Nature Park in Pavia

The features of PRO·FRIENDS Nature Park

Amid the concrete jungle mushrooming in Metro-Iloilo and hereabouts, Property Company of Friends, Inc., or PRO·FRIENDS to you and me, opened its Nature Park in Pavia! With its nature-inspired attractions, it is a lush enclave of century-old trees, different species of plants and flowers (such as Elephant Leaves and Pepper Tulips), and green sceneries. Surely, it is where families can enjoy fun bonding moments together.

PRO·FRIENDS, the developer of Parc Regency Residences and Monticello Villas, is bringing this new experience to Ilonggo families sooner than soon.

The attractions of PRO·FRIENDS Nature Park

It recently launched this haven with a sundown cocktail party that segued to dinner and drinks affair.

The Nature Park is perfect for weekend picnics, family gatherings and special events. Its landscaped grounds and gardens are ideal for weddings and garden parties, and thoughtful walks, reminiscence and relaxation, and youthful adventures while being in awe at God’s creations and discovering, appreciating and nurturing nature. Indeed, it will be landmark for nature lovers and destination for city-zens who to want take a break from the hustle and bustle of city living!

The launch party of PRO·FRIENDS Nature Park with PRO·FRIENDS Iloilo Brand Manager Karmela Jesena, Digital Marketing Officer Raymart Escopel and Marketing Administration Officer Jeryll Anne Guerra; Bob and Grace Llorico; and Steve Justine Sorongon and Jen Llorico

Its main attractions are the majestic Buli trees. They welcome everyone who visits the Nature Park. ‘The fresh breeze and unpolluted air invigorates the body; the chirping sound of the birds relaxes the mind; the sweet smell of morning dew refreshes the senses; and the sound of running water from the small creek calms the body,” enthused PRO·FRIENDS Iloilo Digital marketing Officer RAYMART ESCOPEL. “These are the features that will make one think he is not near the city!”

“We are giving Ilonggos more reasons to enjoy life at its fullest in a community situated amidst nature’s splendor,” PRO-FRIENDS Iloilo Brand Manager KARMELA JESENA noted.

Andrea Guanco and yours truly; Nonoy Taclino, Rosmar Villalon and Jorry Palada; Nana Jover, Valerie Caulin and Apple Ochon; and Kathy Villalon and Antoine Greg Flores

The Brits are coming!

(Clockwise from top left) British Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce; DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno; Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri; and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez

Seeing that Iloilo as the next growth area, the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) is bringing 50 companies to the Visayas for its Iloilo Trade Mission on March 8 and 9, 2018 at Richmonde Hotel Iloilo! Yes, British businessmen are betting on the Visayas, where they believe growth in the regional economy will soon outpace the entire country!

Notwithstanding the proposed shift to a federal form of government and ongoing tax reforms, the British companies are looking for investments opportunities in the Philippines. They are more concerned about the ease of doing business in the country.

(Clockwise from top left) Trade Director at Department of International Trade Michaek Yelland Moon; Chair at British Chamber of Commerce Philippines Christopher Nelson; Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr of Iloilo; and Mayor Jose Espinosa III of Iloilo City

Organized by British Chamber of Commerce Philippines, the Iloilo Trade Mission is in partnership with the British Embassy in Manila. Among the guest speakers expected to attend the two-day event are British Ambassador to the Philippines DANIEL PRUCE, Secretary at Department of Budget and Management BENJAMIN DIOKNO, Secretary at Department of Trade and Industry RAMON LOPEZ, Senator JUAN MIGUEL ZUBIRI, Trade Director at Department of International Trade MICHEAL YELLAND MOON, Chair at British Chamber of Commerce Philippines CHRISTOPHER NELSON, Mayor JOSE ESPINOSA III of Iloilo City, Governor ARTHUR DEFENSOR Sr of the Province of Iloilo and Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Pru Life UK ALLAN TUMBAGA. TONY ABAD, CEO of TradeLawyers and TradeAdvisors, will be the event moderator.

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Pru Life UK Allan Tumbaga; and CEO of TradeLawyers and TradeAdvisors Tony Abad

The Iloilo Trade Mission aims to attract more investments from British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the Visayas.

Accordingly, the Iloilo Provincial Government will be “highlighting their potential economic zones, or “ecozones” to lure in more investors.”

