One for MMK or Tulfo brothers

LIVE FEED - Bisby M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2014 - 12:00am

Yearly, we are confronted by a flurry of activities that fill up the love month, and this month is no different. Once again, we attended a lunch given by long-time friend Winnie Natividad, a pioneer in the Weddings and Debuts Bridal Fair event set for Feb. 21 to 23 at SM Megamall’s Megatrade Halls 1, 2 and 3. We have watched her company, The Wedding Library, grow from a store to a company to one of the most respected Bridal Fair organizers. “What does it take?” we asked her, and she replied, “Hard work, dedication, the ability of spotting the right suppliers and nurturing the relationship.”

We sat down with Alex del Rosario of Juan Carlo the Caterer, who has been a client of Winnie the longest. During the lunch, we found him unusually loquacious as he opened up on the dangers in the profession of food catering. While it has served as a good way of earning a living, a means of showing off one’s expertise and a good manner of perfecting the craft, the risks can also be great.

Prodded on by a gathering of co-writers, columnists and opinion-makers from The STAR, Inquirer and Bulletin’s various sections, from business to lifestyle, Alex started detailing the worst of his experiences as a wedding caterer. After having been in the business for over 20 years, he thought he had covered all loopholes. What he shared with us was an unbelievable tale that we could see as an episode on ABS-CBN’s MMK or a report on TV5 and Radyo5 with the Tulfo brothers.

It was a story of supreme expertise in stealing, in putting one over a client through fakery of the highest degree. How does the criminal do it, we all insisted on learning? First, it was important to exude class, appear as belonging to the rich and privileged. A representative from the client goes through all the steps of booking a reservation, from food-tasting of the most expensive dishes, to presenting a wedding invitation that had the names of the opulent families as ninangs and ambassadors of many foreign countries ferried in for the event.

The representative tells Alex he would give the complete payment sometime before the wedding, to which he agrees in view of the impressive credentials of his client. The day of the wedding arrives but no payment. Alex decides on preparing his food for the event anyway, but serves only the aperitif. No famous guests arrive. He knows he has been had.

We asked the other wedding suppliers present for their experiences. Although not as dramatic as that of Alex, Charise Tinio of Nice Print Photo services has blossomed from one to two weddings a month, into the virtual photographer to the stars. And when one says stars and celebrities, it would almost automatically include coverage of TV guestings, parties, etc. Her photo calls could easily number from 10 to 15 daily. Her clients include the weddings of Ogie Alcasid-Regine Velasquez, John Estrada-Priscilla Meirelles, Zoren Legaspi-Carmina Villarroel, Rich Alvarez-Kyla, Lloyd Lee-Shamcey Supsup and even the upcoming wedding of our close friend Boots Anson to King Rodrigo. The experiences have been varied, but Charise easily picked the Zoren-Carmina secret/surprise wedding as the most difficult since everything had to be conducted undercover.

Another permanent fixture in Winnie’s list of sponsors is the time-tested AMI Jewels whose policy appears to also include being low-key and “letting their products” speak for themselves. This includes the services of an in-house gemologist who studied at the prestigious Gemological Institute of America. During the bridal fair, AMI will be giving away P50,000, P20,000 and P10,000 cash for on-the-spot bookings at their booth, and they are the only exhibitor in any major bridal fair to give major cash prizes. With such a come-on, AMI certainly can afford to be low-key.

Everyone for sure knows of Goldilocks Cakes but few are aware that the brand has gone worldwide with branches in the US, Canada and Asia. And now they have come home to join Winnie’s family. Another new development is the introduction of the “augmented reality” experience, a first by The Wedding Library. One interacts with either TV5’s Michael McDonnell as the bridegroom or model Margo Midwinter as the bride. Michael is also the “bridegroom” to Denise Laurel, the chosen model for the Weddings and Debuts 2014 Bridal Fair.

(E-mail your reactions to or text them to 0917-8991835.)

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