Woman of Substance: Lourdes ‘Tata’ Kintanar Kapfer
Photo by Eros Goze, Styling by Ushi Sato and Make Up by Ginno Alducente, “Mariposa” wrap by Dita Sandico-Ong and gold necklace from Liali Jewellery
Lourdes ‘Tata’ Kintanar Kapfer
Fearless Community Volunteer
In tightly-knit Cebu, the Kintanar’s are well known as government and military officials. So it comes as no surprise that Lourdes ‘Tata’ Kintanar Kapfer grew up as an assertive and fearless lady who did whatever she thought she needed to do, and stood up for what she believed was right.
A Political Science major with three years of Bachelor of Laws studies, Tata was quite the activist in her youth. With her strong calling to government service, she spent the 70s through to the mid 80s working for various government departments – including the Philippine Population Commission (POPCOM), the Interim Batasang Pambansa (Philippine Parliament), and the Bureau of Customs in Cebu.
Tata has dealt with government and military VIPs, community groups, not to mention some dangerous elements in her involvement with Cebu Coastguard and Customs joint-operations in the Anti-Smuggling Task Force.
She was a PRO and VP-Development of the Cebu Hara Jaycees and a member of Cebu Travel & Tour Operators Association, as well as the NBI Gun Club and shared James Bond’s Walther PPK pistol as a favorite piece with her mentors at the CPRA (Cebu Pistol & Rifle Association) Shooting Range.
Enter the civilian Tata, circa 90s. After a long stint in the government, Tata moved into the tourism business and married Frenchman Vincent Kapfer. That meant her relocating abroad to start a family in Lyon, and eventually settling in scenic Cannes.
There, Tata was in- charge of the UCPI/UCPB (United Coconut Planter’s International) representative office, and also took active interest in the Filipino community. She founded the Association Heritage Philippin, Cannes. She also played the role of President for the PAG-ASA Filipino Association and participated as well, in L’Association Francaise de Conchyliologie, L’Association France-Grande Bretagne de Cannes, and the FSC Filipino Seaman’s Club Cote d’Azur. In 1999, recognizing her service to the community and exceptional capabilities, the PTIPO-Paris (Philippine Trade and Investment Promotion Office), recommended her appointment as HITR-South of France (Honorary Investment and Trade Representative), a role which she held for four years.
But that was not all for Tata, the call to serve her compatriots and her keen sense of justice drove her to some precarious situations; thankfully, however, to the benefit of those she came to help.
In France, she aided a number of distressed Filipinos – some victims of exploitation and some cheated out of their dues. She also helped seven Filipino crew members of a yacht to get their two year’s worth of unpaid salaries by bringing up the case to the ITF/IMO (International Transport Workers’ Federation/International Maritime Organization) headquarters in Rotterdam. Tata also assisted in the Perfume Palace swindling case in the French Riviera where over 50 Filipinos were victimized.
Through all this time, Tata also collaborated with the Philippine Embassy Paris, doing various works which included the sealing of the casket of deceased compatriots about to be repatriated, with the French authorities – the task that she dreaded most.
Back home in Cebu, apart from her civic contributions – helping Lo-oc, Oslob Elementary School and Oslob District Hospital through personal donations and soliciting medical equipments from France, Tata was also instrumental in the jailing of a German national who was into gun running. Thereafter, she also assisted in the case of a Filipina being battered by her estranged British husband – in the end personally taking the consequences for a three year court battle.
She says of her exploits, “I don’t know why, wherever I go, I get attracted to help carry other people’s burdens. I’m just very lucky to have a supportive and understanding husband and four loving children.”
Tata brought the same brand of socio-civic participation when she and her husband moved to the emirates in 2003. During Former Ambassador Libran Cabactulan’s tenure in the country, she volunteered to assist in trade endeavors and under former Philippine Labor Attaché Ching Ardivilla, provided voluntary assistance to countless distressed Filipinos, including a nurse cheated by her employer, and abandoned in a hospital after suffering from a stroke, as well as illegal recruitment victims. She was also involved in a corruption expose case leading to the recall of a diplomatic official.
Through all the grave situations she has experienced, Tata remains lighthearted and refuses to take herself so seriously. With expressive eyes sparkling, the fearless lady chuckles, “I’m not so sure about my mission in this world. It seems that I’m just another version of Tia Dely, a little crime buster, or perhaps, a warrior in my previous life?”
Whatever her true mission is, one thing is certain: people like us are very fortunate that there are Filipinos like Tata Kintanar Kapfer.