Thursday, December 29, 2016

Goodbye 2016, Welcome 2017!

Goodbye 2016,  Welcome 2017! 

It's been a while since my last Blog entry which was about my glorious summer in New York. 

So much has happened since then.  Manila's socials were non-stop.  There were birthday parties, launchings, weddings, and the big Balls that I attended- Red Cross Ball, the Best Dressed Ball,  the Tatler Ball, the Faabulous Black and White Ball, and the Emerald Ball in Cebu.  These events and the Balls were touted and highlighted in the social media-( FB, IG, Twitter) accounts.  Suffice for me to say that they were elegant and fun. We were always dressed to the nines  which is always expected of us.  

Birthday party of Hera Geriene, glamor gals Tess Schoefer, Malu Francisco, Hera, Myself, Linda Ley and Rachel de Guzman

At the 97th Birthday of my dad, Manuel Y. Carmona
First row:  Mommy Inday Carmona, Myself, the celebrant, Manuel Y. Carmona
Second row:  Thomas Kuhnke, Annie Carmona Kuhnke, Marisa Carmona Chan, Malou Gamboa, Steven Chan

Friends of Nikki Tang host her a birthday dinner at Delicieux.
First Row:  Ariel Arce, Nikki Tang, Mayenne Carmona
Second Row:  Bob Miller, Francis de Leon, Gina Mohnani, Hera Geriene and Rachel de Guzman

We look forward to the yearly Tatler Ball.  At the lobby with Chef Xavier Btesh and Cecile Infantado

Faaabulous Ball Male Icon of the Year is sculptor Ramon Orlina

Faaabulous artist Rupert Jacinto and Hera Geriene

Pinky Puno and Ryan Jago in Best Dressed Ball

With Derek Ramsey at Red Cross Ball. Gown by Ito Curata

There were the trips to Cebu and Davao to attend events such as the 18th anniversary of Marco Polo Davao, the 20th anniversary of Zee Lifestyle Magazine, the opening of the Pig and Palm by Jason Atherton (a Michelin Star Chef)  and the 70th birthday of Carlos Yeung, my dearest Mariquita Salimbangon Yeung's husband.  

In the 18 th anniversary of Davao's Marco Polo Hotel, We modeled Ann Ong's accessories.  Dr. Elsie Pascua, Mayenne Carmona, Ann Ong , Dr. Pandy  and Anna Sia

With the Pig and Palm owner, Dame Mariquita S. Yeung during the presscon

At the Pig and Palm Opening in Cebu , i pose with Chef Jason Atherton and wife Ira. 

But in this year-end Blog, I would like to write about my spiritual journey in Europe, which started in Rome and continued in Paris and Belgium.  My trip to these places were definitely the highlights of my year. 

I went to Rome to attend the canonization of Saint Mother Teresa on Sept 4 and it was a goose-pimples experience for me.  I have wished for the day that I could be in the presence of Pope Francis, my favorite Pope, because I missed my chance when he came to Manila.  And it finally happened.  There I was on St Peter's Square, in the Vatican, surrounded by a throng of people, all Mother Theresa devotees.  I felt so privileged to be in the presence of Pope Francis who presided over the canonization proceedings.  It was a dream come true, I couldn't believe I was seeing Pope Francis in the flesh which felt like being in the presence of God! 

In St. Peter's Square, while waiting for Pope Francis to start the mass

A visit to the Colloseum brings me back to historical times

Fr. Odillo, a Tanzanian priest, walked me back to my hotel

From Rome I flew to Paris to bond with my siblings, Loudette, Annie, Marisa, Charlie and his wife Leana.  It was fun to be with them for two solid weeks, exploring Paris, enjoying gastronomical meals (whether at my sister's home or in restaurants),  shopping or even just window shopping and visiting churches.  We attended mass in our favorite church in Rue du Bac- the Miraculous Medal Church.  In this church, my brother Charlie experienced a miracle of sorts many years ago when a group of Filipino pilgrims prayed over him.  He experienced a sudden surge of well being after the pray over and he was healed of cancer soon after, never to return again!  Thank you Jesus.  

My Sisters Annie, Loudette, Marisa and I at the Miraculous Medal church

My sisters Loudette and Marisa and I went on a two- day pilgrimage to two sites in Belgium where Mother Mary appeared to some poor children.  My beau-frere Jean Pierre Corcellut was kind enough to drive us there. 

We drove to Banneaux, Liege (Belgium) which was a site of apparitions in 1933 when a lady in white with a blue sash appeared to Mariette Beco, a 12 year old, eight times.  She identified herself as Our Lady of the Poor. During one apparition the Lady in white told Mariette to plunge her hands into a small spring which has healing waters.   Today, the small spring yields about 2000 gallons of water a day with many reports of miraculous healings.

We went around the sacred grounds, prayed the rosary in the open chapel there and dipped our arms in the healing spring.  The place reminded me of a forest in Japan because of the Asian architecture of the small chapels around the sacred grounds.  

The healing spring at Banneaux

The holy grounds of Banneaux

The exact spot where Mother Mary appeared to Marriet

Loudette, Marisa and I in front of the altar the Filipino pilgrims put up in Banneaux

We spent the night at Lafarques Hotel, a 4star hotel in Pepinster, before proceeding to Beauraing the next day.  Lafarques Hotel was such a big surprise to us!  Their rooms are spacious and are tastefully done and  their Restaurant is part of the Chaine des Rotisseurs.  They have a mini forest in front of the hotel with goats,  a small lake and birds.  We communed with nature before our gourmet dinner in their restaurant.  After a sumptuous breakfast at mid-morning next day, we set off for Beauraing, another pilgrim site.

