Norma Padilla-Rosales, ‘kundiman’ great and Iloilo royalty, marks dazzling 80th birthdayBy Maurice Arcache
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Neither the sweltering heat nor the sudden rain shower could stand in the way of the guests bedecked in grand coiffures and ultra-luxurious finery who came to celebrate Norma Padilla-Rosales’ très special day at the plush colonial setting of Punta Villa Resort’s Crown Ballroom.
The happening was totally fit for a grand dame whose 80th birthday kept the Iloilo City social circuit buzzing for weeks.
The ballroom of the resort hotel, owned by the well-respected Abanilla family, was right for the celebration, with its molded plastered ceiling inspired by the Sun King’s Palace in France, its magnificent chandeliers that bathed couture gowns in a golden glow and enhanced the sparkle of the bling-blings of the guests.
But the dazzler of them all were the huge diamond earrings worn by the celebrator herself.
Chosen as one of the leading hostesses of the city by Philippine Tatler, the ageless Norma was in her finest form, palanggas, entertaining the shakers and movers of the city’s A-listers.
Norma had been made to believe that her soiree was just one of those little chi-chi gatherings on her special day. Little did she know that a lavish celebration was being planned by her children, Jeanmaire, New York city gal Pangging, Pane and Bobby, and grandchildren Breann and Nikko.
Guests ascending the marble stairway to the terrace were welcomed with a profusion of exotic flowers in all hues before entering the ballroom, which replicated the main hall of Norma’s grandiose living room in her Strawberry Mansion, complete with the original furnishings and the huge canvas portrait of the “Lady of the Manor.”
All of these served as backdrop for souvenir shots guests took with the celebrator. The production design was by Boni Gaverza.
The birthday gal in her red Tadashi Shoji gown made her entrance, escorted by her only son, Bobby Rosales, and grandson Nikko Rosales Cid.
She was welcomed by the deafening applause of more than 400 invitees, who offered long-stemmed red roses while a video presentation of her life was shown onstage.
A magnificently arranged buffet table groaning with sumptuous cuisine and with flowing wine was one of the many highlights of the party.
But outshining everything that evening was the nightingale herself, Norma, a popular kundiman singer in the ’60s and a recipient of the Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas Gawad CCP para sa Natatanging Ambag sa Radyo Visayas in 1991.
Norma sang her favorite Ilonggo songs, which enthralled everyone. As tribute to her full, happy and healthy life, famille members and her close pals performed dances of the different countries the celebrator has traveled to. (Thumbs up to artistic director Joe Delina.)
Seen at the elegant gathering were Norma’s nephew, Negros Occidental fourth district Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer, and his mother Lydia; power couple Judgee and Sarah Peña, with their tall daughter, Rica; doctors Roland and Wendy Uy; Rosalie Sarabia-Treñas; civic leader Fanny Uy; social fixtures Susan Wang, Susie Facultad and Hazel Buaron; Linda Patag-Hoblitzel and daughter Cynthia Patag; couturiers Bing Sanchez and Poli Abastillas; Lynnie Denila, Gladys Cordero and Lilia Lim; and, naturellement, my palangga, the elusive Maridel Padilla-Uygongco; Iloilo City’s high-society persona Nonoi Ybiernas; and John Castigador and Zedrick Señeres.
Serenading Norma was Resort World Manila’s “Sound of Music” lead actor, debonair singer Jon Joven Uy.
Later, Norma led the descent to the dance floor with a sizzling Tango Argentino with Jorge Amparado of the famed Tango de Manila as partner. Music was provided by the Totong Villaruz Band.
Amid the glamour and glitter of the night, the beautiful Norma Padilla-Rosales was still the brightest jewel of them all, palanggas.
Bellevue’s Signature Club
The Bellevue Manila, the five-star hotel in southern Metro Manila, had been named 2013 TripAdvisor Travelers Choice.
It adds another feather to its cap with the recent launch of the Bellevue Signature Club. This posh 900-sq-m venue, which moi experienced during a stopover on the way to a wedding in the Southburg Estate, is for the exclusive use of the hotel’s guests checked in at the Signature floors and the suites in its Tower Wing. It boasts of sophisticated amenities.
Luminaries from the business and society circles were graciously welcomed to the inaugural by the hardworking Bellevue Hotels and Resorts team led by chair Johnny Chan, managing director Patrick Chan, marketing and communications corporate director Ryan Chan, and deputy general manager Dustin Chan.
The opening of Bellevue Signature Club is part of the hotel’s 10th anniversary.
Call tel. 7718181, 0917-8718181, 0918-8718181; or e-mail email@example.com.