Hail to the chef

“If you have good food, people will come to your restaurant.”Mickey Gilley

Straight Up Bar and Misto

There was a right mix of good food, fine wine, great company, interesting conversation and fun entertainment at Straight Up Bar when the Seda Atria launched its new sous chef ALBERT LEDESMA and its latest menu offerings.

On the 7th floor of the hotel, the bar offered a panoramic view of Metro-Iloilo’s nightscape! It set the pace for the evening’s affair.

Chef ALBERT and his team laid out a way array of hors d’oeuvres, cold cuts, carvery, grilled favourites, meaty choices, pasta, soup and sweet cravings but the stars of the night were the new fusion dishes with Oriental, Italian and Western influences.

Tom Yum Goong is a Thai-inspired shrimp and mushroom spicy and sour soup while Vegetable Moussaka, with Moroccan influences, includes layers of potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and roasted tomato with mornay sauce.

Chef ALBERT’s award-winning Singaporean Seafood Laksa, soup with seafood, coconut milk, rice noodles and spicy sour broth, is also included in the new menu.

Chef Albert Ledesma

Also in the list are Oven Baked King Fish (baked tangigue in caponata, pesto potato with maple-glazed sauce), Shrimp and Mushroom al Ajillo (shrimp and mushroom with garlic chilli sauce), Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken (stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon with asparagus risotto, onion marmalade, carrot marmalade, broccoli and balsamic glaze), Spaghetti ala Vongole (spaghetti pasta, Manila clams, garlic, fresh parsley and white sauce), Peppered Angus Beef Tenderloin (Angus beef tenderloin, cauliflower puree, asparagus, fondant potato and peppercorn jus) and Beef Wagyu Burger (100% ground wagyu beef with lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon and cheddar cheese served with French fries and coleslaw).

For sweet cravings, there are the pastry chef’s original creation Suman Panna Cotta (coconut sticky rice layered in panna cotta with mango coulis), and sinful Triple Chocolate Mouse with fresh raspberry coulis.

These dishes and desserts are available starting March 1 at Misto (mixed in Italian), the Lobby restaurant of Seda Atria that sits 80 people for buffet breakfast and ala carte dining all-day. Its interiors and accent pieces were done by renowned Cebuano designer KENNETH COBONPUE with photographs by industrialist-lensman JAIME ZOBEL de AYALA.

(Clockwise from top left) Oven Baked King Fish, Tom Yum Goong, Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken and Peppered Angus Beef Tenderloin; and Spaghetti ala Vongole, Triple Chocolate Mouse (top inset photo) and Suman Panna Cotta

While Misto offers dining experience, Straight Up Bar is a chill out wateringhole with relaxing ambience where one can unwind with an acoustic band on Fridays and dance hits with guest DJs on Saturdays.

Chef ALBERT is an award-winning Ilonggo chef with ten years experience of working abroad in best hotels. A champion of the Elite Chef Challenge 2016, he has won awards in international competitions. He now takes the challenge of pleasing the palates of discriminating Ilonggos with new flavours and tantalizing dishes – all in keeping with the Seda Atria’s service-oriented culture.

For bookings and inquiries, please call Seda Atria at (033) 5068888 or email ilo@sedahotels.com.

Seda Hotels have branches in Bonifacio Global City, Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, and Laguna, with more developments coming up in various destinations in the country.

Hala Bira at Brewery Gastropub

There is no more mistaken path to happiness than worldliness, revelry, high life.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

Behind the glass window were Pauline Gorriceta-Banusing, Zedrick Señeres, Gus Banusing, Bobby Rodriguez and Joel Roth; the godfathers of Iloilo DJs: Paul Octavio and Edwin Zulueta; yours truly with Rommel Chiu; and Niel

Brewery Gastropub, one of the most popular hangouts in Metro-Iloilo, had its share of revelry at the recent Iloilo Dinagyang Festival. Regulars and habitués were treated to an all-night dancing to 70s and 80s music and overflowing blooze! The main resto-bar and its foyer were SRO!

Top disco DJs gathered to make it a party to remember. When not here, there and everywhere entertaining their guests, the owners, couple GUS and PAULINE BANUSING, were dancing on the ledge.