Among the activities of the two-day Iloilo Trade Mission are Iloilo Trade and Investment Forum where such topics, “Innovation is GREAT: Showcasing Innovative Practices,” “How to Protect Your Innovation in the Philippines,” “Investment Opportunities in Iloilo,” and “Developing Iloilo’s Economic Viability,” will be discussed; Site Visits around Iloilo – Iloilo Business Park, Iloilo Commercial Port Complex, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center and other homegrown industries; and Social Networking and Cocktails.

Cakes, English teas, pastries and everything sweet at Mrs. Wharton

Mrs. Wharton dessert table

Just before sundown one fine day, yours truly had a jolly good time at Mrs. Wharton Pastries, London Bakes and English when it launched its dessert table for weddings, birthday and special parties!

Mocktails — Princess Diana (a concoction of Roselle Berries and Cherries), Prince Harry (a mix of Lychee and Olives) and Queen Elizabeth (a combination of Peaches, Tarragon, Dalandan and a pinch of Blackberries) — whetted my sweet cravings for Crème Brûlée, Mango Surprise, Red Velvet, Chocolate Truffles, Truffle Dulce de Leche, Whole Apple Cinnamon Cake, Naked Cakes (Banana Carrot and Red Velvet) with fresh flowers and British Scones.


Vegan Chocolate Cake; and Naked Cakes with fresh flowers

Only at Mrs Wharton Pastries, London Bakes and English Teas one can find this array of sweet indulgence. “Still Mango Surprise… because it’s something different. Other cafés don’t have it,” enthused blogger RAYMART ESCOPEL.

For dessert table bookings and other inquiries, please drop by Mrs. Wharton Pastries, London Bakes and English Tea in SM City Iloilo Southpoint and look for owner MARIE WHARTON or his daughter ANJA YAP RIVERA.

(Clockwise from top left) Crème Brûlée, Red Velvet Cupcakes, Chocolate Truffles and British Scones

Mango Surprise Cake; and Princess Diana and Prince Harry mocktails

Let it be leather!

A few moons ago, Mohist Leather Garden opened its boutique doors at Unit 5 Ground Floor of Soriano Building on Infante Avenue in Molo, Iloilo City, to an appreciative clientele and fashionistas. Everyone oohed and aahed at the fabulous collections – from shoes to bags and chinoiserie leather pieces — for all intents and purposes.

Owned by Mohist Group Phils., Co., it was founded by Hong Kong based MICHAEL MAK , the Managing Director of Ming Chan Limited and Mohist Group Limited in Hong Kong, with couple REX NIÑO and MARLA HAUTEA (née REYES) and GIL FANDINOLA SANGUELLAS. Mohist Group Limited is an established leather company in Hong Kong and China.

The company was the brainchild of MICHAEL MAK, who has always had deep affection for Filipinos. From leather adhesives/glue to leather sheets (or raw materials), he has been trading with several businessmen in Cosmo-Manille. He also has 25 years of deep friendship and working relationship with Filipino businessman GIL FANDINOLA SANGUELLAS.

With his family’s 75 years of in-depth knowledge, expertise and experience in the leather business, he had decided to explore the possibilities of growing the leatherware industry in Philippines. He then offered this business opportunity to his friend and colleague GIL FANDINOLA SANGUELLAS and couple REX NIÑO and MARLA HAUTEA. The rest was leather history!

“The company will at the same time work hand-in-hand in future projects with some of the recognized tanneries and leather companies in Italy. With the help of Ming Chan Ltd, HK, Mohist Group Phils., Co. will work to deliver world class, genuine and the finest leather wares not only to the Ilonggos but to the rest of the Filipinos,” enthused MICHAEL MAK.

According to General Manager MARLA RYES-HAUTEA, the Vision and Mission of Mohist Group Phils., Co. is “to be the most recognized and respected leatherware company in the country; to be synonymous with craftsmanship, high quality and genuine leather; and to be the top of mind and preferred partners and suppliers of designers, brand owners, retailers and leather enthusiasts.”

Michael Mak and Marla Reyes-Hautea; and the array of leather sheets.

Indeed, the company had humble beginnings but with high hopes for greater and bigger things to come.

For details, inquiries and orders, please visit Mohist Leather Garden (and get amaze with the fabulous leather collections), call (033) 503-3770 or 0917-7085223, email at, or visit its FB page — @mohistleather/Mohist Leather Garden.

Feasting on Valentine’s Day at Seda

Misto of Seda Atria Iloilo where we had a sneak preview of the Feast of Love; and the Feast of Love menu prepared by Chef Albert Ledesma

Because it’s Valentine’s Day today, award winning Chef ALBERT LEDESMA made it extra special with a four-course dinner tonight at the Velvet Room of Seda Atria Iloilo! The mouth-watering dinner event called Feast of Love will accommodate fifteen couples at P2,100++ per person.

