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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Blake, A Classical Vocal Quartet


Four disarmingly charming, clean-cut-handsome English artists came to Manila upon the sponsorship of Ayala MallsPhilippine Tatler, San Miguel Brewery Inc., Bench, Myx, Agri Pro and gave a mini concert in Greenbelt 5.  I must say that the guests, (headed by the Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his family), were impressed and entertained by the melodious blending of the four tenor-baritones that they clamored for more and more. The group, obviously happy by the standing ovation rendered them, obliged with an encore number. They sang tunes from their latest album, "Together", which included covers of popular classical songs like Nesssum Dorma, and commercial-classical-pop crossovers like Bridge Over Troubled Waters, With or Without You, She, and my super favorite, All of Me.  

The quartet comprise of Ollie Baines, Humphrey Berney, Jules Knight and Stephen Bowman.  Founder of the group is Jules Knight.  All four have musical backgrounds.  Humphrey Berney is a classically trained opera singer.  Stephen Bowman studied classical voice and electronic music at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jules Knight is an actor, singer, model and TV presenter.  He has performed in musical theater since his youth.Ollie Baines is a pianist and plays the French horn and the Trumpet.  He received classical music training from the age of 8. 

When God gave out musical and artistic talent, this group was in the front row. And for added bonus, God gave them that elusive X-factor coupled with good looks to complete the package.

After the concert, the invited guests went to the third floor for a sumptuous cocktail catered by Kai and to take photos with the group.  Thank you Tatler group, (Irene Francisco, publisher and Anton San Diego, editor in chief) for this outstanding musical treat! 


Anton San Diego, editor in chief of Tatler,  with one of the Blake baritones, Humphrey Berney.  Thank you Anton for bringing them here.

Humphrey Berney, Stephen Bowman, Ollie Baines, were so charmingly gracious to autograph the posters Linda Ley and I received with their CD, "Together", which went on sale after the concert.

Designer Ito Curata displays the CD that the group autographed for him.

Ben Chan, one of the sponsors of the concert,  poses with Blake founder Jules Knight, 3rd from left. Heidi Ng, Leah Puyat, Phoemela Baranda and Mons Romulo complete the picture.

Enjoying the sumptuous Kai delicacies- myself, Tina Cuevas, Susan Joven, Linda Ley, Dante Silverio.

I was happy to see long time friend who I have not seen in years Bambina Oliveros (left). Mons Romulo on the right.


Susan Joven, Maurice Arcache, Linda Ley and Sulo Hotel  owner Tina Cuevas.


Grace Glory Go and Cecile Infantado enjoyed meeting the group as well!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

John Walker and Sons celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth at Ayala Museum

In honor of the 60th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Diageo Philippines celebrates and unveils the Diamond Jubilee by John Walker and Sons.

Diamond Jubilee was created by John Walker and Sons, Scotch Whisky Distillers by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen, to celebrate 60 years of the Queen's accession to the throne.  The blend is crafted from rare malt and grain Scotch Whiskies distilled in and maturing since 1952, the year the Queen acceded to the throne.

To provide a rare opportunity to present this stunning showcase of master craftsmanship, John Walker and Sons has created two editions that will be made available for exhibit in selected locations around the world, of which has made its way to the Philippines.

The event was held at the Ayala Museum with Manila's A-list crowd in attendance.

Global Brand Ambassador Jonathan Driver, kicked off the night with the unveiling of the Diamond Jubilee- a Diamond shape Baccarat Crystal Decanter, standing on a crystal base with 6 radial legs to reflect the decades of The Queen's enduring reign.  Leading Scottish silversmiths Hamilton & Inches has fashioned the collars set with a half-carat diamond, the royal arms, Johnnie Walker and Sons monogram and individually numbered seals. 

Sharing the same vision and commitment with the preservation of the art and craftsmanship, Diageo Philippines celebrated the occasion with the special exhibit comprising of rare and valuable pieces from world renowned Filipino artists and designers. Some of the pieces together with one of the first bottled Johnnie Walker Blue Label with the signature of the Master Blender Jim Beveridge, will be auctioned off for the benefit of the Asian Cultural Council of the Philippines-a foundation that provides individual fellowship grants to Filipino artists, scholars and specialists to achieve prominent leadership positions in their respective fields.

We particularly enjoyed the cocktail with JW Blue blended by the Master Blender. Bizu's selection of appetizers and patisserie were excellent. Songbird Bea Tantoco thrilled the crowd with her rendition of Alicia Key's New York.  Congratulations to organizers Diageo Philippines and PR Firm Eon on the success of their event. 


A Diamond shape Crystal Decanter executed and designed by Baccarat, standing on a crystal base with 6 radial legs which signify the 6 decades of reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Take note of the half carat diamond embedded on the collar.

