Hello, June!


My family and I are welcoming June with so much love and gratefulness this year! In two weeks, we will witness the first wedding in our family as our eldest son Bryan Prieto weds his fiancée Tinkay Crespo in beautiful Balesin Island. A week after that, Dennis and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary at La Mère Poulard Restaurantin SM Aura.

For one of the bridal showers of Tinkay, SM Accessories generously gave special headphones and tropical-design pouches for the prizes and giveaways. My sister Sandy Romualdez and I also gathered some of the top desserts at the recently launched Inquirer Lifestyle’s “Best Desserts” Book 4. The highly sinful and delicious affair at SMX Convention Center at SM Aura Premier showcased 125 desserts created by hotel bakers, pastry chefs and homemakers from the entire country.

SM VP Millie Dizon and Lifestyle writer and “Best Desserts” author Vangie Baga-Reyes awarded certificates to all the participating dessert makers who brought samples for all to try. By the time co-host Pam Pastor and I were done with the awarding, we were hyper-jumping for joy, what with all the sugar we consumed.

The sugar high continued as I sampled even more desserts at several stations. City of Dreams Manila, which has won twice in Best Desserts, went full force with no less than three head chefs receiving their respective awards: Executive Chinese Chef Bong Jun Choi, for their scrumptious Crystal Dragon’s Coconut Crème with Mango Yolk and Latik, along with Crystal Dragon’s chef de cuisine Chan Choo KeanNobu Head Chef Michael de Jesus, for Nobu Manila’s amazing Miso Cappuccino, and Executive Pastry Chef Hoon Sung, for Red Ginger’s creation, The Egg.

The coconut crème for tasting was most in demand, while the coconut-shaped floral arrangement was another cynosure in itself! Crystal Dragon also showcased its signature mooncakes at the luxury resort’s impressive booth to toast the upcoming Mooncake Festival. The Snowskin variety with ube filling and Baked double yolk with lotus filling were the stars, with a chef making snowskin mooncakes on the spot! 

From my colorful cupcake costume that Claire Porcadilla of Tiddletots made for me, I donned another costume for the opening of Sogni Di Vetro Murano Showroom in Okada Manila. Ushers elegantly dressed in Venetian 17thcentury style costume greeted guests viewing the exceptional fine Italian artworks inside the showroom. 

Murano Showroom owner Marcoroberto Ascione, together with his partner Olah Gray Brady, were delighted to host their VIP guests to dinner at La Piazza Italian Restaurant in the same hotel right after the ribbon cutting ceremony. Guests of Honor were Cong. Imelda Romualdez Marcos, Madame Takako Okada, Vigan former Governor Luis Chavit Singson, Thai socialite Khung Susie and the Italian Ambassador Giorgio Guglielmino.

It was indeed a momentous night, the recurrence of an event from 25 years agoduring the first exhibit of Marcoroberto Ascione in Manila Hotel, when Cong. Imelda Marcos also cut the ribbon for that event. The night continued with a double birthday celebration of Marcoroberto and Ballroom Queen Becky Garcia at a sit-down dinner party at La Piazza the majestic Italian Restaurant in Okada. This was made possiblethanks to the assistance of Severino Mendoza Okada Manila Senior Manager of Retail & Leasing and Gianluca Vigentini

The night was so astonishing as so many guests broke into song, headed by Atty. Sal Panelo, followed Cong. Imelda Marcos with her favorite tune, “Gaano ko ikaw Kamahal.”

In true Italian birthday fashion, Marcoroberto sang his favorite romantic Italian songs, followed by the Elvis Presley of Greece, Dr. George Sarakinis, who entertained the guests with his Elvis moves. It was so charming that everyone was clamoring for more and the very talented actor Ricky Davao contributed his excellent tenor voice to the action. There was also a special, lavish gift of Imperial Beluga Caviar presented to the ribbon cutters, thanks to Caroline Fuerte, owner of Imperial Caviar.

Let me end with a special note on a celebration of time, history and altruism. Salcedo Auctions’ subsidiary, gavel&block, recently concluded its theme-based, contemporary auctions, “12,” “history, and “benefit.”

The first auction, “12” featured collections of Rolex and Patek Philippe, and the second over 200 Philippine paintings and sculptures spanning over a century of art. The finale, “benefit,” featured works by Filipino and contemporary artists to raise funds for the Vicky SyCip Herrera Filipino Scholarship at International School Manila.

The lucky bidders for “12” were able to obtain such vintage pieces as a mint condition, famed Patek Philippe ref. 5496 Perpetual Calendar in platinum. Other highlights included three Rolex watches, an Explorer I with a gilt tropical dial, a Sea Dweller 2000 open ‘6’, and an Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph “Daytona Cerachrom” with a rare white dial.

As for “history,” art enthusiasts outbid the fun-loving party set as they competed for works by Ronald Ventura, Salvador Dali, and Romulo O. A live performance by Kiana Valenciano with sets by DJs Nix Damn P! and Gian Romano further energized the crowd that packed the venue.

Of course, the grand finale was for me, “benefit,” which successfully raised over three million pesos for Pinoy scholars at ISM. Kudos to all the auction goers and Salcedo Auctions on your great events.


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