A Dinaygang warrior in full costume set the pace for an all-night fun! “We need parties like this,” was an understatement from society chronicler ZEDRICK SEÑERES in between sips and spills of his favourite brew!

Edwin Zulueta, Titus Chiu, Wendell Wang and Cesar Jarencio; yours truly with Pauline G. Banusing; Trina Fuentes-Duremdes; and yours truly poses with a Dinagyang warrior

A surprise bash for Jet Salcedo

Jet Salcedo with Scarlet French, Mae Frances Bedro and Rara Ganzon; with Becha Salcedo, Bettina Salcedo Callos and Smantha Salcedo Callos; and with the gown worn by Miss Universe 1st runner up Raquel Pelissier of Haiti at the Miss Universe Fashion Gala

It was a simple celebration but nothing short of fun! Oh, well, yours truly is taking about the birthday bash of fashion designer JET SALCEDO at his new atelier cum residence at San Jose, Molo.

Thinking that his birthday (which was also Valentines’ Day) was another working day, he was surprised with a party by his cousin MAE FRANCES BEDRO who lives a hip and hop away.  She brought loads of good food and fine wine. Other well-wisher came with their specialties. It was revealed to me later in the evening that his loyal staffers were also in cahoots in the throwing of the party. The hush and rush invites were sent through text, PMs and calls. Sooner than soon the party venue was ready.

Jet Salcedo with Miguel Cordova, Niño Lacson, Mae Frances Bedro and Paolo Gerardo Salapantan; KL Catinan and Mike Sorilla; and yours truly, Zedrick Señeres and Jet Salcedo

Dearest and nearest dropped by to greet and wish the celebrator well. From another party came yours truly and society chronicler ZEDRICK SEÑERES. NIÑO LACSON made it time for the juicy tidbits while menswear designer MIKE SORILLA and man-about-town KL CATINAN took their time in savouring the buffet spread. Iloilo City Councilor DAYLE ZULUETA had to dash to another event.

Everyone had so much fun that next thing we knew it was wee hours of the morning. Oh, well, here’s wishing JET SALCEDO the best of everything in his career, love life and family!

Jet Salcedo with Jay-R Solinap and Anndy Dawson; with Iloilo City Councilor Dayle Zulueta; and with loyal and efficient His ISAT-U babies


My Mom Alita celebrates her 85th

Yours truly, cousin Esing C. Yusay, my brother Joe B. Castigador and sister Mary Castigador-Spicak join (seated) Martina Monica Yulo Yusay, my aunt Aida Castigador-Yusay and my mom Alita Bayona-Castigador; my mom Alita Bayona-Castigador, my aunt Aida Castigador-Yusay, my sister Mary C. Spicak, cousin Becs Catedrilla, my aunt Herminia Castigador-Presion and Thelma Catedrilla; my sister Mary C. Spicak joins Liza Damasco, Esing Yusay, Bing de Leon and Ethel Eudela; and Jing Espinosa, Nick Bulquiren, Joe B. Castigador and Dodoy Saludes

It could have been a simple 85th birthday celebration for my mom ALITA BAYONA-CASTIGADOR. But my Cosmo-Manille based brother JOE B. CASTIGADOR and US-based sister MARY CASTIGADOR-SPICAK would not have it that way. So, plans were set through calls, text, PMs and emails. And they jetted in for the big day. The birthday of my brother JOE the next day was another reason to party.

My sister Mary C. Spicak with the Yusays: Martina Monica, Esing, Aida, Dr. Bobby and wife Josie, and RJ, Vince, Matthew, Engr. Francis with Baby Thea and Engr. Connie; yours truly and my siblings Mary C. Spicak and Joe B. Castigador with the Catedrillas: Paul, Becs, Dr. Liah and Aya; yours truly with Lani Bayona-Villanueva and Dr. Jojo Jardeleza-Te; and my siblings Mary C. Spicak and Joe B. Castigador with Dr. Lorna Avelino-Protasio

The lunch celebration at Al Dente Ristorante Italiano at Sarabia Manor Hotel was attended by aunts, uncle, cousins, nephews and nieces from both sides of the family, and closest friends.  Rightfully so, the gathering became a family mini-reunion. From the BAYONA side came the AVELINOs, JARDELEZAs, SALCEDOs, SUPERABLEs and VILLANUEVAs while the CASTIGADORs were represented by the PRESIONs, YUSAYs, CATEDRILLAs and BAUTISTAs.

