A party masterpiece
my LIPS are SEALED… sometimes… - Maurice Arcache () - August 7, 2001 - 12:00am
Dishing time
Yes, palanggas, there are loads of loud whispers being dished in Cosmo Manille, keeping text lines busy and cellphones ringing endlessly.

The loudest buzz is about the breakup of this tres, tres popular twosome who have been together like forever.

A mega business entrepreneur, she is one of the country’s most eligible heiresses. He is a tres successful internationally renowned persona in the building business. Just when their pals thought wedding bells were about to ring, the lady decided to call it quits.

The dude has moved out of the lady’s house and is all by his lonesome now. He has of late been real coozy with another of Cosmo Manille’s most eligible beauties who is footloose and fancy free again. Will this beautiful couple finally make a go of it? From the way the dish goes, they make a perfect match! Well, we’ll keep our fingers cross.

And then there’s this loud dish about the scandalous and yet amusing scene that took place at a chi-chi swinging party.

Some of our young flashy and more affluent gals arrived at the defining moment a "hair pulling" session was taking place (would you believe?) between a feisty blonde and someone known as one of Manille’s famous trust-fund babies, palanggas.

It all started because of an inappropriate comment thrown here, a wrong thing said there and obnoxious body language. Apres which, voila! Claws were bared as the duo risked serious blood loss. Concerned parties immediately intervened, dahlings, shouting, "Stop this, we care deeply about your health and happiness!" to no avail.

The two continued breathing fire until several pals pulled them apart and sent the one who started it all to cool off.

And you thought a scene like this only happened at sleazy bars. Wrong, palanggas. It does happen in the best parties, too. A pity!

Well, a similar incident occurred in another popular resto and bar, palanggas.

A lovelorn gal spilled the beans about her tumultuous married life with a popular restaurateur. "I just left my husband tonight and I’ve hired several thugs to beat him up," she said while wiping her smeared makeup as she sobbed.

On the same night in another part of the resto-bar, a real snob asked one of the gorgeous ladies (who is a friend of the snob) in a bitchy tone, "Sino ba’ng kasama mo? Mukhang NOCD" (as in, "Not of our class," palanggas). The lady almost slapped the snob, shouting at the bitchy persona, "Shut up!" several times. This took the "snobby bitch by surprise" as the snob very coolly moved on to another table. It must be all that cash that blurs the "bean brain" of this snob, dahlings.

"Away, Away!" a socialite slurred as she sat to prevent herself from falling on her face. She was very , very boozed up, distressed and disturbed amidst the hard-core partying.

"Men, men! They are all sh--- a-- h----! I’m through with men!" she said as she rested her head on the shoulders of a good-looking gent beside her. Well, dahlings, maybe now she’ll turn to women, who knows? Di bala?

How true are those loud whispers that a politician is shying away from his steadier than steady stunningly beautiful lady who he has been linked with for some time. It seems it all started while the lady was abroad and the gent started being seen with other women, particularly the TV persona being linked with him at the moment. I do hope the dish is all hearsay, palanggas, because they sure did make such a nice, happy, good-looking pair.

And the loudest dish doing the rounds of town is about the in-est, hottest spot that’s rocking Rockwell Mall’s Power Plant (at the top floor, next to the movie houses, in case you still don’t know, palanggas). Hot, hot Dish has been packing the crowds during lunches, dinners and late nights. Here, the chic-kiest of the Cosmo Manille crowd (talk about name-dropping!) eat delicious as they watch, and listen to some of the best bands perform.

Last Tuesday, Friday and Saturday alone, diners were thrilled to have hotshots sitting next to them like the Zobels, Roxases and Viratas, who were with Southern pals; Ilocos Norte Gov. Bongbong Marcos; stunningly attractive Rep. Imee Marcos; Maridel Villavicencio, Odette Ong and a groupie of 14; Bibing Villanueva with her gang of six that included, Popoy and Marge Juico; LandBank VP Jopot Nodrales and his wife Myra; Cecille Reynoso with Southern bells Paz Sotto, Mavis Villanueva Chua and Butching Shaw; Maryann Ojeda; Del Rosarios; Bledes Fores with Rosanna Tuason Fores; mega realtor Rica Theo; jetsetter Josephine Knox and her gang grooving to the band; Frannie Aguinaldo Jacinto; the ever faithful Brodette gals; the groupie of Lulay Mapa and Inday del Rosario; Southern gentry Edouard Garcia; Karen and Gary Romualdez with pal Trisha Cu-Unjieng; Beng Dee; renowned couturier Pepito Albert; DTI Secretary Mar Roxas; Martin Nievera, who sang on stage, as did Lani Misalucha; Pops Fernandez and Robin Padilla who did a duet on another night; Rep. Miguel Zubiri and Rep. Mike Defensor who sang; Luli Macapagal-Arroyo and Berna Romulo Puyat; Leana Romulo; Golden and Bernice Ocampo; movie star Patricia Javier; gorgeous beauty queen and international TV persona Ruffa Gutierrez with her Turkish tycoon boyfriend Yilmaz Bektas, plus so many others like them too beautiful to mention.

