A surprise bash for Cathy S. Tabanao

Then and now: the celebrator Cathy Sancho Tabanao

Sisters CECILE PORAL-HEREDIA and PING PORAL-EBRADA threw a surprise 70th birthday bash for their mom CATHY SANCHO TABANAO at Golden Salakot of Hotel del Rio. It was so top secret that the celebrator had no idea of it. In cahoots were siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandchildren. Upon entering the venue, she was indeed overwhelmed of the presence of nearest and dearest!

Cathy S. Tabanao with Ditchie Arenas and Nieva Javellana; and with Rebecca Maravilla

The choice of the venue was for sentimental reason. It was at Golden Salakot where she debuted in 1967 as the lead singer of the famed SanLop Orchestra. Her signature song was “Sabor a mi,” which she soulfully sung and danced with her grandson, the cute THIRDY EBRADA, that night.

Myrna Koopmans, Cynthia Oñate and Ping Poral-Ebrada; Bob and Grace Llorico and Sandra Sta. Rita; and Lily Tan, Baby Pagahari-on and Baby Ang

Good food and fine wine set the pace for the night’s fun and revelry. The program was divided into three parts: the Kiddie Party for the young at heart, the Debutante’s Ball because the celebrator did not have it, and the Oldies but goodie portion, the most enjoyable part. Games and raffle highlighted the night.

Michael Koopmans and yours truly; the trio set the guests in dancing mood; and the birthday cake paid tribute to the celebrator’s favorite past time – majhong!

Farm to Table introduces new offerings

Organic carrot juice, Poke Bowl Salad, Soft Taco with Shrimps and Sweet Potato Balls

Popular and award-winning chef and caterer PAULINE GORRICETA-BANUSING gathered lifestyle bloggers for lunch to introduce the latest offerings on the menu of Farm To Table for the 4th quarter of 2017! Indeed, it was a feast of gastronomic treats!

The new dishes included salads, pizzas, appetizers, pasta, rice, main courses and desserts. Farm To Table prides itself for having gluten-free, organic, free-range, no MSG, no preservatives and all natural ingredients in its dishes. “I am mindful of sustainable and healthy living. That is why I ensure that I get the freshest and good quality ingredients only from local producers,” she enthused.

Lamb Adobo, Nose to Tail Kare-Kare, Grilled Pink Salmon and Chicken Barbecue Pizza

Chef PAU, as she is fondly called, is passionate with her craft. Her other restaurants, Al Dente Ristorante Italiano (Philippine Tatler’s Best Restaurants awardee in 2014, 2015 and 2016), Freska Hometown Buffet and Brewery Gastropub, are testaments to this.

Her formal education in the culinary arts included the Professional Chef Series at the Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, New York), Master Class in Cooking at The New School-Manhattan and Food Styling Classes at the Institute of Culinary Education-New York – all tempered and inspired by her travels.

Eggplant Truffle Lasagna, Shrimps with garlic and olive oil linguini, Pineapple Seafood Rice and Fresh Tomato and Basil Pizza

Perfect endings of a good meal: Creme Brulee with native tablea bits and avocado ice cream, Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake, Local Pumpkin Cheesecake and Ube Jalaya Cake

Beyond politics

Yours truly with former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel; and Lily Tan, Dr. Pacita t. Gonzalez and Baby Ang

Former Senate President AQUILINO “Nene” PIMENTEL, father of Local Government Code and advocate of federalism in the Philippines, jetted in to Metro-Iloilo for a forum on federalism.

The long day kicked off with a welcome lunch at Spring Palace hosted by mother and daughter NELIA NIELO-UY and CAROLINE UY of Uy Marketing and Servitek Center. Rightfully so, businesswoman Dr. PACITA TRINIDAD-GONZALEZ and her daughter, cosmetic surgeon Dr. MARIGOLD T. GONZALEZ, who both spearheaded the forum, were in attendance.

Joe Marie Agriam with Caroline Uy and Nelia Nielo-Uy; and yours truly joins former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, Dr. Gold Gonzalez, Prof. Dr. Andrea Heinemann-Grüder and Clarisse

The non-political, very informative activity at Kalantiao Hall of The Manor gathered over 1,000 participants who were enlightened with the pros and cons of federalism.