The Castigador cousins: Joe B. Castigador, Mary C. Spicak, Paul C. Catedrilla, Engr. Francis C. Yusay, Becs C. Catedrilla, Dr. Joy C. Bautista, Dr. Liah C. Catedrilla, Dr. Bobby C. Yusay, Esing C. Yusay and yours truly; yours truly and Zedrick Señeres with Aida C. Yusay and Alita B. Castigador; Lalaine Bayona-Superable; and Matthew and Dr. Bobby C. Yusay, Chickok C. Presion, Engr. Connie Yusay, Josie M. Yusay and Becs C. Catedrilla with RJ and Vince Yusay

Since the “apos’ could not come for one reason or the other, they sent their love and gifts to the celebrator much to her delight.

PAUINE GORRICETA-BANUSING and her staff prepared a sumptuous Spanish-inspired menu complemented with good service! (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Nonoi Ybiernas, yours truly, Sheilla Marie Golez-Tiongco and JM Tiongco; Carlos Bataga and Noel Mirasol; Jet Salcedo and Bo Parcon; and yours truly with Lydette Girado


Salad Bar/Cold Cuts/Soup

Bacon Potato Salad

Smoked Salmon

Spanish Ham and Olives

Cream of Mushroom Soup



Camaron Rebosado

Lengua Estofado

Italian Baby Back Ribs

Chicken Wrapped in Bacon

Steamed Fish with Vegetables

Paella and Steam Rice

Roast Beef Station

Crepe and Ice Cream Station

In a steak-y situation

Ribbon-cutting ceremony: Arlene Juan Tong, Jay Mabilog who represented Mayor jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City, Hon. Josué Bellosillo, Julian Juan Tong and Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III; Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III with Venir and Luzviminda Peña; Nonoi Ybiernas, Sheilla Marie G. Tiongco, JM Tiongco and Gila Ybiernas-Oquendo; and Psyche Gerochi , Atty. Romeo Gerochi , Julian Juantong and Alfonso Juantong

Jamie’s Steak Room, the newest steakhouse in Metro-Iloilo, held its inauguration and blessing with a top-notch lunch party. Retired Supreme Court Justice JOSUÉ BELLOSILLO led the guests at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Owners, couple JULIAN and ARLENE JUAN TONG were in hand to welcome, receive and entertain the guests during the well-attended event.

Tony and Irma Lim; Paolo Hautea and dad Bords Hautea; Irma Lim, yours truly and Jane Javellana; and Peter Chua and Vice Mayor Joe Espinosa III with Debbie Chan and Juliet Go

Appetites and curiosity were more than satisfied with the delectables laid on the buffet table. All dishes are available on the menu.

The meaty victuals were juicy and succulent while the sinful Japanese Chiffon Cake was to-die-for.

Jamie’s Steak Room is the latest addition to the recently opened Southpoint of SM City Iloilo. The two-level complex boasts of cafés and restos with Jamie’s Steak House a standout.

Bong Segura, Mayor Mike Gorriceta of Pavia, Julian Villanueva and Robert Juantong; Mayor Mike Gorriceta and yours truly; PR and Marketing Officers of Jamie’s Steak Room Benjamin Austin Garin Pe and Jong Combong-Pijuan; and the efficient and charming crew of Jamie’s Steak Room


Jamie’s Steak Room



Ppotato Wedges, Croquettes, Shrimps and Wings

Main Entree

Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Parmigiana, BBQ Back Ribs, US Roast Beef, Seafood Puttanesca, Buttered Veggies


Chocolate Indulgence and Japanese Chiffon Cake


“How do I love thee?”

Yes, ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING counted the ways. But for ordinary folks like us, we express our love to someone special on Valentine’s Day with flowers, chocolate, stuff toys, balloons, love notes, poems, candle-lit dinner or something wild and crazy.

