Nora Nolasco celebrates

The celebrator (in red gown) with Roselyn Dinson, Dr. Daylinda Chung, Janet Lim, Sany Mates and Joenick Dinson; John Pico, Boy Dinson, Darna Manuel, Roselyn Dinson and Sany Mates; and Sheila Arocena-Saade with couple Joenick and Roselyn Dinson

What do you do when you turn 80? Celebrate, of course. Yes, one of Metro-Iloilo’s dancing-est ballroom diva, businesswoman NORA NOLASCO, did just that with a grand Great Gatsby-themed party at the posh Sunset Terrace of Hotel del Rio!

Friends and well-wishers jetted in from New Jersey, USA, London and Cosmo-Manille for the occasion. They hobnobbed with Metro-Iloilo’s most fashionable and sociable personas.

The celebrator Nora Nolasco with Bo Parcon, Jur-el Garcia, Dingdong Dollosa, Martin Baylen, Sergio Persiani, Arden Dinson and Orson Orleans; Boy Dinson and award-winning Broadway director Jet Tolentino with friends; and Best Dressed: Mary Nolasco, Janet Lim, Joenick Dinson, Bhey Mabunay and Merycon Sollano

The celebration was highlighted with a fun-filled program that featured greetings from friends who did not make it to the party, AVP that chronicled the good life of the celebrator, and prizes, surprises and giveaways!

MARY NOLASCO, JANET LIM, JOENICK DINSON, BHEY MABUNAY and MERYCON SOLLANO were declared Best Dressed while JOVY and ANTHONY were voted Couple of the Night!

Couple of the Night Jovy and Anthony Nolasco; yours truly with Bo Parcon, Nonie Dinson-Alarcon and Arden Dinson; and yours truly with Arnis Joseph Dinson and Arne Acebuque  

The sumptuous gastronomic treat was complemented with overflowing beveragic delight to the pleasure and enjoyment of the guests.

The partying went in high gear with an all-night ballroom dancing. Oh, well, why not? After all, 95% of the guests were veritable ballroom dancing enthusiasts!

Food inspired

(Hap Chan President John Sy and Franchise and Business Development Head Jane Jalandoni; Ditas T. Luzurriaga with Rep. Jerry P. Treñas and Hap Chan Robinsons Place Jaro franchisee Charrie Lui; and Jean Jalandoni-Gustilo with Fanny Uy and Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo of Jaro)

Hap Chan at Robinsons Place Jaro may be fully operational but it had an exclusive inauguration and blessing one sunny morning!

Charming CHARRIE LUI, the local franchisee, gave guests warm welcomes as they arrived to check out the menu of heavenly dishes.

(Amelita Azarraga and Inday Segovia; Dodo Miñoza, Jean Jalandoni-Gustilo, Jane and Robert Uy, and Charrie Lui; and Charles and Michelle Jalandoni, Candy Garcia, Chip Garcia and Carlo Gorriceta Jalandoni)

His Excellency ANGEL N. LAGDAMEO, Archbishop of Jaro, led the blessing and prayers. Seen on the scene were Rep. JERRY P. TREÑAS of the Lone District of Iloilo City, DITAS TALEON-LUZURRIAGA of Robinsons Land Corporation, Hap Chan President JOHN SY and Hap Chan Franchise and Business Development Head JANE JALANDONI.

Hap is a Chinese word for “put together or bundle in a group” while Chan is “place.” So, Hap Chan is a place where they gather for good food! Indeed, the restaurant offers an array of yummy Chinese cuisine.

(Jasmine Castelo and yours truly; and Therese Jalandoni, Tina Arancillo, Ida Siason, Rosie Jardeleza, Charrie Lui and Georgette Legara)

From mid-morning to early afternoon, the guests enjoyed each other’s company. Cheers to CHARRIE LUI and Hap Chan for presenting a successful opening. Surely, it will be a hit among Metro-Iloilo’s discriminating gourmands.


Going places

(Sunrise in Hong Kong; Joe Delina, Fr. Dennis Batacandolo, Pangging Rosales and Ellen Sumagaysay; Pane Rosales and yours truly; and our bill in Chinese!)

After months of planning, the gang finally took time for a short yet memorable vacation in Hong Kong. It was to celebrate 40 years of friendship, at least for some of us!

Hardly had we settled in our rooms in Panda Hotel on Tseun Wah Street and after a hearty breakfast at its Panda Café, we were ready for action.

