Mrs. Wharton opens at SM City Iloilo Southpoint

Babes Wharton, Jerah Gallinero, Francis Chu and Anja Rivera; Architect Fleurdeliz Laud , Jasmine Maquiling , Aivan Cedullo of SM City Iloilo and Cellnalin Hapitan; Andrea Guanco, Nonoy Taclino and Nana Jover; and Anja Rivera and Babes Wharton snip the ribbon for the opening of Mrs. Wharton Pastries.

One of my favorite coffee shops in town, Mrs. Wharton Pastries, had its grand opening at Southpoint of SM City Iloilo. It was attended by coffee and pastry lovers. The shabby chic English-inspired coffee, tea and cake shop boasts of cup cakes, galettes, scones, muffins and more, with brewed coffee and English tea, and British humor of the owner ANA MARIE “Babes” RIVERA WHARTON and her daughter ANJA YAP.

Raymart Escopel, yours truly and Greg Flores; sisters Kathy and Rosmar Villalon; and Jay Lorenzana and Anja Yap

During cocktails, the sweet treats were complemented with grilled favourites, pasta and noodles and the celebratory lechon!

The industrial interiors, antique furniture, good finds from flea market and thrift shops and the owner’s DIYs gave the coffee, tea and cake shop a cozy and comfortable ambience perfect for lounging and leisurely conversations.

Among the the features at Mrs. Wharton Pastries are the iconic English phonebooth and art on the wall.  

According to BABES WHARTON, more sweet treats and yummy delights fresh from the oven, like pasta and pies, are lined up in the coming weeks.

Rightfully so, Southpoint of SM City Iloilo is the new lifestyle destination of Metro-Iloilo!

An array of sweet treats; choices of cakes; lechon is complemented with sweet treats; and with noodles, pasta, barbecue and fresh lumpia.


Dongking and Khaleen Sasuman’s silver journey

The Silver Couple Khaleen and Dongking Sasuman sealed their love with a kiss; with Angeles Moises and Dyland Moises; with the groom’s sister Erlene Sasuman-Apinan and father Severino Sasuman; and with their ninongs and ninangs.

The silver journey of couple GENESIS and JOSEPHINE SASUMAN (née MOISES) ended with renewal of vows at San Agustin Church in Sambag, Jaro. The Roman Catholic ceremony culminated 25 years of civil marriage.

The groom, with nickname DONGKING, was a former PBA player and now a basketball coach for one of the leading universities in Metro-Iloilo while the bride, fondly called KHALEEN, works at the Philippine Commission on Women.

He is the son of SEVERINO and CARMEN SASUMAN and she is the daughter of the late Dr. EUFRACIO and ANGELES MOISES. They have three children, SAMANTHA, NATASHA and MIGUEL.

The silver coupe with Maid of Honor Samantha Angela M. Sasuman and Best Man Mitchellou Q. Sasuman; another kiss; and Carlos Bataga, Adolfo Montelibano, Noel Mirasol and yours truly.


Après the formalities, it was time for the fun reception at The Ballroom of Westown Hotel in the hip-hopping Smallville. There everyone enjoyed on good food, fine wine and interesting conversation with lots of hearty laughs.

The silver couple and daughter Nathasha Sasuman join (seated) Ellen Castro, Rhian Buan and Kristel Casimiro and daughter Samantha Sasuman; with bride’s cousins Mary Jay Sualog-Andaya, Josephine Martinez and Genalyn Martinez-Corteza and groom’s brother Mitchellou Sasuman; with the bride’s eldest brother Dyland Moises and (seated) bride’s sister Lulu Gail Moises Fecundo, brides cousin Judge Gilbert Moises and his wife Elisa Moises who were both principal sponosrs, bride’s sisters-in-law Alma Daria-Moises (wife of Dyland Moises), and Mary Joy Conlu-Moises; and with Karen Joy Sargado, Macario Jusayan and Maecel Cayanan and Avery Arevalo, family friends Vince and Issa Escarilla, James Montehermoso and John Chua.

Relatives and friends took turns in entertaining the silver couple and their guests, and roasting and toasting the former.

The “kodakan” and socializing helped make the event more meaningful and memorable. Cheers to DONGKING and KHALEEN! Yours truly is looking forward to more years of your happiness and togetherness, and to your golden wedding anniversary! (Photos by Knocks Photographix)



Melinda Rafael celebrates

The birthday celebrator Melinda Aguirre-Rafael and husband Arsenio Rafael; the birthday cake says it all; and the celebrator’s sisters Marion, Mathilde and Mercy with Arsenio, Cheyenne, Melinda, Mike, Christian, Bianca and Eunice Rafael.

