An Imeldific dinner
my LIPS are SEALED… sometimes… - Maurice Arcache () - October 24, 2002 - 12:00am
It was such a joy seeing some of moi gang’s familiar faces, dahlings, a new moon ago at that in resto and bar, Nuvo, one of the places to be for dining.

Moi
chanced upon stylish beauty Tricia Panlilio-Cu-Unjieng and our Southern pal Joji Dingcong already seated at the table with our grand dinner hostess, tall and glamorous former First Lady Imelda Marcos, no less. Next to her was good-looking Philippine Tatler editor-in-chief, Anton San Diego, the nephew of Cecile Lacson.

Moi
sat right across the still elegant Imelda who once in a while enjoys giving intimate, fun dinners for Cosmo Manille’s movers and achievers. Not far from us sat Imelda’s workasonic social secretary, companion and friend, bubbly and super efficient Berna Lomotan. The Southern beauty and brains from Silay, Negros chatted animatedly with tres in-demand and energetic PR Prince, Keren Pascual, who as always, superbly organized the get-together dinner party.

My eyes immediately noticed the eye-catching yellow diamond sparkler on Imelda’s delicate ears and a gorgeous heart-shaped diamond solitaire on her finger. Imelda had just arrived from timeless Shanghai and beautiful Beijing (where Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rong Qi entertained her, no less). She wore a black frock heavily embroidered with a golden dragon that seemed to snake around her shoulders down to her long, long legs.

Keren P. asked world-traveler and Parisian-bred Edouard Garcia, Bacolod’s society chronicler, to choose the wine for the night. Choosing a fruity Brouilly, Edouard ordered a steak au poivre to go with it.

We all watched the entrance of Fashion Star Tessa Prieto-Valdes with amusement. She came with her debonair hubby Dennis Valdes of PDI. Dennis V. had spent his high school days in La Salle Bacolod and speaks fluent Ilonggo. The couple had earlier attended a cocktail reception at the French Ambassador’s home.

Already deep into their dinner were adorable working socialite and columnist of our very own STAR, Leah Puyat and Man of All Seasons Ramon Barretto, young partners and shakers of Greenbelt’s chic Pineapple home decor boutique.

We couldn’t get enough of Imelda’s endless stories about her jet-set groupies, her royal friends and her non-stop court cases. She proudly pointed out that she has been persecuted by world powers, high-positioned personas and global organizations and yet she has won all her cases.

We were mesmerized with Imelda’s boundless energy and sharp memory, her fun attitude, and her beauty. Realizing that we needed a "perk up" for the night, she called her security to bring in an attaché case full of "fake" signature watches and Mont Blanc pens and made us choose whatever we wanted. She giggled naughtily and said, "We were like children, really. We were too busy choosing the watches to notice each other… but the case was almost empty!"

Before we knew it, there was Concert Queen, sultry beauty Pops Fernandez asking if Madame Imelda could guest in her new morning show which was being taped around the corner at the Pineapple Boutique. Imelda agreed and we were off into the Makati night, following this beautiful icon of excess, watching passers-by drop their jaws as they realized Imelda just walked by. It was hard to believe we were all just enjoying another night in Makati, palanggas.
A homecoming with a difference
Did you know, dahlings, that loads of today’s most prominent and influential hotshots in banking and finance trace their beginnings from the country’s largest foreign bank, Citibank?

This remarkable fact was apparent when their alma mater, so to speak, invite the VIPersonas to a grand alumni reunion, a trip down memory lane a full moon ago. The event gathered former VPs, managers and other former Citibank heavyweights who now occupy various illustrious seats and run the country’s wheels of commerce.

Held at the swinging Manila Peninsula Hotel’s Rigodon Ballroom, the Citibank alumni reunion was made doubly significant by the festive spirit of celebration marking the company’s 100th anniversary in the country.

Gracing the occasion, palanggas, were those two distinguished ladies who head Citibank’s major business groups: Country corporate officer Catherine Weir and consumer bank country business manager and fashion plate Nina Aguas.

In her speech during the program, Catherine W. said, "Citibank has forged a long, historical relationship with Filipinos, and your presence this evening attests to our company’s success as a catalyst for developing the industry’s present and future leaders."

Also congratulating the alumni, Nina A. greeted invitees by saying, "Citibank’s 100 years in the Philippines will always be remembered for its many significant achievements. Achievements made possible only because of the hard work of every man and woman who made a choice to be part, at some point in their lives, of this great institution."

