Friendship & tradition

NEW BEGINNINGS - Büm D. Tenorio Jr. - The Philippine Star
Friendship & tradition
Celebrating with PeopleAsia editor-in-chief Joanne Rae Ramirez (seated, eighth from left) at the Champagne Room of Manila Hotel are (foreground) talent manager Jojie Dingcong and the au-thor; (seated, from left) BDO’s Gi-Anne Agoncillo, Metro Pacific Investment Corp. EVP and chief finance officer Chaye Cabal Revilla, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, Jacqueline Eduardo, Dr. Vicki Belo, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp. president and CEO Alice Eduardo, Manila Hotel style director Rachy Cuna, Milette Belmonte, and YouTube celebrity Small Laude; (standing, from left) Dr. Hayden Kho, BDO’s Chino Ramirez, ad man Ed Ramirez, and STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte.

Friendship is a tradition. And tradition ought to be celebrated.

The friendship between Rachy Cuna, the floral architect of the Philippines and style director of The Manila Hotel, and PeopleAsia editor-in-chief Joanne Rae Ramirez is a tradition.

Every year since 2006, except for the two pandemic years, Rachy always throws Joanne a memorable birthday party because, as he puts it, “it is a tradition and friendship should always be special and memorable.”

It was a celebration of friendship that flourished last Friday at the Champagne Room of The Manila Hotel when Rachy threw an intimate and elegant post-birthday dinner for Joanne as the elegant melody from violins played in the background. The former gathered some of Joanne’s treasured friends including STAR president and CEO Miguel Belmonte and his wife Milette (who both grew nostalgic that night as they reminisced about their wedding reception held at the same venue), Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp. president and CEO Alice Eduardo with daughter Jacqueline Eduardo and YouTube celebrity sister Small Laude, executive vice president and chief finance officer of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. Chaye Cabal Revilla, Doctors Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez (who humbly and joyfully told Rachy she had covered many memorable events in the hotel but that night was the first time she was dining at the Champagne Room), and talent manager extraordinaire Jojie Dingcong.

Of course, Joanne’s beloved family was also present — her husband Ed Ramirez and son Chino Ramirez, a bank executive and his girlfriend Gi-Anne Agoncillo, also a bank executive.

A toast to a beautiful life for Joanne Rae Ramirez.

“May I thank my beloved friend Rachy Cuna for always making me feel young every time I have a birthday party because he gathers people together who make me smile,” Joanne said after she blew the candles on her cake.

Ahh, the sumptuous dinner was also a conversation piece: Champagne Room’s famous Caesar’s salad; French onion soup topped with baked French bread and Gruyere cheese; carbonara with truffles, homemade fettucine noodles with Italian bacon called guanciale, truffle, egg yolk, and Parmesan cheese; mango passion fruit; roast US prime beef rib in au jus, baked potato and bouquet of market vegetables; and Baked Alaska for the sweet ending.

“You really make me feel young by making me smile,” Joanne told Rachy from across the long table festooned with red dehydrated hydrangeas.

“You’re still young,” Korina chimed in.

(From left) Miguel and Milette Belmonte with Ed and Joanne Rae Ramirez.

Champagne poured throughout the night as merriment was the motif of the moment. The veritable “ting!” of the champagne glasses witnessed a celebration of friendship.

Yours truly serenaded Joanne and her guests with Bituing Marikit, as truly many stars were shining that night.

(For your new beginnings, e-mail me at [email protected]. I’m also on Twitter @bum_tenorio and Instagram @bumtenorio. Have a blessed weekend.)


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