Yours truly had a sneak preview of the gastronomic treat. It started with Smoked Salmon Tart, crème fraîche, chives oil and mix salad, and paired with Focaccia Bread with Balsamic and Olive Oil. It was followed by Oven Roasted Tomato Soup which was cooked to perfection with apple and bacon tidbits.

Focaccia Bread with Balsamic and Olive Oil; Smoked Salmon Tart; Oven Roasted Tomato Soup; and Pineapple and Mint Sorbet

Since the first two dishes were bursting with flavors, Pineapple and Mint Sorbet , as an intermezzo, prepared out palates for the Main Course. The choices were Pan Seared Norwegian Salmon (with pumpkin risotto, batonnet vegetables with tomato and mango salsa), Stuffed Chicken Breast Valentino (stuffed with roasted bell pepper, mozzarella cheese and parmesan risotto, green asparagus and balsamic glaze) and Braised Australian Beef Tenderloin (with mashypeas potato and chateau of vegetables in red wine mushrooms).

The Main Course was a choice between Stuffed Chicken Breast Valentino, Braised Australian Beef Tenderloin and Pan Seared Norwegian Salmon.

The culinary indulgence came to a sweet conclusion with calorific Red Velvet Lava Cake (filled with flowing chocolate) and Duo Chocolate Mouse (a shot of layered dark and white chocolate topped with Oreo Crème cookies).

Feast of Love at the Velvet Room comes with overflowing wine and a stem of red rose for the lady date! For inquiries, details and reservations, please call Seda Atria at (033) 5068888 or email

Yours truly with my choice of main course: Stuffed Chicken Breast Valentino; and Red Velvet Lava Cake and Duo Chocolate Mouse


Dine, drink and be merry at Freddie’s Kitchen + Bar

If you are a party hearty type of a person, bring your date to Freddie’s Kitchen and Bar for a night of good food and upbeat music on Valentine’s Day tomorrow, February 14.

The chefs of The Mansion will served you a spread of soup, salad, main courses, pasta and dessert while hotshot DJ ARVIN ONG will dish out remixed love song. These and more at P699 will assure you and your loved one a night of love and affectionate remembrance.

Reserve a table for that one of a kind experience at The Mansion by calling (033) 335-1021 or visiting its website at

In festive mood ala Florete

Ian Joseph Ejan and wife, Neira Totengco, Mars Floret Jr, Joe Totengco and Susan Florete; Susan Florete, Dialita Jardeleza, Ivy Gurrea, Sheila Draper and Marissa Hortillas; Mar Florete Jr with Atty. Raul Muyco and Judgee Lopez Peña; Mars III and Beia Florete; and Elena and Atty. Raul Muyco

The 50th Iloilo Dinagyang Festival was extra exciting with lunch and dinner invites from good friends. One cherished tradition for many of Metro-Iloilo’s who’s who is the Dinagyang lunch party of sweet couple MARS Jr and SUSAN FLORETE. As always the family penthouse on B&C Square was ready for the occasion.

Seen on the scene was an eclectic mix of dearest family members and nearest friends who all hobnobbed with each other!

Mafelou Agriam, Maritess Lim, Joe Marie Agriam, Susan Florete and Kathleen Ynion; Atty. Rita O. Peña and Arch. Pablo Antonio III; Judgee and Sarah Peña, Dong Sarabia, Dr. Risa O. Peña, Red Sarabia and Missy Sarabia; Jasmine Castelo, Marjorie Florete and Rica Peña; and Yoly Altavas and Arlette Ledesma

Chef MIGUEL CORDOVA and his efficient team laid out an array of sumptuous delectables that included salad, carvery and Mediterranean dishes. All were complemented by fine wine, Scotch whiskey and iced vodka!

While the atmosphere was festive on the main streets of the City of Love, the ambience at the FLORETE party was fun. Hot topics centered on current events, fashion and trends, and health and fitness!

Joe Delina, Lany Altea, Wynns Beboso, Kristen Trinidad, Marjorie Florete, Luisa Bierneza, Rara Ganzon, Sylvia Yap, Kristine Guanco, Julienne Yap and Bec-Bec Yusay; Dialita Jardeleza and Lynnie Denila; Eva and Marcus Duenneisen; Marissa and Jungi Hortillas; and Romy and Chona Bondoc

As noon turned into afternoon, guests streamed in and out, a testament to the popularity of the FLORETE Dinagyang party!