(The gang in Madame Tussaud’s in Victoria Peak; and getting royal with HRH Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and presidential with Barack Obama while Joe Delina and Fr. Dennis Batacandolo hobnob with the Beatles)

Skirting the fashionable side of the former British colony, we opted for its fast paced parts. We walked and walked, took the MTR and watched ordinary Hong Kongers do their daily activities from street side cafés.

Our food trip took us to Fung Shing Restaurant for authentic dimsum, Zen Noodle Café in Ngong Ping 360 Village on Lantau Island for the best ramen, and sushi from a street food stall in Tseun Wan!

(Yours truly on Victoria Peak; Dennis Batacandolo, Pane and Pangging Rosales and Joe Delina; Zedrick Señeres and Nonoi Ybiernas; on cable car to Ngong Ping 360 Village on Lantau Island; Nonoi Ybiernas, Pane and Pangging Rosales and Ellen Sumagaysay at Zen Noodle Café in Ngong Ping 360 Village; and Dennis Batacandolo, Zedrick Señeres and Joe Delina at Zen Noodle Café)

We took a tram to Victoria Peak to have a panoramic view of Hong Kong and watched the sunset, and crossed the Pearl River on a cable car to experience a 16th century village life, visit Po Lin Monastery and climb 268 steps to get a closer glimpse of Tian Tan Buddha, the 4th biggest of its kind in the world.

(Stilt house in Tai O, a 16th century fishing village on Lantau Island; the archway to Po Lin Monastery in Ngong Ping 360 Village; the three-tiered grandstand in Ngong Ping 360 Village; the Po Lin Monastery; and a glimpse of Tian Tan Buddha behind the fog)

The walkabouts, sightseeing and food tripping were highlighted by reminiscence, “kodakan” and trivia pursuit on tourist spots and places of interest.

Needless to say, it was a much-need together to fortify the gang’s friendship!

(Night shopping at Mongkok and Hong Kong nightscape)


All night long

(The celebrator Jane Javellana with Gold T. Gonzalez and yours truly)

Top eventologist JANE JAVELLANA invited closest friends to celebrate another good year! The fun started at Straight Up Bar on the 7th floor of Seda Hotel Atria. While enjoying good food, ice-cold beer and interesting conversation, the celebrator, society chronicler JOE MARIE AGRIAM, top cosmetic surgeon Dr. GOLD T. GONZALEZ and yours truly got a panoramic view of Metro-Iloilo’s nightscape!

(Gold T. Gonzalez and Joe Marie Agriam; and Jane Javellana with Zedrick Señeres and Nonoi Ybiernas)

The partying continued at the hiphopping JLK Music Lounge. There, we were joined by society chronicler ZEDRICK SEÑERES and art connoisseur NONOI YBIERNAS who came from another event.

Amid sips and spills of beveragic delight and bites of yummy hors d’oeuvres, we grooved to 70s, 80s and 90s dance tunes.

(Yumminess at Straight Up Bar)

Needless to say, we were on our twinkle toes till the wee hours of the morning! It was a fun celebration of friendship and togetherness!

A party fit for a princess

The debutante Patricia Ann C. Tajanlangit (Photo by Eric Tajanlangit)

Elegance, good food, fine wine and stellar entertainment had a good mix at the debut celebration of beauteous PATRICIA ANN “Patty” CORDERO TAJANLANGIT at Sunset Terrace of the posh Hotel del Rio!

Her parents, VINCENT and XENIA TAJANLANGIT of the TEC-7 Security Agency fame, made sure the celebration was memorable and something to talk about for weeks, if not for months! Flowers and foliage by LYNNIE DEGAYO-DENILA were blooming all over the ballroom!

(The family: Xenia, Patricia Ann, Enrique Miguel and Vincent Tajanlangit (Photos by Eric Tajanlangit); Vincent Tajanlangit, Lance Espinosa, Henry and Gladys Cordero, Jed Madela, Urduja and Gus Santos and Xenia Cordero-Tajanlangit; Roy Tajanlangit, Cynthia Tajanlangit-Matas, Eduardo Tajanlangit Jr., Anabel Tajanlangit, Vincent and Xenia Tajanlangit, and Annie Tajanlangit-Mercado with the manager of Jed Madela; and Patricia Ann C. Tajanlangit with cousins Eric Tajanlangit, Ezekiel Matas, Abby Tajanlangit Mercado, Jed Madela, Danielle Mercado and Toni Ann Tajanlangit)

The partying went in crescendo with a special dance number from the debutante’s dad, brother ENRIQUE MIGUEL or MIGGY and cousins, roasting and toasting from family members and friends, and a mini-concert by cousin, award-winning balladeer JED MADELA! An audio-visual presentation chronicling her young life was another highlight.

