The diverse family I am part of


We all belong to different families as we go through life. We start off with the family we are born into, our original family. This grows into various extended families as we marry and then start our own. Other family ties are added with school, then work, play and other social groups as we go through life.

This week is all about the diverse families I am part of. I am a proud member of the Rufino clan that built the new De La Salle University Rufino Campus, which is home to the university’s College of Law. Located at the last piece of institutional real estate in BGC, DLSU Rufino Campus is a strategic site for innovation and collaborative efforts as well as a base for knowledge generation.

Honored at the recent inauguration of the new campus were the families of Ernesto Rufino Sr., Vicente A. Rufino, Ester Rufino Galvez, Rafael Rufino Sr., plus Macario Rufino, Nestor Tan, Caroline Tanchay, Wellington Tong, Ambrosio Padilla, Liberito Espiritu, George Barcelon, Edward Lee, Atty. Florentino Herrera III, Jacques Dupasquier, Maria Natividad de Leon Rufino, Maria Victoria Rufino, the late Rafael Rufino, Jr., and of course, project head Carlos Rufino. Also present were guests from Development Bank of the Philippines and Globe Telecoms.

De La Salle University Rufino Campus blessing – JV Rufino, Frankie and Isabel Barandiaran, Jay Laurel, Marisun Uichico, Bryan Prieto, Sea Princess, Mary de Leon, Raymond Rufino, Pixie O’Neill, Alex and Marixi Prieto, Vicky Rufino, Marivic Rufino, Paolo Prieto, Myda and Andrew Prieto, Charlie and Chinit Rufino, Carlo Rufino, Cary Rufino, Pay Rufino, Michelle Rufino Baartolome and Carlo Rufino

At the event, the third generation Rufinos reconnected and realized that we actually don’t know each other too well. Soon after, a mini reunion of the Ernesto, Vicente, Ester and Rafael (EVER) family tree was organized and held at the Manila House, the newest hip private club in town.

Three generation members of the EVER family – Ernesto D. Rufino Sr., Vicente A. Rufino, Ester Rufino Galvez, and Rafael R. Rufino Sr. at Manila House

Among my dearest of families is my Inquirer family. I have been a columnist for nearly fifteen years and my weekly columns are always fun to write as I share all my adventures and travel expeditions. Every once in a blue moon, my column gives me a chance to fulfill some of my wildest dreams, such as when I got to be a model at Inquirer’s Face-Off Fashion Show.

Lifestyle editor Thelma San Juan asked me to join “Face-Off #OOTD” and be one of the muses of Red Charity Gala designer Cary Santiago. Cary’s intricate couture techniques and red-carpet designs were showcased with the rest of the master designers in the country. Even with my skyscraping Sinulog headpiece and six-inch heels, I was still a head shorter than fellow model-beauty queens Gwendolyn Ruais and Cassy Naidas who were wearing Converse sneakers!

Held at Shangri-La Plaza Mall’s East Atrium in Mandaluyong, “Face-Off #OOTD” was presented by Converse, the iconic sneakers brand, with support from Fossil. This eighth edition of Inquirer Lifestyle and LOOKbook’s banner event had industry veterans alongside millennial designers showcasing their most creative designs.

Before my big runway strut, I chatted with Rhett Eala’s muse Maxine Medina, who was wearing a fringed gown inspired by the emerald dress he made her for the Miss Universe pageant. The towering stunner was still taller me even with my headdress on!

Tropafrica is my traveling family. It all started with our first Africa adventure more than fifteen years ago. Initially organized by cousin Leica Carpo, top restaurateur Malu Gamboa has continued planning succeeding trips of the group. We are extremely happy for her as she is recently engaged to her beau, Mon Lido.

The two were spotted at the recent opening of Sugar Factory American Brasserie ( at the Shangrila at The Fort, Bonifacio Global City. America’s favorite all-in-one restaurant, bar, and candy shop is now in our country, their first ever store in Asia. Among the special individuals invited were guests of honor Fernando and Kit Zobel de Ayala, Vice President Leni Robredo, beauty expert to the stars Dra. Vicki Belo, and many more A-listers who walked down in a unique pink carpet.

Sugar Factory has gained worldwide fame and success for its celebrity-endorsed Couture Pops, turning sweet treats into a designer accessory. Britney Spears, Carmen Electra, Nicole Scherzinger and Eva Longoria have been spotted around enjoying the sparkly lollipops.

Aside from the decadent sweets, Filipinos can now finally savor the comfort yet indulgent food Sugar Factory has been serving over the years. With a team of world-class chefs at the helm, everyone is sure to have a one- of-a-kind dining experience with a signature menu that offers everything from pancakes to salads. Sugar Factory is truly a sugar fantasyland and gastronomic haven perfect for anyone and everyone.

I also have an interior design family. Contrary to what most think, interior design is my first love and not fashion. My Wilcon Depot family is in charge of my design needs with so many brands that the one-stop building and home décor department store carries.

Wilcon SEVP-COO Rosemarie Ong, Wilcon Founder and Chairman William Belo, Worldbex Founding Chairman Joseph Ang, Worldbex Managing Director Jill Ang, and Worldbex Marketing Director Jon Richmond Ang

Wilcon is one the major sponsors of WORLDBEX 2017, which is happening this weekend at the World Trade Center, PICC and SMX MOA. The construction and design expo includes an Interior Designers Gallery with eight lucky vignettes from the icons of Interior Design. Pido Villanueva of Ambiance by Pido created my indoor garden vignette with beautiful plants and rabbit décor. WORLDBEX 2017 is open until today, March 19 from 10am to 8pm. For more info, contact (02) 656-9239 or go to

And then there are our golfing families. The US Alumni Golf Open will be held on March 30 at the Wack-wack Golf and Country Club. My hubby Dennis will be joining other alumni of US universities like Harvard, Wharton-University of Pennsylvania and Kellogg-Northwestern University at this annual event, which raises funds for the local alumni chapters of the schools.

The US Alumni Golf Open is always a great sporting event, allowing all the alums who are now career professionals or executives in all the big corporations to meet their colleagues from the different schools. US alums interested to join should contact their local alumni chapters for details.

Let me end by circling back to my original family, and give a special greeting to my sister, Sandy Romualdez, who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Welcome to the big 5-0 club, sister dear!

Follow @seaprincess888 on Instagram.

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