Just before three o’clock in the afternoon, the hour of greatest mercy, Manila’s 400 arrived at the Rockwell Tent to enjoy a most lovely book launch.
Alighting as if on cue from a steady procession of white or black SUVs were ladies who lunch, artists and models, captains of industry, trend-setters in film, fashion and culture, and arbiters of style and design.
There were movie star hunks, retail giants, diplomats and fiercely loyal friends of Thelma San Juan, who was launching her book that afternoon, “i’m afraid of heights (or why I can’t social-climb),” a collection of 98 profiles of lifestyle celebrities she has written the past decades, working as lifestyle editor—from National Artists Rolando Tinio, BenCab, Lucrecia Kasilag, to design icons Budji Layug, Kenneth Cobonpue, fashion design giants Inno Sotto, Auggie Cordero, Joe Salazar, even Gang Gomez, who’s now Benedictine monk Dom Martin, OSB. Dom Martin flew in from the Monastery of the Transfiguration in Bukidnon just to make it to the launch.
The special guest of honor was President Benigno Aquino III.
The admixture of the guests was like a perfect salad, a blend of all kinds of VIPs, socially combustible and scintillating. Matrons ogled the handsome artistas, the old got to converse with the young, the businessmen loved the pretty models in the mini fashion show, the gays caught up with the latest news.
It seemed everyone was exceptionally happy. The remarks of the President went well with the well-heeled crowd, who lapped up his self-effacement and good humor.
The food and wine seemed never-ending. The jubilant crowd stayed way past the usual event hours (including the President, we learned); such was the occasion’s good vibe.