My birthday series (1)

Turning a year older is a reason to celebrate and make a wish! My very good friends took it into a higher level. They gathered more friends and hosted a series of parties for me! Indeed, it was a busy week for me!

After a sumptuous dinner of grilled favorites at BBQ Park, caterer to the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO treated yours truly, vivacious NOEL MIRASOL and fun-to-be-with NONOY BATAGA for beer and sweets at Biz Bar of Richmonde Hotel at Megaworld. Amid fun conversation on current events, we enjoyed on standards, chill and lounge music played by a pianist.

The next night, businessman NESTOR FLORES jetted in from Cosmo-Manille to celebrate his upcoming birthday by hosting a dinner get-together for DING M., NOEL M., NONOY B. and yours truly. We savored the yumminess of Kamalig Restaurant at Atria Park District. It was followed by ice-cold beer, sinful desserts and more talk.

It was a cheesy night when sisters PANGGING and PANE ROSALES treated me and the gang – Fr. DENNIS BATACANDOLO  who will  soon be assigned in Sicily, Italy, columnist ZEDRICK SEÑERES, Iloilo’s Bad Boy of Fashion BO PARCON, the tweetums of Iloilo fashion JET SALCEDO, supermodel RIA BOLIVAR, muy simpatico ANDRÉ SALCEDO, and goodlooking hunks MARK HERMANO and BIEN GRINE at Henry’s Wine and Liquor in Plazuela de Iloilo. The ROSALES sisters brought Brie, Camembert, Irish Cheddar and Babybel to be complemented by the poisons of the night – fine wine, scotch whiskey, iced vodka and below zero beer, and interesting conversations on history, geography, Mediterranean cuisine and politics! (To be continued)


Lunch with the Chef

Lunches on Fridays and Saturdays at Café Salvatore of Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center (SMHCC) will never be the same. It will serve an international buffet courtesy of its new chef, MANFRED UWE MARKOWSKY, who hails from Germany.

Amid European-inspired sumptuous dishes, yours truly enjoyed good conversation with Chef UWE. We exchanged tidbits on beer, wine, apple strudel, geography, history, nouvelle cuisine and, natülich, Iloilo and Ilonggos!

In 1976, he graduated from Culinary School HOG in Zittau, Germany. Thereafter, he became an assistant cook. After graduating from the Academy of Restaurant Management, he took a job of Restaurant Manager in a fine dining restaurant in Zittau.

With his diploma from the Academy of Hotel Management in Leipzig (then in East Germany), he worked as a restaurant manager in Freudenstadt, a picturesque town in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany (where the famed Black Forest is); as Marketing Director in S.C. Munca Mediomag S.R.L. in Bucharest, Romania; and as chief cook at Residenz Hotel and in historical restaurant both in Heidelberg, a city situated on the River Neckar in south-west Germany.

For a year, he was chef de cuisine in Tagbilaran, Bohol before becoming the Chef Instructor at BACA Academy of Culinary Arts and Restaurant Manager of Tyrol in Bacolod City.

He has been waving his magic ladle at the kitchen of SMHCC for almost a month now. He told me that he never repeats his menu within the month. So, the gourmands and gourmets of Metro-Iloilo are in for a treat.

He is now working on a steak menu (pork, fish, chicken and beef) to be complemented with a select wine list. It is something to look forward to.

Café Salvatore also serves Japanese Dinner Buffet on Wednesdays and Fridays, and a daily International Breakfast Buffet.

Cleve and Pauline win the Campus Fashionista 2015

Rightfully so, Campus Fashionista 2015: The Model Search Finale of Robinsons Place Iloilo was by far the most expensive! It featured the collections of two award-winning Cosmo-Manille based fashion designers, the presence of two supermodels and the performance of an international hip-hop champion!

Twelve male and female model wannabes competed in three categories before an overwhelming crowd at The Fountain. They sashayed the resort wear of Iloilo Young Designers Council members JET SALCEDO, MIKE SORILLA, DJOHN CLEMENT, FRANCO MALAY, DARYL AMAR and DODDIE VRIL TAN, the Jeepney street wear of JEFFREY ROGADOR and the dervish- and military-inspired collection of JEROME LORICO.

