Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye to 2013

2013 is drawing to a close.  It is always a time of reflection for me.  How did I spend 2013? Did I accomplish anything that I can offer to my Creator? 

For us Filipinos, 2013 will always be defined by super typhoon Yolanda or Haiyan, the most powerful typhoon in the history of the world and the Napoles multi-billion pork barrel scandal. It is ironic how the two are somehow intertwined with one another.   

Why did God choose the  Philippines as the recipient of Yolanda's wrath? Is it a wake up call to the corrupt politicians running the country to put their pork barrel to good use ? The politicians' pork barrel is supposed to be used in projects of infrastructures, education, health improve the plight of the marginalized Filipino and the country as a whole. But corruption is so endemically ingrained in these politicians evil minds that they think of their pork as their right to fatten their bank accounts.  I just wonder if Yolanda has awakend the conscience of these unconscionable, corrupt politicians.  Matanda, pogi and sexy, wake up!  God gave us Yolanda to shake you and politiicans of your ilk to stop milking government coffers so the money could be used to rebuild and restore the devastation Yolanda and other natural disasters have caused. Get it?

Moving on to more pleasant matters, my friends and I have an angel network which aim to feed the poorest of the poor in different barangays around Taguig and the Mandaluyong area.

We call ourselves Angels to Street Kids (ASK) for short. We do not belong to any foundation.  Rather, we are a bunch of well-meaning, civic-conscious individuals who aim to give cheer to the marginalize by feeding them a decent meal once a week. We welcome friends who want to join us and welcome donations of cash, goods, medicines and food.  Interested donors, call Pretzel-09177910725 or Jessa 09484205898.

This month of December, we went to different Barangays to feed the elderly and the children. Birthday celebrants Tess Schoeffer,  Ito Curata, Cris Badiola, Cecile Infantado, Ann Ong, Jemellie Gonzalez and Nikki Tang decided to sponsor our Saturday feedings in lieu of hosting big parties. God bless these Angels.

It has been December celebrant Linda Ley's custom to host an intimate gathering at Salon De Ning on the last Friday of December to celebrate her birthday.  This year, Ann Ong decided to raffle a python clutch bag to mark the occasion and to give a preview of her 2014 fashion accessory collection.  Congratulations to Rachelle de Guzman, the lucky winner!
Chinese beauty Linda who can give many Chinese celebrities a run for their money announced that this Salon de Ning birthday celebration will go on for the next 50 years. Same guests, same menu, same day, last Friday of December. With that, Susan Joven replied " by then we will be with our care givers or nurses! but with our wobbly knees, we will still be dancing! 

Never give up!"

That is the spirit! While there is life, there is hope. Hope springs eternal!
Wishing every one a Happy New Year! May 2014 bring a realization to all our dreams! 

ASK, short for Angels to Street Kids.
the Angels fed in a GK community in Welfareville,
organized by GK volunteer Rabbi Mendoza ,
extreme right, 2nd row.
the food was sponsored by Goldilocks.
Rachel de Guzman and Linda Ley interact with the kids. 
Ariel Arce and Tess Schoeffer in action. 
 Suzette Lopez shows off the ice cream Arce Dairy
generously sponsored.  Michelle de Leon in green,
organized this feeding, which was
Tess Schoefer's ( in white) birthday celebration. 
Birthday celebrant Cris Badiola (in blue)
was happy seeing all the children enjoy his treat.
Bob Miller, Linda Ley, Hera Geriene
and Len Olbes cheer him on.
Showing off our new Angels T-shirt. 
Cecile Infantado, birthday celebrant is all smiles
to feed the elderly. Nikki Tang, Ann Ong,
Francis de Leon, Mayenne Carmona look on. 

hungry children waiting for the Angels to arrive. 

amidst the squalor and the poverty, 
Ask members are all smiles in fulfilling their mission: 
Mayenne, Hera, Jemellie, Ann, Pretzel, Ruby, 
Francis, Bob, Ito and our mascot Taj Curata. 

0ur year end feeding, ASK group chose to feed the elderly.
 We all met at Mary Grace at Taguig.

