(From left) Ping, Miguel, Val and Trish Sotto.
A golden moment
THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - September 14, 2018 - 12:00am

Turning 50 is a golden moment.

When Valerie Mayor Sotto celebrated her 50th birthday at the Conservatory of the Peninsula Manila on Aug. 28, her family and closest friends celebrated with her as they feted her with their heartwarming presence and messages.

The party, with Allure assistant editor Büm Tenorio Jr. hosting the program in his unique and funny way, was made more alive with the performances of 3rd Avenue that made everyone — including Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares and the members of Assumption Batch ‘86 — stand up and hit the dance floor. And most guests danced to the hits of the ‘70s and ‘80s until way past midnight in the venue elegantly styled by Didit Castro.

But before the dancing, everyone watched an engaging video presentation about Valerie as they enjoyed a sumptuous buffet dinner. There was “laugh-tear” at the Conservatory that night as guests joyfully watched the video prepared by Valerie’s son Miguel Sotto, an award-winning filmmaker who trained at the New York Film Academy.

  Val, in Vania Romoff, with mother Sonia Reyes Mayor.

The video presentation started with the many beautiful faces of Valerie in different magazines. Yes, Valerie, before becoming a businesswoman and a superb baker at Valerie’s Kitchen,  was a print model. One day, she was to model for Shell calendar and that was how she and Ping Sotto, a Shell executive, met.

Ping said: “My most favorite memory of Val was when she stepped into my office 29 years ago. That monumental meeting changed the course of my life...The moment I saw her, I said to myself, ‘I just met my (future) wife’.”

“My mom is really the love of my life. She’s the most selfless, loving, caring person that I’ve ever met. She’s my role model,” Trish Sotto said. Trish, by the way, graduated summa cum laude and valedictorian of her batch in UP Diliman’s  School of Economics.

For Miguel’s part, he said: “My mom is the kind of person you can’t help but get attached to because you know the love will be reciprocated 100-plus percent. I honestly do not know what to do without her.”

Valerie’s beautiful mother, Sonia Mayor, said: “Val is sweet and loving by nature. She’s always by my side, always holding my hand.”

My beautiful editor, Joanne Rae Ramirez, said: “She’s so unself-conscious of her incredible and rare beauty. She’ll give up her mornings for her kids. She’ll give up her job. She’ll give up her time. If she were the eldest and I were the youngest, she would be my peg.”

  Val and her sister Joanne Rae Ramirez.

Joanne and her cousin Aimee Ferrer recalled a funny instance that happened when Valerie and Aimee were in kindergarten school. The driver who fetched the two from school told their parents, “Kailangan po daw nilang mag-makeup sa school bukas.” So Aimee and Valerie, with the help of their mothers, wore makeup that day. When they arrived in school, the teacher fell apart seeing the two fully made up. It turned out, the two needed to attend make-up classes because they were absent for a long time — and not put on makeup!

Valerie’s two other sisters who are based in the US also sent their messages for their bunso. Dr. Geraldine Mayor said, “Val is a beautiful person because she is a peacemaker. Her home is open to visitors and also to animals needing a home.” For her part, Mary Mae Mayor said, “She likes to mimic other people. She’s loving and caring. That’s why she’s everybody’s favorite.”

“She is a clown with a phenomenal memory. She is our class entrepreneur, we are very proud of her,” said Sen. Grace Poe. “Val’s kindness just really adds up to the total package of the woman she is that I greatly admire and I find very attractive.”

It was heartening to see how Valerie’s family and closest friends celebrated with her. The sum total of their wishes tells of how beautiful Valerie is inside out. And that makes Valerie truly a golden girl!

Happy birthday!

Sisterhood is a beautiful journey

  Dr. Lia Bernardo.

Anya Resort Tagaytay, in celebration of International Sisters’ Month, recently held a two-day retreat about the inner journey siblings undergo to attain peace and loving kindness.

The retreat was conducted by Dr. Lia Bernardo, an expert in well-being, natural health and personal growth. Bernardo is known to hold training programs with the use of principles of psychoneurology and integrative health. Her training programs have currently evolved into personal development and empowerment workshops, which focus on self-help and changing limiting beliefs for wellness of the body, mind and soul.

  Lexi Schulze Berenguer-Testa and Georgia Schulze del Rosario participate in a mirror exercise, known to improve one’s self-esteem.

Sessions were centered on the importance of gratitude and communication in relationships.  Participants did mirror exercises to improve their self-esteem and Qi Gong, a holistic system of coordinated body movements for meditation.

Food by sous chef Nomer Granados gave nourishment for the body. Lunch was held at Samira, Anya’s fine-dining restaurant, where guests had oven-roasted chicken, penne pasta with black truffle, matcha green tea rolls and banana ice cream. Dinner was served at the all-day dining outlet called Anila, where guests enjoyed minestrone soup, seafood paella and opera cake.

  Matcha green tea rolls with banana ice cream.

The retreat was the perfect opportunity for the participants to relax and rejuvenate through an intimate celebration amidst the luxurious comforts of the beautiful and relaxing Anya.

* * *

(For inquiries, call 657-1640 or 0998-5779999, e-mail resv.tagaytay@anyaresorts.com or visit www.liabernardo.com. For more information on Dr. Lia Bernardo’s upcoming retreat schedules at Anya, visit www.liabernardo.com.)

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(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)

VALERIE MAYOR SOTTO
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