All posts by John Castigador

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, out 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

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 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.

Ice cold celebration, hot party!

Department Heads and Sales and Marketing: Jha Jha Sentina (Reservations Supervisor), Ken Joram Elinon (Reservations Officer), Darlene Gortayo (Front Office Supervisor), Carlos Lavares (Front Office Manager), April Cocjin (Asst. HR Manager), Engr. John Camarista (Asst Chief Engineer), Neljun Guion (Senior Sales Manager), Joseph Del Rosario (Hotel Manager), April Allas (Asst. Executive Housekeeper), Angela Tan (Communications Officer), Lady France Baynosa (Sales Coordinator for Events), Princess Grecia (Sales Executive for Events) and Lucille Pedroso (Sales Executive for Rooms) join Nino Santander (Asst. Financial Controller), Bernard Trespeces (Sales Executive for Rooms), Janses Suropia (Asst. F&B Manager), Albert Ledesma (Sous Chef) and John Bey Galaraga (Security Supervisor); Karen Del Rosario and Joseph Del Rosario (Hotel Manager) with Wilma Estaura (Group Director for Human Resources of AyalaLand Hotels and Resorts Corp.); and Bernard Trespeces (Sales Executive for Rooms), Angela Tan (Communications Officer), Jha Jha Sentina (Reservations Supervisor) and Neljun Guion (Senior Sales Manager) with the human mannequins.

To celebrate the second anniversary of Seda Atria Iloilo, the management, led by the General Manager, all around nice guy JOSEPH del ROSARIO, invited regular patrons, loyal customers and who’s who in business and profession to its Winter Wonderland Party at Satin Room.

The guests came in frosty hues of white, silver and pale blue, with some in rebel colors! They all enjoyed the décor, an obra maestra of Senior Sales Manager, ever-gracious NELJUN GUION, the array of sumptuous dishes, whipped up by Sous Chef ALBERT LEDESMA, and, of course, the overflowing beveragic delights!

Raymart Escopel, yours truly and Antoine Greg Flores; Mae T. Panes and Joy Buday of TMX; and Albert Sia of Maybank.

Jetting in for the event were AILEEN ESCOBEDO, Project Development Manager;  architect RHETT VILLARUZ,  Hotel Manager of Seda Capitol Central; and WILMA ESTAURA, Group Director for Human Resources.

The partying went in high gear with the rhythmic beats of Ritmo Tambores while the dancers of SOL FERNANDEZ School of Dance provided the classical entertainment with ballet numbers.

Much to the delight of everyone, a trivia game and raffle of prizes were held. (Photos by Ray Tabafunda)

Dr. Henry Tupas of Qualimed; DJohn Clement and Edison Sy; and Michael Koopmans and Kyle Patrick Yulo of Solane Panay.

Ritmo Tambores and dancers of Sol Fernandez School of Dance

The Menu

Ready, get set, go!

PRO-FRIENDS Iloilo Deputy Head Tani Puyat and General Manager Dina Estocado

Yes, PRO-FRIENDS is also pro-fitness! It recently held a Family Fun Run on SM City Iloilo Complex. It set almost 2, 000 Ilonggos running in 3K, 5K and 10K Categories.

The proceeds of the fun run went to its chosen beneficiaries, like SOS Children’s Village Iloilo, Friends of Cancer Kids Iloilo Foundation, Inc. and Asilo de Molo!

Over 2,000 Ilonggo runners gather at the PRO-FRIENDS Family Fun Run’s starting point at SM Southpoint and competed in 3K, 5K and 10K categories.

Owned by GUILLERMO CHOA, Property Company of Friends, Inc., commonly known as PRO-FRIENDS, is a real estate company that engages in low-cost housing and condominium development in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

3K category (Female) Winners: Sweden Villamor (3rd Placer), Sara Jane Marcarico (2nd Placer), Edralyn Celestial (1st Placer); and 3K category (Men) Winners: Roger Molinos (3rd Placer), Junard Garcia (2nd Placer), Ramonito Galvar (1st Placer).

The fitness activity is part of the company’s 10th anniversary celebration. More events are being lined up in the coming months. Rightfully so, yours truly is so looking forward to them.

5K category (Female) Winners: Jezsel Ann Morales (3rd Placer), Lyra Pajarello (2nd Placer), Jezza Mae Sustetiedo (1st Placer); and 5K category (Men) Winners: Jero Jaro (3rd Placer), Mark Galopin (2nd Placer), Axcel Catalbas (1st Placer)

10K category (Female) Winners: Jacque Lamparero (3rd Placer), Abigail Odelmo (2nd Placer), Alexandra Ganzon (1st Placer); and 10K category (Men) Winners: John Rey Onifa (3rd Placer), Aldene Doronilla (2nd Placer), Romnick Dago (1st Placer)



Celebrating with Susan Uy-Reyes

Susan Uy-Reyes blows the candles on her birthday cake; with yours truly, Joe Marie Agriam of CREAM Magazine and businessman/photographer Felipe Uygongco; and with Au Palomar, Eva Duenneisen, Ann Darroca and Lilia Recto.

An intimate yet fun dinner party was thrown by hardworking socialite SUSAN UY-REYES to celebrate her many fabulous and memorable years. The bash was held at her well-appointed place de maison in Villa Soriano.

Her unico hijo ROY RONALD REYES, who jetted in from Cosmo-Manille just for the occasion, led the well-wishers who included closest friends. They were there to honor the joyful birthday celebrator.