In between categories, hip-hop champions Rockstars electrified the crowd with their energetic performances and their well-sculpted physique and abs!

CLEVE JAYSON CANOY and PAULINE GRACE BADILLA were declared grand winners by judges supermodel RIA BOLIVAR, commercial and ramp model GIRLIE BENITEZ, and fashion designers JEFFREY ROGADOR and JEROME LORICO on the bases of model look, ramp performance and the elusive X-Factor.

JOHN PAULO AGRASADA and JERALDINE QUIMSON grabbed the first runner up standings. JR MIRANDA and GLORY BELLE ARIB got the Best Photo citations.

Last year’s grand winner RABIYA MATEO and first runners-up ANNALIZA ARAGON and MARK HERMANO were also there. (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Developing the future through arts

Iloilo Prima Galaw (IPG), the leading theater group in Metro-Iloilo, recently launched its Arts Institute (AI). It is a groundbreaking and pioneering learning institute that aims to inspire young minds to dream, discover and develop their creative and artistic possibilities!

According to institute founder and IPG main man ROMIE JOHN DELARIARTE, IPG-AI “is a preparatory school that will foster creativity in learning, and a venue to develop talent and character.”

IPG-AI is where one can learn and excel in dance, theater, music, visual arts, speech and writing without neglecting academics such as reading, writing and arithmetic.

The opening kicked off with a Thanksgiving Mass officiated by Fr. THEODBRIEL VILLARIZA. It was followed by the ribbon-cutting ceremony led by special guest MARIA TERESA TACAN, the District Supervisor of District 1 of Iloilo City DepEd.

A short musical production by IPG stalwarts entertained the guests before the merienda cena by GIGI SY.

To officially open in 2016, IPG-AI also offers tutorial classes in Science, Math and English for 4 to 16 year old kids, semestral creative workshop in dance, theater, visual arts and creative writing to 8 to 16 year old youngsters, special training for elocution, and play and learn activities for 2 to 5 year old toddlers.

Iloilo Prima Galaw has recently staged The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella and Mulan.

For more details and inquiries, please visit its office at CPN Building on #60 Gen. Luna St., Iloilo City, or call 0915-8515033 and 0927-8261814 or (033) 339-0673. (Photos by Raymart Escopel)


Young misses champion a cause (Part 2)

Coming close second was nine-year old JULIANNE MARIE R. NAMO. Eight-year old MARIA ALEXY N. CALA-OR, the Best in Muslim-inspired Costume winner, placed third while eight-year old PRINCESS ASHELY NICOLE MOLLENIDO, who got the Best in Casual and Best in Production citations, took the fourth place. Avon Awardee, ten-year old LEIYAN LORANE T. FANDAGANI completed the royal court. They bested 11 other candidates.

Eight-year old TRACY CLODETH B. MANDE was chosen Miss Photogenic and eight-year old HAZEA ZHINEL C. SAMPOLLO was voted Miss Friendship.

The efforts of Father of Hablon NONO PALMOS and the weavers were recognized with Plaques of Appreciation from the municipality. Leading the presentation were Mayor MACARIO N. NAPULAN and Vice Mayor LEONARDO N. NALDOZA.

Seen on scene were DOT Region VI Director Attorney HELEN CATALBAS, First Lady of Iloilo COSETTE DEFENSOR, lawyer LORENZ DEFENSOR, PMAP President RAPHAEL KIEFER, woman of style NORMA ROSALES, Miag-ao Sangguniang Bayan Member and Chair of the Tourism Committee LUNINGNING TAPARAN, Capt. NILO TESORO and JOHNY FAJARILLO.

