Adele, Cristina, and Isabel Valles (L-R), childhood photo, c. late 1950s. Courtesy of Isabel Valles Lovina.
"3 sisters with matching dresses which was a must in those days."
Prima Lapuz Offril and Dra. Lourdes V Lapuz, family photo, c. 1965-1966. Courtesy of Prima Lapuz Offril.
"This is me and my mom, Dra. Lourdes V Lapuz. I must’ve been around 11, and my mom told me later, she knew our mother/daughter matching outfits were numbered and she wanted a photo that would last! And it sure has—I still have it and I’m almost 68! My mom has since passed so I treasure this very much!"
Anao Municipal Mayor Hon. Jappy de Dios, childhood photo, c. 1971. Courtesy of Katrina Esteban.
Paraluman Mendoza, school photo, c. 1950-51.
Maria Belinda Lopez Villavicencio, St. Scholastica's College (Manila Chapel) First Communion photo, 1963.
Elaine Mendoza Ong, Assumption Convent First Communion photo, 1964.
Maria Isabel “Maribel” González to Juan Antonio Mendoza, wedding photo at Iglesia de San Agustin, Intramuros de Manila, 1962. Courtesy of Juan Antonio Mendoza y González.
Maribel González is the daughter of Antonio Ma. González and Delfina de San Agustín, while Juan Antonio Mendoza is the son of Dr Rufino and Consuelo Mendoza. Gown was created by Arturo V Crúz. Reception was at the Skyroom of the Jai Alai de Manila.
Marian González to Claro Pablo Jr., wedding photo at Santuario de San Antonio, Forbes Park, 1969. Courtesy of Juan Antonio Mendoza y González.
Luci Reyes Salazar, cast photo, c. 1964-1965.
"This was the very first time I stepped into Ms.Peypoch's studio. I am with the longest hair and behind me is Sandy Hontiveros, Penthouse 7 dancer. We were in grade 3."
Luci Reyes Salazar, photo from the play "The Island," c. 1964 or 1965.
"This was not taken in her studio. It was from the play THE ISLAND. Those are some of the characters. We portrayed leper children. Fr. James B. Reuter was the director. It was shown at St. Scholastica's theatre and we did a taping in Channel 13 to be shown in Hawaii. Mr. Butz Aquino, Leo Martinez and a Prof Bob Kraut were the main characters. Prof Robert Kraut was from La Salle."
Marian Clarissa O. Orendain, St. Scholastica’s College Manila yearbook photo, 1966. Courtesy of Nini Orendain.
Ma. Montserrat Garcia-Dizon, Assumption Herran High School graduation photo, 1970. Courtesy of Michelle Eugenie Victoria D. Salvador.
Edna Reyes a.k.a. Edna Vida, Maryknoll High School yearbook photo, 1972.
Joanne Palma, Assumption College HS Graduation photo, 1974.
"I can never forget what the icon asked me to do that photoshoot..."TILT, it adds life to your face." I treasure this photo by Chat Peypoch... It puts me in my real world and place."
Beday Fortuna, College of the Holy Spirit (Mendiola, Manila) High School yearbook photo, 1979.
Ana Maria Theresa Pangalangan Labrador, Maryknoll High School graduation photo, 1979.
"Chat Peypoch took this just before our Maryknoll High School graduation in March 1979. We had to wear the embroidered jusi top and pearl necklace from her studio. I remember her as being very nice and tried to put me at ease. We were given two photos of different shots (I have to find the other one) for framing such as for the family home and wallet-sized ones which we gave away to our friends with notes at the back during graduation or just before that after a ceremony."
Mylene Dinglasan Caballero, Poveda Learning Center High School graduation photo, 1980.
Aloysia Estanislao, St. Paul College Manila graduation photo, 1986.
Maria Aurora C. Tarriela, Assumption High School graduation photo, 1988.
Patricia Anne Faustino, graduation photo, c. 1992.
"I studied in Manila Science, which did not offer the traditional grad photos of private schools. Glad I still pushed to have my photo taken in Chat Peypoch’s studio in Pasay."
Michelle Landrito Sison, Miriam College High School graduation photo, 1992.
