will not say sorry and be pardoned for doing a godly act." -- after being acquitted of graft charges, October 1998

Imelda's button"My grandchildren are growing up and they could not understand why the Marcoses are still being crucified although we keep on telling them that we did not steal from the Filipino people." -- quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 1998

Imelda's button"I would have to ask the public to choose between a culture of hate or a culture of love. I am sure our poor will pick the latter. With the Marcos assets, we could regain this value of sharing love with one another." -- on setting up the Marcos Foundation, quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 1998



on her country

Imelda's button"The Philippines is in a strategic position. It is both East and West, right and left, rich and poor. We are neither here nor there." -- at a press conference, on why the Manila Film Festival should be held in Manila -- cited in Ang Katipunan, February 1982

Imelda's button"The Philippines is where Asia wears a smile. Beautiful products can only be made by happy people." -- at a press conference at Bloomingdale's, at the opening of the Philippine exhibit -- cited in Ang Katipunan, May 1982

Imelda's button"Why should people be afraid that we use a few small pellets of uranium at the nuclear power plant in Bataan? Don't they know that we're surrounded by uranium? We have the world's fourth largest deposits of uranium. Yes, we're all radioactive -- must be the reason why we have so many faith healers!" -- on nuclear-generated power, February 1985

Imelda's button"If garbage affects us, then there must be something wrong with us." -- in the Far Eastern Economic Review, February 1983

Imelda's button"For the sake of the republic of the Philippines, for the Filipino people, [we must] put the remains of the president to rest so that these negative vibrations will leave us." -- after alleging that Ferdinand Marcos's angry spirit caused Hurricane Andrew in 1992

Imelda's button"And my scientists tell me that these forces are so powerful that we can use them to protect you, our American friends, against Soviet missiles." -- on the hole in the sky where cosmic forces supposedly enter the Philippines, during a lecture to 20 American scientists in January 1982, cited in Raymond Bonner's Waltzing with a Dictator

Imelda's button"To know Asia is to feel Asia. Asia must be felt with the heart in order to be understood."

Imelda's buttonIt's bad enough that the Philippines is really hamburgered geographically." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"Events of the last decade have really unfolded the truth about Marcos as a great democrat and humanist." -- in the Financial Times, October 1997

Imelda's button"Kayo po ay makatitiyak, gawin na nila ang anumang gusto nilang gawin sa inyong lingkod, hindi nila mapipigilan ang puso ni Imelda na magmahal at maglingkod sa bayan." -- quoted in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 1998 (contributed by Jose Cruz)

Imelda's button"For God, country and the people, all the time this was his obsession and yet this selfless man was made to look like a thief, tyrant and dictator when he was a great democrat, a patriot and a humanist." -- on Ferdinand Marcos, quoted in The South China Morning Post, March 1998 (contributed by Stephen Austin)

Imelda's button"With millions of our debts, our economic crisis, no rice, no water, power so expensive, all these crises, no peace and order --- I was scared for the sake of the country that I had to run." -- on running in the May elections, quoted in the Australian Sunday Times, March 1998 (contributed by Asa Sajise)

Imelda's button"This is the Philippines... This is China, this is Russia... This is the east, the west. And the equator. As anyone could see, the Philippines was right at the center of the globe. I'm surprised nobody saw this. As Chairman Mao said, you can change ideologies anytime, but you can never change geography. Geopolitics! This is what will make the Philippines great and beautiful again." -- explaining her "masterplan for the country" by drawing a map of the world, quoted in Today, April 1998 (contributed by Jane Po)

Imelda's button"Where did the basic services come from -- water, power, food, shelter? I conceptualized this as governor of Metro Manila for 11 years. And who reclaimed hundreds of hectares and built homes for the people in Tondo and gave them little pieces of land? Who built the housing projects, by the millions, for the poor? Who brought food to the Kadiwa centers and rolling stores to bring cheap food to the people? Mrs. Marcos -- in every aspect, from womb to tomb." -- cited in an Associated Press report, April 1988


on being First Lady

Imelda's button"I am First Lady by accident. I was not elected by the people but here I am."

Imelda's button"The problems with First Ladies is that you have to set the standard. My role is to be both star and slave."

