Birthdays, Cole Sprouse and beautiful frocks!


Let the May showers come with infinite blessings! Our family has been so blessed, with four wonderful children, and our youngest Athena just becoming a teenager yesterday. Born on the auspicious date 05/05/05, Athena was a gift I received in my early 40s.

Birthday girl Athena Valdes and Alex Prieto

Our age gap can be a challenge. Take for instance, Cole Sprouse! I had no clue who this young Hollywood actor was! But according to Athena, he is the big deal of the moment.

Last April 20 was a great day to be a Cole Sprouse fan. Thanks to Bench and its main man Ben Chan, the Riverdale star got to visit Manila for the first time and experience our cuisine, culture, and overwhelming appreciation of pre-teen Philippines for Cole himself.

Sprouse started his day with a press conference at Makati Shangri-la, where he dished about his personal style, photography, and how the mystical island of Siquijor is now on his travel bucket list. He then went on to do a round of meet-and-greet activities at SM Mall of Asia and Glorietta, where he was greeted by thousands of screaming fans.

The day was capped with a private dinner at the Bench Cafe with the Bench family, which included the brand’s star-studded roster of endorsers. Among those present at the dinner were Maine Mendoza, Lovi Poe, Solenn Heussaff, Julia and Claudia Barretto, Gabbi Garcia, Juliana Gomez, and Cole’s newfound playmate, Baeby Baste.

That same evening, Ben hosted his more mature set of close friends to an 80s theme party for the birthdays of Miguel Pastor, Millet Mananquil, Mons Romulo and Richard Gomez. At least at the latter party, I could sing along to all the 80s songs and dance with long time college friend Louie Heredia.

I may not have known Cole Sprouse but I do know Rosa Clará. It was a beautiful evening at The Conservatory of The Peninsula Manila as top global bridal designer Señora Rosa Clará presented her stunning, intricately designed, bridal gowns and cocktail dresses from her 2018 Collection.

For the past 20 years, Rosa Clará has given women from all over the world classic and sophisticated pieces for their dream-wedding day and other important events in their lives. This year’s collection focuses on embracing the female figure in all its glory with romantic bridal gowns that stand between dream and reality. Ethereal lines and delicate fabrics evoke a feminine statement from an elegant and subtle point of view.

According to the Spanish designer, the fabrics used in the collection adapt well to the body and highlight the female figure, and the collection is the sexiest she has designed. Chantilly and French lace are used in most of the bridal pieces, which adds lightness to the ethereal look, with lingerie-inspired bodices over nude organza and tulle, combined with sensual open-front skirts and light capes. For the cocktail dresses, the designer reinvented classic elegance with sculptural creations through beading traces outlining the female figure.

Also introduced at the launch was Martine Cajucom as the first muse of Rosa Clará. “She is the epitome of the modern, stylish and successful Filipina, the ideal concept of a Rosa Clará bride,” said Valerie Zayco, managing partner of Rosa Clará Philippines. Martine was joined by other women of Rosa Clará who exude elegance and sophistication, such as Sara Black, Heart Evangelista, Frannie Jacinto and Tootsy Angara. The designer has also dressed international celebrities like Eva Longoria, Sofia Vergara and Antonella Roccuzzo-Messi.

Rosa Clará opened their first boutique in the Philippines in 2010, the first in Asia for the brand. The brand has 150 locations around the world. The Rosa Clará 2018 Collection is now available at The Residences at Greenbelt and at their new location at S Maison.


May is the birth month of our Red Charity Gala 2018 designer Rajo Laurel. We are very excited to present his impressive collection that covers 25 years of his work. Apart from our main partner Bench, we are also so thrilled to have the Marriott Grand Ballroom as our major sponsor for our tenth anniversary happening on October 27.

We are also delighted to have Jewelmer as our annual, major auction sponsor. We are grateful that they have been supporting RCG for many years now and their beautiful pearl necklace is the most bid item every year.

Jewelmer is an international luxury brand that was born out of a commitment to the world’s most lustrous cultured South Sea pearls and exquisite fine jewelry. Established in 1979 by Jacques Branellec and Manuel Cojuangco, Jewelmer has grown globally to represent a world of rarity and enduring elegance.

Jewelmer, in collaboration with Tatler Philippines, recently presented the preview of “Power of Pearl: The Farm beneath the Sea,” at SM Aura Premiere, before the film begins its international tour. Seven years in the making, this film is directed by Ahbra Cale Perry and R.T. Higgins.

Hosted by RJ Ledesma, the event brought together different individuals who champion the cause of environmental conservation, including filmmakers and producers Dani Faith Leonard and Alex Cirillo of Big Vision Creative, environmentalist Gina Lopez, and French Ambassador Nicolas Galey.

The pearl is an indicator of the health of the environment. “Power of Pearl” examines how the planet is changing through the eyes of pearl farmers in Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines, communities on the frontlines of climate change in the Pacific.

Brought to the fore are the experiences of the people behind Jewelmer and the creation of the National Gem of the Philippines, the golden South Sea pearl, in Palawan. The film documents a resilient people on the throes of Typhoon Haiyan, immortalizing their trials and their triumphs. As the pearl is formed, so too is the spirit and legacy of a community.

“Power of Pearl” is an inspiring portrait of how sustainable practices uplift a people, and is a touching reminder of the ties that bind man and the sea. For inquiries regarding screening opportunities and distribution of the film, contact the producers at


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