Open House at S&R-Iloilo

Some of the items up for grab at the Open House; and Raymart Escopel, Roanie F. Dunggon and yours truly; and S&R Membership Shopping-Iloilo Warehouse Manager Michelle Espinosa explains the mechanics of the Open House

S&R Membership Shopping-Iloilo held a press launch to announce its Open House on Nov. 30 to Dec. 3 – all in time for the Christmas Holidays! It is open to all members and non-members, who want to experience world-class shopping from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

There will be a round-the-clock free shuttle ride from Atria District Park and Plazuela de Iloilo to S&R-Iloilo on this four-day shopping spree. Aside from a wide array of imported goods with discounts, there is a Buy One Take One Deal on selected items. Also up for grab are Christmas Baskets – Sweet Surprise, Santa’s Savories, New Year Tidings, Yuletide Cheers, Merry Mix Up, Holiday Bounty and St. Nick Treats; fresh Christmas Trees (fresh-cut pines from Oregon, USA); Christmas Ham 5+1 Promo – Ranch House Premium Pork Boneless Ham (with free S&R insulated bag in every purchase); Reloadable gift cards (with minimum of P1, 000 to maximum of P50,000 load); and a lot more food, non-food and fresh items!

Yours truly gets serious with Santa Claus; and the cuddly toys on display.

Apart from the Christmas Holidays, the Open House celebrates the S&R Membership Shopping-Iloilo’s 1st year anniversary. It is its way of inviting more Ilonggos to visit the Club and experience world-class shopping. “Everyone, members and non-members alike, can shop on the widest selections of imported products at exclusive low club prices and will enjoy great value and savings on big brands,” enthused S&R Iloilo Warehouse Manager MICHELLE ESPINOSA.

S&R is a Membership Shopping Club modelled after warehouse membership shopping chains introduced in the US. It provides expansive selection of imported and local products in value packed sizes to cater one’s personal and business needs.

As of 2017, S&R has 14 clubs all over the country and two more will open in Luzon in 2018.

Antoine Greg Flores and the cuddly giant bear; Raymart Escopel with the goodies from the raffle; and the Open House Press Launch was followed by lunch of three kinds of pizza and a bucket of fried chicken.

It’s in the bag!

Ria Aquino and her Puyo de Maria Luna bags

RIA AQUINO, owner of Puyo de Maria, started selling her products in August with no intention of making it big as it is now! With a supplier who has a keen eye on style and good quality control, and her marketing skills, Puyo de Maria (Bag of Maria, in English) is now making waves in Iloilo and abroad! These amazing products promote the “buy-local” industry.

“My target market is the woman who loves style and is not afraid to accessorize,” she enthused.  For her, the Puyo de Maria woman is one who wants to elevate her style by adding bags that she sells.

The bags sold by her online fashion boutique are both trendy and functional.  Her enthusiastic Ilonggo and overseas customers are testaments to that.

At this stage of her business, her next goal is to be able to reach more people and more influencers to show the versatility of her products.

Puyo de Maria — Luna Negra, Luna Blanca and Luna Natura

Her latest collection of bags comes in Luna Natura (tan), Luna Negra (black) and Luna Blanca (white) and in two sizes – small and large. Rightfully so, the three phases of moon are her inspiration.

 RIA AQUINO is now developing a new line of bags which will come out in the market sooner than soon. You can check Puyo de Maria on Facebook and Instagram for more details and inquiries.

Cheers for Willie and Albert (Part 2)

Willie So and Albert Jerez Jr. exchange vow of love and togetherness on the steps of the grand staircase of Casa Real de Iloilo; the hor’s d’oeuvres flown in from the US and Europe; and the wedding cake with couples’ look-a-like dolls.

The next day’s affair was the exchange of vows of love and togetherness between fashion designer WILLIE SO and Philippine Airlines flight attendant ALBERT JEREZ Jr. at the historic Casa Real de Iloilo.

It kicked off with a cocktail party at the Gallery and gardens of the venue. Guests came in pastel-colored party outfits as specified in the invites. Fine wines and sparkling bubblies complemented the hors d’oeuvres especially flown in from the US and Europe.

The members of the entourage; yours truly with architect Dante Aguirre and fashion designer Bo Parcon; and Wilma Garcia, Kris Karen, Sal Garcia, Maribel Roxas, Jean Bravo, Pane Rosales, Nikko Cid and Mayong Garcia.

Much to the delight of everyone, the couple with the members of their entourage made a dramatic entrance for the “I do’s.” Moving around, yours truly saw everyone shedding tears of joy for the happy couple.

