Friends for life!


Longtime girl friends are the best kind of friends. These buddies for life are additional life support, aside from one’s own family. BFFs will always shower you with love, kindness, sympathy, compassion and laughter.  

My Assumption High School Batch 81 classmates have remained in contact long after our graduation, especially because we have our Velada celebrations every five years. We will be celebrating our 40thhomecoming next year so we are already preparing for additional charity projects. 

Every year, a large part of the charity funds raised at the Red Charity Gala is earmarked for livelihood projects of the Assumption Mission Schools and for Christmas donation packages for selected families in the provinces. This year, we turned over grocery packages and lots of toys for the over 200 families and children in the fishing barangay on Balesin island.  

Generous Alphaland CEO Roberto V. Ongpin donated a Balesin Island Club share for auction for last year’s Red Charity Gala. Beautiful and bubbly friend Erica Brenner bid for and won the share, as well as a gamut of Ultherapy treatments auctioned as part of the bid.  

Balesin Island Club is one of my fave beach destinations. Apart from the water activities and delicious seafood, I enjoy the weekly entertainment the club offers guests for free. There have been several showbiz entertainers who have performed in the club over the years. Just this holiday season, nine separate artists gave shows – Jaya, Randy Santiago, Erik Santos, Christian Bautista, Janno Gibbs, Thor, Christine Allado, Katrina Velarde and Mojofly.

This summer, Balesin Island Club is mounting its first-ever Summer Sports Camp starting April 1. The camp offers four different sports programs, basketball, tennis, baseball, and soccer, for kids from ages 8 to 16 years old. 

Headed by an all-star roster of expert coaches and instructors in the sports industry, Balesin Summer Sport Camp will be great for kids to keep active throughout summer. The Basketball Camp is headed by Vince Hizon, of the PBA team Ginebra San Miguel, while the Tennis Camp is led by five national team coaches, PJ Tierro, Niño Alcantara, Roland Kraut, Karl Santamaria and Dennis Sta. Cruz. The Baseball Camp is led by the National Mustang and Bronco Coaches Eric Gesmundo and Jhoel Palanog, along with the 2018 UAAP MVP and star pitcher Kiko Gesmundo.

The Summer Sports Camp is led by Sports Camp Director and International Professional Tennis Registry Coach Marty Ilagan. Marty has picked coaches who use a modern and scientific approach to athletics, and incorporate character-forming lessons in their programs so that participating kids can become a champion “not just in sports, but also in life.” 

The Summer Sports Camp allows parents to hone their kids’ sports skills while they get a medi-spa experience at Aegle Wellness Center, the premier integrative health and wellness center in the country. Headed by Medical Director Dr. Benedict Valdecañas and Associate Medical Director Dr. Ruby Magpantay, both pioneers in the integrative medicine field, Aegle is designed to provide holistic and sustainable health solutions. 

Aegle offers clinical and therapeutic services, such as comprehensive blood chemistry workups, physician, nutritionist and sports physiotherapy consultations, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, intravenous therapy, thalassotherapy, and massage treatments. All are included in the Sports Camp package.

Each Summer Sports Camp package includes a five-day, four-night stay in one of Balesin Island Club’s well-appointed villas, round-trip airfare to Balesin, and breakfast, lunch and dinner for four people. It should be the ultimate summer getaway for families with young, sports-minded children. Register by February 28 to get a 5% Early Bird Discount. For inquiries and registration, contact Marty Ilagan at +63.917.566.2453, email Luisa Banta at +63.917.597.9651, email

My Zumba girl friends also shared a fun Christmas party with Zumba dancing together with the children of ACAP, Action for the Care and Development of the Poor in the Philippines. Our #Zbabes group got our teacher Robby Nee to get the kids to dance before enjoying lunch and getting their loot bags and toys. Hapee toothbrushes and toothpaste were also distributed to the kids. Generous Elena Coyuito and the Zumba girls arranged for all the gifts and giveaways. 

For my running and fitness needs, I bank on my #GirlsRunForBreakfast gang to keep me active and race-ready even if I haven’t joined a triathlon in years. Coach Ani de Leon-Brown continuously shares her running program so we can do drills on our own. For our holiday gift giving, Ge Santiago prepared some Christmas packages for some Makati Jail inmates and DSWD women. We have also given gifts to Right Start Foundation.   

For my spiritual wellbeing, I have my Baclaran BFFs Rosan Cruz and Vina Francisco, who join me in our weekly novena to Our Mother of the Perpetual Help. We usually pass by events on our way to the shrine. 

One of these events was Tina Hidalgo Jacinto’s recent coffee-table book launch of “Having A Ball,” published in celebration of her ten years as a society columnist. Held at the City of Dreams ballroom, the ribbon cutters included former Miss International Gemma Cruz Araneta, Dr. Emil Yap III, president of the Manila Bulletin, Kevin Benning, COO of City of Dreams, lifestyle editor Arnel Patawaran, Linda Gamboa, executive director of the Advertising Foundation of the Philippines, Tita Trillo of Titania Wine Cellar, and international portrait photographer Rupert Jacinto. 

“Having A Ball” features twelve stunning ladies on its cover. The 258-page book was sponsored by City of Dreams, Titania Wine Cellar, Liquid Gold, Ozeki Sake, Volvo, Bvlgari, Stores Specialists, Amigo Entertainment Technologies and Madison Galeries. Copies are available at the Advertising Foundation; call Lynn Vergeire at 0-917-841-2034.

More pics on Instagram @seaprincess888.

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