If you let Artjuana by JANE JAVELLANA do it for you, you can have a combination or all of the above-mentioned items!

The Special Someone can be a best friend (yes, BFFs can fall in love with each other), lover, family members, relative, crush, ex, phantom love or a figment of imagination. Or more!

Read on and let’s see how my practical and hopeless (or helplessly) romantic friends express their love to their Special Someone.

JOE MARIE AGRIAM, publisher of Cream Magazine: “If only dreams come true, I will re-create my favorite scene from the movie La La Land. I will bring my wife on that hilltop where Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) sang and danced “A Lovely Night.” That’s how romantic I am. I would sing, ‘The sun is nearly gone The lights are turning on A silver shine that stretches to the sea We stumbled on a view That’s tailored made for two (of us).’”

MICHELLE B. ANG KHI, bsuinesswoman: “Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love not only for lovers but also for families and friends.. I plan to surprise my family with bouquets of flowers to let them know how much I love them. We will also have dinner somewhere.


AGNESETTE MARIE B. AUSAN, fashion designer: “This Valentine’s Day I will be travelling overseas with my soulmate, best friend and love of my life. We will be celebrating Heart’s Day, His Birthday and Our 6th Anniversary there. I believe we should let the people we love know as much as possible how we much we care about them, so we never miss to say “I LOVE YOU” each day. Life is too short! It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing as long as we’re together every day is Valentine’s Day.”

PAULINE GORRICETA-BANUSING, restaurateur/caterer: “My language of love is by sending and giving food to family and friends. therefore on Valentine’s Day I will prepare a special breakfast for my husband – some eggs Benedict , avocado smash on toast, salmon Gravlax with capers and his favorite angus beef Tapa. Giving him his comfort food will truly make him feel loved.”

MARS FLORETE III, businessman: “They say “the greatest gift you can give someone is your time” because when you give your time you are giving a portion of your life that you can never get back. What better way to express my love for my wife than being there for her through all the ups and downs that life may throw at us. I believe that every day is Valentine’s Day. I love you Beia!”

REX VICTOR GARDOSE, educator: “Pampering my loved one with my attention. Sit side by side watching a movie with my specially prepared menu. Be tactile. Iron out our differences without being argumentative for our relationship to flourish.”

Hon. PLARIDEL C. NAVA, Iloilo City Councilor: “I will express my love for her through songs during our Valentine benefit concert. All the songs I have prepared are heartily dedicated to her.”

ANGELA DEOCAMPO TAN, hotel executive: “I would like to dedicate this Valentine’s Day to two of the most special persons in my life, my Mama and Papa. First, I will give both of them lots of hugs and kisses. And maybe treat them out for a romantic dinner that they will definitely enjoy.”

No matter how you spread, give or make love, yours truly wish every one of you a Happy Valentine’s Day! Remember, it is not the what or where, it is how you do it!

Fiesta in Jaro

Our hosts, couple Marilou and Greg Sanson; the famous Montinola-Sanson Antillan House in Jaro, Iloilo City; and Bro. Vincent Aranas with the holy image of Our Lady of Fatima

Couple GREG and MARILOU SANSON celebrated the Jaro Patronal Fiesta with a day-long fun at their historic family-owned Montinola-Sanson Antillan House.

Commemorated in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria, the patroness of Jaro, the party kicked off with lunch and extended to dinner. The lady of the house and her staff continuously laid out sumptuous dishes, courtesy of caterer to the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO, on the buffet table. Rightfully so, there was a steady flow of guests from politics, society and business.

Caesar Tungala, Capt. Restie Oquendo, Juan Bolano and Greg Sanson; Ricardo Octavio and Judgee Peña; and Dean Sanson, Rita T. Sanson and Apple Reyes-Sanson with couple Susan and Toto Reyes

The gathering became more meaningful with the presence of Our Lady of Fatima, a replica of the original holy image commissioned by POPE PAUL VI. Bro. VINCENT ARANAS took it as a personal mission to carry the holy image to visit homes around the world and all over the Philippines.