The ceremony was followed by a dinner reception at the Main Hall and adjacent function rooms of Casa Real de Iloilo. Chef MIGUEL CORDOVA laid out a sumptuous array of mouth-watering Mediterranean-inspired dishes.

Albert Jerez Jr. and Willie So got a slice of the cake and ate it, too; Roger Besa and Bo Parcon with (seated) Ruby Ann Layson and Richie Garcia; and Willie So and Yoly Legaspi with friends.

Songstress EVA POON, who brought the house down with few songs and anecdotes about the couple and their friends, emceed an action-packed program that segued into all-night dancing to the music of hostshot DJ RYAN ESPINOSA.

When not dancing and hobnobbing, the guests engaged in “kodakan” for social media or hanging around at the bar where the drinks were in overflowing supply! What came next was another story to tell. Indeed, it was a night to celebrate love, happiness and togetherness. N’est çe pas? (Photos by Carlo Gabriel Evidente)

Willie So and Albert Jerez Jr.’s wellwishers from Cosmo-Manille

Cheers for Willie and Albert (Part 1)

Willie So and Albert Jerez with the Iloilo Dinagyang dancers; Jey-R de Guzman, Eva Poon and yours truly; Richie Garcia, Ruby Ann Layson, Joel Catong, Jennifer Pangcog, nacy Hechanova and Dennis Cayuditan; and yours truly and architect Dante Aguirre

While their relationship may raise eyebrows, friends and family believed it is a testament of their love for each other. Rightfully so, after 19 years of togetherness, fashion designer WILLIE SO and Philippine Airlines flight attendant ALBERT JEREZ Jr. sealed their special bond with a vow.

Ping Ebrada and Cathy Tabanao; Kate Chavez, Jet Salcedo and yours truly with Clyve Jyson; Jimmy Uy, yours truly and Noel Mirasol; Joel Uy does Nanette Inventor’s “Yaman Ako!”; and Erriz Lanceta performs Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman.”

Their celebration of love was a two-day affair! Held at the Royal Garden, the first night was a meet-and-greet party with a white and khaki dresscode. Guest from Cosmo-Manille, USA and Hong Kong hobnobbed with Ilonggo friends and family members.

Friends of Willie So and Albert Jerez Jr. who jetted in from Cosmo-Manile for the two-day party.

The legendary Ilonggo hospitality was reflected on the menu, courtesy of caterer to the rich and famous DING MONTELIBANO; the decor; and the entertainment. The tribute to  divas – NANETTE INVENTOR, BARBRA STREISAND and WHITNEY HOUSTON – by impersonators JOEL UY, GERALD CALANZA and ERRIZ LANCETA set the paced for all-night dancing to 70s, 80s and 90s dance music by hotshot DJ TITUS CHIU.

Of course, the beveragic delights overflowed till way past midnight! (Photos by Carlo Evidente)

And more friends of Willie So and Albert Jerez Jr.

And more more friends of Willie So and Albert Jerez Jr.

Jor-El Espina joins Manila Fame

Fashion maverick JOR-EL ESPINA of Iloilo was one of the four fashion designers from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao who were featured at the Gala of Weaves at the recent Manila Fame. His collection was inspired by the legendary creativity of famous women, like prolific Hiligaynon feminist writer and poet MAGDALENA JALANDONI, Dreamweaver of the T’boli community LANG DULAY and skilled tribal tattoo artist APO WHANG-OD. These guardians of arts and culture played significant roles in the survival and preservation of valued Filipino heritage. From serene Lake Sebu in Southern Philippines to the genteel charm of Iloilo in Panay Island and to the rugged and breathtaking vistas of the North in Sagada, this collection was translated into reality with wearable and stylish pieces with meticulous arrangements of colors and textures.

“My humble take on the traditional woven fabrics communicates how the past is always present, living , thriving and speaking to us in this days of the millenials,” JOR-EL ESPINA describing his collection.

“Each piece in my collections tells a story of how culture is intertwined in our modern daily lives, like the Tnalak of LANG DULAY that reflects the stories and struggles of her people; the stories and poems of MAGDALENA JALANDONI who echoes the values and morals treasured across time; and the indelible ink of the Batok of APO WHANG-OD that represents fortitude, courage and dignity,” he enthused.

His try to capture all of these things and translate a two dimensional piece of traditional fabric into a three dimensional piece of art was both a challenge and a masterpiece.