Romance at The Mansion

For the hopeless romantics out there, treat your loved ones to a dreamy buffet dinner, called A Romantic Affair,” on Valentine’s Day, February 14, at The Lobby of The Mansion. Surely you will enjoy it!

For P799 nett per person, the chefs of The Mansion will whipped up a selection of sumptuous dishes you will certainly remember and talk about in the coming days.

The ambient lights and the acoustic music of Greyscale will set the romantic mood for everyone!

For details, inquiries and reservations, please call (033) 335-1021 or visit


A feast at the Strawberry Mansion (2)

Gila Ybiernas-Oquendo and Baby Rosales; Bombette Marin, Jet Salcedo, Nonoi Ybiernas and Richie Garcia; Prima Buckley-Sweeney, Kathleen Espina-Ynion and Mafelou Leagogo-Agriam; and Charrie Lui and Lolit Wong

Amid the revelry on the streets of Metro-Iloilo, the dinner party at the Strawberry Mansion went in crescendo with overflowing beveragic delights and dancing to the 70s and 80s music by a guest DJ.

Vivacious sisters PANGGING and PANE ROSALES, who are flamenco dancers, led the grooving and gyrating on the improvised dancefloor on the mansion’s covered driveway with dancing-est EDWIN HARMONIO, NIKKO ROSALES CID and gang of classmates at Med school in WVSU. Soon the dancefloor was filled with dancing guests!

Joemarie Layson with wife Dr. Tetchie Layson; Irma and Tony Lim; Girlie Ortaliz-Ganzon and Dodo Miñosa; and Sheila Arocena, Arden Dinson and Noel Mirasol

Not to be outdone, the lady of house NORMA PADILLA-ROSALES did a sultry tango and an upbeat cha-cha-cha with EDWIN H.!

When not dancing or engaging in fun conversations, everyone had their “Kodak” moments for posterity and for social media posting. Indeed, it was a fun night to celebrate the Golden Iloilo Dinagyang Festival in honor of its Patron, El Señor Santo Niño!

Mayor Mak de la Cruz of Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental; and Jack Matti

Foodtripping 101: Fish Balls at Farm To Table

Farm To Table is known for using organic ingredients in its dishes and its creative innovations of ordinary traditional everyday food! Fish Balls are must-haves at Farm To Table. Chef/owner PAULINE GORRICETA-BANUSING turned this popular streetfood into a nouvelle dish! Her version is meaty, packed with flavours and garnished with strips and shreds of vegetable. Served with sauces in varying degrees of spiciness, it is a perfect starter for a good meal – be it lunch or dinner. It is also a right matched with the restaurant’s array of organic and imported beer.

A feast at the Strawberry Mansion (1)

Norma Rosales with Charrie Lui, Jane and Robert Uy and Fanny Uy; with Mel Rafael and Alice Javellana; with Gerard and Luth Camiña; and former Rep. Jeffrey P. Ferrer of the 4th District of Negros Occidental with construction magnate Jerry Sy and wife Rizel Jose.

Yes, the dinner party at the Strawberry Mansion is one of the hottest invites during Iloilo Dinagyang Festival. It is celebrated in honor of El Señor Santo Niño, the Patron of Iloilo City. The yearly tradition is hosted by the Lady of the Strawberry Mansion NORMA PADILLA-ROSALES and her las hijas BABY, PANGGING and PANE and unico hijo BOBBY, who are always hosts with the most!

Bombette Marin, Joe Marie Agriam, Pane and Pangging Rosales, Maritess Lim and yours truly; Pane Rosales, former Rep. Jeffrey P. Ferrer, Pangging Rosales and JAG Ferrer; Rica Peña, Red Sarabia, Pablo Antonio III, Atty. Rita Peña, Judgee Lopez Peña, former Rep. Jeffrey P. Ferrer and Sarah O. Peña; and Elena Javellana and Pane Rosales.

This year’s feast was another festive fare! Seen on the scene were A-Listers in society, business and politics.

Caterer to the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO outdid himself by preparing delectable victuals that drew oohs and aahs from the guests. Buffet and dining tables were laid on the driveway and spacious living room of the mansion. Liveried waiters made sure everyone was having a good time! (To be continued)

Mars and Beia Florete with daughter Maya; and yours truly and Vicky Sian


Dancing the night away the disco way…

Benzen Llamado, Tommy Jimoga-on, Jeffrey Uygongco and Luis Arenio; Trina Fuentes, Edwin Zulueta and Ting Javellana; Bingbing and Vincent Tajanlangit; and Jasmine Castelo and Dodo Miñosa

Thank God, it was Friday! There was a good reason to party at Freddie’s Kitchen + Bar, the beehive of fun at The Mansion, for its “Born To Be Alive Disco Party!”