An eclectic mix of guests – from Zumba class, Rotary Club, family members and relatives from here and abroad, high school classmates, and business colleagues – danced the night away at the 65th birthday bash of hardworking businesswoman MELINDA AGUIRRE-RAFAEL.

The sala of the family residence in Mandurriao was transformed into one big dancefloor. A hotshot DJ dished out 60s, 70s and 80s dance music much to everyone’s delight.

Christian and Cheyenne Rafael; Pangging and Norma Rosales; and Alice Javellana, Melinda A. Rafael and Jo Encarnacion.

Friends ALICE JAVELLANA and JO ENCARNACION gave a special dance number. Not to be outdone, the celebrator’s granddaughters BIANCA and EUNICE RAFAEL presented another surprise dance number.

Après dinner, the guests hit the dancefloor once again with a frenzied Zumba marathon. It set the pace for the all night’s revelry. When not dancing and burning calories, everyone had their glasses filled with beveragic delights.

Yumminess at Melinda Aguirre-Rafael’s 65th birthday bash; the dessert stations; and my poison for the night: a keg of Paulaner Light Beer.

Moving around, yours truly oohed and aahed at the modern and oriental art collection of the celebrator’s husband ARSENIO RAFAEL. The fab art pieces filled the RAFAEL place de maison. Each has a story to tell. Oh, well, till the next RAFAEL party!


Beauty knows no end

2ndRunner-Up Queenie R. Estaniel, Pasalamat Festival Queen 2017 Claudette B. Del Castillo and 1st Runner- Up Kennyveb A. Casabuena; judges: (clockwise from center) Miss Philippines Earth Fire Fatima Alswoyed, actor/chef Jose Sarasola, former beauty queen/businesswoman Gloria Tumulak, actress lara Morena and yours truly; the night’s special guests: actor/singer/dancer Derrick Monasterio and TV, film and stage actress/singer Kim Molina; and pageant hosts: television host, newscaster and commentator Paolo Bediones and MMDA Spokesperson and Miss Philippines-Earth finalist Celine Pialago.

Rightfully so, the Pasalamat Festival Queen 2017 Pageant highlighted the week-long celebration of this year’s Pasalamat Festival of La Carlota City, Negros Occidental! The city’s residents gathered at the plaza fronting the La Carlota City Hall. They were joined by crowds from neighboring municipalities and even from Bacolod City! They all cheered and applauded their bets, and screamed and shrieked at their favorite artistas!

Best Festival Costume Design: worn by Lourdes Jane Panulde and designed by Richard Rojo; Best in Festival Costume and Best in Swimsuit: Queenie R. Estaniel; and Gerelyn C. Poblete(Miss Central Azucarera de La Carlota Incorporada and Miss Roxol Bio-Energy Corporation), Lourdes Jane Panulde (Miss Magnolia) and Queenie R. Estaniel (Miss Emperador Light, Miss Du Ek Sam La Carlota and Miss Amazing Personal Collection).

Chinita beauty CLAUDETTE B. del CASTILLO took the nod of the judges – Miss Philippines Earth Fire FATIMA ALSOWYED, former beauty queen/businesswoman GLORIA TUMULAK, actress LARA MORENA, chef/actor JOSE SARASOLA and yours truly — and was crowned Pasalamat Festival Queen 2017 in an action-packed, fast-paced, well-staged show. She bested 16 other candidates, who represented and were sponsored by their respective barangays or interest groups.

Miss Natasha 2017 Eva Mae Gimay and Miss Natasha Beauty 2017 Gerelyn C. Poblete; Miss Friendship Lourdes Jane Panulde, Miss Photogenic Queenie R. Estaniel and Best in Evening Gown Anna Grace M. Grashuis; Dennise Kerstein P. Gustilo (Miss MG Mart’s Choice), Rona Marie Canciano (Miss Prince Ambassadress), Lourdes Jane Panulde (Miss Frienship), Anna Grace Grashuis (Best in Evening Gown), Queenie R. Estaniel (Miss 2GO Travel) and Evelyn Gallosa (Miss Desmond); and Pasalamat Festival QUEEN 2016- Roselyn Corilla. 

Coming close second was KENNYVEB A. CASABUENA. QUEENIE R. ESTANIEL, who took home the most special and corporate awards — Best in Festival Costume, Best in Swimsuit, Miss Photogenic, Miss Emperador Light, Miss Du Ek Sam La Carlota, Miss Amazing Personal Collection and Miss 2GO Travel, was adjudged 2nd runner up.