A look on arts

Ribbon-cutting ceremony: Oscar Peñasales, SM City Iloilo Assistant Mall Manager Daryl Defensor, Marrz Capanang and Harry Mark Gonzales; the participating artists: John Acedera , Alex Ordoyo, Gina Apostol, Oscar Peñasales, Dodjie Tan, Harry Mark Gonzales, James Salarda, Carlo Juntado, Norman Vincent Acedera, Vic Fario, Ed Defensor, Jeanroll Ejar and Marrz Capanang; and the Pag-Ulikid Exhibit


“Coffee Break” by Alex Ordoyo ((Acrylic on canvas); “Bilong-Bilong Chronicles 5” by Dodjie Tan (Acrylic on canvas); “Iloy Duta” by Gina Apostol (Acrylic on canvas); and “Sarimanok” by Pierre Patricio (Acrylic on canvas)

The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by SM City Iloilo Assistant Mall Manager DARYL DEFENSOR, architect OSCAR PEÑASALES, MARZZ CAPANANG and HARRY MARK GONZALES.

According to the participating artists, the exhibit was a look back on everyone’s humble beginnings, painful struggles, experiences of confusion and unlearning realities as they move bravely move forward and evolve from one exploration to the next.

Indeed, the art pieces were an eclectic mix of themes and ideas – an everyday take on life!

“Flora” by Oscar Peñasales (Acrylic on canvas); “Ugis” by Norman Vincent Acedera (Mixed Media); “Kadagatan Puno Ka Sang Misteryo” by Marzz Capanang (Acrylic on canvas); and “In the Name of the Father” by Carlo Juntado (Mixed Media)

“Serendipity, Manature Series, Opus 134” by Ed Defensor (Acrylic Collage on canvas); “Spectrum” by Kristofer Brasileño (Oil on canvas); “The Happy Heart” by Jeanroll Ejar (Sculpture, Narra and Mahogany); and “Tinigid ng Pait” by Tyrone Dave Espinosa (Sculpture, wood)

“Everybody does 1” by James Salarda (Sculpture, mixed media); “The Times I’m Waiting For You” from “The Times That I Miss You Series” by Harry Mark Gonzales (Sculpture, Cold Cast Marble, Oxide and Granite); and “Iman” by Martin Genodepa (Sculpture, Sandstone)

A fun night with the Peñas

Our hosts with the most Judgee and Sarah Peña with Dr. Nap Tiongco, Mr. Borromeo and Dr. Glenn Catedral; Rica O. Peña, Cristy Syching, Bryan Syching, Sarah O. Peña, Dr. Risa O. Peña, John Frederick Sarabia and Archt. Carmelo Celis; Atty. Rita O. Peña and Archt. Pablo Antonio III; and Dr. Risa O. Peña, Norma Rosales, Rica Peña and Pangging Rosales

Travel, business, family matters and varying schedules of family members kept super couple, sugar baron JUDGEE LOPEZ PEÑA and his wife woman of style SARAH OPOLENCIA-PEÑA, from celebrating their 38th civil wedding anniversary.

The right day came a month later. It coincided with the lighting of 18 Christmas trees at the PEÑA residence at Ledesco Village. The decor and the sumptuous dinner buffet by the family’s favorite caterer WILSON ESPARANCILLA set the mood for the night’s intimate affair.

JM, Sheilla and Dr. Nap Tiongco; the receiving area of the Peña residence; Nonoi Ybiernas, Au Palomar and yours truly; and Sarah O. Peña, Jeanette Llyod, Arch. Pablo Antonio III, Atty. Rita O. Peña, Atty. Charmagne Malunes and Dr. Leo Malunes

Moving around, yours truly saw 50 of the family’s closest, nearest and dearest friends. Naturellement, our hosts with the most JUDGEE and SARAH P. were here, there and everywhere greeting everyone with their usual charming selves! Their amiable and pretty daughters — Atty. RITA, Dr. RISA and soon-to-be engineer RICA were also there.

Amid overflowing beveragic delights and hearty laughter, the guests hobnobbed with each other engaging in interesting conversations on social weather, arts, fashion and healthy lifestyle!

Vangie and John Baker with Prima and Allan Sweeney; Au Palomar, Norma Rosales, Elena Javellana and Engr. Zinnia Teruel; and Marielle Lucenio, Rica O. Peña, Arch. Pablo Antonio III, Atty. Rita O. Peña, Pangging Rosales. Jasmine Castelo and Pane Rosales

We were also delighted with the presence of tres charmante PABLO ANTONIO III, Atty. RITA’s architect boyfriend who jetted in from Cosmo-Manille to meet the “curious” friends of the PEÑA family.

Indeed, it was fun night with the PEÑAs celebrating happiness, love, togetherness and friendship! (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Anne Darroca and Sarah O. Peña with Leon and Susan Juantong and Elena Javellana; and Nikko Cid, Engr. Zinnia Teruel and Pane Rosales

ZKO Showroom opens in Pavia!