Am so proud of our group,
I just had to introduce each and everyone. 
Francis de Leon and Rachelle de Guzman at work
Ann Ong offers them dessert,
Arce Dairy ice cream and some cakes. 
Thank you Lord for all your blessings!
Ariel Arce leads the prayers while I look at the camera. 
Arriving at the Peninsula
with Cecile Infantado and Richard Tiu.
Linda's beauteous guests- Rachelle,
Mayenne, Mara Gerienne, Cecile, Yoly and Len. 
Cris Badiola, Linda Ley,
the celebrant, Tina Cuevas and myself. 
who is the lucky winner of this python clutch bag? 
Mark Ley and Mara Geriene
Gale Laude, Mark and Hera Geriene
Rachelle, Tina and Rupert Jacinto, Linda Ley
Ito Curata, Mayenne and Linda
the KISS!!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Faabulous Gala for Yolanda Victims

The yearly Faabulous coffee table book of Rupert Jacinto was launched recently at the 3rd floor Gallery of the Manila Peninsula.  The book is a collection of portraits of distinguished personalities of the Philippines, some more distinguished than others.  This year, the guest of honor for the Faaabulous Book IV launch (yes, this is now the fourth book) was Fidel Ramos, former President of our Republic, who together with artist Betsy Westendorf, Elaine Villar, GM of Peninsula Sonja Vodusek, and National artist Arturo Luz, cut the ribbon to formally open the exhibit. 

Viewers of Rupert Jacinto's portraits of the fabulous men and women reveled at the artistry of Jacinto's portraiture.  Every portrait has the distinct Jacinto touch, like a master painter perfecting his art at every stroke of his brush.  

In as much as every portrait has its own charm and beauty, the surprise of the exhibit is the portrait of the Black and White Swan.  It is a fantasy portrait of myself and my dance teacher, Ryan Jago.  Like art imitating art, I copied Natalie Portman's heavy eye make-up and hair decor when she portrayed a prima ballerina in the Black Swan.  The portrait received positive reviews all night. Dress designer  Ito Curata excalimed, "I love Mayenne's portrait. That really is Faabulous!" Art collector Tereret Liboro said it in Spanish, "muy distinto y differento! Me gusta mucho!" President Ramos posed with me and gave it the thumbs up! John Gaddi tweeted- "Winner! Mayenne's portrait is a masterpiece! "

The Gallery guests segued to the ballroom where a Gala dinner followed the coctail launch.  Hosted by the inimitable Johnny Litton, the Gala which was a fund raising for the victims of Yolanda, had an auction of art pieces donated by National artist Arturo Luz and Betsy Westerndorf.  

The highlight of the evening was seeing the beautiful ladies in their black or white gown.  They were eye popping gorgeous, and the scene seemed like a fashion parade of haute couture gowns.  Manila's fashionistas will always support a good cause!
Javy Berenguer Managing Director of
Salon de Ning of Peninsula, Ofi Wadle And
Kim Mattias in Albert Andrada, and Kim Policarpio
Tessa Prieto Valdes
Mayenne Carmona, Fidel Ramos, (guest of Honor)
and Tina Jacinto.
Art for art's sake-Ryan Jago as the White Swan
and myself as the Black Swan.
Rupert Jacinto, Hera Geriene in Ito Curata,
Cecile Infantado in Azucar, Mayenne in Kim Gan, Henry Zabarte
Agile Zamora and Jun Jun Ablaza
Sonny Tanchanco, haute couture designer Ito Curata and John Gaddi
Vice Governor of Isabela and one of the
15 Faabulous Men, Tonypet Albano 
Lilibeth and Pacqui Campos, one of the Faabulous Couples
Faabulous ladies in Ann Ong's fashion jewelry pieces-
Ann Ong and Rachel de Guzman
Louis Ablaza, Mayenne in a John Paras gown and David Lim

President Ramos and Dr. Rene Samaniego
Rene Puno, Ann Puno in  Ito Curata, Ito Curata
Tess Schoefer, extreme right with her friends from Germany,
Eden and Lorna. Francis de Leon at the back
Becky Garcia
Madame Nene Leonor, one of the two cover ladies
portrait of attractive couple Manny and Suzette Lopez was a stand out!