Now, palanggas, if Dish ain’t hot, what is?

Woman of substance and style Kathy de Guzman and her siblings checked out the Paris summer for a month and a half. Her husband, banker Bing de Guzman, top gun of ING Baring jets in and out of Paris from Singapore (where he is busy as a bee) to take his famille to enjoy gourmet treats and the sights of the City of Love.

World-class plastic surgeon Dr. Manuel "Noni" Fernandez and his vivacious wife Len Torres, checked out Paris, too, to stay for a month as house guests of mega businessman Steven and feminine beauty Marissa Carmona-Chan.

Vivacious Gigi Perez was also in Paris holiday-ing with her children to take a breather from our town’s hassles and worries, palanggas.
* * *
Beautiful. Exquisite. A real masterpiece. Those words are usually used to describe works by masters like Van Gough, Renoir or Michaelangelo. Well, dahlings, those words could also be used to describe the recent super happening organized by the premier hotel in Cosmo Manille the colossally chic Makati Shangri-La.

The buzz is still loud and clear about the Shangri-La’s appreciation dinner for magnum club members. The event was held at Manille’s prestigious Metropolitan Museum. Many have even gone as far as to calling it a masterpiece, not unlike the precious pottery, pre-Hispanic gold jewelry, rare paintings and other Philippine art forms displayed in the museum.

The well-heeled gathering of hotshot diplomats and social and economic pillars confident with their stock portfolios included US Embassy Charge de Affaires Michael Malinowski; Coca-Cola’s Export Corp. president and general manager Jim Harting; Mitsubishi Corp. GM Naoyuki Nobe; Thomas Ng, president of Asea Brown Boveri; and George Farah, managing director of Philip Morris Phils. They were met at the reception line by marketing area director Rey Villar, sales director Stella Gillera, and the hotel’s young, smart and dynamic executives from the sales and marketing and catering sales departments.

The waiters, tres elegant in their tuxedos, formed a long line from the museum entrance that extended up to a long hallway showcasing paintings by Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo, up to a winding staircase that led unto the second-level exhibition area. Here, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were served amidst an exhibit of traditional Japanese dolls.

Richard Riley
, Makati Shangri-La’s workasonic-magnum GM, tres visibly welcomed the invitees along with his tres charmant wife Vivid R. The hotel’s mega top asset, cyber smart director of communications Joy Wassmer made sure such hotshot personas like Kuok Philippine properties president Fernando Gaspar, Sun Micro System‘s Cynthia Mamon and American Express Bank senior director Tetsuya Ota were never without excellent red wine and canapés. Executive assistant manager for Food and Beverage, Krister Svensson oversaw Shangri-La’s impeccable cocktail services, palanggas.

The highlight of the cocktail hour began when Richard Riley invited everyone to gather around the second floor railing to witness the Chameleon Dance Company perform a post-modern ballet to the music of Electronica artist Moby.

Apres the performance, dahlings, the VIPersonas were led to the Museum’s high security vault where the Central Bank’s precious art collections are stored. They were greeted at the basement vault by an awe-inspiring sight – an elegant table setting consisting of jet-black linen, gold sinamay and bronze candelabras festooned with paint lights. This was where the evening’s dinner was served!

As the Shangri-La’s favored guests settled down to dine amidst Central Bank’s precious collections, Bea Marquez, director of catering sales, revealed that it was only the second time a social event was allowed to be held inside the vault. The first was for the birthday dinner for former Bangko Sentral Gov. Paeng Buenaventura.

Live music was provided by French-Moroccan artist Moise (pronounced Mow-ees) whose vast repertoire of contemporary jazz, pop and retro selections earned him loads of new admirers. Turning into new Moise fans were Siemen president and CEO Hans Weckherlin; Pepsi Cola, Inc.’s VP Ravi Dhariwal; and Jocelyn Leiva, wife of Unisys president Gabriel Leiva.

Makati Shangri-La’s Chef de Cuisine Eric Costille was met with loud applause when he was introduced apres his excellently prepared five-course menu. Costille’s savory selections, dahlings, included the melt-in-your-mouth Duck Liver Terrine with Old Kano Garden Greens, tossed with Truffle Vinaigrette for appetizer, followed by Asian Flavored Chicken Consomme with Asparagus Tips and Escargot Ravioli for soup.

Next came the Orange and Thai Basil Sherbert served as mid-course refresher. Then it was on the excellent main dish, Pan-seared Veal Tenderloin and Rock Lobster on Olive Oil Bearnaise and Natural Jus and Diamond of Provencale Vegetables. The talented chef topped this off with Exotic Fruit Chutney and Lemon Grass Consomme. The finale was the dessert, Pyramid of Avocado.

That successful working socialite Tita Trillo’s popular Anthony’s Wines and Spirits, no less, dahlings, provided bottles of excellent wines like McGuigan 4000 Cabernet Sauvignon and Vin 7000 Chardonnay throughout the evening.

Right apres coffee and tea were served, Richard R. surprised Hewlett-Packard GM Raymund del Val and his wife Marilyn with a wedding anniversary cake apres learning that the couple was celebrating 16 years of wedded bliss that day. In their honor, talented members of the Makati Shangri-La’s sales and marketing team obliged requests from the couple to sing.

