Monday, January 23, 2012

PEOPLE ASIA'S People Of the Year Awards was MEMORABLE!

The stalwarts of People Asia Magazine, Publisher Jose Manuel "Babe Romualdez, glamorous Editor -in Chief, JoAnne Rae Ramirez and Associate Publisher Kevin Belmonte garnered another feather to their cap with the success of this year's People of the Year celebration at the Dusit Thani ballroom in Makati. It was also People Asia's 12th year Anniversary, another good reason to celebrate in a grand scale.

Lens genius Jun de Leon, President and Vice Chairman of Philippine Hoteliers Inc., Evelyn Singson, Broadcast journalist Ted Failon, Senator Edgardo Angara, Composer Louie Ocampo, Broadcast journalist Mel Tiangco, Businessman Henry Sy Jr., Painter Ben Cabrera, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago were chosen for their lifetime achievements.  Other awardees were Beauty Queens Miss Philippines for Ms. Universe Shamsey Supsup, Ms. Philippines for Miss World, Gwendolyn Ruais,  and Man of the Decade, Pound for Pound King Manny Pacquiao, who gave our country pride and honor.

People Asia's first "People's Choice Awardee"  Dolores "Maruxa" Pita (she was nominated by readers and garnered the most votes in an online poll posted on Facebook), is a remarkable Angel sent to the Philippines by God. She landed in the Philippines on Dec. 1959 to help establish the Institucion Teresiana School (now known as Poveda) and has never left since. Hers is an amazing true story of how a retired Spanish school teacher helped build a "heaven" for street kids. 

SM Boss Lady Tessie Sy had her own set of People of the Year Awardees: Miss Universe Margie Moran Florendo for her dedication to Ballet Philippines,  French Missionary Laurence Ligier, who has been rescuing girls from physical and abusive situations when she put up Chameleon Association in Iloilo, Golden Arches George Yang, owner of the McDonald's franchise has 27,000 workers to date, boosting the employment rate in the Philippines, among others. 

The event started with the cast of Mama Mia giving a few excerpts from the show which will open on Jan 24 at the CCP.

Everybody's idol, the "Beacon of Filipino pride",the undisputed WBO's Welterweight Champion, Manny Pacquiao, delighted the audience with a most candid speech he ever delivered, filled with humor, Bilblical passages and touching circumstances of his humble beginnings.

Looking forward to next year's People of the Year Awards. Put your bets on who they will be. Your guess is as good as mine. 

Awardee Sen. Edgardo Angara obliged me with a pose

The Honorable Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert del Rosario is flanked by Consuls Evie Costa and Fortune Ledesma

Business Tycoon Tony Boy Cojuangco with his long time partner Gretchen Barretto

3rd runner up in the Miss Universe Contest, intelligent and lovely Shamsey Supsup

A Trio of Designers- Set and accessory deisgner Jun Ablaza, Dress designers Michelle Sison, and Ito Curata

I only watch boxing if it is PACMAN fighting. Dr. Joni Dizon joins me in this photo

Publisher Babe Romualdez with Awardees Pacman, and Sen. Angara

Arturo Go, Essenses Marketing genius Rhoda Aldanase and Ed Ramirez, so proud of wife JoAnne Rae's achievement 

Rose Ann Belmonte, Architect Rachy Cuna, Marisa Cojuangco

 Young fashionista President of Calata enterprise Joseph Calata

Dusit's GM Prateek Kumar, Essences Rhoda Aldanese

Stylish Spa owner Lani Schoof

Tall Statuesque International Model Krista Kleiner co-hosted with Johnny Litton

Pal. President Jimmy Bautista

Impressario Francis Lumen showed excerpts of Mama Mia to kick off the event

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Choosing Miss Cebu was a Fun Experience!

When Philip Rodriguez invited me to be one of the judges of the Miss Cebu 2012 Contest, I did not hesitate to accept the position.  There is something very gratifying in changing the lives of the winners for the better.

My fellow judges were Martin Xu, newly appointed Country Manager of Cathay Pacific, Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros, Couturier Francis Libiran, and jewelry designer Ana Rocha.  It was instant chemistry among the five of us which made our job more FUN than tedious.  On a level playing field, interviewing 12 young talented ladies with strong opinions about their advocacy and their vision for Cebu could be a difficult task. The rapport we had among us judges made our task lighter.

The 12 contestants were Michelle Angelique A. Tan, Ann Caryl S.Gotingco, Mary Hazel Haruka Watabe, Rachel Chloe T. Palang, Cynthia Lois D. Tac-an Pierre Anther G. Infante, Ella Beverly P. Sarmago, Herle Kim T. Artugue, April Ann Claire R. White, Jonnie Rose Louise R. Wee, Shannen R. Abarquez, Lesly Ann P. Fernandez.

All twelve contestants paraded in elegant evening gowns executed by Cebu's finest designers: Cary Santiago, Jun Escario, Philip Rodriguez, OJ Hoffer, Wendel Qusido, Jojo Romoff, Philipp Tampus, Yvonne Quisumbing, Arcy Gayatin, Albert Arriba, and two others whose names I missed.

The best evening gown was worn by Pierre Anther G. Infante, and the designer who garnered the award was Cary Santiago. And the winner of Miss Cebu was.....also Pierre Anther G.Infante.

Congratulations to all of the contestants. As Mayor Mike Rama said, they are all winners.

Congratulations to the choreographers, to the costume designers, the producer of the show, to Cebu City Tourism Foundation, and to all the sponsors who made the show a successful, enjoyable event.