Melany del Rosario, De La Salle Zobel Senior High School graduation photo, 1992.
Anna Belen Merced Q. Villarruz, St. Paul College yearbook photo, 1994.
Angela Fay Barraquias, Miriam College High School graduation photo, 1994.
"I lost my original copy to Ondoy flooding. This scanned Facebook photo is the only copy I have and even with the poor quality, those seeing this for the first time are in awe at how beautiful my picture turned out. It always brings a smile to my face hearing that. I truly love my Chat Peypoch graduation picture."
Derrick Manila, OB Montessori High School graduation photo, 1994.
Gidget G. Manansala, St. Paul Quezon City graduation photo, 1994.
Anna Lourdes Aseron, Assumption High School graduation photo, 1996.
Charis Mae Adviento-Deiparine, Blessed Trinity School Graduation photo, 1997. Taken at her studio in Las Piñas.
Monserrat “Chat” Peypoch (b. 1915, Aparri, Cagayan - d. 1999, Manila) was the first known female photographer to run her own studio in Manila. After WWII, she opened the first Chat Peypoch Studio on Taft Avenue, across the Philippine Women’s University, and established herself as the “foremost lady photographer of her time in a field dominated by the likes of Bob Razon of Bob’s Studio, Dominador Cruz of Tropicana, and Chas W. Miller of Chas W. Miller and Son Studio.”
Born on October 18, 1915 to Francisco Garcia, a Spanish traveling jewelry salesman, and Josefina Saad, a Spanish-Lebanese, Chat spent her early years in Aparri, Cagayan, where her family relocated to when they left Barcelona, Spain. Chat’s family moved to Manila when her father started working at the Casino Español. At the young age of fifteen, she left her studies at St. Theresa’s College and worked as a receptionist at the studio of American photographer Chas W. Miller. With no prior experience in photography, she gradually learned everything on the job, from helping to put models at ease and pose beautifully to lighting, film developing, printing, and shooting. In 1949, she eventually took over the studio when Chas W. Miller left the Philippines and returned to the United States.
A consummate photographer and entrepreneur, Chat successfully operated the Chat Peypoch Studio for fifty years. Specializing in black and white and sepia portraits, the studio was a “byword in business and social circles” and was favored by Manila’s top private schools such as Assumption, Maryknoll, St. Theresa’s, St. Scholastica, and La Salle. Many graduates from these schools fondly recall their trip to Chat’s studio – from its first location on Taft Avenue, to Mabini and U.N. Avenue in Manila, then to Pasay, and Las Piñas – to have their portraits taken for their yearbooks and reproduced as wallet-size prints, which are customarily given as keepsakes to classmates and friends.
Named “Photographer of the Year” in 1956 by the Federation of Women’s Leagues of the Philippines, Chat was recognized for her work in fashion and advertising photography, creating striking images for magazines, ads, calendars, and other publications. She shot for various publications including the Philippines Free Press, Weekly Women’s Magazine, Bride of the Times, and Style Magazine. She also did ads for major corporations such as Caltex and San Miguel. But it is through her work in portraiture that she became well known to generations of Filipino families, as she captured them during their most important milestones - baptisms, weddings, anniversaries, and most especially, graduations.
Chat was married to businessman Ramon Peypoch Sr., with whom she had three children, Maria Carmen Peypoch Reyes, Ramon Peypoch Jr., and Maria Angeles Peypoch Fullerton. She was also an active member of several organizations, including the Philippine Photographers Association, Federation of Women’s Leagues of the Philippines, Catholic Women’s League, Army Navy Club, and the Red Cross.
After her death on May 7, 1999, her son, Ramon continued the operation of the Chat Peypoch Studio, re-opening it briefly in Legaspi Village in Makati City before turning over most of the business to Delfin ‘Juni’ Samson, who currently runs the studio in the Tesoro’s Building on Arnaiz Avenue in Makati today. (Ringo Bunoan)
"No 1 Lady Photographer." Tableau: Encyclopedia of Distinguished Personalities in the Philippines, National Souvenir Publications, 1957, pp. 384.
Peypoch, Ramon Jr. E-mail interview. Conducted by Ringo Bunoan, May 2022.