Imelda's button"I am my little people's star and slave. When I go out into the barrios, I get dressed because I know my little people want to see a star. Other presidents' wives have gone to the barrios wearing house dresses and slippers. That's not what people want to see. People want someone they can love, someone to set an example." -- from the Los Angeles Times, October 1980

Imelda's button"As we were coming down Malacanang, Ferdinand held my hand and said, 'Imelda, this is your fault.' In shock, I asked, 'Why, Ferdinand?' He answered, 'Because you gave me a heart.'" -- on why Marcos refused to fire at the crowds on Edsa in 1986, quoted in Special Edition

Imelda's button"I promise if given the chance, I will do it again and again. Because even death will not diminish the energy of a mother's love." -- on her regime's achievements, quoted in Special Edition

Imelda's button"My husband does not like me to give interviews because I say too much. No talk, no trouble."

Imelda's button"It is so easy to choose the wrong word... That's why I'm so terrified by the press and even photographers. Because they are recordings, and they are permanent. Later on in history, you could be completely misunderstood because of the writings of people who may misquote you or quote you out of context. Every time I see myself, my God, I look or sound like a witch, or monster, or dragon. For example, I was called the Steel Butterfly. I am neither steel nor a butterfly. What an image! I'm neither frivolous nor insensitive." - quoted in Julio Silverio's Golden Quotations of our First Lady

Imelda's button"I understand my people better than anyone. I study them all the time and even conduct experiments." - to Steve Psinakis, December 1980

Imelda's button"Don't worry, if you ever sue us, I have a good lawyer. I have the President. Besides, really, if they sent me to prison, maybe that will be nice because for a change I'll really have peace. I will be alone and then I will have all my memories to enjoy myself for a while."

Imelda's button"Never dress down for the poor. They won't respect you for it. They want their First Lady to look like a million dollars." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"Bakit mayroong mga Pilipino na naninira kay Presidente at kay First Lady?  Hindi ba nila alam na kami ang Tatay at Nanay ng Bayang Pilipino? Kung kamote ang Tatay at kung kamote ang Nanay, kamote ang Pilipino! Ang kamote ay hindi nag-aanak ng kamatis." -- at the Le Baron Hotel in San Jose, California, 1985 (contributed by Jose V. Cruz)

Imelda's button"I get more than appreciation, especially from the little ones. And in the rural areas, all I have to do is smile and they are happy." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"All they show are the quirky Imelda." -- on how the press "ridicules" her campaign, quoted in Today, April 1998 (contributed by Jane Po)

Imelda's button"[Filipinos] need a mother. They don't only need a president, they need a mother, somebody to care for them, and they are longing for a good president who cares for them and loves them." -- cited in an Associated Press report, April 1988

Imelda's button"In Malacañang, you can maximize your giving, your loving, your serving. You maximize everything in Malacañang. That's what I love about Malacañang because I could do things faster and in a bigger way and I want to do it for everybody." -- cited in an Associated Press report, April 1988

Imelda's button"Here I am, orphaned at eight, and the mother I keep giving to people is the mother I lost." -- cited in The New Yorker, April 1998 (contributed by Margaret Phillips)

Imelda's button"I am looking like an airhead, like a frivolous, wanton, extravagant women at the expense of the poor. I am made to look like a cheap flirt, flirting with all the men of the world." -- on the documentary Imelda



on beauty

Imelda's button"If you're a little presentable, you're called frivolous. Beauty is frivolity it seems, but beauty is love. You can never have an excess of what is democratic, just and beautiful. You can't say a woman is overly beautiful but you can say someone is overly ugly. It is against religiosity to be surrounded by ugliness."

Imelda's button"People say I'm extravagant because I want to be surrounded by beauty. But tell me, who wants to be surrounded by garbage? Beauty is love made real and the spirit of love is God. Only a crazy man wants to be surrounded by garbage, and I'm not crazy just yet."

Imelda's button"In the material world, where everything is valued, when you commit yourself to God, beauty and love, it can be mistaken for extravagance." -- in People, 1996

Imelda's button"They call me corrupt, frivolous. I am not at all privileged. Maybe the only privileged thing is my face. And corrupt? God! I would not look like this if I am corrupt. Some ugliness would settle down on my system." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"Our opponent [Cory Aquino] does not put on any make up. She does not have her fingernails manicured. You know gays. They are for beauty. Filipinos who like beauty, love and God are for Marcos." - on why Ferdinand Marcos would win the gay vote, January 1986

Imelda's button"What's wrong with shoes? I collected them because it was like a symbol of thanksgiving and love?" -- Associated Press article, in The Eye, November 1997

Imelda's button"I have no weakness for shoes. I wear very simple shoes which are pump shoes. It is not one of my weaknesses."

Imelda's button"I hate ugliness. You know I'm allergic to ugliness." -- quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 1999


on her philosophy

Imelda's button"I have only ever dreamt of a small house with a picket fence by the sea. But how can I stop what I am doing? It becomes a romance not only to a president and a husband but a romance of principles and commitment. A romance for humanity. This is perhaps what makes me so controversial. I am beyond logic and rationality."

