A cheery celebration

(Cris Oquendo, Chinabankers Pam Payumo and Gigi Escarola, Che Guevara, Branch Manager Rose “Gila” Oquendo and John Guevara; Bo Parcon and Pitong Guevara with couple Engr. Roel and Elvie Reynoso; Nonoi Ybiernas and Dennis Jardiolin; and London-based Liza Jardiolin and Manulife Chinabank Financial Sales Assistant Dearie Onglatco)

The holidays and anniversaries are good reasons to celebrate. And Chinabank Iloilo-Mandurriao Branch, led by its dynamic manager ROSE “Gila” YBIERNAS-OQUENDO, did just that.

Despite of bad weather and terrible traffic jam, friends and clients gathered for cocktails and conversations for cheer Christmas and to mark the bank’s 5th anniversary!

(Do, John and Che Guevara; JC Catedrilla with parents Linda and Dionesio “Small” Catedrilla and Branch Manager Gila Oquendo; Engr Norman Samoro and wife Juliet; and the strong and dynamic team of Chinabank Iloilo-Mandurriao branch: Pam Payumo, Gila Oquendo, Baby Lao (Chinabank Area Head), Ela Guevara, Yang Hermoso, Gigi Escarola Jed Sayson and Anthony Amaguin)

80s dance music set the mood for hobnobbing and enjoyment of good food by ANN AMAGUIN YAP and overflowing fine wine!

Hot topics for the night were the business and social weather, current events and booming Iloilo! The food, wine and conversation made everyone stay a little bit longer!

Kudos to GILA Y. OQUENDO and her team!

(Yumminess by Ann Amaguin Yap)

A perfect opening

(Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog and First Lady Marivic G. Mabilog snip the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of Griller’s Oyster House in Festive Walk Parade of Megaworld Iloilo Business Park while Rovea Onglatco, Lourdes Lim and Maritess Lim watch; Lourdes Lim with owners Maritess Lim and Rovea Onglatco; and First Lady Marivic G. Mabilog, PBCom Branch Manager Liza Manzana Chu and Donna Ratilla of GDR Taxi.)

Famed Griller’s Oyster House gave Metro-Iloilo’s gourmands more reason to be happy these days. It opened its lucky 13th branch at Festive Walk Parade of Megaworld Iloilo Business Park!

Owners MARITESS LIM and ROVEA ONGLATCO gathered family and friends for the inauguration and blessing. Mayor JED PATRICK E. MABILOG and his First Lady MARIVIC GRIENGO-MABILOG led the well-wishers.

(Security Bank Manager Lanie Uy, Helma Sy of NH Motor Sales and Shelton Phils., Lourdes Lim and Rovea Onglatco; Yours truly with Helma Sy, Rovea Onglatco and Maritess Lim; and Frank Limsui and wife Jane Celeste Gan Limsui.)

Moving around, yours truly saw some of Metro-Iloilo’s top business and society personas. The Megaworld Iloilo top guns were also there. Griller’s Oyster House main man RAYMUND KAW SING came with his lovely partner SARAH LARSSON and best friend STALIN THORNTON.

(Maritess Lim gets festive with Dinagyang tribe dancers; Raymund Kaw Sing, Sarah Larsson and Stalin Thornton; and The sweetness of Griller’s Oyster House.)

Naturellement, the stars of the day were the succulent oysters and the juicy grilled favourites!

Griller’s Oyster House branches (company-owned and franchises) are spread out across the city and Boracay, and soon Palawan and Cosmo-Manille!

One of a kind

(Nap Tiongco and his wife Sheilla Marie Golez-Tiongco; Birthday girl Judith Marie G. Tiongco jams with Renzo Hojilla; Cecil Golez, Ben and Maria Ching, and Napoleon Tiongco Sr.; Rudy Golez and Judgee Peña; and Yours truly, Pangging Rosales, Sarah Peña, Pane Rosales and Nonoi Ybiernas.)

Some parties are usually characterized by loads of food and drinks accompanying fun entertainment, but most often, the presence of the celebrator’s loved ones and friends is what makes the occasion extra special!

Thus, it was no surprise that top eye doctor NAP TIONGCO and his wife, Philippine Best Dressed 2016 awardee SHEILLA MARIE GOLEZ-TIONGCO, invited kiths and kins over their sprawling place de maison in Puerto Real de Iloilo to celebrate another wonderful year for their daughter, JUDITH MARIE “JM” G. TIONGCO. Also there were relatives from United States.

