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Watching the hat parade made me green with envy . . . For the Swatch Royal Party, I gladly lent several headpieces
TODAY I honor my mother, Marixi Prieto, the woman who taught me such priceless values as dignity, integrity and the importance of philanthropic deeds in every way possible. Happy Mother?s Day to you, Mom, and the rest of the mothers out there!

A mother?s love is truly unconditional and goes beyond any of life?s most challenging trials. So it is only fitting to pay tribute to her and the other mothers around the world for their undying devotion to children and families. This is a day to show and express gratitude to the women who gave us life and to recognize the many things mother?s do in our lives.

My mother is one of the most awarded people I know. She is honored for all her social and civic advocacies, as much as for her business acumen, all of which have enriched the lives of many that now have access to better education and livelihood.

Mom has always stressed the importance of public service in her stewardship of the Inquirer. All her values and her commitment to serve permeate through her businesses and social advocacies.

Apart from advocating excellence in journalism through Inquirer, my mom gives her generous philanthropic support for various foundations, including Assumption Mission Schools, Gawad Kalinga, Habitat for Humanity, LRP Foundation, Lay Education on Heart Diseases, the Philippine Daily Inquirer?s Newsboy Foundation and Piso for Unity, Peace and Progress Foundation, and many more.

One of her darkest days was to lose her eldest child, Louie, who passed away tragically in a motorcycle accident. Mom has experienced tremendous pain and suffering.

Time has slightly healed the pain, in part as she has focused on charities to help deserving children through the LRP Foundation and Sisters of Mary Foundation, where there is a special music auditorium named after Louie Prieto.

On June 17 of this year, Mom celebrates her 50th wedding anniversary with my dad, Alex. I personally want to organize the grandest golden royal wedding theme party, but they are both opting for a more intimate and simple celebration. I guess my Royal theme will just have to wait for my own 50th with my hubby, Dennis.

Day of hats

Royal fever is still in the air. Over two billion of us watched Will and Kate?s Royal Wedding last April 29. Watching the hat parade made me green with envy. My favorite milliner, Marilou Laurena of Hat Momma, has been supplying me with her most creative and outrageous designs for many years now. One day, the royals will discover her also.

When Swatch Mother Queen Virgie Ramos planned a Swatch Royal Party on the day of William and Kate?s wedding, I gladly lent her several headpieces as part of the set-up. Brilliant set designer Gino Gonzales converted the Greenbelt 5 venue into a beautiful tableau complete with a Swatch Big Ben.

Additionally, original drawings commissioned by Rafael del Casal just for the party were framed on the walls, and the prints were used for the tablecloths, the installations and doors. The wall display of special Swatch watches were interspersed with cascading English herbs and plants.

Swatch gig

Unbelievable as it may sound, I arrived at the Swatch Interactive Billboard at Greenbelt 5 by 11 a.m. I actually had no choice as I had to catch a flight at 12:30 for the Inquirer Face Off in Cebu.

Director Rowell Santiago was ready for me, rolling out the red carpet and shouting, ?Lights! cameras! action!? as I arrived. Not to be outdone, Margarita Fores brought out her best silverware, a champagne fountain and a big wedding cake complete with favors with a lot of Swatch Bijoux to be won.

The place felt like Will and Kate might walk in anytime. The music, the flowers, the good luck traditions of the British like a horseshoe on the bride, or something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue? all added to the fun!

Lucky Metrobank cardholders were invited and shopped for all the latest Swatch collections. The Royal Wedding itself was shown live on giant LED and plasma screens?while having A Queen?s Buffet and a yummy dessert called Maids of Honor.

With my 20 hats and fascinators on display for photo-ops and my video?I was definitely a part of the Swatch Royal Party.

Swatch endorsers Anne Curtis and Derek Ramsey welcomed guests in royal attires later that day. Bb. Pilipinas-Universe Shamcey Supsup looked even more regal in one of my fascinators, so we gave it to her as a lucky charm.

Also that evening, Anne Curtis was hailed as the Twitter Queen of the Philippines, after hitting the one-million follower mark on Twitter. She is the first Pinoy to have that humongous number of followers.

Inquirer Face Off 2011

After Swatch, I was off to the Inquirer Face Off 2011, presented by Inquirer Lifestyle, Samsung and Waterfront Hotel. Showcasing 13 fashion designers with half representing Cebu?s brightest talents, this fashion event brought Philippine fashion to greater heights in the most cosmopolitan city in the south.

Waterfront GM Marco Protacio made sure show director Jackie Aquino was assisted in presenting a flawless production. Before the main show, the capsule collection of young designers Eric de los Santos and Jerome Lorico for Folded & Hung introduced the Samsung Notebook 9 Series to the style-savvy Cebu fashionistas.

Talented Cebu make-up artist Jessie Glova magically transformed me for the show, while we watched the Royal Wedding from my Waterfront Hotel room.

The Inquirer guests also did not miss a precious moment because the Ballroom had giant Samsung screens all over for them to watch the wedding of this century.

Major sponsor was Ayala Land Premier?s 1016 Residences. Also supporting it were SM, Cebu Pacific Air, L?Oreal Paris, L?Oreal Professionnel, M. Lhuillier Jewellers and PLDT Watchpad.

Because it will never come again, our journey on earth should be cherished at each and every moment. Honor and show our love to our mothers, not just today but every day. And that includes our mothers-in-law as well. Happy Mother?s Day to my MIL, Cynthia Valdes!

If you?ve time today, celebrate Mother?s Day by checking out Mothers for Others at the Shangri-La Makati. See you all there.

Follow Tessa on Twitter @tessavaldes or e-mail her at seaprincess@inquirer.com.ph.