Imelda's button"How can I stop what I'm doing? It becomes a resource not only to a president and a husband but a resource of principles and commitment. A resource for humanity. This is perhaps what makes me so controversial. I am beyond logic and rationality." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"I have a different way of thinking. I think synergistically. I'm not linear in thinking, I'm not very logical."

Imelda's button"Every Christmas, I ask myself what else I may give the young, and my answer always comes down to love and more love." -- at the Folk Arts Theater, December 1975

Imelda's button"Sometimes you have smart relatives who can make it. My dear, there are always people who are just a little faster, more brilliant, and more aggressive." -- in Fortune, July 1979

Imelda's button"Why, then, should the cross be a burden? Pain heightens. Sorrow defines joy. Suffering ennobles happiness. And tears are also for laughter. Believe in this, as I have lived it in the most excruciating manner any human being can bear. We are whole, and no line between or across our world can ever fragment us. For we are whole with the universe, and there is nothing to fear if we hold sacred the fundamental fiber of life's goodness itself. For that is God manifest in all created beings, and man was conceived in his likeness. In all that is good, we need only touch the hand of the Divine, we are one with it." -- in her book, Circles of Life

Imelda's buttonThe Edsa uprising "affected our family life in a very positive way. Very, very positive. You see, my children were young when they moved to Malacanang. Almost all their lives they knew only one place in this world -- the privileged side. Then came the real extreme, the other side. We were deprived of everything -- our country, our homes, and including our honor, our faces. The children came out of this. It was very difficult because they did not know this other life of deprivation and made them whole and human. I can campaign for Bongbong or any of my children. I'll say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, you can vote for my children because they are whole and human. They know the extreme ecstasy and extreme agony. Taong-tao na iyan.' What they offer is not just a well-educated leader but a leader who has known extremes, and knows the pain of complete deprivation. And, of course, we have been much closer than we have ever been before." -- in the Philippine Graphic, November 1995

Imelda's button"My husband said to me once that nobody can really be neutral about you after you reach a certain stage in life. You just hope people love you more than hate you." -- in People, 1996

Imelda's button"I always go with the flow. That is why I don't tire easily. Have you noticed how when you're traveling from the West to the Philippines, you don't get tired, but when you travel from here to the West, you're exhausted? This is because in one instance you're going with the current of the Gulf Stream; in the other instance, you're going against it." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"God is love. I have loved. Therefore, I will go to heaven." - to Pope Paul VI, who responded, "Oh, how wonderful, how childlike."

Imelda's button"I am like a wandering Jew, looking for my Israel." - on being in exile in Hawaii (contributed by Martin G. Baylen)

Imelda's button"People say Mrs. Marcos is a great dreamer. Oh, yes, I dream not only at night when there is the moon and the stars, but I dream more so during the daytime without the moon and the stars. But I don't just dream. I do it. I'm an activist." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"The truth is that, life is so beautiful and life is so prosperous and life is so full of potential and life has so much good in it that really, one should not have to sleep. I have no time to sleep. You only get boted if you are tired. And I only get bored and tired with ugliness, with negativism and evil and all of that. But as long as there's music, flowers, a nice person, a smile, a good deed... gosh! And at the end of the day, I start in the morning and I feel that we all have 1,000 energy. In my case, I see a beautiful flower, a beautiful program, a beautiful person, a beautiful smile, a beautiful child, by that time it's midnight. I'm just about ready to take off. I have a million energy, no longer 1,000. Everybody's falling apart and I cannot understand." -- on why she no longer sleeps, cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"If you live the way I do, you think heaven and paradise is after death, after the sementeryo. No sir! It can be here. And so can hell be. So you've got to have the right attitude to be in paradise. And I want you all to be in heaven with me. Really, it's true. I can assure you really. I will find for you paradise and heaven even after I come down from Malacanang. And I will have happiness and paradise even after Malacanang." -- cited in Beatriz Romualdez Francia's Imelda: A Story of the Philippines

Imelda's button"Si Imelda raw ay kriminal sapagkat itinayo niya ang Philippine General Hospital. Ang magmahal pala ay isang masamang gawa." -- quoted in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 1998 (contributed by Jose Cruz)

Imelda's button"If the government will not allow my human heart to beat with love, then I have no more reason to live." -- quoted in Philippine Update, February 1998

Imelda's button"It´s funny that I should seek pardon for such a godly act." -- in response to whether she would ask Ramos to pardon her graft conviction, quoted in The Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 1998 (contributed by Jose Cruz)