(JM Tiongco with Cath Alianza, AJ Javier, Matthew Du, Don Luat and Kiana Tan;  with Peter Celiz and Kelly Clavecillias; with Jonathan Pama and Manz Po; and with Patrick Locsin and Kimi Lim.)

Guests chose from Chef MIGUEL CORDOVA’s buffet complemented by fine wine, ice-cold beer and scotch whiskey. Eventologist/art connoisseur/blogger NONOI YBIERNAS created the look of the party with his usual flair and creativity.

To enliven up the party, JM jammed with her guitarist-friend RENZO HOJILLA and a two-man band that played the crowd’s favourite tunes.

As nothing but smiles could be seen all around, it was a very happy birthday indeed!

(AJ Javier, Cath Alianza and Matthew Du; Bo Parcon and Jet Salcedo; Cousins Sean Michael and Rica Peña; Vincent Conlu, John Pelino and Paul Tolosa; and Michelle Reyes and Anja Yap.)

Double celebration

(Captions: Henry and Joy Carrol with their birthday cakes. Joy Cañon and Rosy Montejo. Mae Tamayo-Panes and Joe Marie Agriam)

Australia-based JOY CAÑON-CARROLL gathered her closest friends for cocktails and conversations at Henry’s Wines and Liquor in Plazuela de Iloilo. It was to celebrate her and her husband HENRY CARROLL’s birthdays!

Amid sips and spills of fine wine and in between bites of yummy hors d’oeuvres, everybody enjoyed on hot topics on politics, fashion and upcoming events, and reminisced on good times!

Oh, well, with such company, the partying went on till way past bewitching hour.

(Captions: Henry Carroll’s birthday cake. Jet and Marbe Jiz with Henry and Joy Carroll. Roland S. Padilla)

Lunch at the Spa

(Captions: Andrea Guanco and Marie Wharton. Kathy and Rosmar Villalon and Nonoy Taclino. Apple Ochon and yours truly.)

After a soothing and relaxing pampering at Spa Riviera Gen. Luna Branch, its owner MARIE WHARTON treated social media influencers ANDREA GUANCO, sister act KATHY and ROSMAR VILLALON, APPLE OCHON, NONOY TACLINO and yours truly to a sumptuous lunch at Mrs. Wharton Pastries.

Our back ribs and chicken dish was complemented by slices of cinnamon-apple cake and cupful of English tea! Such a treat!

Not only that we went home pampered, we were satiated with good food! Happy and rested to say the least!

(Caption: Our lunch at the Spa)

Saving Sally: a feel good movie

(Captions: Rhian Ramos and Enzo Marcos. Saving Sally poster)

“It is a typical love story worth telling,” said ENZO MARCOS who plays MARTY to RHIAN RAMOS’ character SALLY in “Saving Sally.” It is a movie about a boy who meets a girl, falls in love with her and is seen through his perspective. MARTY, a comic-book artist, sees annoying people as monsters and has unrequited romantic love towards his best friend SALLY, a gadget inventor.

Directed by AVID LIONGOREN, the shooting for this semi-animated movie began in 2005 but halted due to financial constraint. French film producer ALAIN de la MATA, impressed with work of the former, decided to aid him. Shooting works for the film were redone from scratch and production resumed in 2010. A lot of creativity and technology were used for the film. Artists from Rocket Sheep helped in creating a futuristic Manila and the 2D animated monsters.

(Captions: Yours truly with Enzo Marcos and Rhian Ramos. Yumminess at Jamie’s Steak Room)

Actors ENZO MARCOS and RHIAN RAMOS jetted in from Cosmo-Manille for a meet and greet with Ilonggo lifestyle writers and bloggers at Jamie’s Steak Room in SM City Iloilo Southpoint because mall tour and show.

Saving Sally” is an entry to Metro Manila Film Festival and will be shown starting tomorrow in more than 40 theatres across the country. The cast and production are hoping for an archipelagic support and success because of its mass appeal even if it is an indie film.

ANDROPlus by Dauson Bermtay

(Caption: His ANDROPlus collection at Pilipinas Men’s Fashion Week 2016)

Definitely, DAUSON BERMTAY has gone long way since winning the grand prix at Robinsons Design Lab 2013, a competition for Ilonggo young designers spearheaded by Robinsons Place Iloilo.

He studied studio photography at Leeds College of Technology before he made a giant leap into fashion! He has made a smooth transition from menswear to women’s wear with his new brand Himisshe by DAUSON BERMTAY Designs.

He was regular at Iloilo Designers Week before he embarked on further studies on fashion and designing at Fashion Institute of the Philippines (FIP).