Mahmoud Moein, Max Moein, Buddy Silva, Fr. Andy Gastala, CEO Mina Moein-Silva, Solmaz Moein and Mervin Moein; CEO Mina Moein-Silva, Buddy Silva, Mayor Mike Gorriceta of Pavia and Max Moein; and a look inside the showroom

Led by Primax Founders MAHMOUD and MERVIN MOEIN, ZKO opened its showroom at Felix Gorriceta Avenue in Barangay Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo. ZKO Group Distributors Inc. distributes Primax outdoor beautification products for residential and commercial spaces. They include pavers, cement tiles, decorative stones and pebbles, wall claddings, outdoor decorations.

The blessing, opening and lunch affair was graced by Mayor MIKE B. GORRICETA of Pavia, who hobnobbed with representatives from DPWH 1st District, architects from various chapters of UAP and PIA, and friends from F. Gurrea Construction Inc., Robinsons Bank, Wespoint Industrial Sales co, Inc., J. S. Lim Construction and Golden Heaven Builders and Construction Supply. CEO MINA MOEIN-SILVA and Primax manufacturers MAX and SOLMAZ MOEIN were there to welcome them.

More display at the showroom; the snipping of the ribbon by CEO Mina Moein-Silva and Mervin Moein; and the blessing of the showroom by Fr. Andy Gastala

Projects that used Primax pavers include Esplanade 1 and 2, Esplanade at Muelle Loney, Diversion Road Bike Lane, SM City Mandurriao Parking Lot, and the newly constructed Plazuela Dos.

Heritage projects like Calle Real, Casa Real, Jaro Cathedral, Molo Plaza and Plaza Libertad to name a few. Residential areas like Sta. Barbara Heights, Centro Verde, Green Meadows and Parc Regency Clubhouse also used Primax products.

CEO Mina Moein-Silva with Ramon Sia, Jo Dee Decena, Merlin Casabuena and ZKO Sales Manager Daisy Palma; Rosa Lea Ajesta, Archt. Lucia Suarnaba, Engr. Jose Virgula and ZKO Sales Manager Daisy Palma; and CEO Mina Moein-Silva with Engr. Ronan Orquiola, Archt. Darrel James Guerrero, Mary Grace Lingaya and Loremae Busil of ZKO, Engr. Ronald Espora, Archt. Dary Humpay and Archt. John Michael Garcia

The ZKO Showroom displays pavers, cement tiles, decorative stones and pebbles, wall claddings, outdoor decorations with highlights and emphasis on Primax pavers.

The Primax paving products are eco-friendly.  They do not require cement to be installed — only just sand and compacted earth. The interval in-between paving blocks allows the rainwater to be absorbed into the earth, thus nourishing the soil and reducing flood. They can also withstand high level of loading, which makes it ideal for driveways and areas with heavy foot traffic. With unique designs not available with other distribution companies, Primax requires little maintenance and can be expected to last for years to come.


Wonder Woman

The celebrator Dr. Pacita T. Gonzalez with Au Palomar, Elena Javellana and Mercedes Nava; gets a hug from her daughter Dr. Marigold T. Gonzalez; and greets her son Joey T. Gonzalez.

Metro-Iloilo’s grand dame of society and politics Dr. PACITA TRINIDAD-GONZALEZ celebrated her 77th birthday with a dinner party at the Executive Room of Hotel del Rio. In attendance were family members led by her children Dr. MARIGOLD T. GONZALEZ and JOEY T. GONZALEZ, friends from the media, supporters and closest friends from business and society. A former Representative of the 2nd District of Zambales, cosmetic surgeon and successful businesswoman, she is the widow of former DOJ Secretary RAUL M. GONZALEZ Sr.

Joe Marie Agriam, Dr. Marigold Gonzalez and Remz Castor led the toast to the celebrator; Iloilo City Councilor Joshua Alim and yours truly pose with Atty. Dwight Trasadas, CREAM couple Joe Marie and Mafelou Agriam and Marites Lim; and Baby Ang with Mayor and Mrs. Alex Centina of Calinog, Iloilo

With her usual flair of hosting, the celebrator, who was in a fuchsia designer tunic dress, received and welcomed the invitees with hugs and kisses.

The thanksgiving celebration was spearheaded by Doc GOLD who showed an AVP that chronicled the life and times of the celebrator with tribute to her late father.

Putli Fuerte and Dolly Chua; and the Totong Villaruz Band

 The night was also highlighted by a dance production contest to the delight of everyone. With its upbeat Zumba-inspired number, Go for Gold Group bested the Women’s Brigade’s Latin Dance and the GONZALEZ Staff’s Baby Shark Dance.