Global Brand Ambassador, Marketing Manager of Diageo Fe Mir, myself and Diageo's Managing Director Arif Esenc

 A silk embroidered lounge wear from Josie Natori was auctioned off.

 Leana F. Carmona, President of EON, PR Firm which handled the event

 Friends from New York, Biba San Agustin and Tunting Cruz Matters graced the event and happy to see BPI President Gigi Montinola

 Arif Esenc,  Dr. Norman San Agustin from New York, JW Global Brand Ambassador Jonathan Driver

Guest vocalist Bea Tantoco with movie star from Shanghai,  Linda Lei

I caught glamorous ladies Suzette Lopez, and Linda Ley having a chat with art collector Trickie Lopa.

Auction donors, Ambassador Isabel Wilson and Josie Natori 10.

Michael Chan, multi-talented composer, guitarist, keyboard player and singer
Naissa Carmona, Account Manager of EON Stakeholder PR Firm, is happy on the success of their affair. Handsome uncle, Charlie Carmona gives her a supportive hug.  In the background is a Blue Label representative showing off a liter of Blue that sells for PHP8500 with the buyer's name engraved on it. 50% of the proceeds go to the scholars of ACCP Foundation. 

Rajo Laurel who donated a gown that was auctioned off for the ACCP Foundation's scholars, greets New Yorkers Dr. Norman and Biba San Agustin

Nu Skin CEO Michiko Graff and Designer Cristopher Lacson

Friday, March 9, 2012

Masquerade Ball Unmasked

Mayor Mike Rama could not have chosen a better Chairperson than Mariquita Yeung  for his Beautiful Cebu Movement Foundation.  With her Midas touch, it seems  that every mandate given to Mariquita Yeung turns into gold.  During the Masquerade Ball project that she spearheaded at the Waterfront Hotel on Feb. 29, millions of pesos were raised.

It was a world class event  that she organized complete with court jesters and Le Cirque du Soleil on stage.  Singers Pinky Marquez and  Martin Nievera, host Borgy Manotoc and expert auctioneer Tessa Prieto Valdez contributed to the success of the evening.  Tessa auctioned off a dinner with Mayor Mike Rama and Governor Gwen Garcia which fetched a cool 1.6 Million. 

A highlight of the evening was the donation of Tahieyo Cement Corporation of 6,000 bags of cement to complete the Beautify Cebu Project. The cement bags will be used to pave two kilometers of sidewalks  from Fuente Rotonda down to the corner of Sanciangco street.

During the Ball, items from Janice Minor, Kenneth Cobonpue, Governor Gwen Garcia, and other donors were auctioned off.  Generous donors included Ambassador and Mrs. Philippe Lhuillier, Carlos Yeung, San Miguel Brewery Corp, Westminster Holding Corp and Chong Hua Hospital.  Proceeds will go to the project.

What was most impressive was the supportive attendance and generosity of Cebu's literatti and glamoratti.   Everyone dressed up to the nines, and true to the Ball's theme, interesting designer masks went on and off all throughout the evening.  Quality wines and bubbly kept everyone in good spirits and the evening did not end after the program did.  The stage rocked with everyone dancing to the DJ's music. It was so delightful to see the beauteous Governor, Cebu's debonair Mayor, and the Masquerade's gorgeous Chairperson and her husband Carlos take to the stage and dance their heart out. 


Joining the court jesters are Vivian Riechle, Cora Arceo, and Malaysian friend Tai Ping

The gorgeous costumed ladies added to the ambiance of the ball







Drama in black and red Merce Abellana and Gabrielle Baljak




Mysterious masked couple


C'est magnifique! Mariquita Salimbangon Yeung masked! Coutured by Cary Santiago

Unmasked with loving husband Carlos Yeung

Costumes were outstanding!

 Cora Arceo, Vivian Riechle and Tai Ping, unmasked




Oriental beauty Bo Hauri looked chic in a Parisienne gown

Le Cirque du Soleil was awesome

All that glitters is definitely Gold!

Elegant Ladies Carmen Campbell, Rosebud Sala and Teresing Mendesona

Hazel, Doro and Agnes were my dance mates on stage

Anna Quisumbing and Gregg Huettel pose with their friends

The most glamorous Governor Cebu ever had- Gov. Gwen Garcia, ravishing in a Cary Santiago creation  

Host Borgy Manotoc, his lady love Georgina Wilson, Gov. Gwen and Bo Hauri

Amparito Lhuillier outshone the black diamonds on her neck

The winning team - Mayor Mike Rama, Mariquita Yeung, and Gov. Gwen Garcia

kisses from Marge Lhuillier and Georgina. Lucky Borgy!

Hanz Coquilla's creation on Valerie,  Tessa in Raymond Encino, and myself in a Maureen Disini Grecian gown

Miss Cebu for Miss Universe Mia Arcenas