(Caption: His winning pieces at his Fashion Institute of the Philippines graduation)

Fast forward to 2016: he presented his latest menswear collection at the recent Pilipinas Men’s Fashion Week. Called ANDROPlus, it is inspired by a fighting fish or beta fish and the movie Midnight Special. He updated men’s suit into asymmetrical deconstructed cuts with hints of fish shapes here and there. His pieces were uptakes of winter clothes appropriate for Philippine climate.

His collection also paid homage to HIV/AIDS victims, and to people close to his heart who succumbed to this dreaded disease and those who continue to fight it. At close inspection, his fish shape cuts are similar to the red ribbon, the symbol of HIV/AIDS.

(Caption: Dauson Bermtay with his male muse Kirst Viray at his FIP graduation)

“My collection is about being positive and at the same time keeping the positive outlook in life,” enthused DAUSON BERMTAY.

At his graduation from FIP, his collection got him the 2nd runner up honors. Hurrah!


Cheers at Seda Atria

(Captions: The Christmas tree at Seda Atria Iloilo. The plaque that says it all. Communications Officer Angela Tan, GM Joseph del Rosario, Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia and Senior Sales Manager. Yours truly at the mock switch counter.)

Yes, it’s Christmas mode at Seda Atria Iloilo! General Manager JOSEPH del ROSARIO led his staff to welcome the festive season with the lighting of a Christmas Tree made of indigenous materials, like hablon, burlap, buri and nito. It was the hotel’s way of supporting Ilonggo products!

Iloilo City Tourism Officer JUNEL ANN DIVINAGRACIA represented Mayor JED PATRICK MABILOG, who was in another event, in the lighting ceremony.

(Captions: Travel and tour operators Lorna Longno, Dr. Mae Panes, Bernadine Palacios and Kristine Chan with friends. Gretchen Legara and Joe Marie Agriam. Nana Jover and Apple Ochon. Vi Buaron, Lady France Baynosa, Engr. John Camarista, Niño Santander, Angela Tan, Neljun Guion, Joy Migalbin, Princess Grecia, Bernard Ivan Trespeces, Darlyn Gortayo, Lucille Pedroso, Eric Dollosa. Kinaadman Chorale of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University.)

Award-winning chef ALBERT LEDESMA prepared a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres, cold cuts, hot items, carvery and desserts that drew oohs and aahs from the invitees at the cocktail party that followed. Amid the overflowing beveragic delight, everyone was serenaded with Christmas carols by the Kinaadman Chorale of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University.

(Caption: Yumminess at the Seda Atria Iloilo Christmas tree lighting cocktail party.)

Naturellement, the Marketing and PR staff, led by Senior Sales Manager NELJUN GUION and Communications Officer ANGELA TAN, were here, there and everywhere making sure everyone was having a grand time! (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Let there be lights…at Shops @ Atria

(Captions: Ray Bugay, Project Director of Atria Park District of AyalaLand, Inc., Dr. Henry Tupas, Soleil Guevera, Mall Manager of Shop @ Atria, Vic Pison, Partner KAPIDEKO, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City, Lorna Longno and Iloilo City Tourism Officer Junel Ann Divinagracia. The giant Christmas Tree at Shops @ Atria. PANAYANA Cultural Group and Himig Kanluran sa West PESCAR. Program hosts Rommel Paborada and Gabriel Umadhay)

Shops @ Atria ushered in the Christmas Season with the lighting of its giant Christmas Tree at its Activity Center. Iloilo City officials, led by Mayor JED PATRICK MABILOG, hobnobbed with local Ayala bigwigs, like Qualimed President/COO and Ayala Group of Companies (Iloilo) Chair Dr. HENRY TUPAS.

The formalities kick off with entertainment from PANAYANA Cultural Group and Himig Kanluran sa West PESCAR, St. Mary’s Academy Iloilo Choir and UP in Visayas High School Choir. They brought cheers by singing Christmas carols!

Also there were owners and managers of various establishments at Shops @ Atria.

(Captions: Ronilo Golipatan of Asian Spoon, CarloGorriceta Jalandoni of Mr. Phil’s Bistro and Patrick Guillergan of Netong’s. Yours truly with my UP High School classmate Dr. Henry Tupas. The UP Visayas High School Choir. Mary’s Academy Iloilo Choir)

The official lighting of the giant Christmas Tree was followed by a sumptuous al fresco dinner prepared by Asian Spoon. Everyone enjoyed on Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Spicy Stir Fry Noodles, Thai Stir Fry Vegetables, Pork Satay, Red Beef Curry, Sauteed Crabmeat and Lobster Thermidor!

