Parade of beauties

This is the time of the year when the organizers of Mutya ng Philipinas choose the country’s representatives to Miss Asia Pacific International, Miss Tourism International and Miss Overseas Communities.

Thirty beauteous candidates vying for these titles were presented to the media at Resorts World Manila recently.

The candidates come from different parts of the country and Filipino communities abroad. They participated in preliminary events in various tourist spots across the archipelago making Mutya ng Pilipinas 2015 truly a nationwide search!

After three days in Sheridan Beach Resort and Spa in Palawan for the Swimsuit Competition, the candidates headed to Pagudpod, Ilocos Norte for the Long Gown Competition.

The coronation night will be on Sunday, August 2, at the Newport performing Arts Theater. There, Mutya ng Pilipinas Asia Pacific International 2015 EVA PYCHE PATALINJUG, Mutya ng Pilipinas Tourism International GELIFFER PERIDO and Mutya ng Pilipinas Overseas Communities 2014 PATRIZIA BOSCO will crown their successors.

Mags Boutique was the official casual provider. Its owner, best dressed MAGS CUE, is the pageant’s social directress while Galing Ilonggo 2014 awardee JAQUELINE TAN is the president of Mutya ng Pilipinas. (Photos provided by Mutya ng Pilipinas)


Time to celebrate

Not even typhoon “Egay” stopped caterer to the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO and the gang from crossing the Iloilo Channel to Bacolod City to celebrate his birthday!

After a rough trip and thanking God Almighty for our safety, we enjoyed a hearty late lunch at Xin Chào Vietnamese Restaurant at Hi-Strip 4.

A short rest at the Presidential Suite of Bacolod Business Inn readied us for a pre-birthday dinner of grilled and fried favorites at the hotel’s Café Biz. The fun night continued at Gurka, a newly-opened hip-hopping bar. Amid sips and spills of scotch whiskey, iced vodka and cold beer and bites of sumptuous hors d’eouvres, DING and his guests, who included models and players, partied till wee hours.

By noon the next day, we transferred to the Presidential Suite of GT Hotel!

A short tour of The Ruins, the famed LACSON mansion in Talisay City and a Holy Mass at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Shrine, a Redemptorist Church (after all DING M. graduated from St. Clement’s Academy, a Redemptorist-run exclusive private boys’ school in Iloilo), was followed by a birthday party at Ripples Restaurant of L’Fisher Hotel. The celebrator’s guests partook of a buffet of international dishes, assorted cheeses and breads, carvery and sweet treats, all complemented by fine wines and fun conversations!

The celebration was capped by more fun at Lina’s Alfresco Dining and a swing at Mo2 Ice Bar. In both places more beverages delighted us!

Of course, in between lunches, dinners, snacks and cocktails, we engaged with our favorite pastime – shopping! Well, it’s another story.

My spy in lace panties whispered to me in molto sotto voce that DING M. will have his final birthday celebration this coming Saturday to finally close the jolly month of July! Yours truly is certainly looking forward to it! Happy birthday, DING MONTLEIBANO!


Ding’s kind of night

Caterer to the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO and vivacious NOEL MIRASOL hosted a dinner party at Freska Homestyle Buffet. It was to pre-celebrate the birthday of the latter.

In attendance were the basketball varsity players of the University of San Agustin (collegiate) and Ateneo de Iloilo (high school) led by their coach JPHIL CERCADO. Yes, Coach JPHIL is the main man of both teams!

Everybody enjoyed on succulent grilled favorites, freshest seafood, tastiest dishes and calorific desserts! Naturellement, the hot topics were basketball, sportswear and movies!

Conversation and fun continued at the lobby restaurant of Smallville 21 Hotel, a hip and hop from Freska Homestyle Buffet. There, overflowing beveragic delights and sumptuous hors d’eourves were the orders of the night!

Indeed, it was a fun night! N’est ce pas, NONOY BATAGA?


Person of interest

This is not about a spy thriller on TV that stars JIM CAVIEZEL. This is about EUGENIO “Jun” YNION. He is the Punong Barangay of San Antonio, San Pedro, Laguna. Also a successful businessman and civil leader, he is an international shipping and stevedoring magnate.