Of course, Metro-Iloilo’s most veritable discophiles enjoyed the good food and beveragic delight the bar offered. Tables were cleared to make way for them to shimmy and do the swing and “maskipaps.”

Jennifer Pangcog, Nacy Hechanova, Gerard Calanza, Jimmy Uy and Joel Uy; Scarlet French, Digby Francisco and Jinky Arana; The Mansion Marketing Communications Coordinator Babak Niaraki and COO Noel Sinclaire Sy; and yours truly and Gila Ybiernas-Oquendo

The party place was filled to the max that the shoulder to shoulder crowd competed for space and attention. They rubbed elbows, knocked knees and stepped on toes all in the name of having fun!

Suffice to say, the “Born To Be Alive Disco Party” was a resounding success! A little birdie whispered to yours truly in molto sotto voce that its part two is in the offing. N’est ce pas, NONOI YBIERNAS?

Ronald Sebastian with Alfred and Dr. Maria Victoria Hofileña; and Jove and Janice Jimenez

A blast from the past

Junie Velasco, Helen Stummer, Pane Rosales, Mals Tinsay, Tina Itaas, Rosa Cacho and Mon Francisco; The Mansion GM Gemma Lee, COO Noel Sinclaire Sy and PR Nonoi Ybiernas; Vince Hechanova, Nana Esperancilla Lee, Rica Peña, Atty. Rita Peña. Pablo Antonio III, Dr. Risa Peña and Red Sarabia; and theTitas of Manila: Sheila Villanueva, Sheila Ysrael-Fernandez, Dr. Elsa Capuno, Nuemy Paningbatan, Kaye Cuy and Jean Bravo.

Titos and Titas of Iloilo with a bunch of millennnials got down and boogied to the “Born to Be Alive Disco Party” at Freddie’s Kitchen + Bar, the latest stomping ground of fun parties this side of Metro-Iloilo!

Angel Gomez with Papoose and Hans Meschenmoser; Lilibeth Young Moghareh, Pangging Rosales, Renalyn Banias and Pane Rosales; The Mansion GM Gemma Lee and yours truly in our Titas and Titos of Iloilo t-shirts; and The Mansion COO Noel Sinclaire Sy and fashion designer Hilque Baban Dairo.

Everyone who is anyone who loves to party grooved to the 70s and 80s music of hotshot DJs LARRY PAUL OCTAVIO and WENDELL WANG, and reminisced the glory days of disco!

Orson Orleans with Mia and Jimmy Feliciano; and the Titos of Disco Music in Iloilo City Edwin Zulueta and Larry Paul Octavio.

Here, there and everywhere making sure everything is A-Ok was dream team of The Mansion — COO NOEL SINCLAIRE SY, GM GEMMA LEE and PR NONOI YBIERNAS! (To be continued)

Central Park Iloilo opens

Gerald Ganzon, Ube Ganzon, Girlie Ganzon, Dee Ganzon, Rudolph Ganzon and Rara Ganzon; couple Rommel and Kathleen Ynion; and Central Park Iloilo owner Peter Po with Felipe Uygongco, Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon of Iloilo City, Kathleen Espina-Ynion, Rommel Ynion and Pastor Gideon Cajilig.

The good news is Central Park Iloilo opened in time for the 50th anniversary celebration of the famed Iloilo Dinagyang Festival at Taft North, Mandurriao, Iloilo City! Owned by tres charmant PETER PO, the sprawling food haven has container vans as stalls, booths and bistros strategically and aesthetically arranged for easy movement and access.

The grand opening was graced by who’s who in business, society, politics and media. PETER PO, businessman/photography enthusiast FELIPE UYGONGCO, businessman ROMMEL YNION and Vice Mayor JEFFREY GANZON of Iloilo City snipped the ceremonial ribbon for the opening.

Dodong Lim and Mafleou Leagogo-Agriam; Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, Mafelou Leagogo-Agriam, Joemarie Agriam and Freeman Ganzon; Karl Maridable and Tiffany Berjes of D’Talyer.

Moving around, yours truly zoomed in on goodlooking brothers RUDOLPH and GERALD GANZON of Eskinita where we had dinner and drinks, muy simpatico KARL MARIDABLE of D’Talyer and cheerful KARLITO JARDELEZA of 70N Dos!