Roy Ronald Reyes and Ann Darroca; Susan Uy-Reyes with Yolly Altavas and Susan Florete; and Celso Javelosa, Rebecca Maravilla and Au Palomar

The highlights of the party were the array of sumptuous dishes (Steamed and Sweet and Sour Fish, Chicken Estofado, Ox Tongue in Mushroom Sauce, Callos, Beef Stew, Happy Birthday Pancit, Chicken and Potato Salad, Fresh Lumpia and Lechon, to name a few), overflowing beveragic delights, and interesting conversations on politics, photography, fashion, weather and beauty contests!

Dr. Alma Palmares with Ann Palmares, Vivian Magalona and Mafelou Agriam; Susan Uy-Reyes with Bebs and Machie Jamora; and an array of birthday cakes for the celebrator  

The evening ended on a high note with promises of future get-togethers. Here’s wishing SUSAN R. the best of everything!

Maritess Lim celebrates

The celebrator Maritess Lim and with Marilou Chua , Fanny Uy, Norma Lao, Rovea Onglatco, Maria Regina Tan, Jane Celeste Gan-Limsui and Lourdes Lim; and Boyboy Lim.

Not even the heavy downpour and flashflood stopped tres charmante MARITESS LIM from celebrating her birthday at Griller’s Oyster House in Festive Walk of Megaworld.

Rightfully so, kiths and kin braved the inclement weather and traffic jam to greet and wish the celebrator the best in life!

The purple and fuchsia decors set the mood for partying at the second floor VIP Room of the restaurant the celebrator and vivacious ROVEA ONGLATCO own and manage.

Maritess Lim with Kamila Gay Lao , Jodelyn Lao and Sean Austin Lao; Reynold Lim , Robert Uy , Karl Lao, Ralph Uy, John Santi Uy Chua and Stephen Lao; Johanna Sia Tan, Jane Celeste Gan Limsui , Janet Tan , Lilia Lim and Lara Lim.

Overflowing beveragic delights and bountiful gastronomic treats complemented the interesting conversations on social media, weather and business.

Seen on the scene were the celebrator’s mom LOURDES LIM, hardworking businesswoman FANNY UY, couple PARLY and TWEETY BALLEZA who came with their good-looking son NIEL BALLEZA, best dressed LILIA LIM and statuesque NORMA LAO.

Later, the guests enjoyed cake and other goodies then participated in jolly sing-alongs to end the evening.

Maritess Lim with Kmart Lao , Trizia Lynne Lao and Elaine Lao; then she blows the candle on her birthday cake while Mafelou Agriam, Niel Balleza, Tweety Balleza and Joe Marie Agriam watch; and Vice Mayor Parly Balleza of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo.


Little Miss Hablon in Miag-ao, Iloilo

Little Miss Hablon 2017 Hilary Oba (center) with 1st runner up Kyla Joy Netura and 2nd runner up Roxene Madrid

What a better way in promoting the preservation and production of hablon, a heritage fabric endemic in Miag-ao, Iloilo, than holding the yearly Little Miss Hablon? This year’s staging of the personality contest was no exception. Well, why not? After all, it is the brainchild of Mayor MAC NAPULAN, Vice Mayor LEONARDO NALDOZA, members of the Sangguniang Bayan and international haute couturier NONO PALMOS.

Nine young misses competed in Production Number, Street Wear Parade, Cocktail Wear Competition, Talent Presentation, Evening Gown Portion and Q&A.

HILARY OBA of Baybay Norte was adjudged the grand winner after bagging the Best in Talent, Best in Evening Gown and Best in Runway awards. Coming close second was KYLA JOY NETURA of Valencia Elementary School with Best in Street Wear, Best Cocktail Wear and Most Photogenic awards. Second runner up and Best in Americana Las Vegas and Little Miss Earth Friendly awardee ROXENE MADRID of Guibongan-Igtuba Elementary School completed the royal court.

Mayor Mac Napulan of Miag-ao, Iloilo; and judges: Joe Marie Agriam, Tweety Tupas-Balleza, Joaquin Tirol Cocjin, Dolly Chua and Jekka Prudente

Recipients of other minor and special awards included JULIA AIKO AÑASCO of Miag-ao Central Elementary School (Best in Interview and Weaver’s Choice Award), JOE ANN ROSS MOLLENIDO of Guibongan-Igtuba Elementary School (People Choice Award), ALEXZA REIN LINDERO of Malagyan Elementary School (Miss Charity), JENNELLE JENINE ERCILLA of Aguiuan Elementary School (Little Miss B Salon), MARY PAULINE JOAN NARTE of KISFI (Little Miss Punctuality) and FRANCES CLAIRE ROQUE (Miss Congeniality).

Cream Magazine publisher JOE MARIE AGRIAM led the board of judges that comprised of Barotac Viejo Second Lady TWEETY TUPAS-BALLEZA, Rotary Club of Iloilo South President JOAQUIN TIROL COCJIN, Woman of Style 2016 awardee DOLLY CHUA and Miss Iloilo Dinagyang 2017 JEKKA PRUDENTE. They had the difficult task of choosing the winners.

Prime movers of the pageant were MA. LUNA NEMIADA TESORO, ANNABEL AVANCEÑA (production in charge) and JACON MOMVILLE (show director). (Photos provided by Discover Miag-ao)

The Little Miss Hablon 2017 candidates in Americana Las Vegas costumes in the Production Number