Little Miss Hablon 2015 was directed by ALVIN de GAMO, a former PMAP model who owns and manages Rockstar events and the Vice president of Teral Inc. The event was hosted by Miag-ao’s very own DONNA MARIE MABUHAY, heartthrob GRAE FERNANDEZ and VINCE VELASCO of PMAP. (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)


Young misses champion a cause (Part 1)

To jumpstart its tri-centenary celebration next year, Miag-ao staged the 1st Little Miss Hablon. According to its founder, internationally-acclaimed fashion designer, Hablon advocate and proud son of the town NONO PALMOS, the kiddie personality and talent contest was a refreshing idea that combined advocacy, culture and entertainment. It was to promote Hablon, the heritage fabric of Miag-ao!

The week-long event, the highlight of the 2nd Hablon Festival, culminated in a well-produced pageant at the Municipal Covered Court. Rightfully so, the dynamic Mayor MACARIO N. NAPULAN welcomed everyone in his inspiring speech.

The four categories – Muslim-inspired Costume Parade, Casual Wear and Production Number, Day Wear Competition and Long Gown Competition – were spiced by special numbers, messages from VIPs and an audio and video presentation of Little Miss Hablon activities.

Senate President FRANKLIN DRILON, who was represented by his sister GSIS Branch Manager ELEANOR DRILON-GREGORIO, was given the Award for Most Outstanding Son of Iloilo in Public Service.

Eight-year old MICHAELA DYNA HERNAEZ took the nod of judges – model/entrepreneur JAIRUS FERRER, woman of style BEVERLY “Pangging” ROSALES, President/CEO of Santa Clarita International School, Inc. PRIMA BUCKLEY-SWEENEY, talent manager PAULA PUNLA, stage, TV and movie costume designer ERIC PINEDA, fashion journalist and editor of Style Weekend of Manila Bulletin LIZA ILARDE, stylist for Star Studio, Metro and Red Magazine and fashion editor of Philippine Daily Inquirer LARRY LEVISTE, and President/CEO of Museo Pambata and chair of the panel NINA LIM-YUSON. She was also awarded the Best in Talent and Best in Long Gown. (To be continued. Photos by Ray Tabafunda)


Who will be Iloilo’s Next Top Models?

It is the time of the year when Robinsons Place Iloilo’s Campus Fashionista 2015 Model Search screeches to a finale.

After a grand go-see and two eliminations, six male and six female aspirants will see runway action tomorrow at The Fountain! One pair will be chosen winners on the bases of model look, runway appeal and the elusive X-Factor.

Now on its 11th year, Campus Fashionista Model Search has produced GRENDEL ALVARADO, the one and only Philippines’ Next Top Model winner, KRYZZA HILAY, Miss Teen Earth Philippines 1st runner up, and some of the most beautiful and handsome models who trailblaze runways here, there and everywhere.

According to an insider, a supermodel and two award-winning fashion designers will lead the panel of judges.

Iloilo’s Bad Boy of Fashion and Campus Fashionista mentor BO PARCON will direct the finale. Rockstars, an award-winning all-boy dance group, will be the special guests.

Aside from prestige, the winners will receive fabulous prizes! (Photos by Dio Bermejo Guilbert)


Wedding bells, wedding cheers

It was a beautiful day to celebrate love, happiness and togetherness when JOHN KENNETH WOO and PATRICIA UYTIEPO SERVANDO exchanged “I do’s” at Mere Monique Chapel in Ticud, Lapaz.

The bride, a businesswoman, is the daughter of AURELIO and CHRISTINE SERVANDO while the groom, the Plant Manager of Hi Grade Liquid Oxygen, is the son of JOACHIM and BRENDA WOO. Both are into mix martial arts.

PATRICIA walked down the aisle in a JAZEL SY creation. The dashing and blushing groom JOHN KENNETH and his male entourage wore suits by BO PARCON. The Maid of Honor, bridesmaids and female secondary sponsors were picture-perfect in gowns by JOR-EL ESPINA.


Also in attendance were family members, relative and friends of the WOO and SERVANDO families.

A fun dinner and dance reception follow at Ann Margaret Hall of Diversion 21 Hotel. Oh, well, that’s another story that will soon see print!