Amid the revelry and influx of patrons and the curious, the Sun Yat Sen High School students, led by its leader JUNJUN SIA, performed a dragon dance for good luck and prosperity!

Rightfully so, Central Park Iloilo is welcome addition to Metro-Iloilo’s burgeoning nightlife!

Yours truly and Kathleen Espina-Ynion; Gerald and Rudolph Ganzon of Eskinita at Central Park Iloilo; and Jun and Anabel Tajanlangit.

Foodtripping 101: Chicken Binakol by Jolly Heart Mate Canola Oil

Iloilo is known for its one of kind cuisine. Whether it is comfort food, seafood delicacy, merienda cena or desserts, it is the biggest draw to everyone coming to this southern part of the Panay.

The list is long. There is batchoy, laswa, KBL (kadios baboy and langka), pancit molo, tinola and more.

In line with the 50th anniversary of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival, Jolly Heart Mate Canola Oil brought its Celebrity Chef Ambassador DONITA ROSE for a Cooking Demo and Meet and Greet dinner.

She whipped up Tinola, an Ilonggo favorite chicken soup dish. However, she made a twist by adding coconut water and making broth a little sweeter. “The key is to get a good balance of flavours by adding some saltiness from fish sauce or patis, bitterness from chili leaves or dahon ng sili), and heat from some red chilis and ginger,” she said.

Needles to say, the end result was a fragrant fusion of ingredients and flavors that surely satisfied everyone.

A cup of steaming hot rice added pleasure to the gastronomic treat!



For the Paste:

4 Lemongrass stalks (use only white lower portion)

1 Red or White Onion (small)

1 thumb Ginger (skin removed)

4 cloves Garlic (skin removed)

8 Black Peppercorns

1 tsp Salt

Main ingredients:

1 kg Chicken (thigh or breast, boneless, butterflied to same thickness & seasoned with salt and pepper)

2 Coconuts (water set aside and meat scooped out, cut thinly into strips and separated)

2 cups Chicken Stock

1 Dahon ng Sili/Red Chilis leaves (removed from stems and washed)

1 Green Papaya small (seeds removed, small bite sized pieces or spaghetti-style cut)

3-4 tbsp Fish Sauce (to taste)

1-2 Red Chilis/SilingLabuyo (seeds removed to reduce spiciness and minced)

Green Onion (minced for serving)

2 tbsp Jolly Heartmate Canola Oil


Add 1/2 of the oil to a heated stock pot, then sear the chicken briefly on both sides to give it color and flavor. Set chicken aside then add the other half of the oil again to the pot and sauté the paste until aromatic. Add the papaya and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the coconut meat, chili, stock, coconut water and fish sauce then add the chicken last. Let simmer until chicken is soft for at least 15 minutes. Add the dahon ng sili/chili leaves then serve in bowls or in its coconut shell and enjoy!

More than a woman

The celebrator Aida Castigador-Yusay with Nika, Mila, Troy, Eliseo Jr. and Polly Yusay; Renz, Engr. Connie, Engr. Francis and baby Thea; MatMat, Josie, Dr. Bobby, Vince and RJ; and yours truly.

My ever glamorous aunt, hardworking businesswoman AIDA CASTIGADOR-YUSAY, celebrated her 85th birthday with a dinner and dance party at Golden Salakot of Hotel del Rio.

Just like the celebrator who was in a sapphire blue gown by couturier JOSE ALBERT “Bingbing” SANCHEZ, her guests came in touches of blue.

The guest list included family members and relatives from Iloilo and Negros Occidental, friends from Zonta Club of Iloilo City I and Jaro Garden Club, and mahjong amigas!

Peter and Ana Yusay; Max Javelona, Ana Jardeleza, Aida Castigador-Yusay and Inday Javelona; Leticia Chua, Elaine Divinagracia, Ana Jardeleza and Aida Castigador-Yusay; the celebrator Aida Castigador-Yusay with Vivian Magalona, Patty Monfort-Huang, a friend and Jean Jaranilla.

The brief program featured an AVP that chronicled her life, travel and charity works. Her sons ELISEO Jr., Engr. FRANCIS and Dr. BOBBY, and grandsons RJ, MAT, VINCE, RENZ and TROY took turns in dancing the waltz with her. It segued to an all-night dancing.

Her son JOE MARIE and family, who are based in Canada, were unable to make it to the celebration but send their love, kisses and hugs to the her.