Program hosts ROMMEL PABORADA and GABRIEL UMADHAY brought the house down with their jokes and raffle of prizes from sponsors.

(Caption: Yumminess from Asian Spoon)

But wait! This is not the end of it. Fun continued with live performances from Pop Icon Contestants. They were participants representing the shops at Atria. Needless to say, it was fun and fun all the way!

“Thank God, the weather is ok,” enthused the vivacious travel and tour operator LORNA LONGNO in between sips and spills of fine wine! Yes, indeed! (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Celebration of life, fashion and achievements

(Captions: The celebrator Joyce Peña-Pilarsky. Agile Zamora, Maila King and Jemelie Gonzales. Anita Tan, Lita Tan and PWC Commissioner Baby Ortiz. In demand host Johnny Litton)

Multi-awarded achiever JOYCE PEÑA-PILARSKY celebrated her birthday with a dinner party at One Esplanade and Vikings Venue of SM Mall of Asia. It was followed by a fashion show that showcased her latest collection on board a three-deck yacht cruising the Manila Bay on a starry, starry night! In attendance were some of Cosmo-Manille’s most fashionable and sociable personas.

Oh, well, she was a model, painter, philanthropist, singer, fashion designer and book author before she was honored as MWI International Ambassador 2013, Philippines’ Best Dressed and Style Icon 2013, and Classic Mrs. Asia International Global 2014.

(Captions: Gigi Peñas, Maxine Pasura and Shane Peñas. Babylyn Newfield, Vivian Yano, Jessica Maloles and Mhel Pechera. Michael, Georgette, Hugh and Katie Wilson. Guillermo Devoto)

Her birthday celebration was hosted by Master of Gab JOHNNY LITTON who enumerated the celebrator’s latest achievements — Grand Champion 2015 of the Los Angeles Fashion Week Design Competition (by showcasing Filipino tribal wear and incorporating her signature floral-inspired style), her creations worn in Hollywood red carpet events, Third Prize in Accessory Design Competition at the International Design Awards in Los Angeles, and Golden Phoenix Award-Cultural Achievement Awards. All of these were featured in a cover story and 16-page spread on Hollywood Weekly!

With her clients and professional models as runway mannequins, she also showcased her latest collection made distinctive by the absence of colors – white, black and cream. Maintaining her sexy silhouette, she complemented her creations with accessories also in these colors. “This is definitely a shift from maximalism to minimalism, a major turnaround from her seven-year-old floral style,” observed a guest.

(Captions: The three-deck yacht where the fashion show was held. Babylyn Newfield and Marge Palacios. Kitty Doll and Shirley Chong)

Miss Global Philippines 2016 proclaimed her as Best Designer during its Coronation Night at the Philippine International Convention Center. She bested 40 other designers.  She created a formal purple gown for Miss Namibia ESTER “Key” HAIKOLA at an overnight’s notice. “My difference with other designers is I can wear my creations,” she spelled her uniqueness as high-fashion designer.

She is the kind of woman who does not rest on her laurels. She finished her Masters in Alternative Medicine at the University of Makati and, recently, her Doctorate in Alternative Medicine.

(Captions: Shilpa Tolani and Darius Razon. Precy Yulo and Mhel Pechera. Joyce Peña-Pilarsky takes a bow at the curtain call)

With her Global ART Leader of 2015 Award for her lead in global fashion, she aims to promote Filipino indigenous materials from different regions of the Philippines and other parts of Asia. (Photos by Lorna Llanes)

Two for the road

(Captions: Rommel S. Ynion and his dad retired ship captain Eugenio Ynion with Atty. Dwight Trasadas and Joe Marie Agriam. Pinoy Gonzales and Remz Castor. My kumpare Pax Ngo and yours truly)

Businessman ROMMEL S. YNION gathered his closest friends for an intimate dinner party at his sprawling mansion at Puerto Real de Iloilo.

The guests enjoyed the sumptuous dishes laid out for them by Gleca’s. These were complemented by overflowing beveragic delights and hot topics on business, politics and social weather!

(Captions: Mafelou Agriam, Bing Alcalde, Dolly Chua and Cecilia Beckley. MJ Ramos and Prima Buckley)

When asked on his plans for 2019, he said, “It’s too early to make promises. In the meantime, I’ll focus on my business, family and charity works!” To that, we clicked our glasses in agreement and toasted for good life!

