For the third year in a row Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq came to preside over the festivities of Dia de Santiago at Casino Español de Cebu. He was welcomed by club president Antonio Veloso Jr. and the rest of the board of directors as well as their family and friends.
Among the welcomers were vice president Gabriel Leyson with Tina Jordana, secretary Edgar Chiongbian with wife Cely, treasurer David Chan with wife Tess, house chair Ed Gonzalez with wife Therese, socials and cultural affairs director Paco Jarque with wife Monique, and sports director Luis Moro III.
Seated with Ambassador Domecq were Honorary Consul of Spain Anton Perdice and his wife Maripaz, Honorary Consul of France Michel Lhuillier and his wife Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, president of Amigos de España en Cebu.
Also with them were visitors from Spain Ma. Theresa del Pozo and famous guitarist Jose Luis Monton, sent to Cebu by the Spanish Embassy and Instituto Cervantes to perform a program of classic guitar music during the festivity.
True to her word, Casino Español general manager May Ocaba had prepared a splendid menu of tapas, a carving station that dispensed succulent slabs of jamon serrano, and an impressive buffet of the Casino’s specialties. She was assisted by staff that included Ritchel Bojos, Raphel Batasin-in, Joy Galban and Gina Ceniza.
Décor and floral arrangements were to the credit of Honey Jarque Loop, escorted by her husband Glenn Loop, a former president of Casino Español de Cebu. Other past presidents present were Cheling Sala with wife Susan, Cuco del Gallego and Luis More Jr.
It was a well-attended affair, a time for Ambassador Domecq to renew acquaintances with his Cebuano friends such as Tintoy and Maricar Perdices, Paqui Aboitiz and Quina Melendez, Teresin Mendezona, Julina Muertegui, Marichu Garcia, Miguel and Cristina Monreal, Conchita Taylor and Rosebud Sala.
With Myra Gonzalez the ambassador spoke about Sevilla and Jerez de la Frontera where they have many friends. Joining in were Manuel and Margot Larrañaga, Myra’s sister. At Myra’s table sat Ma. Pilar Escaño, her daughter Choco Laplana, Kingley Medalla with his mom, Pacita Medalla, and their friend Sigmund Carmona.
Ballet, of course, was what the ambassador spoke with Fe Sala Villarica and Vivina Yrastorza. After Metropolitan Ballet’s “Divertissements” premiere on July 19, plans are to stage a repeat at the Ayala Center theater for the performing arts in August.
Glimpsed about: Jose Mari Miranda, Hazel Gonzalez, Evelyn Ugarte, Carmen Campbell, Margie Taylor, Jose Mari and Marilou Cañizares with their son Joe Franz, Sebastian and Aina Lacson.
More glimpses: Martin and Angelique Miranda, Marimi Diaz, Chinggay Utzurrum, Terry Manguerra, Amay Ong Vaño, Serge and Olivia Gonzalez, Lisette Garcia, Paquing Serafica, Rene and Joy Kintanar.
From Cagayan de Oro had come Roderick Rodolfo Pelaez, to attend the event as well as to enjoy the guitar recital of señor Monton. “Terrific,” he said. He knows whereof he speaks as Roderick’s dad was the late Pacifico Pelaez, in his time one of the best Philippine guitarists ever.
Like his father, Roderick also went to Spain to learn and master the guitar. He joined the group that later went down to the Casino’s Bar Mixto with a group of merrymakers who sang and played music until well past 2 a.m. “Great fun, muy alegre,” punctuated Buddy Veloso.
‘Sabores de España’
Next evening, Ambassador Jorge was guest of honor at the 7th edition of the Sabores de España food fest at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. Resident manager Julie Najar led the way to a huge jamon serrano which she and the ambassador carved out the first slice from.
Assisting them were Spain’s Honorary Consul in Cebu Anton Perdices, and the Marco Polo’s consultant in Spanish cuisine Gema Luisa Pido who had just flown in the day before from a vacation in Spain, where else?
Gema excelled herself this time. Everyone loved her fabada asturiana, which the waiters kept replenishing. There were more specialty dishes that evening as well as on the two weeks the followed at the hotel’s Cafe Marco for lunch or dinner. And what large crowds.
Opening night of Sabores de España also featured a guitar recital by Jose Luis Monton. Pianists Reynaldo Reyes and Cristina Ebrada were fascinated with his plucking rendition of a Bach composition.
Helping Julie Najar entertain the guests were food and beverage director Stephan Wieprich, director for sales and marketing Lara Constantino, and the public relations team led by Kyra Cabaero which included Mia Ali Faridoon, Manna Alvarez, Yummy Mariot and May Dy Guani.
The next culinary journey at the Marco Polo will focus on Switzerland up to Aug. 4. There’ll be a grand celebration of Swiss National Day at the marquee on Aug. 3, 7 p.m.
Reservations are pouring in at P1,600 net per person to enjoy a bountiful Swiss buffet (think of the cheeses and sausages alone), great entertainment, traditional Swiss games, and a load of raffle prizes.
From Sept. 20 to 29 the Marco Polo’s culinary journey is dubbed Kapangpangan Festival with chefs Gene and Gino Gonzalez.