For someone who loves the Christmas season, it takes me a lot of time and effort to start the holiday merriment and begin decorating my home. Thank goodness Pottery Barn was already all decked out for the holidays as early as the first week of October prompting that Christmas spirit to ignite.

Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of Rica de Jesus’ blog, “Heart2Heart Online,” at its flagship store located at Central Square in Bonifacio High Street Central. The celebration was themed “A Christmas Home Filled with Love,” which also showcased the holiday collection of PB and PBK.

Rica entertained guests through a styling activity that featured different holiday interpretations from Junjun Ablaza, Sylvia Lopez, Chef Roselyn Tiangco-Siapno, Nisekrew, and Happy2Help. The showcases were festive vignettes that stylishly displayed the home furnishing of PB.

It was indeed a joyous affair celebrating Rica’s milestone in the blogging world. Friends enjoyed the afternoon bonding over food, stories, lots of laughter, and also a handful of giveaways from Gap, L’Occitane, Beauty Bar, Marks & Spencer, Pinkberry, Rustan’s Supermarket, and Herr’s. Guests all enjoyed ice cream from Baskin & Robbins and Benny’s crafted a cheese and deli spread, while Fireside provided cocktails throughout the afternoon.

From the Christmas merriment at Pottery Barn, I moved across the street to Shangri-La at the Fort for a night of wonder and gastronomic delight. The five Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts in Manila, including Hotel Jen Manila, Shangri-La Mactan and Shangri-La Boracay invited special guests to a thanksgiving dinner to experience exquisite dining concepts of classical and avant-garde execution.

The Bonifacio Hall of Shangri-La at the Fort was transformed into a whimsical, creative setup for the night’s theme, “Once Upon A Time.” The impressive showcases were adorned with dramatic lighting and live entertainment in costume.

The journey to the whimsical began with a mystic entry through the bookcases and into the Great Hall of Harry Potter. Ambience by Pido worked closely with the Shang team to incorporate amazing details like floating candles, huge paintings with live cooking and mystical potions adorning the room with a long table.

John Rice, GM of Shangri-La at The Fort, welcomed guests with a speech that culminated with a dramatic reveal – live chefs in action serving mystical appetizers that delighted every curious reveler’s appetite.

From Harry Potter, guests moved into a Beauty and the Beast setting. After the sumptuous dinner with wine pairing and the opera performances, Alain Borgers, GM of Shangri-La Makati, raised a toast along with the management teams and thanked all the guests.

Continuing on the topic of pre-Christmas affairs, Casa de Memoria’s annual holiday auction, ”Holidays at the Casa,” is happening on November 18 at the corner of Jupiter St. and Comet St. in Bel-Air, Makati. However, patrons can already check out the lots at the main gallery from today until November 15.

The ninth auction will feature a skillfully curated collection of lots that make lovely personal gifts, whether for others or for oneself. There’s an assortment of jewelry, ceramics, books, paintings, and statuary — each lot has a story to tell.

One of the most impressive lots is a Louis Vuitton Headphone Bag, one of only 30 pieces produced, as part of the Marc Jacobs’ Autumn-Winter Collection back in 2006. It’s styled after the traditional medic’s bag, and it comes in vernis leather embossed with the signature LV pattern. The headphone strap with alligator handle makes it a great conversation piece.

The country’s premier source of International Fine and Decorative Art is known for their selection of lots that are rich in history, heritage, and care, and every purchase contributes to charity — a gesture that’s very timely for the season.

Casa de Memoria will be partnering with Taverne Gutenberg this time around for their project, “Ugnayan sa Poblacion.” This initiative aims to benefit local communities and NGOs like Project Pearls through art-related activities and public interaction with art. They have created a very simple guide for first time bidders, or for those who simply want to know more about the joys of participating in an art auction. For more information, visit www.CasadeMemoria.com or follow @CasaDeMemoria on Instagram and Casa de Memoria on Facebook.

Christmas is indeed a time for inspiring and sharing blessings in life. The late Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua chose to share his saga to success first to the school children and educators of our country. The Value of Hard Work and Discipline Advocacy was born in 2011 in partnership with Marylindbert International and the Department of Education.

The Advocacy is now on its 7th year. It celebrated the sixth year of Amb. Antonio Cabangon Chua’s Gintong Parangal para sa Edukasyon at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan of the Department of Education Pasig, attended by DepEd Usec Lorna Dig-Dino, DOT ASEC Ricky Alegre, Fortune Life president Arnold Cabangon and EVP Evelyn Carada, ALC Group Chairman Edgard Cabangon and Marylindbert CEO Linda Legaspi and EVP Albert Rosal. Linda is a long-time supporter of the Red Charity Gala and other projects.

This year, Fortune Life added another category to Gintong Parangal to honor and give recognition to the administrators of the Schools Divisions for their leadership in the pronouncement of hard work and discipline in all the schools and offices nationwide, hence the name Gintong Parangal Pamumuno.

Dr. Paraluman Giron, K-12 Consultant and PRC Board Member for Professional Teachers, Dr. Pierangelo Alejo, UNESCO International Consultant, together with our Ambassador of Philippine Fashion Renee Salud have for the last seven years been touring the country championing Fortune Life and the Ambassador’s legacy on values education, hard work and discipline. To date the nationwide advocacy has directly reached 2,092 schools, over 3.5 million students from grade 1-4, and interfaced with over 20,000 teachers.

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