When her dad asked her which of the following she wants for her 18th birthday, car, trip abroad or debut celebration, she answered all of the above. And she got all three! “She is lucky to have loving parents like VINCE and BING,” my seatmate enthused!

(Marilou and Arturo Tajanlangit with daughter Ellen Tajanlangit; Jed Madela with Carol Tiu ,Michelle Chua, isabel Cordero-Espinos and Cathy Uygonco; Katrina Divinagracia, Jocelyn Igbante and Pamela Igbante; and Hilque B. Dairo and Virgie Sy)

Escorted by her handsome brother MIGGY, PATTY wore two gowns, lavender and red, created for her by cousin HILQUE BABAN DAIRO who also does the gowns of former First Lady and now Congresswoman IMELDA ROMUALDEZ-MARCOS.

The debutante burst into tears when all her friends surprised her with a cute chihuahua!

With groovy music by hotshot DJ CHAMYKS, the party continued until way past midnight.

(Yours truly and Alma Rafaella; Enzo, Engel and Cedric Loring; Tania Ong with mother and daughter Pauline and Nadine Banusing; and Nap and Lynnie Denila.)

(Jove and Janice Gimenez; Filonita Tiña-Raterta and Ann Marie Tajanlangit-Reyes; Joanalyn Juan Tong, Virgie Sy and Jeanette Dy; and Beia and Mars III Florete)

Casa Consuelo: a heritage house at Villa Escudero

One of the jewels of Villa Escudero Plantation and Resort is Casa Consuelo. Originally an old GOMEZ house owned by Don ESTEBAN GOMEZ and his wife Doña JOSEFA PAMINTUAN de GOMEZ of Pampanga, it was bought by Don CONRADO “Ado” ESCUDERO and his bon famille. It was meticulously dismantled, brought to Villa Escudero piece by piece (intricate lattice woodwork, roof tiles to etched glass windows), and painstakingly reconstructed to what is now Casa Consuelo by skilled professionals, led by his nephew DON ESCUDERO.

Rich in history and a picture grandeur and elegance in 1800s on Plaridel St., Angeles City, it served as the residence of Don ESTEBAN, Doña JOSEFA and their 11 children. After the death of its original owners, the house passed on from one generation to another.

Don ADO, who fell in love with the house, convinced his sister Doña CONSUELO to purchase it in the late 1980s.

Now the century-old house stands grandly in Villa Escudero Plantation and Resort and visited daily by hundreds of local and foreign tourist.

Retaining its original look, it encapsulates the good and leisurely life of 1800s to the first quarter of 1900s. It showcases furniture and fixtures of the glorious past well preserved by the ESCUDERO famille.

In my recent visit to Villa Escudero, Tito ADO (as yours trulyfondly call him) took me to a tour of Casa Consuelo. For his part he furnished it by meticulously selecting pieces from the antique furniture, which his mother left them. Each item has an accompanying story.

Don CONDRADO “Ado” ESCUDERO is a known advocate of protecting, preserving and sharing our country’s rich cultural and historical heritage and he proved it with Casa Consuelo!



Making a splash

(The covered half of the solar-powered Waterworld Iloilo; Eon Tiu with Baby Felix, Bernadette Chavez-Tiu, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City, Felix Tiu, Shanie Tiu and Pastor Balm Escobar; and Jonalee Rodillado-Sta. Maria and daughter Joce R. Sta. Maria with Waterworld Iloilo General Manager/chef Frances Aimee C. Tiu.)

Iloilo is known for its cultural, historical and culinary heritage but has little to offer for kids and kids at heart. Taking advantage of the economic, tourism and infrastructure development in the City and Province of Iloilo, the TIU famille, led by its patriarch FELIX TIU, opened Waterworld Iloilo at Eon Centennial Resorts in Alta Tierra village, Jaro, Iloilo City.

Waterworld Iloilo sits on a two-hectare property offering amusement and aquatic experience. It offers extreme water rides with 17 slides for the bravehearts, a 222-meter long lazy river for those who want to relax, and splashing and sliding at waterplay area for kids and toddlers.

(Tony and Irma Lim; Pepsi top man Lyndon Cuadra and yours truly; and Pepsi Iloilo AVP/GM Bob Flores with son Eric Joseph Flores.)