His barangay is one of the richest and most progressive in the country, thanks to his leadership.

Definitely, he is the man to watch!


Having fun with friends

My week was spiced up by lunches and dinners with friends. They were not only occasions for good food; they were fun get-togethers highlighted by interesting conversations and updates.

US-based LINDA CORTEZA hosted a despedida lunch for me, NONOI YBIERNAS of Philippine Tatler and fashion designer JASMINE CASTELO at Café Salvatore in Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center. It was followed by an after-lunch pitcher of Margarita at Olé in Robinsons Place Iloilo and dinner at Freska’s in Ayala Techno Hub.

The next day, it was TV executive DADO TAN’s turn to treat me for lunch at Café Salvatore.

The next two nights, caterer to the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO, vivacious NOEL MIRASOL, fun-to-be-with NONOY BATAGA and yours truly went from Japanese at Akiyama Japanese Cuisine in Shops in Amigo to Italian fusion at Amalfi in The Avenue.

Needless to say, it was all about friendship, food and fun!

Here comes the bride!

If couture is about mastering the material act of making clothes to the extent it becomes magical, then FREDERICK PERALTA scored a perfect 10. His was one of the participating designers at the recent Marry Me @ Marriot Fashion Show. He joined some of the biggest names in the industry.

His every look was a winner. Between the limitless trains, bouffant skirts and dazzling jewelry, one thing was clear: the collection was pure magic!

The 1994 grand winner of Internationale Createurs de Jeunes de Mode (Young International Designers Competition) in Paris, he showcased bouffant monochromatic dyed gowns, some with romantic baroque embroideries and all looks were finished by A Midsummer Night’s Dream-inspired floral headdresses and jewelry by jeweler to the rich and famous GERRY SUNGA.

To pay tribute to the brand’s long standing commitment to making every dream wedding happen, Marriott Manila hosted the upscale wedding fair, “Marry Me at Marriott: A Grand Wedding Fair,” at the Grand Ballroom, which was highlighted by the Fashion Show. RAJO LAUREL, RANDY ORTIZ, JC BUENDIA and RHETT EALA also unveiled their respective bridal collections in the said show.

According to habitués, the hotel’s Grand Ballroom is believed to be the biggest in country today.

FREDERICK PERALTA and GERRY SUNGA are Ilonggos based in Cosmo-Manille.

Runway Photos by Ash Reginald Evasco

Flowers: Teddy Manuel

Stylist: Sonia Agbayani


Food, fun and friendship

Chef MARCO SALCEDO hosted an intimate yet fun dinner and drink party at his family well-appointed residence at Puerto Real de Iloilo. Attended by his nearest and dearest, it was to celebrate his birthday.

Joining him in the celebration were his mom, former diplomat SARAH “Bopeep” SALCEDO, and his brother, goodlooking ANDRÉ SALCEDO.

Amid creamy potato and sausage salad, delicious paella and crunchy fish fillet, Iloilo’s Bad boy of Fashion BO PARCON, young designers JET SALCEDO, MIKE SORILLA, DODDIE VRIL TAN, DJOHN CLEMENT and FRANCO MALAY, partyphile K.L. CATINAN and EDISON RUEDAS of Smart enjoyed interesting conversation on fashion, politics, travel and weather!

The bad weather did not stop the get-together from swinging till wee hours!

With a grain of Salt

Salt Gastro Lounge, the newest restaurant in Metro-Iloilo, held a soft opening and taste test party. Owners, brothers TATA and CEDRIC LORING with former’s pretty daughter KATRINA and the latter’s lovely wife ENGEL, made sure relatives and friends were well-received.

Amid a New York ambience, everyone enjoyed a wide array of American-inspired dishes!

Culinary expert MINER del MUNDO was responsible for the sumptuous menu!

Rightfully so, Salt Gastro Lounge is perfect for the gastronomic experience of the discriminating Ilonggos!

“It is a must for gourmets and gourmands,” enthused TATA LORING.

It has also has a long list of wine, spirits and beer for the drinking crowd!