Now on its 38th year, Pasalamat Festival celebrates good harvest, productivity and gratitude! (Photos by Jervy Advincula and CDIO- La Carlota)

Pasalamat Festival 2017: Before and After

Mayor Joben Alonzo of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental and construction tycoon Jerry Sy with former Rep. Jeffrey P. Ferrer of the 4th District of Negros Occidental; Toto and Sandra Ferrer; Dave Ferrer, Board Member Renato Malabor of the 5th District of Negros Occidental and Mayor Mac de la Cruz of Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental; and yours truly and Jack Matti

Yours truly could not say no to the invitation of former Rep. JEFFREY P. FERRER of the 4th District of Negros Occidental to be one of the judges at Pasalamat Festival Queen 2017 at La Carlota City!

Pasalamat Festival, now on its 38th year, is a colourful fiesta that highlights the celebration of great harvest. It attracts both local and foreign tourist in droves to experience a series of activities.

The festival’s history can be traced down to cultural traditions that have been observed through the years. It embraces gratitude and productivity, the core purpose of the festival.

Gloria Tumulak and Nonoi Ybiernas; twins Board Member Jomar Alonso of the 4th District of Negros Occidental and Mayor Joben Alonso of Pontevedra, Negros Occidental; Renzil Jose; and Gavin Hormillosa of NYPD

The piece de resistance of the week-long Pasalamat Festival 2017 was the selection of its Festival Queen.

As everyone got ready for the pageant, Hon. JEFFREY P. FERRER hosted a dinner party at El Fuego, the ancestral mansion of the BENEDICTO famille of which his wife Rep. JULIET MARIE D. FERRER belongs to.

Seen on the scene were political bigwigs, business personas and showbiz celebrities who all enjoyed on good food and fun conversation!

Yours truly with Derrick Monasterio, Lara Moreno and Miss Earth Philippines Fire Fatima Alsowyed

Gugma at the Spa

The Maayong Gugma Card; the reception counter; the guests were welcomed by folk dancers; and the kalachuchi lei for guests.

The management of Spa Riviera recently launched its Gugma Series Packages at its Gen. Luna Branch with a Filipiniana-themed merienda cena.

For a reasonable price of P1,900, one can avail of Maayong Gugma Card that includes nine body massages and, with an add-on of P190, a choice of body scrub, kaaya-aya facial or Asian foot massage. The card is transferable and has no expiry. While Senior Citizens can avail of 20% discount, their cards are not transferable. The management offers 10% on family membership.

“With the Gugma Series Packages, one can save P665 and almost 50% off on additional services,” enthused owner MARIE “Babes” WHARTON.

The waiting room and receiving area of Spa Riviera Spa Gen. Luna Branch; Lala Jover and yours truly; fruits, sandwiches, cupcakes and iced tea; lasagna and Red Velvet cake from Mrs. Wharton Pastries.

The guests and spa-natics, who came in and out in steady paces, enjoyed on sweet treats from Mrs. Wharton Pasties, fruits of the season and iced tea while having their pictures taken at the photobooth.

So, what are you waiting for? Today is a good day and reason to be at Spa Riviera Gen. Luna or Jaro!


Wedding bells for Nilmar and Gercelle

The newlyweds Gercelle and Nilmar Rendon, with the bride’s mother Maricel Ganzon Lapascua-Cochrane, and with the groom’s parents Nilda and Marcelo Rendon; and the bride with grandparents Brgy. Captain Cirilo and Marigold Lapascua and Michael and Michelle Gutierrez.

Family and friends gathered at St. Clement’s Church to witness the exchange of “I do’s” between lovebirds GERCELLE G. LAPASCUA and NILMAR A. RENDON. Applause and cheers erupted when the couple sealed their vows with a kiss!

The bride is the daughter of MARICEL GANZON LAPASCUA-COCHRANE and the granddaughter of Barangay Captain CIRILO RAVENA LAPASCUA and MARIGOLD GANZON-LAPASCUA. She is the Human Resource Manager at Producers Bank Iloilo.

A seafarer, the groom is the unico hijo of MARCELO and NILDA RENDON of Ibajay, Aklan.

The thirty-four pairs of Principal Sponsors were led by Rep. ARTHUR R. DEFENSOR Jr. of the 3rd District of Iloilo, Rep. JERRY P. TREÑAS of the Lone District of Iloilo City, Mayor JED PATRICK E. MABILOG of Iloilo City, Vice Mayor JOSE ESPINOSA III of Iloilo City, Vice Mayor FILOMENO GANZON of Balasan, Iloilo, Councilor JEFFREY GANZON of Iloilo City, former Mayor IKE M. ROJAS of Leganes and his wife CARMELA G. ROJAS, US-based MICHAEL and MICHELLE GUTIERREZ, and couple ALAN and PRIMA SWEENEY.