Taking her final walk, 2011 Miss Cebu Mia Zeeba Alfariddon

The hopeful contestants for Miss Cebu 2012 with Miss Cebu 2011

Past winners dressed by one of Cebu's finest designers Philip Rodriguez with actor Rafael Rosell were anchor hosts

Jaja Rama, of Cebu's Tourism Office, in a flowing Rodriguez emerald green joins my fellow judges Jewelry designer Ana Rocha, Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros and Cathay Pacific Country Manager Martin Xu

Charismatic Cebu Mayor,  Mike Rama said "They are all winners!" 

Ana Quisumbing, Officer of the Cebu Tourism Office and winner of Ms. Curvaceous contest, 4th from left in a black gown took good care of us judges.  L to R-- couturier Francis Libiran, Cathay Pacific GM Martin Xu, myself, jewelry designer and boutique owner Ana Rocha, and Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros

President of Cebu's Fashion Designer Guild, Philip Rodriguez, movie and TV actor Rafael Rosell, myself and Francis Libiran enjoyed the dinner party after the event.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Good-Bye 2011!

Another year has passed and we ask ourselves-Was it a year well spent? Did we try to succeed in our endeavors to the best of our capabilities or were we so lackadaisical in everything that we let another year go by wallowing in mediocrity? Most of the time we perform our daily chores in robotic fashion. The passion has left our soul and each new day was as blah as yesterday.

Well, it is time to look forward to a New Year, to a new you. Let us reinvent ourselves this year and look for something that will tickle our fancy, that will put back the fire in our existence. Whether it is learning a new sport or a new dance exercise, going to a new gym, having a new business endeavor, a new charity, going back to school, or whatever!  Just do it! Don't let another year go by and regret that you did not do something to stoke the fires of your passion and did not reinvent yourself.

December was a month of social functions. A lot of friends celebrated their birthdays, anniversaries, weddings of their children,  offices had their Christmas parties, books were launched, resorts and boutique hotels had their soft openings.

Here are four events worth mentioning:

Dec. 20 was the Philippine Star Christmas Party. The theme was Pirates of the Caribbean. Isaac Belmonte won the best costume! Wow, he could have put Johnny Depp out of business. He looked like a real authentic Pirate, what with his long hair, a pirate's saber, enough jewelry from a Pirate's treasure chest, chunky shoes and all.

The highlight of the event was the speech of Phil Star President Miguel Belmonte who thanked the Phil Star family for the productive work they did in 2011. He did not forget to thank the good Lord for all His blessings.  He made all the employees and columnists present there very happy with the unexpected bounty they all received.

The presence of movie stars Jericho Rosales and Derek Ramsey thrilled us ladies as they were very accommodating in posing with all of us. We are movie fans at heart.

Miguel Belmonte and his lovely wife Milette and daughter Reggie

The pirate ship that won for Most Original

Bum Tenorio, JoAnne Rae and the staff of Allure

Heart throb Derek Ramsey graciously posed with all the ladies.

Sara Soliven de Guzman and I were thrilled to the bones

Boo Chanco, exotic, talented Broadway singer Stephanie Reese and Phil Star President Miguel Belmonte

Dec 27 was a small intimate gathering of friends at David Lim's architecturally impressive house. Rupert and Tina Jacinto are really happy this season as their two daughters Jackie and Liezl came from New York and Tokyo respectively to spend the holidays with them. Two adorable grandchildren, Arisa and Keiji complete the happy household.  The party was made meaningful by the gathering of the guests around the piano singing Christmas Carols. David made sure he printed enough lyrics for everyone.

The Jacinto daughters Jackie and Liezl surprised parents Rupert and Tina Jacinto by coming for the holidays. Liezl's son Keiji and daughter Arisa complete the pack.

David Lim's Christmas tree is so gorgeous that I just had to strike a pose!

Dec.28 was my out of town sortie with close buddies Cecile Infantado and Grace Glory Go. We were generously hosted by Hamilo Cove, thanks to the invitation of PR company EON. Amiel Mendoza of EON was our perfect guide and Annika Punzalan, Hamilo's tres charmant PR Lady made sure our stay was as comfortable as possible.

Hamilo is located in Nasugbu, Batangas, barely 3 hrs away from Manila, yet a world completely unto itself with its breathtaking beauty and unique coves.  It will rise as a network of leisure communities that enable a live-work- heal-play lifestyle- with breath taking settings ranging from popular waterfront locales to secluded ultra -exclusive coves.

We were completely relaxed the two days that we spent there, and Annika was our perfect hostess. She made sure that we availed of their soothing massage as well as savor their evening buffets of different cuisines (the first night was Mediterranean and 2nd evening was Mexican).  We also enjoyed dancing to the music of the two different bands.

We shall return to Hamilo Cove, we promised Annika.

My Hamilo company-Amiel Mendoza of EON, Dr. Cecile Infantado, Annika Punzalan, Grace Glory Go, Executive VP of Star, and myself

The infinity pool and beyond

The Brazilian Models arrived for the Mardi Gras party on the 30th of Dec.

Dec. 30 was the beauteous Linda Ley's birthday celebration at the Salon de Ning.  In lieu of gifts, she requested as to donate to her favorite charity.  Let's drink to that and to our celebrant,  who is a beautiful lady inside out.

Celebrant Linda Ley with guests Ruth Rodriguez and Suzette Hahn Lopez

Len Olbes, Richard Tiu, Linda Ley and Coni Hau

Woman in Red Mayenne Carmona

Coosome twosome Sari Yap and Richard Tiu

Lovey dovey couple  Romy Rodriguez and wife Ruth Hahn R.

Happy New Year to one and All!