A mom through and through

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

THE society pages will always consider Amparito Llamas Lhuillier a fashionable beauty. But for Charles, Michael, Monique and Yvette, she will always be their disciplinarian mother. A glamorous beauty, true, but above all a mother through and through, who nurtured them through their growing up years, even helping them in their schoolwork.

Amparito admits that she’s a strict disciplinarian, making sure her children would be the disciplined and responsible individuals that they are today:

Charles Andrei (named after the French president, Charles de Gaulle), married to Johanna Palanca, is vice-president for Luzon of the M. Lhuillier Group of Companies, overseeing 800 M. Lhuilllier pawnshops in that area.


Michael, married to Johanna Maitland-Smith, is vice president for the Visayas, based in Cebu, overseeing 920 pawn shops in the Visayas-Mindanao area. It is work that has been temporarily thrown back to his father, now that Michael is in the United States, setting up 20 M. Lhuillier branches there. Actually, Michael was originally named Michel Edouard, “but you can’t have two Michel Lhuilliers!”

Yvette Marie Llamas Lhuilllier, a business graduate who used to sell jewelry but is now housewife to a Frenchman, fund manager Franck Warnod.

Monique Llamas Lhuillier (Mrs. Tom Bugbee), who has turned a $20,000 gift from her father into a multi-million dollar fashion enterprise. All the children had to take a one year course on gemology.

As a strict disciplinarian, Amparito said she never shouted at her children. She would only tell them what they did wrong. Looking back, she says not one of them ever talked back to her or turned their back on her during a scolding (“Nor do I,” kibitzes husband Michel), making for a harmonious family relationship.

People who know Amparito from the society pages may think she’s just a rich and beautiful woman. She is more than that.

She worked as a teacher for two years before she became Mrs. Michel Lhuillier. During her child-bearing years, she was a hands-on mom who personally took care of her children.

When her child-bearing days were over, Amparito started a dress shop at home, the better to oversee her growing kids. It turns out, this inspired Monique to be what she is today. When Amparito’s father-in-law Henri died, Michel told her she had to take over his role in the company while he took his father’s role. For this, she closed her dress shop and took a crash course on gemology. A by-product for her working with the company is the M. Lhuillier Jewellers, which sells ALL (for Amparito Llamas Lhuillier) jewelry, which she either designed or chose to be part of the ALL collection, now found in 35 M. Lhuillier Jewelry stores, including one in the United States.

With her children all grown up and living lives of their own, she created a scholarship foundation, the Amparito Llamas Lhuillier Educational Foundation (Allef), which she is making sure her children will take care of, after she has passed on.

There is another scholarship fund for the M. Lhuillier Group, for the children of employees, which she also oversees. And she contributes to the Little Bamboo Foundation, for their feeding and educational programs, a charity which Yvette also supports.

The secret to how she is able to do all the things she does is that she’s a very orderly person, whether in herself, her appointments, her things, her relationships: everything has to be in its proper place, including time for herself, for facials, for spa treatments, for exercise, for sleep.

No wonder she is always well put together, lovely and glamorous as a socialite, and beautiful as a mother (and grandmother, too) of four equally beautiful grown up children.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 11, 2014.


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