The piece de resistance of the water theme park is Fantasea located under the only covered waterhouse in the Philippines. Half open and half covered, Waterworld Iloilo prides itself to be the only of its kind in the Western Visayas and the only solar-powered waterpark in the world!

All activities are closely monitored and supervised by WASAR certified lifeguards, all highly-trained by the Philippine Coast Guards. “Because safety is our top priority,” emphasized FRANCES AIMEE C. TIU, chef/GM of Waterworld Iloilo.

Looking around, one can find kiosks that serve waffles, nachos, fried, hotdogs, chips and drinks. For the gourmands, there are two specialty restaurants — Asian Rapid for South East Asian cuisine and Loops for American dishes, like pizzas, ribs and pastas.

(Lorna Longno (rightmost) with niece Angela Naces and sister Araceli Naces; bloggers (seated) Apple Ochon and Nana Jover with Rosmar Villalon and Andrea Guanco; and the Kinaadman Choral of JBLFMU.)

Other amenities included automated lockers, air-conditioned suites with Wi-Fi access and cable ready TVs, themed family rooms, and lounge chairs for everyone’s use.

The by-invitation lunch inauguration was well-attended by A-listers led by Mayor JED PATRICK MABILOG of Iloilo City. Entertainment was provided by Kinaadman Chorale of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU).


A beefy experience

(Couple Arlene and Julian Juantong, owners of Jamie’s Steak Room, which is named after their daughter; Bo Parcon and Joji Rosales; Pangging Rosales and Nikko Cid; and yours truly and Nonoi Ybiernas.)

Fun-to-be-with couple JULIAN and ARLENE JUANTONG hosted a simple yet an enjoyable lunch for few good friends at Jamie’s Steak Room. Owned by the couple, the newly owned restaurant at Southpoint of SM City Iloilo boasts of a one of a kind beefy experience – no fuss, no frills, just good food and all at sensible prices!

Their chefs laid an array of meaty dishes at par with the best rotisseries hereabouts. Our gastronomic trip kicked off with yummy appetizers – Jamie’s Shrimps, Bruschetta and Potato Wedges.

(Rose tea went well with Jamie’s Shrimps, Bruschetta and Potato Wedges and it was a meaty experience with Cowboy Striploin, Chicken Steak, Black Angus and Striploin.)

Since the table was set for eight, eight main dishes came in – Cowboy Striploin, Chicken Steak, Black Angus, Striploin, Salmon, Chicken Parmigiano, Prime Angus and Backribs! All succulent and juicy, and cooked and prepared in different ways (from medium rare to well-done), the steaks were complemented with various sauces, Baconaise, Worcester Sauce and the like.

A hearty meal deserved a sweet indulgence. We partook of the restaurant’s signature Chocolate Indulgence, Old-fashioned Apple Pie and Petite Mango Roll.

(As if not enough, there were Salmon, Chicken Parmigiano, Prime Angus and Backribs and was followed by sweet treats that included Chocolate Indulgence, Old-fashioned Apple Pie and Potato Mango Roll.)

But that did not end there. From hot plates of meaty victuals and hot juicy topics on fashion and current events, everyone enjoyed each other’s company till mid-afternoon!

The owners were in agreement that they welcome complaints and criticism. “There is always room for improvement,” they added. Yes, after all, the art of culinary is not a perfect science!

My S&R Iloilo experience

(The counters at S&R Iloilo; VP for Operations Greg Kreyer takes Ilonggo blogger and media practitioners to a familiarization tour of the warehouse; Marilou Arcelo and son Ronald Sebastian; and Ia Espinosa-Loring and Iloilo Warehouse Manager Michelle Espinosa.)

Why wait for pasalubongs from abroad when you have it here? Yes, you can shop imported and local grocery items and everyday products at the newly-opened S&R Iloilo!

Prior to its grand opening, bloggers and media personas were given an exclusive familiarization tour and walk through by GREG KREYER, VP for Operations and MICHELLE ESPINOSA, Warehouse Manager.

(Yours truly and Nicole Alcantara; A panda dunks a basketball; and bloggers Nonoy Taclino, Andrea Guanco, Raymart Escopel, Kathy Villalon, yours truly, Rosmar Villalon, Apple Ochon, Nana Jover and Jorry Palada.)

Discriminating Ilonggos can now enjoy a wide variety of quality grocery, frozen and food selection, health and beauty products, clothes for adults and kids, wines, liquors and spirits, homeware and appliances, automotive and car care, and, of course, its famed New York Style Pizza and dining goodies at its cafeteria — all in reasonable prices!