Best Man was JOHN ELVIS RENDON while the Maid of Honor was MARIA ELYSHA LAPASCUA.

The newlyweds with their ninongs and ninangs; Rara Ganzon, Girlie Ortaliz-Ganzon and Sheryl Ganzon-Mercader; yours truly, Maricel Cochrane, Prima and Alan Sweeney, Joe Marie Agriam, Iloilo City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon and Mafelou Leagogo-Agriam; and the period-perfect chandeliers at Casa Real de Iloilo.

Après the religious ceremony, a grand reception followed at the Grand Ballroom of Casa Real de Iloilo. More guests came, hobnobbed and enjoyed the good food, fine wine and each other’s company.

The mother of the bride, vivacious MARICEL L. COCHRANE, who changed three times for the ceremony and reception, kept everyone in good mood with her jokes. “I still have two more gowns I can change to later,” she enthused!

To the newlyweds NILMAR and GERCELLE RENDON, yours truly wishes you the best and happiness in your marriage! Cheers!

Coffee, tea and me at Mrs. Wharton

Mrs. Wharton at Southpoint of SM City Iloilo; the owner Babes Rivera-Wharton; the antique armchair from a flea market and the owner’s DIY chandelier; and the service crew wearing three-layered apron pose by the wall with hanging plants.

From a cozy nook at the Lobby of Spa Rriviera on Gen. Luna Street and a pop up stand at the mall, Mrs. Wharton has moved to a spacious shop at Southpoint of SM City Iloilo! On Saturday, May 6, it will be having its grand opening!

Mrs. Wharton is a shabby chic English-inspired coffee, tea and cake shop. It boasts of cup cakes, galettes, scones, muffins and more with brewed coffee and English tea, and British humor of the owner!

The industrial look is complemented with good finds and antique furniture from flea market and thrift shops, and DIYs. It certainly reflects the good taste of the owner, BABES RIVERA-WHARTON. Her passion for the environment continues with the hanging garden on one of the walls. “I personally designed and painted some of the chairs and tables,” she told yours truly.

Indeed, Mrs. Wharton will become one of the favorite hangouts!

Yours truly by the wall of English posters; my favorite – apple cinnamon cake; cakes, scone and muffins served with coffee and tea; and a slice of apple cinnamon cake with tea, and cheesy lasagna

And the grilling starts now!

The chefs ready the pork, steak, chicken, salmon, catfish and sausages for grilling; Senior Sales Manager Neljun Guion and Communications Officer Angela Tan with GM Joseph del Rosario; and Sales Executive Bernard Trespeces and Maybank Iloilo City Branch Operation Assistant Alvin Tolosa.

Your Wednesdays and Thursdays this hot hot summer will never be the same. Seda Hotel Atria recently launched its Barbecue Night at Straight Up Bar. The cozy bar and its alfresco terrace on the 7th floor not only give a panoramic view of Metro-Iloilo’s nightscape but also offer a wide array of grilled favorites.

The chefs, led by sous chef ALBERT LEDESMA, will grill to perfection your choices of pork, steak, chicken, salmon, catfish and sausages. It will be complemented with salad, bread, dessert and wine! All of these for only P450 nett!

Raymart Escopel, yours truly and Jorry Palada; Herminia Pineda, Rose Pison-Piamonte and Cynthia Pison de Leon; yours truly and Orson Orleans; and Communications Officer Angela Tan with Joe Marie and Mafelou Agriam and Jane Javellana.

At the launch party, media personas, society figures and young professionals savored the good food and fine wine, hobnobbed with each other and enjoyed on interesting conversation! Couple ANDRELYN and MIG CORTEZ provided chill music for everybody’s entertainment.

For details, inquiries and reservations, please (033) 506-8888 or (033) 330-7555, email them at or visit their website at

Seda Hotel Atria is located at Pison Avenue, Atria Park District, San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City 5000, Philippines. (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Yours truly chooses from an array of grilled favorites: assorted sausages, plank salmon, whole pork leg and grilled hito; salad and desserts come in champagne glasses; and let’s break bread.




Scallop Salad with Citrus Dressing

Crab and Corn Pasta

Vegetable Antipasti


Grilled Whole Pork Leg

Rack of Pork

Char-broiled Rib Eye Steak

Grilled Beef Burger Patties

Chicken Churasco

Grilled Plank Salmon

Grilled Hito

Assorted Sausages


Trio Panacotta

Cookies Millifulle

Gracia con Fruta