Zedrick Señeres, Nonoy Ybiernas, yours truly and Jet Salcedo; Dolly Chua and Pinoy Gonzales; and the spiral staircase leading to the rooftop of the Montinola-Sanson Antillan House

A heritage landmark, the well-maintained mansion is one the few remaining ancestral residences of its kind in the Philippines. The ARANETA-MONTINOLA-SANSON bon famille belongs to old rich gentry of Jaro.

When not in their residences in Jaro or Cosmo-Manille, the SANSONs are vacationing in Pearl of the Pacific, their family-owned resort in Boracay!

Hot property

Gerardo Borromeo, Chris Salinas, Meldin Al Roy, Dominador Co of the Office of Iloilo City Mayor, Antonette P. De Guzman, Carolina S. Osteria and Iloilo City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon; Meldin Al Roy, ACM President and Gerardo Borromeo, ACM Chairman; and Ribbon-cutting ceremony: Jose Amantoy (ACM CFO), Arch. Theda Namin (ACM Grp VP for Planning and Design) and Gener Mendoza (ACM, Director)

There’s a new player in the local residential industry in Metro-Iloilo, and the group held its groundbreaking and media launch in Quentin Salas in Jaro.

ACM Landholdings presented itself to the Ilonggos with the launch of Salas Real. It is a gated community with seafarers as its target market. An affordable residential development, it will build 500 homes. While drawing from Jaro’s rich cultural and historical heritage, it will also embrace the potentials of the future.

Iloilo City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon and Dominador Co of the Office of Iloilo City Mayor; Ted Aldwin Ong and Iloilo City Councilor Jay Treñas; and Dolly Ann Carvajal and Zedrick Señeres with the dancers of Tribu Salognon

As part of the launch, the 4-bedroom Angelina model (lot area of 120 sq.mt. and with a floor area of 79 sq.mt.) and the 3-bedroom Bernadita model (lot area of 113 sq.mt. and with a floor area of 56 sq.mt.) were also introduced. They are Asian-inspired model units.

Salas Real will have the following amenities: a greenhouse (a unique feature of all ACM communities across the country), basketball court with grass-covered amphitheater-type bleachers, checker board park, bamboo forest-inspired play area, multi-purpose hall with reading rooms (library), bike lanes and swimming pool.

It is also accessible to a mall, a fastfood, a pharmacy, a wet market, a bakery, and a pawnshop, among others.

Dolly Ann Carvajal and yours truly; yours truly with soccer icon Chieffy Caligdong; andTribu Salognon performs.

GERARDO BORROMEO, chair of ACM Landholdings, welcomed the guests with a speech where he outlined his group’s vision. Mayor JED PATRICK MABILOG made it in time for an inspirational message. Seen on the scene were soccer icon CHIEFFY CALIGDONG, ACM’s Brand Ambassador, Iloilo City Councilors JAY TREÑAS and JEFFREY GANZON, and entertainment columnist DOLLY ANN CARVAJAL of Philippine Daily Inquirer, who hobnobbed with the top guns of ACM Landholdings.

The cozy living room of the chic Angelina model unit; Site Development Plan; and the artist rendition of the clubhouse

The mid-morning whetted the appetites of the attendees for a yummy merienda cena.

In its 25 years, ACM Landholdings has developed 25 communities with 6 more to rise within two years!

The artist rendition of the basketball court; the artist rendition of the tree-lined Salas Real community; and Salas Real is a gated community.  

Fiesta with the Floretes

Orchids greeted us when we entered the Florete residence

Businessman MARS M. FLORETE Jr., his wife, best dressed SUSAN CAPERONCE-FLORETE, and their children MARJORIE, MARS III and CHRISTINE were perfect hosts at the luncheon they hosted for Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2017 in honor of El Señor Santo Niño!

Held annually at the penthouse of the family-owned B&C Square Building, it is a must-attend attend event for the nearest and dearest family members and friends.

Our host Susan C. Florete (seated, center) with Lynnie Denila, Chona Bondoc and Ann Darroca, and (standing) Arlette D. Ledesma, Jasmine Castelo and Noel Sy; Mars M. Florete Jr. with Joe Totengco and Eve Duenneisen; and Marjorie C. Florete (Standing) with Mae and Anthony Sonido join Rina, Stacey, Stanley and Sabina Layson

Guests from near and far, who braved the traffic, were treated to good food, fine wine (In our case, it was vodka!) and fun conversations. Hot topics were current events, fashion and beauty pageants!

