Counting blessings!

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Have you decided on what you will do on the extra day this month? Yes! We welcome February with 29 days because it’s a leap year! With our family eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first grandson, we know this February is already extra, extra special.   

During the pictorial for the digital cover of Lifestyle Asia for January, I chatted with Direk Freddie Santos, who treated me to lunch at the Tap Room Bar in Manila Hotel. He told me that he would finally have his 16thbirthday since Freddie is a leap year baby and technically, only has a birthday every four years. Of course, Freddie is happy to enjoy every day here on earth and share his insights on preserving Manila’s rich history and culture.  

Lifestyle Asia talks about what being an agent of change truly means in today’s modern era. In the magazine, Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno and I share how through public service and charity events, any action, big or small, can be a ripple that starts a wave of positive change.  

After the somber week that started with the tragic news of the helicopter accident that claimed the lives of 11 passengers including basketball super star Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, we all should really live our own lives sharing love and happiness and appreciating all the blessings.  

YOLO (You Only Live Once) has been my life motto and I live every day with total gratitude and love. My hubby Dennis survived a helicopter crash 15 years ago, so I am ever so grateful for our time together.  

Dennis is starting the Year of the Metal Rat by moving to become the president of Alphaland Corporation, owned by taipan Roberto V. Ongpin. He told me that he was happy to make the move because PhilWeb is already doing so well under the new owner, Greggy Araneta, and its own new president Brian Ng. Brian and Dennis have worked together since 2000 in the Print Town group of the Inquirer, and in fact, were both in the same helicopter crash. At the time, both of Edlynn Ng, Brian’s wife, and I, were pregnant with our youngest children, who were both born in May, just a few weeks apart. 

Those are the sort of celestial coincidences that demand a lot of thanksgiving. Dennis is also very thankful to be joining Alphaland, as he sees the move into real estate as a new challenge. Alphaland, of course, is known for its unique real estate projects, primarily the upscale Balesin Island Resort and the scenic Alphaland Baguio Mountain Lodges, as well as the towering Alphaland Makati Place building in Makati, soon, the upcoming development in Patnanungan Island. 

Speaking of thanksgiving, a wonderful birthday party was hosted for internationally acclaimed jewelry and accessory artist Ann Ong at Blooms Restaurant Café + Bar. Her close friends Philip and Ching Cruz and their restaurant partner Carlos Chan threw the dinner party with DJ music at their establishment, which has been totally renovated and rebranded at Greenbelt 3. Ann is so grateful for her family and friends who have supported her all these years!   

Birthday boy Tim Yap and Sea Princess

A few days later, my partner in crime Tim Yap celebrated his birthday bash at Mistral Rooftop Bar in Raffles Hotel. His theme, #DotsEntertainment was fully expressed in the décor and giant black and white photographs styled by Cyndi Fernandez of Moss Manila. I got Dennis to wear his only polka dot polo shirt to match my over-the-top outfit! As expected, I wore Best Costume but told Tim to pass the award to another since I am already a Hall of Fame entry!  

To welcome the Year of the Metal Rat, Swatch grand dame Virgie Ramos hosted a fun afternoon affair at Power Plant Mall in Rockwell. The newest Swatch Collection was launched with the latest design that has cute stylized rat ears on the band of the Swatch. 

Adorable Scarlet Snow Belo was the star at the Swatch launch as she gamely posed with all the ballerina performers and joined the fun dice games. We all enjoyed Chinese dishes deliciously prepared by Margarita Fores.  

Silver mice sculptures welcomed the guests at the ground floor of Rockwell Power Plant Mall. They were benches and they looked as if they were scurrying to the main installation — a giant slice of cheese. 

After many IG photos and videos were taken and guests were seated, International Wushu Champion Janice Hung entered and performed an exhibition number, ending it by cutting the giant cheese in half. The Halili-Cruz ballerinas, who were the Swatch mice in tutus, took centerstage when they smelled the cheese. They danced around it then directed the audience’s attention to the top stage were Swatch ambassadors Nico Bolzico and Matteo Guidicelli happily greeted everyone and pulled the tassel to reveal the Swatch Chinese New Year Special watch, Cheese! Squeak Squeak! 

Guests then made their way to the main event area at the newly opened Swatch Shop at R2 Level Bridgeway where red Chinese arcs and lanterns decorated the entrance. There were giant fortune cookies on the table, a cheese buffet at the Swatch cheese wall, and a delectable menu personally prepared by Chef Margarita Fores, a very rare treat.  

Everyone loved the fun activities with Swatch prizes. We tried our luck at Bo Bing using huge dice. The men particularly liked the Pin the Nose on the Rat game, taking turns spinning each other in mouse-eyed glasses. Dr. Hayden Kho was the champion. There was also the Cheeses and Traps wall board game where Scarlet Snow Belo triumphantly won against Derek Ramsay. 

The day of the party was also the birthday of Belo Medical Group CEO Dr. Vicki Belo, so one lady taipan nicely sent the other lady taipan a surprise birthday cake – a cheesecake, keeping with the theme. Martin Nievera and Christian Bautista led the guests in singing Happy Birthday.

It’s always a good time with Swatch, Swatch grand dame Virgie Ramos, and the entire Swatch family. Happy Year of the Metal Rat! 

More pics on Instagram @seaprincess888

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