Jerry Sy Jr. strikes three

Bacolod City’s construction tycoon JERRY SY and lovely wife RINZEL JOSE made sure that their son JERRY Jr.’s third birthday bash was festive and memorable.  Held at the Grand Ballroom of Planta Centro Bacolod Hotel and Residences, the children’s party was inspired by a construction site!

It was attended by the cute darlings of who’s who in business, politics and society who all enjoyed on delectable hors d’oeuvres during cocktails and sumptuous fare during dinner. Beveragic delights overflowed amid interesting conversation!

The children and their parents were entertained by clowns, magicians and acrobats.

Rightfully so, the partying continued with more hotshot guests coming in. Everybody had a grand time till way past bewitching hour! To quote society chronicler NONOI YBIERNAS, “This is when the cookie starts to crumble.”

Kudos to couple JERRY SY and RINZEL JOSE for hosting a grand party for their unico hijo JERRY SY Jr.!


Volvo Club of Iloilo is launched

A group of movers, shakers and achievers, who own Volvo cars from Sweden, organized themselves to a club to promote safety and style. Led by SafeSat founder SALVADOR “Buddy” SILVA, the group call itself Volvo Club of Iloilo.

The Meet and Greet at the VIP Room of Dessert in the Sky was attended by Volvo car owners in Metro-Iloilo. They hobnobbed with bloggers and lifestyle writers.

At the organizational meeting, the founding members also elected PAUL YAP, President of Iloilo Great Car Corporation (Authorized Volvo Car Dealer in Iloilo), as Vice President; BOY LORICO as Secretary; and JR SANTOS, owner of Fabson, Inc. as Head of Public Relations. Other positions are up for grabs in the next meeting.

When asked why they chose Volvo as their car, FRANK KOOPSMAN, owner of Alta Aqua and Isla Margarita Resort in Guimaras, summed up everybody’s sentiments with this statement, “It is the best in the world!”


Grand party by the Garins

The annual party hosted by the GARIN Family at its residence for the fiesta of Guimbal has always been a grand affair. Now on its 20th year, it was attended by an eclectic mix of more than 600 guests – local and national political leaders, business bigwigs and social personas.

The First Family of the First District of Iloilo, led by its patriarch and acknowledged leader OSCAR “Oca” GARIN and his wife Provincial Board Member NINFA GARIN and their unico hijo Congressman RICHARD GARIN, welcomed each guest with firm handshakes and warm smiles!

The partying went in crescendo when Justice Secretary LEILA DELIMA sang her favorite song “I will survive” by GLORIA GAYNOR with Party-List Rep. SHARON GARIN, Health Secretary JANETTE LORETO-GARIN and Guimbal Mayor KRISTINE “Tin-Tin” GARIN.

Famed Ilonggo ballader/composer/busuinessman JOSE MARI CHAN performed some number to the delight of everyone. OCA GARIN, a music lover, jammed with him.

Seen on the scene were Sen. TG GUINGONA, Sen. LITO LAPID, Sen. TITO SOTTO, NFA chief FRANCIS ‘Kiko” PANGILINAN, Congresswoman LENI ROBLEDO, Agriculture Usec. FREDELITA GUIZA, PCA Aministrator ROMULO ARANCON and top lawyer STEPHEN DAVID.


Celebrating with friends

Muy simpatica SUSAN UY REYES marked her special day with a simple yet fun party at her well-appointed residence at Soriano Subdivision. It was attended by nearest and dearest friends who enjoyed on well thought of menu of sumptuous dishes.

Amid sips and spills of fine wine, iced-cold beer and scotch whiskey, the guests exchanged tidbits on politics, social weather and travel plans. The beveragic delights were complemented by a variety of cheeses.

The recently widowed celebrator also showed videos of her travels with her late husband ROMY REYES and their unico hijo RONALD REYES.

It was a wonderful night to celebrate happiness and friendship! Happy birthday and cheers, Tita SUSAN!

A gathering of friends

Iloilo correspondent of Philippine Tatler NONOI YBIERNAS was up to something. He gathered his closest friends for the blessing of his family residence in Calinog, Iloilo.