(Blueberry muffins and New York Style Pizza at S&R Iloilo Cafeteria)

S&R is a membership shopping patterned after warehouse shopping in the US of A. It guarantees customer satisfaction with saving and value for membership.

A welcome development in Metro-Iloilo, S&R Membership Shopping has indeed elevated retailing and wholesaling into new heights among discriminating Ilonggos.

And to top it all, yours truly is now bona fide member! (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

(While Apple Ochon gets her S&R Membership shopping card application processed, I already got mine along with the Gift Card!)

Festive Walk Parade encapsulates Old and New Iloilo

Rightfully so, Megaworld opened Festive Walk Parade in time for the Holidays. The country’s largest developer of integrated urban townships, it launched the first phase of the Western Visayas’ longest retail and dining strip. It is one of the mega structures in the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park township in Mandurriao, Metro-Iloilo!

At the 1.1 kilometer strip, local and legendary Ilonggo restaurants will compete for attention with international brands. It is divided into four phases.

“With the opening of the first phase of the Festive Walk Parade this Christmas season, Ilonggos will get a taste of the experience that a Megaworld Lifestyle Mall offers. The line of retail shops and restaurants fronting wide arcades, surrounded by beautifully landscaped walkways, makes a stroll along the entire stretch of the Iloilo Festive Walk a truly captivating experience,” says KEVIN L. TAN, senior vice president and head, Megaworld Lifestyle Malls.

Paying homage to Iloilo’s own architectural heritage, Festive Walk Parade has touches of art nouveau and art deco. Its exterior design is reminiscent of the Santana Row development in California.

The pieces de resistance of the development is Casa Emperador. It will house the Casa Emperador Museum at its 2nd and 3rd floors. It will showcase the rich history and vast collection of Emperador Distiller Inc., one of the world’s biggest brandy producers. With impressive neoclassical design and proportions and evoking the aesthetics of old European palaces, its façade reflects the Iloilo Provincial Capitol

There will be alfresco dining on the development’s second floor giving diners a spectacular view of the beautifully landscaped Park Square. There a monument of Ilonggo revolutionary hero General MARTIN DELGADO will stand.

“The Festive Walk Parade will serve as a cultural and historical manifesto for Iloilo, a celebration of its heritage and future, establishing a place of economic and civic vibrancy, life and activity,” says KEVIN L. TAN enthused.

Festive Walk Parade’s soft opening last month will pave way for its grand opening this month.

Megaworld has also announced the completion of around 11 malls and commercial centers in McKinley Hill, Uptown Bonifacio, McKinley West, The Mactan Newtown, Iloilo Business Park, ArcoVia City, Southwoods City and Makati. The projects total to around 371,000 square meters of gross floor area. Recently it, also revealed the construction of Northill Town Center in its 53-hectare Northill Gateway township in Bacolod.

Volvo Club Iloilo celebrates the holidays

(A good view of the New Iloilo Provincial Capitol from Muelle Deli; Volvo Club Iloilo officers: President Buddy Silva, VP Paul Yap and Business Manager Alan Soriano of PruLife UK; and  Joy Zabal and Sandra Sta. Rita.)

It was a night of fun when members of Volvo Club Iloilo celebrated the holidays with a dinner party at Muelle Deli.

On the second floor VIP Room with a viewing deck that afforded everyone a panorama of the historic Iloilo River and the well-lighted New Iloilo Provincial Capitol, club president BUDDY SILVA of Findr App welcomed the members.

Après a 15-minute fireworks display, courtesy of another party, everyone got down to the real business of fun – wining and dining! Amid sips and spills of scotch whiskey and iced vodka, the members reminisced on the events of 2016! And we got a good laugh out of the juicy stories!

(Felix Tiu and Totong Montejo of Citi Appliance; Emman Aguillon and sister Gen Aguillon-Chiong of F&E Group of Companies; and mother and son Myrna and Michael Koopsman of Alta Aqua and Isla Margarita Resort.)

There was the traditional exchange of gifts. Vice President PAUL YAP of Iloilo Great Car Corp. (that distributes Volvo in Iloilo) gave away tshirts. New member FELIX TIU raffled off gift certificates for the newly-opened Waterworld Iloilo which he owned.

Volvo Club Iloilo champions road safety and responsible driving. According to the Club President BUDDY SILVA, more events and road trips are slated for 2017!

(Gav, Kylie and JR Santos of Fabson, Inc.; yours truly; and the fireworks display.)