When high-society figure Mely Concepcion Hechanova calls for a party, everyone shows up, dahlings. And it was no exception when our woman of the hour celebrated her 80th dazzling birthday.
Since she’s ever wanting to celebrate life and many more tomorrows, it was not surprising that she insisted on a vivid color palette of orange and chartreuse.
Cosmo Manille’s 800 or so had not seen the likes of her invitation, which came in a chartreuse box embroidered with an “M,” and a chartreuse organza ribbon holding down the invitation inside.
Hanging on the ribbon was a flower or round bling-bling pendant that looked so much like real diamond. Some invitees, led by Ambassador Isabel Wilson, even dared to wear the pendant as a brooch or hanging from a necklace on the night of Mely’s party. That’s how incredibly real it looked, dahlings.
The color palette was reflected everywhere—at the greeting area where a huge “M” made of oranges was set amid a backdrop of Buddha corpus leaves.
Meanwhile, the Makati Shangri-La Rizal grand ballroom was decorated like an orangerie with gigantic orange trees (actually they were ficus trees), with real oranges hanging from its branches, silk chartreuse tablecloths and the floral décor on each table was superbly executed by Rustan’s Flower Shop, no less.
Singing and food
During dinner, Mely’s guests from our town’s alta sociedad were serenaded by the female duo Sopranos and the male trio Angelos.
Their singing matched each serving of the international menu. As the Salade Niçoise was rolled out, the classical-pop singers belted out “La Vie En Rose” and “Hymne à L’Amour.”
As the Chinese soup and Japanese teriyaki gindara were served, the performers sang “Amor, Amor, Amor” and “Amigos Para Siempre.”
The Italian main course, Braised Beef Cheeks in Risotto, was served with “Volare,” Il Divo’s Italian version of “Unchained Melody, Senza Catane” and “Luna,” as background music.
Cognizant of Mely’s favorite movie “Mama Mia,” which she, would you believe, has watched seven times in the movie house, a cacophony of Mediterranean desserts was matched with a medley of songs from the movie, wow!
The finale saw the Hechanova children—Renna, Raffy, Raissa and Riana and their respective spouses and children—singing “Thank You for the Music.”
And as if this was not enough—to the total delight of Mely, Mr. Pure Energy himself, Gary Valenciano, made a surprise appearance and had the chic upper set applauding and screaming like they were in a concert hall, palanggas.
Afterward, there was dancing that rocked to intensity 9. I saw some ladies removing their Jimmy Choos, Louboutins and Chanels while they held on to their bling-bling, making sure they were still on their earlobes, necks, wrists and fingers.
Another surprise for Mely was the launching of her book, “Mely: Common Sense and Fine Sensibilities.”
Equally a surprise was a cha-cha and a waltz dance number by 16 of Mely’s close pals led by Nene Leonor and Fortune Ledesma. The entire show was masterfully directed by theater extraordinaire Freddie Santos, who also emceed the evening.
Namedroppables spotted included Vice President Jejomar and Dr. Ellen Sombillo Binay; former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada and wife, former Senator Loi; Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario; Washington SyCip; Oscar and Connie Lopez; Presy Lopez Psinakis; Cristina Ponce Enrile; Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia; adorable Tessie Siy; my palangga Nenita Floirendo and her daughters; Doña Liding Oledan on a très rare night out with her daughter and heir to her jewelry throne, Linda O. Coscolluela.
Seen as well were Doris Ho, Trade Secretary Greg Domingo, Tatler publisher Irene Martel Francisco, Chuchu Madrigal Eduque and Inno Sotto, who made Mely’s gorgeous white satin gown, natch.
The elegant dinner bore all the markings of a celebration typical of a “Hechanova party,” tempered with simple elegance. While enjoying the awesome dinner and music, and basking in the orangerie setting, many remarked, “No one entertains anymore like Mely.”
Many grabbed oranges from the table as centerpieces to take home. Some even had waiters with plastic bags beside them as they rampaged for the different oranges.
I even told one guest in a table jokingly, “Hey, you can buy one orange and take two free from Rustan’s Supermarket. So why are you hoarding all those oranges?”
To which the guest answered, “I’ll make fresh orange for my breakfast tomorrow.”
Another even insisted on taking a whole tree with oranges hanging from it, till the guest was politely told, “No! You can’t take the tree.”
I’ve always said, “You can make tons of money or get a college degree, but breeding, dahlings, is an inborn thing.” Di bala, palanggas?
Whatever, it was still an awesome celebration of 80 years of the reigning queen of the country’s alta sociedad, Mely Concepcion Hechanova. Cheers, palangga.