Fr. DENNIS BATACANDOLO led the religious rites. It was followed by a sumptuous lunch of fried spring rolls, chop suey and “linabugan!”

The get-together was spiced up by fun and interesting conversations on spirituality, celebrities and socialites, and social weather.

By mid-afternoon, our host served special siopao, his latest business venture. Needless to say his Filipino-Chinese steamed buns will certainly go a long way.

Shalom, NONOI!


Best friends became husband and wife! (Part 2)

The program also included song tributes from JONATHAN QUIMPO, Atty. AIDA ROSE VILLANUEVA and niece INDA PINEDA GARCHITORENA, roasting and toasting from siblings FARIDA and GILBERTO KABAYAO, and a music video of the composition of the bride’s mother CORAZON PINEDA-KABAYO that tells of wedded couple’s love for each other (the composition was set into music by BENY FRUTO CASTILLON and BIMBO MUYUELA and sang by Dr. JESSE PEÑACERRADA and ANGEL RIOS), and the violin performance by JIMMY TAGALA Jr. of PABLO de SARASATE’s “Carmen Fantasy.”


Inez Helena Espanola

Ryn Hymn Frondosa

Lianne Adriana So

David Jerrard Pineda

Beatrice Ayanna Borres.

Engr. Lizette Ivy Pascual

Joan Paulette Libo-on

Rubi Borra

Carmelle Frances Romero

Farida Kabayao

Quezel Mara Derequito

Keze Que Derequito

Allami Grace Posadas

Michelle Anne Marie Lopez.

Dr. Mark Anthony Medina

Allan Zalavarria

Shella Delgado

Zake QuerubinDerequito


Peter Allan Posadas



Best friends became husband and wife! (Part 1)

Best friends for twenty years, SICILIENNE KABAYAO and JOSE ROY PANIZA took the vow of marriage before family and friends. Their dream wedding was celebrated with a Christian ceremony and a festive reception at Anne Margaret Ballroom of Diversion 21 Hotel. The affair was inspired by the vibrant colors of autumn.

The formalities were officiated by Rev. TOH NEE LIM and Rev. LILY LIM of Evangel Tabernacle.

Since the KABAYAOs are known for their musicality, the guests were entertained with musical numbers from family members and closest friends. After all, the bride is the eldest daughter of international violinist virtuoso GILOPEZ KABAYAO and concert pianist CORAZON PINEDA-KABAYAO!

The piece de resistance of the night was unrehearsed performance of the bride of “Meditation” by JULES MASSANET on violin with thirteen violinists, led by her father and members of the KABAYAO-PINEDA families, guests and friends. (To be continued)


Dr. Elizabeth Derequito

Gina Lynn Derequito

Norma Limoso

Dolores Ramos

Rose Divinagracia

Dr. ArsieBuaquina

Agnes Quimpo

Annie Niemic

Dr. Cynthia Salcedo

Filipinas Besana

Ruth Tirol Jarantilla

Sarah O. Pena.

Dr. Mary May Villanueva

Dr. Meriam Emily Soriano

Ofelia Bandoy

Concepcion Atangan

Milena Abcede

Dr. Gil Villanueva

Edilberto Pineda



Clemente Bayag

Dr. Jonathan Quimpo

Dr. James Soriano

Frank Niemic

Eng. Manuel Abcede

Dr. Emil Salcedo

Dr. Thorek George Medina

Dr. Malbar Ferrer

Chris Emmanuel Buaquina


Maureen Disini does a show

Socialites, power brokers and who’s who of Cosmo-Manile gathered to watch the latest collection of MAUREEN DISINI at Makati Diamond Residence. The cocktails and dinner event was brought to everyone by Hinge Inquirer Publication’s RED Magazine.

MAUREEN DISINI showcased a 40-piece collection of white and black luxe creations of gowns and cocktails dresses. Each piece drew ohs and ahs from the Cosmo-Manille most discriminating people of substance.

