ELSA ORIA’S NIECE – One time, colleague and good friend Boy Villasanta dropped by at home with a feature on Maria Divina Sagaray Austria, wife of noted painter Tam Austria. Boy V called her the “anonymous wife;” his inspiration in many a painting. As one published story puts it, “Tam Austria finds creativity in the Beauty of Divine.”
Boy V said that artistry runs in Mary Divine’s veins… apart from her affinity with her husband. She is the neice of Philippine cinema’s pre-World War II Singing Sweetheart Elsa Oria of “Bituing Marikit” and “Nasaan Ka Irog” fame.
“I cherish the life we shared with my aunt Elsa. She was a wonderful person,” Boy V quoted Mary Divine as saying.
Her mother Aileen Oria, herself an accomplished soprano during her time, was Elsa’s younger sister. She recalled with fondness her aunt and mom singing together.
Asked if she also sings, she said, “Yes, I can but I already passed on the passion to my children.”
ACCOMPLISHED – Although a private person, Mary Divine is an accomplished woman, involved in many socio-civic works for years. She is the recipient of several honors, including Pamana Award, given by LA-based designer Boy Lizaso to Filipino achievers in various fields.
On July 4, in celebration of Fil-American Friendship Day, Mary Divine will receive the Dakilang Ina Award, again from Lizaso, younger brother of CCP president Nick Lizaso.
Come July 16, Mary Divine will celebrate her birthday at the Manila Polo Club in a “Club Mwah” motif. Celebrity guests include Aubrey Miles and Troy Montero, Johnny Litton, and Ricky Davao.
‘RAINBOW’ – Boy V said that Mary Divine led a “rainbow colored life.” Born in Jolo, Sulo, she came from a well-off family, the “belle of the ball,” but she opted to be simple and independent. When she was threatened with kidnapping by an ardent Muslim rebel suitor, her parents immediately sent her to Manila, where she enrolled in a Business course in UE.
She confessed being envious of her rich classmates, but she remained thankful her parents trained her to be independent, reliant, and self-motivated.
Mary Divine is engaged in real estate and construction of residential houses, condos, and hotels. She has her own identity but remains supportive of the visual-arts passion of Tam Austria.
Asked in case her life is made into a movie, who is her choice to portray her character? “Angel Locsin. She’s a good actress. Pretty and people around me like her as well.”