The celebrator Aida Castigador-Yusay with Delia and Atty. Angelo Aninao; with Dr. Bobby Yusay, Delia Aninao, Jean Jarantilla, Baba Balangtas and couple Rose and Oskie Arenas; Eliseo Yusay Jr. with his classmates from St. Clement’s Academy; and yours truly with Orson Orleans and Kaye Sabia.  

Get the dough rolling…

Boxes of Krispy Kreme Chocolate Glazed with Sprinkles and Chocolate Glazed doughnuts

Led by Local Relations Specialist GILBERT TACUYAN, the executives of Krispy Kreme in SM City Iloilo gathered lifestyle bloggers for a mid-morning fun. It was to welcome its latest indulgent chocolate variants – Chocolate Glazed, Chocolate Glazed with Sprinkles and Double Chocolate Cake doughnuts!

Aside from sweet treats, the get-together was highlighted by a rib-tickling Krispy Kreme Quiz Day! The Girl Group – VALERIE CAULIN, ROSMAR VILLALON, NANA JOVER, ANDREA GUANCO and COURTNEY GRANADA — outdid the Boy Group – TED ALDWIN ONG, RAYMART ESCOPEL, NONOY TACLINO, JORRY PALADA and yours truly – in playing the Certified Chocoholics Q&A, Remember Me, Chocolate, Choco Charades, and a game of chance Chocolate Doughnut Wall, and guessing game of Doughnut Tower.

We were also taken to a tour of its kitchen where we saw the doughnuts being rolled out, glazed and sprinkled!

Yours truly receives a bagful of doughnuts from Krispy Kreme Local Relations Specialist Gilbert Tacuyan; the bloggers with the executives of Krisp Kreme Iloilo; Raymart Escopel manning the counter; bloggers Jorry Palada, Andrea Guanco, yours truly, Nana Jover, Nonoy Taclino and Courtney Granada

“We’re excited to witness just how Every One Is An Original and we believe that Krispy Kreme Quiz Day did just that. This is our unique way of bringing joy to our guests, by inviting them to express joy in their original way through an interaction with our fresh and unique products,” said ARIEL FERMIN, Chief Operating Officer for Krispy Kreme Philippines.

Share your chocolatey #KrispyKremeMoment on Facebook: krispykremeph and Instagram: krispykremeph, and show that #EveryOneIsAnOriginal!

Krispy Kreme is an international retailer of premium-quality treats, including its signature Original Glazed ® doughnut that has offered the highest-quality doughnuts and great-tasting coffee in the country since 2006. With a flagship store in Bonifacio High Street in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, the company has outlets in more than 70 different locations nationwide.

Doughnuts rolling out; Doughnut Tower; Double Chocolate Cake doughnut; and variants of Krispy Kreme doughnuts

Starspotting and partying at Iloilo Business Park

Festive Walk Parade of Iloilo Business Park of Megaworld; and Iloilo Dinagyang Warriors

The 50th anniversary of Iloilo Dinagyang Festival, one of the biggest and most colorful festivities in the Philippines, will also be celebrated at Iloilo Business Park with a series of star-studded and hip-hopping events!

At the Festive Walk Parade this Friday at 7 p.m., the pulsating Dinagyang Warriors Parade will set the pace of the three-day party weekend.

As the night progresses, top bands CHICOSCI, FRANCO and URBANDUB will take turns in electrifying Ilonggo rockers for the Viva Music Festival. Before midnight, singer-songwriter CLARA BENIN will chill down the mood with her “coffee shop” music.

The next day, partying will gear up with the Dinagyang Car Show. More than 150 modified and designed cars will go on display. Before sundown, fans will have “kilig” moments with Kapuso stars MIGUEL TANFELIX and BIANCA UMALI for the GMA Mall Tour.

Chicosci; Franco; Urbandub; and Clara Benin

The night will be highlighted by the must-see 1st Dinagyang Float and Lights Parade. Participated in by more or less 50 floats, the inaugural parade will go around Calle Real of Iloilo City and end at Iloilo Business Park.

Let’s party the night away at Megaworld Boulevard to the brand of music of Tomorrowland’s DJs Mad M.A.C. for the Viva Music Festival. Iloilo City’s nightscape will be lighted up by Glitters in the Sky, a grand fireworks display!

The Dinagyang weekend will close with a livewire performance of multi-awarded rap icon GLOC 9 who will feature his greatest hits live at Festive Walk Parade.