 Our suite at Lafarques Hotel

Enjoying nature

Beauraing, a small village only 3 miles from the French Border, is where our Lady appeared to 5 children ranging in age from 9-15, in 33 apparitions, from Nov. 29, 1932 to Jan. 3, 1933. 
The first few times of our Lady's apparition, the children - Andree and Gilberte Degeimbre (15 & 9 years old) and Fernande, Golberte and and Albert Voisin ( ages 15, 13, 11 ages) the Blessed Virgin remained there silently for a long time.  Each time she appeared the children were thrown to their knees whether they wanted or not.  This caused them them to land on their knees with a hard bump but there were  no scars on their knees.  The children were not believed by the nuns and priests when they spoke of these apparitions.  After many tests by Doctors, the children were found to be telling the truth.  It was not till the 21st of December when the Lady revealed who she is.  " I am the Immaculate Virgin". 

She is also known as the " Virgin of the Golden Heart " because the children saw a golden heart in the center of her chest.  She requested that a chapel be built here and that she wanted pilgrims to come to this site  and also asked the children " pray, pray, pray". On Jan 3, 1933, she said to Andrew, one of the children, " I am the Mother of God, the Queen of  Heaven.  Pray always."

                                                   Beauraing, another
                                                         pilgrimage site, we lit 
                                                         candles for our special

The statue of Mary with the Golden Heart 

I am looking forward to an exciting 2017.  May it be a year of promise and hope fulfilled.  My plans to help the marginalized and the sick even more through our feeding group, the Angels to Street Kids should further be realized.  2017, I welcome you with open arms! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


A Summer Fling in the Big Apple

I visit the Big Apple yearly usually during the months of June and July.
The weather is just perfect for me.  Warm and sunny during the day and breezy at night.  I plan my activities with my friends, months before my visit.  I usually like to see some Broadway shows, try some new dining places or just hang out with my besties.

July 4th fireworks

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Columbus Circle at night

A leopard will never change his spots!

A photography exhibit by artist, Philip Dizon, Philippine Faces and Places
was held at the Philippine Consulate.  Jessica Dizon and I pose in front of
dancer Pinky Puno's portrait depicting the Walled City, Intramuros.

Justin Dizon, a budding photographer shows me
the merits of his father's artistic photographs.

The cell phone generation

This year, I watched the show of my favorite Dancing with the Stars dancers, Maks and Val Chmerkovskiy twice.  Maks and Val's Our Way Tour is a story of how two brothers made it in NYC through hard work.    I watched it at the beautiful gilded Beacon theater in Broadway with my Columbian brother Sergio Orozco and the 2nd time in Morristown theater in NJ with my dear friends Dr. Norman and Biba San Agustin.

My fave baseball team!

Enjoying the company of my Colombian brother Sergio Orozco at a dance show in Beacon Theater

Bumped into DWTS champ Tony Dovolani and
his lovely wife Lani at a restaurant in Morristown, NJ

My friends Dr. Norman and Biba San Agustin have a collection of sports cars.

Do you prefer me in a T Bird or a Porsche Carrera?

The life of songwriter/singer Carole King is what Beautiful is all about.  It is an entertaining musical and is a must-see.

Enjoying the company of our friend Jerry after watching Beautiful in Broadway.

Manus X Machina, an ongoing exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of haute couture from top.

Seeing my New York besties and bonding with them is what I love about my yearly visit to New York.  I am so privileged to stay at the fab 6 storey townhouse with a roof garden of Yue Sai Kan, China's Cosmetic Queen.  She gives me the best guest room among her four guest bedrooms! It is the red room on the 3rd floor, so tastefully done with Chinese antiques and a Baccarat chandelier. 

My designer room at Yue Sai Kan's residence.

Antique Chinese furniture pieces, red capped chandelier complete the room.

The 2,500 sqm garden that the residents of the Sutton Square share.
The corner house is occupied by UN Secretary General.

The 59th St. Bridge and the East River are the view from the garden.

Do I look like I am holding the rose?  Its camera trick by
my talented Brother Sergio.  The Rose by sculpture Isa Genzken

Is the Broken Obelisk by Newman Barnet piercing my palm?
The lady fainting by a small pond is by Aristide Maillol

Tricia Lee and I love to chill out at the lounge of Baccarat Hotel!

Surrounded by crystals and chandeliers

An advance birthday dinner hosted by lovely friends Lily O' Boyle and Yue Sai Kan was one of the highlights of my trip.

A birthday dinner with Yue Sai and Biba San Agustin

Such a good feeling to be with great friends

At the roof top garden with Lily O Boy'le, Dr. Norman, Maria and Biba

The view with the lights beyond

Blowing of my cake - with hosts Yue Sai and Lily and guests Sergio, Djiang,
Ijaz, Biba, Maria and Norman.  Tricia is peeping behind Maria

Friends make a city and this is what the Big Apple is all about for me.  I love my friends there and spending time with them exploring the city's new restaurants, new hotels, the museums, Broadway shows,  going to dinner parties, shopping, discovering new cafes- these are simple joys that beckon me to the  Big Apple. 

A bite of the Big Apple at the Apple Store on 5th Ave.

Fresh fruits and veggie juice carts like this are all over 5th and 6th Ave.
I get my daily dose of carrot and apple juice from this one.

Life is wonderful when you are with people you love and who love you back too!

With Woodstock co-founder Joel Rosenman

Reina de las Filipinas was my name card during a lunch at Luz Miriam Toro's Galleria apt.