And TOTONG VILLARUZ Band set the pace for all-night dancing. (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Findr is launched in Iloilo City

With Operation Adviser Bong Ungria (6th from left), CEO and Founder of Findr Buddy Silva (5th from left) introduces the Ilonggo software engineers who developed Findr: Joemar Matulac, Krister Ian Arquiola, Jovi Pinedez, Ellef Rey Obas and Angelo Kaufmann

Millennials, movers, shakers and achievers, and society personas gathered at 360 Skyview of Grand Xing Imperial Hotel for the launch of Findr in Iloilo City! Findr is the latest mobile consumer application developed in Iloilo by Ilonggo softwear engineers. Thus, making it truly Ilonggo!

The cocktail party was highlighted by the performances of Birit Queen MORISSETTE AMON and the presence of Miss Earth 2015 ANGELIA ONG. Both beauteous ladies are the brand ambassadors of Findr. An AVP on the achievements of Findr and the company that developed it were also shown.

Mina and Buddy Silva; Birit Queen Morissette Amon; and Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong and yours truly

According to Founder and CEO BUDDY SILVA, “This mobile app aims to promote local businesses so we can grow together and be recognized not only here in the Philippines, but globally as well.”

Rightfully so, it is because there are more than 10 million people who go online every day. The good news is one can shop, get freebies and avail discounts from partner merchants by earning and accumulating points in Findr.

Myrna Koopmans, Cathy Tabanao, Ping Ebrada and Sandra Sta. Rita join (seated) Grace Llorico, Jen-Jen Llorico and Kristine Sta. Rita; Babak Niaraki, Ruben Alcoriza and Derek Lim of The Mansion; Jong Ebrada and Bob Llorico pose with Michael and Frank Koopmans and Paul Yap; and Joemarie Agriam of CREAM Magazine, Natalie Lim of Richmonde Hotel, Jan Andre Po and Jigger Latoza

It is developed by Satellite GPS Tracking and Asset Management System Corporation with has offices in Singapore, Makati City and, of course, Iloilo City. It provides Software – as a service GPS based application with its main platform, the SafeSat Monitoring System. It enables enterprise users to monitor their vehicles in real time, offering them an extension of control by allowing them to determine the whereabouts of their fleet.

“By supporting Findr, we support Ilonggo ingenuity,” enthused Miss Earth 2015 ANGELIA ONG, an truly Ilongga beauty queen! (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Bloggers Apple Ochon, Andrea Guanco, Raymart Escopel, Courtney Granada and Kathy Villalon; Ira Jucaban and Antoine Greg Flores; Jet Salcedo and Cleve Jyson; and Lenz Amata and Bo Parcon



My birthday celebration

Yours truly with my hostess with the mostest Pauline G. Banusing; with Noel Sinclaire Sy of The Mansion; with Judgee, Dr. Risa and Sarah Peña and with gorgeous sisters Pane and Pangging Rosales

One of Metro-Iloilo’s most in-demand chefs and caterers, award-winning PAULINE GORRICETA-BANUSING, hosted a fun dinner party for me to celebrate my nth birthday at the popular Al Dente Ristorante Italiano at The Mansion. It was a gathering of forty of my nearest and dearest friends!

Chona and Romy Bondoc; Mary May and JM Tiongco; Cleve Jyson and Jet Salcedo; and yours truly with my Volvo Club of Iloilo family: Michael Koopmans, Bob Llorico, Jong and Thirdy Ebrada, Grace Lloirico, Sandra Sta. Rita, Cathy Tabanao, Mina Silva, Joy Zabal, Ping Ebrada and Buddy Silva

Laid out on the buffet table were my favorite dishes – seafood chowder, green salad, cold cuts, potato salad, fried to perfect pork belly, pasta, gambas, tenderloin beef strips, fish fillet, desserts and more!

Yours truly with Mafelou Agriam, Susan Reyes and Joe Marie Agriam; with Peter Kirby, Mark Hermano, Bien Griñe, Cleve Jyson, JR Santos, Lenz Amata and Michael Koopmans; with Bo Parcon, Nonoy Bataga, Noel Mirasol and Ding Montelibano; and with Rex Victor Gardose and Nonoi Ybiernas

Amid sips and spills of fine wine and ice-cold vodka, everyone enjoyed on good conservations on fashion, social weather and current events.

Indeed, it was a wonderful night to celebrate friendship, togetherness, camaraderie, happiness and good health! (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Yours truly with Joe Ozbot; and with Greg Antoine Flores, Rex Victor Gardose and Raymart Escopel