Miguel Tanfelix and Bianca Umali; Tomorrowland’s Mad A.C.; and Gloc 9

The Dinagyang weekend will close with a livewire performance of multi-awarded rap icon GLOC 9 who will feature his greatest hits live at Festive Walk Parade.

Through the weekend, there will also be the Festive Walk Parade Food Festival. Participating restaurants, like Grillers Oyster House, 13th Street Espresso, Ayra Steak, Buto’tBalat, Barista Grounds, Teodorico’s, Café Panay, Jip Bab, Bistro Carcossa and Book Latte, will outdo each other in presenting a variety of Ilonggo cuisine from La Paz batchoy to fresh seafood and hard-to-find delicacies. These homegrown and trendy food outlets are tenants of Festive Walk Parade.

Needless to say, the musical performances and celebrity presentations will compete for attention with the colorful, vibrant, world-class and uniquely Ilonggo cultural and culinary showcases.

For more information and inquiries, please call 0915 564 5324 or follow Festive Walk Iloilo on Facebook page at or visit Megaworld Lifestyle Malls website

A religious turnover

El Señor Santo Niño, the patron of Iloilo City and Iloilo Dinagyang Festival; Hermano and Hermana Mayor of Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2018 Judgee and Sarah Peña; Hermano and Hermana Mayor of Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2017 Emmanuel (representing his father Eduardo) and Felamie Aguillon; and the turnover of Hermano and Hermana Mayor honors.

What a better way to set the religious activities of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2018 in motion than with a Holy Mass held in honor of its patron, El Señor Santo Niño, at the Renaissance-designed and Hellenic-influenced Iglesia de San José de Placer! It was highlighted by the turnover of the honors of Hermano and Hermana Mayor from businessman EDUARDO (represented by his unico hijo EMMANUEL) and tres charmante FELAMIE AGUILLON to sugar baron JUDGEE LOPEZ PEÑA and his wife, woman of style and hardworking businesswoman SARAH OPOLENCIA-PEÑA! It is the fourth time for the PEÑA couple to handle these honors. For the next ten days, they will be in the forefront of all the religious and charity events leading to the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2018 celebrations. After all, the country’s Best Tourism Event is now commemorating its 50th year anniversary!

Hermano and Hermana Mayores: Judgee and Sarah Peña (2018), and Emmanuel and Felamie Aguillon (2017); the devotees and the faithful attending the Holy Mass in honor of El Señor Santo Niño to kick of the religious activities of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2018; Fr. Raymund Edsel Tronco Alcayaga leads the Pit Senyor dance; and the devotees and the faithful in Pit Senyor dance.

The religious and formal ceremonies were celebrated and officiated by San Jose Parish Priest Rev. Fr. RAYMUND EDSEL TRONCO ALCAYAGA, OSA, and led by Cofradia del Santo Niño de Cebu Iloilo Chapter head JUN RIVERA.

The Holy Mass segued into a 10-minute Pit Senyor dance with the replica image of Santo Niño de Cebu as the focal point! Ati Tribe Competition participants, drummers and supporters joined the devotees and the faithful in a frenzied revelry!

A sumptuous dinner buffet followed at the covered gym of the nearby San Jose Parochial School. It was attended by the who’s who in the religious community of Metro-Iloilo.

Dr. Risa O. Peña and Red Sarabia; Dr. Marovi Ascalon-Celiz and Rose Soriano-Juarez; Jasmine Castelo, Elena Javellana and Prima Buckley-Sweeney; and Hermana Mayor 2017 Felamie Aguillon, First Lady of Iloilo City Gina Sarabia-Espinosa and Hermana and Hermano Mayor 2018 Sarah and Judgee Peña.

Located at the historic Plaza Libertad (formerly Plaza Alfonso XII), Iglesia de San José de Placer, or San Jose Parish Church, is the birthplace of the Iloilo Dinagyang Festival. (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Foodtrip 101: Spicy Gambas in Tomato Sauce at Café del Prado of Hotel del Rio

Hotel del Rio has always been known for its old world charm and its good food! With the renovation of Café del Rio, the hub of Metro-Iloilo’s café society and gourmands, came the introduction of the Heirloom Recipes. They are the up-to-date versions of the all-time favorite dishes at the Hotel. One of these is the Spicy Gambas in Tomato Sauce. The Spanish-style shrimp dish had the freshest seafood, thick tomato sauce, layered garlic flavor and the right amount and combination of spices and herbs. It is perfect for snacks, starter for dinner or after-dinner hor d’oeuvres, and with wine. It goes well with the ambience of Café el Prado!