With theme, “Federal Fiscal Policy in a Multi-Level Governance System: Best Policies, Comparative Advantages and Challenges,” the statesman spoke on “Proposed Federal System in the Philippines” while guest speaker Prof. Dr. ANDREAS HEINEMANN-GRŰDER of University of Bonn, Germany, expounded on “Federalism in the Experience of European Countries.

Remz Castor and Manny Alcalde; and Prima Buckley, Dr. Gold T. Gonzalez, Ging-Ging Nava and Mafelou Agriam

The symposium was followed by an open forum conducted by JOE MARIE AGRIAM of CREAM Magazine as emcee, and REMZ CASTOR, MANNY ALCALDE and yours truly as moderators.

Smarting from the success of the forum, Dr. PACITA TRINIDAD-GONZALEZ, who is the Chair of PDP-Laban in Iloilo City, hosted a dinner party at her residence in Jaro. In attendance were an eclectic mix of business bigwigs, society figures and volunteer groupies.

Dr. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder and Alan Sweeney; and Clarisse and Caroline Lee 


Café Panay opens at Festive Walk

A panoramic view of Café Panay interiors

From a cozy nook with five tables at Rizal Street in Iloilo City Proper, Café Panay moved to the historic Molo Mansion (formerly Yusay-Consing Mansion) and eventually opened at Festive Walk Parade of Iloilo Business Park.

A truly Ilonggo coffee and souvenir shop and restaurant, it serves authentic and homegrown dishes and snacks. With the new location it has expanded and innovated its menu. It will encapsulate Ilonggo cuisine and hospitality. After all, at Café Panay, it is not only about eating, it’s the experience.

PTSI Board Member Heidi G. Foulc, President and Chair Donna Rose Ratilla, Corporate Secretary Aulyn B. Yue Sin and Board Member Dr. Mae Tamayo-Panes; and Board Member Ian H. Jorda

Officer in Charge RAISSA TAMAYO and Head Cook MARK ANNIVERSARIO unveiled its offerings, all updated versions of everyday home-cooked fares and favorites. They presented Breakfast Signature Dishes (Café Panay Tapa, Tocino Slab and Binulad Platter), Salads and Snack (Fresh Salad, Ensaladang Puso and Café Panay Bibingka), Ilonggo Feast Selections (Fish Fillet in Spicy Ginger Coco Cream, Chicken Inasal, Kansi Frita, Sizzling Cansi and Crispy Pata) and Café Panay Desserts (Halo-Halo, Café PanayTuron, Tablea Lava Cake and Fried Ibus).

Shelves full of homegrown souvenir and food items; and Café Panay OIC Raissa Tamayo and Head Cook Mark Anniversario

“The primary objective of Café Panay is to buy, showcase and sell produce of local farmers and producers. It is to provide a venue for local and international tourists to have a glimpse of what Panay and the rest of the region can offer for food products and other souvenir/homecoming gift items. Its objective is to offer tourists a taste of Ilonggo delicacies and snack items while enjoying Ilonggo hospitality in the relaxed old hacienda ambience of the café,” said PTSI President/Chair of the Board DONNA ROSE RATILLA in her welcome address to lifestyle bloggers at the media launch.

Breakfast Signature Dishes (Café Panay Tapa, Tocino Slab and Binulad Platter); and Salads and Snacks (Fresh Salad, Ensaladang Puso and Café Panay Bibingka)

Ilonggo Feast Selections (Fish Fillet in Spicy Ginger Coco Cream, Chicken Inasal, Kansi Frita, Sizzling Cansi and Crispy Pata); and Café Panay Desserts (Halo-Halo, Café Turon, Tablea Lava Cake and Fried Ibus)

With slogan, “Hapit Anay sa Café Panay!”, the coffee and souvenir shop and restaurant is operated and managed by Panay Tours Specialists, Inc. (PTSI).




Travel made easy and fun

Journeys and Beyond Travel Services, the newest tour and travel agency in town, unveiled its winter and spring tour packages for 2017-2018.

The packages include Winter in Osaka and Kyoto, Winter in Tokyo, Winter Adventure in Seoul, Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, 7 Highlights of Europe and Treasures of Europe.

Winter in Osaka and Kyoto

Winter in Osaka and Kyoto is slated on Dec. 16 to 19, 2017 with reservation deadline on Oct. 21, 2017. Itinerary includes Osaka day tour and visit at Kyoto’s Umeda Sky Observatory.