According to top caliber designer ITO CURATA, “it was a fun evening spent with friends.” Yours truly couldn’t agree more.


Robinsons Place goes to Jaro

The famed Nelly’s Garden was the perfect place for the Tenant Conference for the soon-to-open Robinsons PlaceJaro. The sprawling  Art Deco Mansion encapsulates the old rich Jaro!

The fun event was held at the mansion’s LaJoya Hall.

Aprés the detailed audio-video presentation of facilities and amenities of Robinsons Jaro by the top guns of Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC) –VP-Lease LOURDES ALANO and Senior Lease Manager and Team Head JENALYNAPOSTOL–the guests enjoyed on the sumptuous hors d’oeuvres by well-known Chef MIGUEL CORDOVA.

The party mood went into crescendo with the stellar performance of The Voice Philippines finalist BRADLEY HOLMES.

According to RLC bigwigs led by Regional Operations Director DITAS TALEON, Robinsons Place Jaro “will be the first premiere mall in the more upscale side of Iloilo!” With pleasures of malling lifestyle, it will be accessible to the “latest trends in urban shopping, exciting dining options, and thrilling high definition movies at the mall’s digital and 3D theaters.”

On a two-hectare lot, Robinsons Place Jaro will seamlessly integrate modern and classic architecture. (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)


Child’s play

Muy simpatica AU PALOMAR’s little princess, her granddaughter KATHERINE PALOMARQUERUBIN, celebrated her sixth birthday with an indoor inflatable party at Jump! Zone Party Play Center in Howard, Niles, Illinois!

The kiddie party was attended by the celebrator’s closest friends. Also seen on the scene were kids at heart – parents and relatives!

Pizza, cakes, ice cream and juices whetted everyone’s zest for games, prizes and surprises!

Rightfully so, the happenings were freeze-framed on Facebook and Instagram!

The bubbly and fashionable celebrator is the daughter of ROMEL and KRISTINE QUERUBIN (née PALOMAR).


For a cause

In its quest to provide funds to send poor but deserving kids to school, Uygongco Foundation, Inc. (UFI) hosted a charity lunch at Amigo Hotel.

Called “Got Stuff? Donation Drive,” the event culled items from well-meaning donors for the silent and live auctions.

The attendees included an A-List of businessmen, politicians and socialites who enjoyed the lunch provided by Gloria Maris and desserts by Sweet Treats. They also gamely posed for caricature sketches and drawings by artist-scholars of UFI.

The CPU Bell Choir and UFI scholars presented musical numbers for everybody’s entertainment. The entertainment set the mood for the guests to bid for their favorite items.

On the block for the live auction were two paintings by award-winning architect OSCAR PEÑASALES, Ferragamo bag and shoes, and bejeweled accessories by London-based Filipino designer KEN SAMUDIO.

UFI supports fourteen elementary and high schools in Iloilo, Capiz and Guimaras.


For arts’ sake

Aside from being the premiere maritime school in the Philippines, John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU)once again affirmed its position with the opening of Art Deck!

It is a multi-function area of John B. Lacson Foundation Museum of Martime Culture and Craft. The first of its kind in the country, it is the brainchild of art enthusiast Dr. MARY LOU LACSON, the Chair of the Board and President Emeritus of JBLFMU.

Art Deck is open to display and promote maritime art, culture and crafts by artists.

The opening and cocktails coincided with the first solo exhibition of Engr. JOAR SONGCUYA UNABIA. It gathered who’s who in politics, society, profession, government service, academe and arts who hobnobbed with each other!

A self-taught artist, the 2011 graduate of JBLFMU-Molo culled his 20-piece exhibit from his four-year sailing career and experience onboard chemical and oil tankers and bulk and container ships that traversed the famed “pirate zone” in Africa. Amid fear and boredom, he found solace and refuge on paintbrushes and canvases. His favorite themes of maritime life and marine ecology to “capture the beauty and solitude of longings at sea” became the of Art Deck in its aim to promote art, culture and heritage! (Photos by Raymart Escopel and Joselito Villasis)