Sun Micro-System’s Cynthia Mamon, got into the act with a few songs. Clearly having a grand time, dahlings, were Bristol-Mayer’s president and GM Liew Yew Looi; Dresdner Bank chief representative Cesar Virtusio; EIU Philippines president Peter Wallace; Salomon Smith Barney-Asia/Pacific Ltd. chief executive Hans Sicat; and Glaxo-Smith chairman Lito Tadena; plus others like them too well-heeled to mention, palanggas.

The evening was definitely an unqualified success. As Makati Shangri-La’s magnum guests filed out of the vault, not a few commented, "It was one of the most creative parties we have ever attended."

Not the type to rest on their laurels, the marketing team told the guests to watch out for the magnum club’s super bash next year.
Asia’s Pearl: Manila
Manila, dahlings, is a book by top photographer Philip Escudero, journalist and mi amiga Bambi Harper and mega architect Augusto Villalon. The book was published by the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional and was launched by Cosmo Manille’s new Spanish Ambassador, el simpatico Tomas Rodriguez Pantoja; Dr. Jaime Laya, chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts; and Javier Galvan, director of Instituto Cervantes in Manille.

dahlings, is part of a series of super books published by the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional about tres interesting historical cities from all over the world. The book depicts Manille’s people and environment.

Philip Escudero’s look is always an artistic one. His is an endless search for beauty and harmony. Reading the book, you’ll be fascinated by Manila’s architecture of yesteryears and today, as much as by in its colorful fiesta, religious fervor, and variety of food and sports. It is a must-to-have book! Reading the precise notes by architect Augusto Villalon gives one fresh perspectives on the architectural history of the city. And my favorite part, naturellement, is mi amiga Bambi Harper’s remarks on the people’s history.

The book is just one more attempt to capture the myth of our Asian Pearl, Manila.

Check it out. It’s great for keeps or as a gift. For more info, do call or visit Instituto Cervantes at 2515 Leon Guinto cor. Estrada Sts. 1004 Malate, Manila (tel. no. 526-1482 to 85).
Shoes for men of substance
In this day and age when everything in fashion seems to be ready-to-wear if not mass-produced, dahlings, there are still brands which – thankfully! – are still crafted by hand.

When it comes to men’s footwear, America’s finest line of shoes, Johnston & Murphy, is a prime example. For a century and a half now, this tres prestigious brand has been favored by the creamiest of the creme, palanggas, including US presidents Abraham Lincoln (who favored black ankle boots), Lyndon Johnson and Bill Clinton (who favors blue suede loafers).

In the Philippines, palanggas, Johnston & Murphy shoes and accessories are available at the men’s section of Rustans Makati and Rustans Tower at the Shang-ri-La Plaza Mall. The shoes are exclusively distributed by Collfan Retail Phils. Inc. headed by that dashing Connecticut gentleman of Italian descent, Frank Sapienza.

Frank S., dahlings, is only too happy to bring Johnston & Murphy to the Philippines, just as he has done for the beauty brand H20. "I like working in (the field of) fashion because the products are directly related to people. I’m able to work directly with consumers," Frank S. said during one of his frequent trips to the country from Hong Hong where he also distributes Johnston & Murphy.

"I’ve always been attracted to the Philippines," he continued, "because historically, Filipinos really like footwear. So whatever the country’s status is, Filipinos still have that interest – they will make that investment. Filipinos are a shoes and accesories people. Footwear is a major part of their wardrobe. It is distinctively more (like that for them) than in other countries.

"Filipino males lead Asians in their recognition of footwear. They will pick a pair and go over it, scrutinize it, turn it around. Filipinos also follow fashion very closely, particularly American fashion."

Frank S. knows whereof he speaks, palanggas, because he has been doing business in Asia for 25 years now, first for a Hong Kong-based multinational company. Then he started his own business sourcing branded footwear in Korean and Taiwan for European and American markets under his own company, and then started importing American products, footwear, clothing and accesories.

Frank S., who finished Sociology at the Ohio State University and his Masters in Political Science at Ohio’s Kent State University, is delighted that Johnston & Murphy is doing well in our shores.

"The type of consumers we have here," he noted, "are politicians, political appointees, expats like Europeans and Americans. They are individuals who want quality and craftsmanship. They select not just a particular fashion or look but a lifestyle. They are the type of persons whose footwear is part of a wardrobe. "

So what sets Johnston & Murphy apart? "Our shoes are men’s shoes – they’re very masculine yet the fashion is not so far-out. It’s the kind of footwear that will endure.

"Johnston & Murphy uses only genuine leather. We triple or double the widths to accommodate Asian feet.

"Feet are so important because bones and nerves react to what happens to your feet. If you walk and your feet are uncomfortable, it’s a health factor – you strain your back, you have bunions. Fit, comfort and quality make the difference."

Make that the Johnston & Murphy difference, palanggas.

And who says Cosmo Manille is boring? Think again, palanggas! See you.

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