Imelda's button"I miss him a lot....and also not -- because he has become one with me in spirit and before I used to take him for granted. He's always with me, now more than ever. It is also fun in a way the longer he's gone, the more percect he becomes" [she laughs] ...and that love grows despite loneliness." -- on whether she misses Ferdinand, quoted in the Australian Sunday Times, March 1998 (contributed by Asa Sajise)

Imelda's button"More than life, I value vindication. When you are at peace with the truth and you know that you are on the side of the right and God is on your side, you are not afraid of anything, including jail." -- quoted in Today, April 1998 (contributed by Jane Po)

Imelda's button"If Imelda can make it, everybody else can make it." -- cited in an Associated Press report, April 1988

Imelda's button"Perception is real, truth is not. I'm not fighting for money and possessions. I'm fighting for something more precious. I pray that as we enter the cyber age -- the Age of Transparency -- the facts and the truth will out." -- cited in The New Yorker, April 1998 (contributed by Margaret Phillips)

Imelda's button"Doesn’t the fight for survival also justify swindle and theft? In self defence, anything goes." -- quoted in Werner Raffetseder's "Imelda and the Cash," Saga Magazine, April 1998

Imelda's button"I am not afraid of prison, because I am at peace with my conscience. Even when I was in New York, when I was finally vindicated in all counts, I was never afraid of prison, because I'm at peace with my conscience and my creator. And maybe it would be a good place for a little space and time and to be alone." -- to Bryant Gumbel, on Public Eye, April 1998 (contributed by Margaret Phillips)

Imelda's button"I'm widowed and orphaned from my loved ones and I'm surrounded by predators...saying how ugly you are, how bad you are, how evil you are." -- quoted in a Reuters article, September 1995

Imelda's button"My life is really a life of ecstasy and agony but I would not change it for anything. I've been so blessed by the Good Lord." -- quoted in a Reuters article, September 1995

Imelda's button"This was not my decision, but being controversial is being whole, because everything comes in pairs in this world -- yin and yang, black and white." -- on receiving her Ideal Mother award from the National Mother's Day and Father's Day Foundation, quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 1999


on what she most definitely is not

Imelda's button"It makes it appear that I am a criminal element, an evil person, a vampire, a werewolf, a prostitute, a professional thief, a very greedy person, a person who deserves to die, a person whose death will be good for the people, a person who deserves to go to hell for stealing from the dying and starving, a dangerous person, a killer, a power-hungry person, a usurper of authority and a person without conscience who should be condemned." -- from the libel suit she filed against Argee Guevara's column in Businessworld, August 1996


mail me!

Send them to me! Secure your place of honor on my fan mail pages! I will publish them on my Imailda hate mail pages (without your name and e-mail address, of course).

Got any more gems of the Iron Butterfly's wit and wisdom? Please send them along, too, and immortality (on this page) will be yours.

Also, I would most appreciate a transcript of an Asiaweek interview she did circa 1987. And does anyone know where to find a .wav file of Imelda singing "Dahil sa Iyo?"

(Disclaimer here, in case I get sued and get thrown into Camp Crame: all of my quotations came directly from other documents -- magazines, books, websites, newspapers -- and yes, I have no way of knowing whether some of the quotes were reproduced from hearsay. None of the quotations are hearsay; they have all appeared elsewhere. If you wish to contest the validity of these quotations, you are welcome, and I will gladly remove the, er, offending quotation.)

Featured in the Sacramento Bee's Webby section (4/3/97).

Selected in the San Jose Mercury News's Asia Report Site Seeing page (7/30/97).

Linked to on CNN.com (2/8/98).

Selected as Yahoo!'s Pick of the Week (3/30/98).

Selected in Yahoo! Internet Life's Guide to the Best of the Best (3/31/98).

Featured in the I Hate Computers Newsletter (4/3/98).

Featured in Dummies Daily's Inbox Direct -- Web After Five newsletter (4/27/98).

Featured on Uncle Freddy's Sausage Links.

Featured in NetReader's Guide to Cyberspace (8/19/98).

featured in C*E*A Internet Cool Site of the Day Big Shoe Award

Featured in the Centre for the Easily Amused (4/6/98).

Selected as Internet Cool Site of the Day (4/28/98).

Selected as Big Shoe Hall of Cool Site of the Week (5/4/98).

Selected as Passenger Pick of the Week (3/3/99).

Imelda (and my site) is also the featured celebrity in the Footwear Fetish section of Shoeworld.com.

Linked to by the BBC World Service (4/30/98).

since February 4, 1997.
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