(Captions: Yours truly with Dr. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez. Iloilo City Councilor Joshua Alim with Joe Marie Agriam and Manny Alcalde)

Few days later, it was cosmetic surgeon/businesswoman Dr. PACITA TRINIDAD-GONZALEZ’s turn to host her post-birthday dinner at the family residence in Quintin Salas, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Oh, well, it was a usual gathering of friends, loyalists and employees. Everybody enjoyed on good food, fine wine and fun conversations on politics, fashion, legalities, high society and showbiz! Indeed, it was very interesting, to say the least!

It was such a pleasant night that before we knew it, it was way past out bedtime. We said our adieus to our hostess with the mostest with promises of future get-togethers.


A bit of Bali in Metro-Iloilo

(Captions: The corridor leading to Spa Riviera. The male reception area. The flowers give a relaxing scent to the spa. The male locker room. The male tea lounge)

Yes, your truly had a two-hour experience of relaxation and pampering ala Bali at the newly renovated Spa Riviera Gen. Luna Branch. The encounter was exclusive for bloggers and lifestyle writers.

After sixteen years in operation the management, led by its owner MARIE “Babes” RIVERA-WHARTON, decided for a renovation. Her recent trip to Bali, Indonesia inspired her to transform the spa into a haven reflecting the famed island resort.

(Captions: Shower and Sauna. The corridor leading to the massage rooms. The massage and scrub room. The female reception area)

The short tour through the warren of corridors led us to different rooms, which included the reception area, locker rooms, shower and sauna, tea lounge, and rooms for foot and body massage and scrub and facials. The male area is separated from the female section for privacy.

The ambience is relaxing and meditative. The menu for relaxation and pampering is long and varied. The spa also offers packages, Loyalty VIP Cards and your choice of male or female therapist.

(Captions: The female tea lounge. The mirror at the female lounge. Gayuma Massage Oil)

Gayuma Massage Oil is exclusively used for the massage at the spa. It is a therapeutic oil with secret ingredients formulated by the owner.

Now, yours truly have all the reasons to keep coming back to Spa Riviera!


Shopping made easy and more fun

(Captions: Joel Rustia, Helen Ong, Mayor Jaime Fresnedi, Johnny Litton, Dingdong Dantes and Joy Rustia. George Sarakinis, Dr. Felix Palma, Dr. Tricia Tinio, Becky Garcia and Joel Rustia. Keana, Gilly, Joey, Joy and Tara Rustia. Randy Ortiz, Kim Pabon, Girlie Benitez and Rommel Pabon)

There’s a new mall in block and that’s Madison Galleries Lifestyle Mall. Ideally located at Alabang Hills in Muntinlupa City, its grand opening was attended by Mayor JAIME FRESNEDI, owners JOEL and JOY RUSTIA, Consul HELEN ONG, in demand host and columnist JOHNNY LITTON, and actor DINGDONG DANTES. Rev. Fr. LAMBERTO LEGASPINO led the blessing.

(Captions: Susan Tan and Noel Gonzales with Nancy and Peter Co. Ed Perez, Keana Rustia, Martin Laurel, Tara and Gilly Rustia and Paolo Martin. Chat Flores and Hugo Lozano with Patrice and Rocco Lozano. Evelyn and Joey Wambangco, Rose and Jamelle Gonzales)

Near the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) Sucat Interchange, Madison Galleries Lifestyle Mall is accessible through major thoroughfares, like Sucat Road, and alternate routes within the inter community road accesses.  With a 24-hour public transportation both for private and public commuting passengers, it is a short drive away from the business district and posh Alabang community, educational institutions, churches and other places of worship, and exclusive villages.

(Captions: Len Olbes, Natalie Ang, Tweetie de Leon, Joy Rustia, Grace Gobing and Dandy Buhain. Leo Bote, Gerry Gonzalo, John Estrada, Joy and Joey Rustia, Tweetie de Leon and Priscilla Estrada. Mariam and Helen Ong with Ernest Gonzaga and Mio Nuguid. Michael and Nagi Zaituri, Rebecca Joseph and Melissa de Leon)

The five-storey commercial mall boasts of the following amenities, modern architectural theme,

al-fresco area with natural and well-ventilated atrium, a 24/7 security services, fire protection system, CCTVs at strategic locations, GENSET ready, telephone and cable TV ready, service and passenger elevators, escalators and stairwells, multi-level indoor and outdoor parking areas, and lighted perimeter fence.

See you at Madison Galleries Lifestyle Mall, dearies! (Photos by Lorna Llanes)