The Stunning Isabel Preysler

Isabel Preysler was my classmate at Assumption Convent from Grade 5 to high school. Even in grade school I could tell that she would be a stunner.

At the time, Assumption had just opened its San Lorenzo extension, so we only had one class per grade. Each class had only about 36 students, and we basically had the same classmates all the way to college. Because of this small class size, we got to know each other pretty well. Isabel was not interested in school work (I don’t blame her because I also found some teachers and subjects boring). I think she was having more fun outside school. What normal teenager, wouldn’t? For those of us who stayed in the classrooms, we were too afraid of the punishment the nuns would impose. “But Isabel was always in trouble with the nuns,” says classmate Ana Mari Duarte. “She was friendly, fearless and always happy.”

 Isabel is the last one on the right in the front row, with her eyes closed. (Note from author: I think this was first year high school class) (Photo courtesy of Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

Isabel is the last one on the right in the front row, with her eyes closed. (Note from author: I think this was first year high school class) (Photo courtesy of Mona Lisa Yuchengco)

 Maria Isabel Preysler Y Arrastia during her Assumption College days (Source: Memorare yearbook)

Maria Isabel Preysler Y Arrastia during her Assumption College days (Source: Memorare yearbook)

Isabel’s good friend was Patty Gomez, another classmate, who is now deceased; and the two of them would whisper during class about their dates the night before. It seemed like all the boys had crushes on Isabel. It’s that famous cleft chin! All of us could only sigh in envy. Another classmate, Elvira Araneta, made up the Las Tres Marias group. Elvira says that Isabel was one of the most popular and sought-after girls because she was very pretty. Isabel liked reading her suitors’ love letters to Patty and Elvira.

No one could resist Isabel’s charm. Elvira narrates a story about their high school love life: Patty was leaving for Europe and she requested that Isabel watch over her boyfriend. When Patty returned, said boyfriend was Isabel’s boyfriend. But many years later, said boyfriend became Elvira’s husband! That’s the circle of life, love and friendship.


Isabel was always in trouble with the nuns,” says classmate Ana Mari Duarte. “She was friendly, fearless and always happy.

“I don’t know what drew us together,” Elvira says, “but I know that Isabel seems to treasure old relationships. I left for the U.S. after first year high school and when I returned to Manila after four years, Isabel was no longer around. She had been sent to Spain.” A renowned playboy was courting her, and her parents were worried. “But years later, when this man was dying of cancer, Isabel went to take care of him.”

 Elvira Araneta with Isabel Preysler in a recent visit to Spain.

Elvira Araneta with Isabel Preysler in a recent visit to Spain.

Everything known about Isabel after high school is what people have read or viewed from various publications and television shows, except for a few of us classmates, who managed to see her when she was in Manila.

In 1970, Isabel worked as a journalist at Hola!, and the first person she interviewed was Julio Iglesias. She married Julio Iglesias, her first husband, on January 29, 1971 and they have three children: Chabelli (her nickname when she was young), Enrique (after her brother who died of an overdose), and Julio, Jr. Iglesias was a professional football player and at the same time he was studying law at CEU San Pablo University. His football career ended after a car accident that left him unable to walk for two years. During his hospitalization, a nurse handed him a guitar to keep him occupied and that’s when he discovered his musical talent. He eventually obtained his law degree. His marriage to Isabel was annulled in 1979.

 The Iglesias family, Julio, Julio, Jr., Chabeli, Isabel and Enrique (Source: enriqueiglesias.com)

The Iglesias family, Julio, Julio, Jr., Chabeli, Isabel and Enrique (Source: enriqueiglesias.com)

Her second marriage was to Carlos Falco, Marques de Grinon on March 23, 1980, with whom she has a daughter, Tamara. This marriage was short-lived, and a few years later, Isabel married former Spanish Finance Minister Miguel Boyer, who died last September. They have a daughter, Ana. One of our classmates, Nanette Valmores, happened to be in Madrid when Isabel’s husband of 23 years passed away. Nanette dropped off a bouquet of flowers from our class, and Isabel acknowledged receiving the flowers, thanking her classmates.

And now, the whole of Spain and the rest of the world are abuzz about Isabel’s romance with Nobel Prize-winning author Mario Vargas Llosa, who is still married to his wife of 50 years, Patricia. Vargas Llosa is said to be a friend of both Isabel and Boyer.

 Isabel Preysler (Source: zeleb.es)

Isabel Preysler (Source: zeleb.es)

The late Senator Raul Manglapus said, on one of his trips to Madrid when he tried to call on Isabel (his daughter, Tina, was also our classmate), “She is so famous that it is harder to get an appointment with her than the Queen of Spain!”

Elvira recently met Isabel in Barcelona while the latter was there on business. “Each time I see her, she’s always very sweet and cordial and warm. No airs that you’d expect from such a celebrity... If she is that way to all men, then I don’t wonder about her appeal.”

As for me, I devour every item on Isabel, real or fake, and happy to brag that she was my classmate, and still my friend. I wish her happiness, and of course, more love.

DAHIL SA'YO (BECAUSE OF YOU) by Julio Iglesias

JULIO IGLESIAS Sings a Classic Tagalog Love Song DAHIL SA'YO (BECAUSE OF YOU), he dedicated this to his Filipino wife ISABEL PREYSLER in 1973.On 29 January 1971 Julio Iglesias married Maria Isabel Preysler Arrastia (born 18 February 1951 in Manila), better known as Isabel Preysler, a Filipina journalist and television host. Preysler is a Filipino of Spanish ancestry and member of the wealthy and aristocratic Perez de Tagle family, a Filipino cadet branch of the Spanish dynasty that has held the Marquisate of Altamira since the 1600's.Together, they had three children: Chabeli Iglesias (born 3 September 1971), a Spanish socialite; Julio Iglesias, Jr. (born 25 February 1973), a Spanish singer; and Enrique Iglesias (born 8 May 1975), an internationally well-known Spanish singer-songwriter, actor, and record producer. In the 1970s Iglesias and his family were extensively depicted on the front pages of international newspapers and magazines. The marriage of Iglesias and Preysler ended in divorce in 1979. After they had divorced, and moved on. (Video Credit to Nanie Dinsay®)(English Translation)Because of you I want to liveBecause of youfor the rest of my lifeYou should knowthere's no other loveAsk my heartThere's only you and only youBecause of youI've become happy. Love is what I offer youif it's true that I will be enslaved by youEverything in life is you.

Posted by Filipinos AroundtheWorld on Sunday, December 27, 2015