I understand I’m an acquired taste. I am the red wine and cheese slices in your 20s and the sudden likelihood to choose a lounge sofa in beige. This is, however, a well-meaning letter that hopefully would be read by the lots of newblood in the stock market.

I do not condone wealth or wealthy people, because I am, for one, trying to be one– and we can not become what we hate. I applaud them. What I wish we could have a better understanding of, is that we must choose what path we need to model ourselves after, because like what they say, there are a million ways of becoming a millionaire.

And being born into it is one.

The Ilustrado.


Disclaimer: This is highly directed to a specific type of people. I agree not every one is such, so please do not make an issue out of this.

The Ilustrado does not understand your struggles. Their problems are of a different set from yours, and I do not discount it because our pain levels are highly personal. In their world they are faced to believe that the utmost horrifying thing to do is to disappoint the standard their family name asks of them to bear. Every thing else is muted.

You worry about having enough to cover for dinner by Wednesday next week or if your children will be able to study medicine if they choose to. The rent is coming, the electric bill hiked, and every day, you commute to work. You sit with your body contorted and your butt cheeks half dangling in a crowded FX on the way to your job– and then somebody coughs. And coughs again. Alerted, you look at the offender, your graze sending daggers. You can NOT afford to get sick, you can NOT afford to rest, you can NOT afford to lose this job.

Your horrifying ordeal is hunger. Yours are inability to pay for education, inability to pay for hospitalization, inability to live your dreams, or even see Japan.


Japan? They’ve probably been there last week. Europe about a month ago.

You see, they are blind to that. They find the idea funny of having to stick to your 100-pesos a day budget. This doesn’t seem to be a real, miserable undertaking to them… But for us who do, find the humor in it, but respect the grind that we all submit ourselves to.

They do not sweat like you do. They do not treat money like you do. Because they were born with it and if there was nothing they have produced, there was always more from their mother. their father. their lolo. their lola. Their uncle’s connections. Their auntie’s kumadre– oh she can get him in touch with the CEO so he can snag that internship or private meeting.


But you… If YOU do not have anything, the pain lingers. Someone will have to get pinched. Someone’s sweat, someone’s sacrifice, just trying to make it work. If there is no someone, then you sit on that pain.

Ilustrados have a safety net and a foot in the door. Their resume do not have to battle it out with the mass, and their failures are considered “cute”. It does not mean they’ve spent their life-earnings from abroad and lost every thing.

They don’t have the same risk ratio like we do.
I can not blame them for their callousness with our losses. They do not understand our fight. They were not born that way, and so if someone tells them they have lost 300,000 over their recommendations, they shrug it off.



“300,000! And..? What is he lumbering and blumbering about! Why that was just about how much we pay for leather luggages nowaday, don’t we! Hmp! Iyakin.

I can clearly remember the day an Ilustrado said, “Go, ask money from your OFW Auntie and buy this stock!” It was clear instructions. He said he was marginalized himself. The stock went downhill ever since. The price is trading a quarter of the price it was now.




But there never was any apologies. No admission of mistake. But, rather, quick, angry, demands for continuous respect. RESPECT! Respect because he is an Ilustrado… and you are not.

You do not live in a big house, you do not own a fast car, you have not been sent to expensive schools. With this he demands for your ardent affection, an obvious cry of betrayal when you stopped. Old… and spoiled.

If you are not born with the advantages that he have, then why are you playing the game like he does? You do not have your own house yet, he probably has 5. When your money at the stock market drains, you feel it, and feel it well.

He does not.

But please. I beg you…
You do NOT need to listen to this Ilustrado, and he has no business telling you how to create wealth when he was born into one. Your struggles are unique from him!
Here’s an idea: Why not find someone who made it? There should be no problem at all. 80 to 86% of the millionaires are self-made.

One day, a dear friend of mine and my mentor was minding his own darn business and I was making some cake. All of a sudden, his peace was attacked by an Ilustrado losing his mind.

The Ilustrado tried to lord over with his threats, with his power. Oh, dear. I do not think he has really met the internet.

Let me help you with that, if you’re reading this… Threats do not work here. You can not just start name dropping every Tom, Dick, and Harry that you know of! And oh no, was that a case of libel waiting to be filed? How outrageously funny. I’m so sorry your right of birth has not been respected over the internet… Oops. Iyakin. 😉
I’m stepping down my foot on this one. I thought I would never write about you again, Ilustrado. Back then I called you the Orchestrator. But here we are and that’s just how it goes.

When the masked man was attacked, people rose up to defend him. I felt the protectiveness from The House. I wonder, how many are willing to do the same for the Ilustrado?


And how many would mutter under their breaths ‘good riddance’ when he’s sick on his death bed?

The Ilustrado once again licks his wounds. All of a sudden, someone bested him in his game. Hard work beats his illusion of power. Miss Market made a wonderful equalizer. All his connections, all his power, could not outdo the hard work of someone born in a class he’s routinely looked down upon.

That’s when he started laughing again. Kusinero!, he said. As if this was the biggest insult he could chew and spit on.


Dear Ilustrado,

Have you seen Fight Club?

“Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on: we cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances, we guard you while you sleep. Do not fuck with us.”




To my dear readers,

Do not ask those who were born wealthy how to get rich because they do not know that. They know how it IS to be rich, but not how to become one from scratch. What will they teach you? Pure, random luck of birth? They were provided for. And though that is no flaw of theirs, they are poor mentors to follow.


And as this Ilustrado, who was so used to being above every one else, swimming with his privilege, tried to mock someone more than half his age, who built his OWN wealth from his humble beginnings– the joke is on you. After all your wealth and your education, what have you made for yourself? A man in his 20s, you say, a Kusinero you call him. Someone who lives so far away from your big city– HAVE BESTED YOU.

The joke is on you.
The world turns and the wheels of fate continue to roll. Even as we suffer, now presently, we know how to eat dirt and get up to survive. How about you? Can you do the same? If we were removed of the privileges of wealth, can you live another day like we do?



A toast to us. The mass who were born to grind and suffer the weight of the iron rain when life sends out the storm, but with ambitions so big and so persistent our wings will grow and fly us out of here. The skies were never made just for the birds,

We will earn our wings and be free.



I’ve always enjoyed cooking anyway.



Forever yours,



As always, my little treat. What I listened to while writing:


P.S. Write me a letter. <3

7 thoughts on “Ilustrado

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  1. i felt so gullible to think that i even thanked that illustrado for giving us “guides” and got upset when the stock gets bashed. fast forward, i stumbled upon zee’s blog and im on my way now in “respecting the process” natatawa na lang ako sa mga post doon ang tawag ko sa kanya ay “dementor” “Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them… Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.

  2. hi Celeste. I was just wondering who this Illustrado is. I just am alarmed that such people exists. Im not sure if I have encountered him. Best of luck.

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