Heading the tres prominent lineup of rah! rah! alumni, palanggas, was no less than Central Bank Gov. Rafael Buenaventura; Globe Telecoms president/CEO Gerry Ablaza; Bankers Association of the Philippines executive director Topper Coronel; PDIC president and CEO Norberto Nazareno; dynamic achiever and BPI-Family Bank president Gigi Montinola; Ayala Life president Yogi Salcedo; and Credit Card honchos Poch Villareal, Cindy Valenzuela and Alex Ilagan.

The night’s program was enlivened by the super class act number of world-class singer/comedienne Mitch Valdez who had the audience wild with laughter. Musical numbers were also dished out by the hottest groupie of them all, the Spirit of ’67 band.

Also featured was an audio-visual presentation commemorating Citibank’s historic milestones throughout its 100 years of operations. BSP head Rafael B. lauded Citibank’s Executive Development Program, initiated in the ’60s, that recruited MBAs from prestigious educational institutions, trained them under Citibank management, and thus spawned the current generation of financial movers, shakers and achievers in the country.

"It is with pride and pleasure that all of us here look back now to Citibank and acknowledge its contribution to our present professions," Rafael said. "We congratulate its continued policy of recruiting and developing the potential of individuals to excel and lead the country onwards."

The fun night ended with the distribution of copies of the elegantly hardbound coffee-table book, Citibank: The Philippine Century. It’s a fitting reminder of an illustrious past made possible by today’s alumni who graced the glittering affair, and an affirmation of a glorious future to come.
Top travel agents feted
The annual British Airways Top Agents Awards Night held at the posh Makati Sports Club soared to heights of fun, fun and more fun, dahlings, when travel agents not only proved their mettle in sales but showcased their hidden talents as well.

British Airways Manille has a tradition of recognizing the contributions and support of their pals, including travel agents, dahlings. This year’s bash was graced by two hotshots who jetted in from abroad, no less than British Airways general manager for Greater China and the Philippines, el simpatico Fernando Suarez, and BA revenue manager for Greater China and the Philippines, Charles Roberts.

British Airways Manille’s dynamic, all-women team, were tres visible. They were led by mega country manager workasonic lady Violy Echevarria, top-of-the-line marketing manager; Southern beauty and brains Natalie Puey, and dedicated sales manager Marissa Saavedra.

Travel agents enjoyed a sorority-like get-together. Among those who came were Fiesta Tours & Travel’s Dolly Fortun; Regent Travel’s Connie Mamaril; Manila International Travel’s Daisy Ople; Sharp Travel’s Monet Joven; the ladies from Lucky Travel, Lulu Villanueva, Jenette Lista and Susan Sebastian; Thomas Cook, Phils.’ Lucille Chabeldin; Sierra-Griffin Tours’ Marilu Ngo; Magsaysay Travel’s Johnny Taguinod; and Philscan Travel’s Thelma Dinoy.

Fifteen awards, palanggas, were given away to deserving travel agencies. Those who made it in this year’s Winner’s Circle were Argo Travel; Sharp Travel; Pan Malayan Travel; Travel Saver Phils.; and Manila International Travel; plus 10 top travel agencies.

Each winning agency received an original sculpture by renowned Filipino artist Rey Paz Contreras.

"We are very thankful for the immense support you have extended to British Airways," said Señor Fernando Suarez. "Rest assured we will do our very best to maintain and even improve our services."

The mood zoomed to a higher gear when travel agents/representatives prepared for the most awaited portion–the contest where they showcased their creativity and knack for singing and dancing. Eight travel agencies participated in the competition adjudged by a panel composed of Fernando Suarez; Charles Roberts; Rey Paz Contreras; and BA’s renowned, mega PR consultant, Edd Fuentes, no less.

The Fiesta Tours & Travel group emerged victorious with their festive rendition of Kalesa followed by runners-up Thomas Cook, Phils., Philscan Travel and Sierra-Griffin Tours.

Fernando S. commended the all-out participation of the contestants whose talents he praised. He joked, "We might lose you to the entertainment business!"

The British Airways Manila team also expressed their gratitude for the support of the local travel agencies for the past several years.

"The travel agents are very instrumental to our growth. That’s why every year, we look forward to throwing a fun get-together for them," said BA country manager Violy Echevarria.

And with that note, everyone could hardly wait for next year, n’est ce pas?

Remember, palanggas, speed kills. So do stay sober and drive carefully. See you.

BRITISH AIRWAYS BRITISH AIRWAYS MANILLE CHARLES ROBERTS CITIBANK COUNTRY FERNANDO SUAREZ FIESTA TOURS GREATER CHINA AND THE PHILIPPINES IMELDA TRAVEL
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