Winter in Tokyo

With reservation deadline on November 10, 2017, Winter in Tokyo takes off on Dec. 20 to 23, 2017. Yokohama Minato Mirai, Lake Aishi Cruise, Hakone Ropeway, Mount Fuji and Tokyo day tour are some of the highlights of the tour.

Seoul Winter Adventure

The Seoul Winter Adventure is on Dec. 27 to 30, 2017. Touchdown in Incheon International Airport is followed by a visit in Petite France, day tour, shopping at Dongdaemun and more. Deadline for reservation is on Nov. 24, 2017.

Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

2018 kicks off with a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land on Feb. 25 to Mar. 10, 2018. Itinerary includes sights and highlights of Jordan, Israel and Egypt. Jan. 5, 2018 is the deadline for reservation.

7 Highlights of Europe

Highlights of Europe consist of seven countries and 16 days of amazing encounters. The March 11 to 25, 2018 tour has Jan. 12, 2018 deadline for reservation. It will sweep through Brussels, Frankfurt, Innsbruck, Venice, Verona, Lucerne, Besancon, Dijon, Paris, Amsterdam and Istanbul!

Treasures of Europe

Treasures of Europe tour is offered on Apr. 14 to 24, 2018 with reservation deadline on Feb. 16, 2018. The highlights include Paris, Beaune, Lausanne, Berne, Interlaken, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Lucerne, Engelberg, Lugano, Mendriso and Milan.

For details, reservations and inquiries, drop by Journeys and Beyond Travel Services at One Lorton Building on Ledesma Street in Iloilo City, call 09209008164 or 09171350622, or visit its website info@journeysnbeyond.com or Facebook account journeysnbeyond.


Alexa A. Tupas in her “Super” birthday

The Super Tupas Family. Lex, Candice, Alexa and LexTom; Lydia Barrido, former Mayor Myrna Causing Tupas, Carina Alumisin, Homer Alumisin and Charisse Alumisin-Godoy are joined by former Councilor Lex Tupas, Alexa Tupas, Councilor Candice Tupas, Karla Valdez Tanyag, Sophia Tanyag, Harvey Alumisin and Hannah; and the celebrator with her friends and classmates.

Super parents that they are, Dr. LEX TUPAS and Iloilo City Councilor Dr. CANDICE ALMUSIN-TUPAS threw a superhero-inspired party for their unica hija ALEXANDRA CHIARA A. TUPAS at the Jade Ballroom of Grand Xing Imperial Hotel for her 7th birthday!

An eclectic mix of guests, with most of them in their superhero-inspired costumes, came to see and be seen. Super ALEXA had a grand time with her friends and classmates while the young at heart enjoyed the good food and fun conversations on parenting, social weather and future plans.

Alexa Tupas with Jeanette Lloyd and couple Alan and Prima Sweeney; Boboy Tupas of the 5th District of Iloilo, Councilor Lex Tupas, Daphne Coo, Dr. Neneth Pador and Dr. Ralph Pador; Nico Balleza, Alexa Tupas and Tweety Tupas-Balleza pose with Atty. Española, Engr. Española, Drs. Lex and Candice Tupas; and Beia Florete and Mars Florete (seated) join Maasin SB Member Atty. Sweet Malones and their respective children.

Rightfully so, the TUPAS and ALMUSIN family members came en force. Seen on the scene were former Barotac Viejo Mayor MYRNA CAUSING-TUPAS, Rep. BOBOY TUPAS of the 5th District of Iloilo, HOMER and CARINA ALMUSIN, and TWEETY TUPAS-BALLEZA who came with goodlooking son NICO BALLEZA.

Oh, well, it was a fun way of spending an afternoon – attending a kid’s birthday and meeting friends! Here’s wishing ALEXA the best of everything and may you grow up to be a good person like your parents!

Nadine Banusing, Pauline Gorriceta Banusing and JP Peñol; Boy Celiz; and Dr. Lex Tupas with (seated) Mai-t Go, Ayong Go, Teo Arcenas and former Roxas City Councilor Pepe Del Rosario, and (standing) Fulbert Woo, daughter of Eon and Shannie, Shanie Tiu and Eon Tiu.