Salt Gastro Lounge is the latest addition to the booming dining industry in Metro-Iloilo! All you good food lovers, you don’t have to look far. It is located on the Ground Floor of Manfred Building (behind Greg’s Café) on Gen. Luna Street.


Bo in NagaWorld

Iloilo’s Bad Boy of Fashion BO PARCON broke into international scene when he presented his latest collection at the 20th anniversary of NagaWorld Hotel Casino in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He joined the elite group of JAKI PEÑALOSA, MARCO M. CHAN, JEROME LORICO, ALBERT ANDRADA and FREDERICK PERALTA in the Grand Finale Show at the hotel’s Lobby Stage.

His thirteen creations of black, red and grey crystal spandex, duchesse satin and gazar screamed of unadulterated glamour and sophisticated elegance. Chic with dramatic flair, each piece was inspired by an urban lifestyle. They were classic, timeless, ageless and effortless with a twist. He played up some gowns with capes, plunging necklines or back emphases. Unmistakably sexy, the sensual allure of each piece was defined by inventive tailoring, masterful drapes and expert fabric manipulation – elements of a distinctly BO PARCON creation!

Filipina supermodel RIA BOLIVAR led top international models from Hong Kong, Vietnam and the Philippines in sashaying the collection.

NagaWorld Hotel Casino Cambodia is the most stylish of the Phnom Penh hotels.

Havaianas made my day

The 2D invite came in a box. It is for the 10th Make Your Own Havaianas (MYOH) event at SM City Iloilo. It indicated that yours truly should dress fashionably in Havaianas and wear my special wrist lei, which yours truly did!

A fruity concoction welcomed the guests at All Flip-Flops Store. There, a booth was manned by charming assistants to help the guests assemble straps, soles and pins into colorful Havaianas flip flops.

Marketing mavens NINA BENITEZ and LOREN FERRER were also there to receive everyone! According to them, the top Brazilian brand will give two avid Havaianaticos a chance to win a trip to the Aloha State of Hawaii by posting a picture of a pair of Havaianas flip flops on Instagram!

A pop up cubicle was also set up on the concourse of the mall for inquiries, sizing and more choices of materials and accessories.

To set the mood for things to come, a live samba band played bossa nova and latin beats! Obrigado, Havaianas!

A night of wine and cheers

Tres charmant ZEUS GRAGEDA jetted in from Cosmo-Manille for the Private Tasting Series at Henry’s Wines and Liquors in Plazuela de Iloilo. With “Liberate Your Senses” as the theme, the goodlooking sommelier gave the guests – connoisseurs and gourmands — tips and tricks on appreciating and pairing wines with panache and poise.

He used lemon, sugar, cayenne and salt as bases for pairing with Poggio del Sole Bianco (sauvignon blanc, malvasia), Soleil d’Octobre (colombard, gros manseng, petit manseng), Cheze Syrah (syrah) and Chateau Tire Pe  (merlot), respectively.

Soleil d’Octobre is a good pair with sweet and spicy dishes. The white wine complements the sweetness in the food and wine, and balances the spicy and sweet flavor.

According to him, lemon pairs well with Poggio del Sole Bianco because it complements the acidity in the wine while the sweetness of sugar dominates the sourness in the wine and makes the taste flat.

Pairing Cheze Syrah with spicy dishes may be good or bad, depending on the person if he likes the burning sensation. Chateau Tire Pe goes well with salty food because salt lowers the tannins of the wine and make it more palatable.

The casual and al fresco affair was a meet and greet of friends amid pleasant conversations over artisanal selections. Indeed, we explored the grapes of France and Italy without leaving our tables!

Saying goodbye

Academician NIC de los REYES hosted an intimate despedida party for friends at a VIP Room of Annex in MO2! The bittersweet get-together was spiced by sing-along, lots of laughter and loads of hors d’eourves and booze!

He is moving to Bangkok, Thailand for a teaching job. He will surely miss the frenetic night life of Metro-Iloilo and his friends here (as we of him) but work is work. N’est ce pas?

Yours truly wishes him the best in everything in his new job away from home!