Rightfully so, Lighthouse Resto and Bar laid some of the best dishes hereabouts!

Jhona and Ysabelle Sitchon, Gigi Mario, Maricor Gavieta are joined by Mae and Anthony Sonido, Marjorie C. Florete, Sidney Solas and Melanie Sampiano; (Standing) Joyce Mejia, Patty Isidro, Dr Edsel Iway and Oscar Nava with (seated) Bi-ann Iway, Beia Florete, Nanette and Alan Sy, Mars Florete III and Romeo Go; Joe Marie Agriam with Susan Uy Reyes and couple Elena and Atty. Raul Muyco; and Niera Totengco, Avon Tinsay and Diane J. Jimenez

The drumbeats on the streets and the cool breeze set the pace for the partying at the penthouse. While there was a steady coming and going of guests, we stayed on till it was mid-afternoon! What happened next was another story. N’est ce pas?

Maria Theresa Guillaume and Mafelou Agriam; Romy Bondoc, Serge Guillaume and Marcus Duenneisen; and Nonoi Ybiernas with Rex Victor Gardose and Gila Ybiernas-Oquendo

Moroccan Night at the Strawberry Mansion

Our hosts with the most Pangging, Norma and Pane Rosales in Moroccan-inspired outfits; Pinoy Gonzales, US Consul Tim Neely, Iloilo City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon and John Guevara; May Neely and Pinoy Gonzales; and Sheila Draper, Emma Yturralde and Ellen Lacson (seated) are joined by Pane Rosales, Socorro Locsin, Norma Rosales, Pangging Rosales, Dr. Teresa Hallegado and Nonoi Ybiernas

My Iloilo Dinagyang Festival 2017 weekend was not complete without dropping by at the Strawberry Mansion for the must-attend ROSALES annual dinner party in honor of El Señor Santo Niño! The Holy Child is the patron of Iloilo City.

Metro-Iloilo’s most fashionable and sociable personas competed for space and attention, some in Moroccan-inspired outfits (per dresscode). They were welcome by the lady of the house, woman of style NORMA PADILLA-ROSALES and equally glamorous daughters PANGGING and PANE ROSALES. Also there were BABY and BOBBY ROSALES, and NIKKO ROSALES CID.

Bo Parcon and Sheilla Marie Golez-Tiongco; yours truly and JM Tiongco; Nikko Cid, Rica Peña, Pangging Rosales, Sarah O. Peña, Norma Rosales, Solinda de la Cruz, Irma Lim and Judgee Peña; and Vicky Sian, Charrie Lui and Fanny Uy

Caterer for the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO laid out an array of dishes that never fail to surprise and amaze everyone!

Guests from US and Europe mixed and matched with invitees from Cosmo-Manille and Metro-Iloilo! “Indeed, the guest list was an eclectic mix of movers, shakers and achievers,” quipped NONOI YBIERNAS of Philippine Tatler. And Cebu-based US Consul TIM NEELY could not agree more!

Susan Uy Reyes, Girlie Ganzon and Eva Dunneisen; Norma Rosales and Noel Sy with Chona and Romy Bondoc; Cathy Uygongco-Pe and Nonoi Ybiernas; and Jane Uy and Charrie Lui

Amid the revelry on the Metro-Iloilo’s main thoroughfares, the partying at the Strawberry Mansion continued till way past bewitching hour!

Robert Uy and Tony Lim; Pangging Rosales, Richie Garcia, Jurel Garcia, Sheila and Romelie Arocera, Rosely and Joenick Dinson, Boy Dinson, Solinda de la Cruz, Norma Rosales, Darna Manuel and Pane Rosales; Susie Facultad, mafelou Agriam and Lut Camiña; and Joe Delina, Eddie Juatas, Zedrick Señeres and Nonoi Ybiernas

Erlyn and Butch Zaragosa; Jasmine Castelo, Marjorie Florete and Christian Salcedo Cervillo from Spain and yours truly with Girlie Macalalag-Dominado

Yumminess by Ding Montelibano