Martha Stewart in Manila


Have you posted your Instagram photo with Martha Stewart? America’s queen of lifestyle, Emmy award-winning television host, entrepreneur and bestselling author Martha Stewart took Manila (including Pampanga) by storm when the premier “how-to guru” on all things home and living visited the Philippines for the first time last week.  

Martha was here for the latest ANC Leadership Series, where she gave a talk, “A Conversation with Entrepreneur and Lifestyle Legend Martha Stewart.” She shared her story of success and business philosophy with the country’s business executives, entrepreneurs and students in a forum moderated by ANC anchor Karen Davila.  

Upon arrival in the country, Martha toured Manila with Mayor Isko Moreno and Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat. The 78-year-old celebrity was hosted for lunch at the National Museum of Natural History. Seasoned restaurateur and 2016 Asia’s Best Female Chef Margarita Forés designed the special menu, serving the group a variety of the Philippines’ freshest catch, as well as lechon, laing, bibingka, suman, binakol na manok, inihaw na apahap sa dahon, and bistek Tagalog.

Fueled for sightseeing, Martha and her group visited the city’s famous landmarks, including Intramuros, the Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church. 

Making the most of her first visit to the country, Martha was feted with a mini-fiesta in Pampanga that included rice planting at the farm of Filipino musician Andy Alviz. She posted on Instagram that she always wanted to experience planting rice and thanked the Kapampangangs for going all out with the food preparations and festivities.

After that, it was time for more food, of course, so Martha had lunch at the ancestral home of the great-grandparents Town and Country editor’s Yvette Fernandez in San Fernando, Pampanga. In one of her books, she wrote, “The homes I like the best are totally occupied, busy, and useful, whether it’s a tiny little house or a great big one.” I think our country will find a special place in Martha’s heart, and our food a special place in her tummy.

Yvette shared more Martha encounters with me at the special Moroccan-inspired lunch at the home of Marilen Tantoco. In line with the ongoing “Fall in Love with Morocco” festival at Rustan’s, the intimate lunch served a sample of the delicious menu that will be soon be available at Café Casablanca at the fifth floor of Rustan’s Makati. Authentic Moroccan Chef Rachida Bousta cooked spiced lamb and beef roasts, sweet and nutty deserts and amazing Moroccan dishes.

“Fall in Love with Morocco” is now on its second year. The month-long festival is held in partnership with HSBC, Adventure International Tours and Ralph’s Wines & Sprits. Check out true Moroccan fashion with experiential vignettes in Rustan’s Makati and Rustan’s Shangri-La, and discover curios that will help bring more personality and charm to your spaces.

From Rustan’s, bring the memorable experience back to your own home and kitchen as you learn the secrets to hosting your own Moroccan-inspired spread with Happy Ongpauco-Tiu. The renowned restaurateur and hotelier will be heading to Rustan’s Makati on August 27 to give an intimate, hands-on workshop exclusive to HSBC premier cardholders.   

On August 30, learn more tips and techniques to put together an exciting spread with a tablescapes workshop with Rachelle Wenger at the Grand Atrium, Shangri-La Plaza. Have fun learning to decorating vignettes for your home and dining with interior decorator Rachelle Wenger. Level up your hosting game with these new skills and picks.

Fully channel the vibrant mood and spirit of the culture with the Belly Dancing Performance at Rustan’s Makati on August 31. Let the rhythmic power of the music and choreography have you clapping and tapping along with the heart-thumping presentation.   

In closing, I must say that I am not among the many who have had the good fortune to post their IG photo with Martha Stewart. I had to decline the gracious invitation of good friend Ricco Ocampo to hang with her, as I had to attend a family wedding in Manila. If I could have teleported myself to Pampanga and back, I would certainly have done so.

That said, I’m super glad I was able to host a mini-bridal shower for newlywed Maiqui Laurel-Camara at the launch of the online shopping site of Rustans,   

With the launch of, customers can now shop for their favorite luxe items anytime anywhere. Aside from me, tastemakers and style mavens Tim Yap, Nicole Andersson, Rica De Jesus, and Jaja Rama enjoyed a shopping night out with their friends as goes live with exclusive deals and special perks.

Rustan’s new online store features an exceptionally curated selection of Rustan’s brands and products. It’s the upscale department store’s answer to the busy schedules of discerning customers who are looking for high quality in their online purchases.

The easy-to-navigate store features well-known brands covering men’s and women’s fashion, kids’ fashion and toys, beauty, bespoke home items, and even gift ideas and a helpful registry section for Weddings and Beyond. 

There are over 140+ must-have brands that are now available on this exciting online shop including well-loved international brands such as Acca Kappa, Bobbi Brown, Clarins, MAC, Hackett, John Hardy, Le Sportsac, L’Occitane, La Mer, Gefu, Mustela, Nike, Seafolly, Stila, Swarovksi, Little Tikes, and Royal Albert. From the Silver Vault, there’s John Hardy, Kate Spade New York, Arygor, and Roberto Coin. Also, in the selection are Rustan’s well-respected private labels including Portuguese designer Ricardo Preto, Lady Rustan, and Lotus Resortwear.

Experience the thrill of shopping at as the one-stop-shop with authentic, quality brands that are now available 24/7, with nationwide delivery or Click and Collect at Makati.

It’s the biggest online shopping party this season – don’t miss out!

More pics on Instagram @seaprincess888.

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