The National Day of Belgium coincides with its anniversary as an independent monarchy. It was observed with the usual solemnity and formality in Cebu during a diplomatic reception at the Manila Room of the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel.
Receiving the numerous guests were Belgium Ambassador Christian Meerschmaan, together with Belgium’s Honorary Consul Enrique Benedicto and his wife Helena T. Benedicto.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia graced the occasion, as did Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young.
There was a good representation from the Benedicto family, among them Enrique’s brothers, Ambassador Francisco Benedicto and Honorary Consul of Albania Ceferino Benedicto; as well as Enrique and Helena’s children: Honorary Consul of Romania Grand Benedicto and wife Genevieve, Benedict and Mary Ann Benedicto, Enrilen Benedicto, Mylene Benedicto and Enrisson Benedicto.
Toasts were made to the continued good relations between the Philippines and Belgium, as well as to Cebu, where the Belgian National Day has been celebrated for several years now. The celebration in Manila takes place later in the year to mark the birthday of His Majesty King Albert II.
French National Day
The day after the Belgian celebration was that of the National Day of France, also held at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel, this time with a reception and dinner at the grand ballroom. In attendance was French Ambassador Thierry Borja de Mozota, who has made frequent visits here and thus counts with numerous friends.
Once more, Gov. Gwen Garcia was in glittering attendance. She was welcomed at the foyer where a red carpet had been laid out, by Ambassador Borja de Mozota and the evening’s hosts: Honorary Consul of France Michel Lhuillier with his wife Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, and Alliance Française de Cebu director Louis Thevenin with his wife Honeylet Samia Thevenin.
There were speeches and toasts, plus lively entertainment numbers. There was a band to play dance music and plenty of wine and champagne to encourage as many as. Possible to trip the light fantastic. All the way beyond midnight. Was that the dawn turning the horizon pink?
A week later, Michel and Amparito were special guests at the Casino Español de Cebu during its gastronomic journey focused on French cuisine held at El Comedor. It was a plated dinner for which the new Food & Beverage director Marina Codina was congratulated.
Present were Casino Español president Rico Gandionco with his wife Judith and their son José Rodrigo; secretary Nonoy Tirol and his wife Merian, house chair Eduardo Gonzalez and his wife Therese.
Also present were US Consular Agent John Domingo, Tony and Grace Lozada, Winglip and Pinky Chang, Mike and Rose Hennessy, former presidents Cheling Sala and his wife Susan, and Glen Loop with his wife Honey Jarque Loop.
Casino Español gig
Honey is drumming up interest for “An Evening of Fun” with Pinky Marquez, presented by Casino Español de Cebu at its ballroom, Salon de España, come Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. It is all to raise funds for the Casino’s medical mission come November, and to repair the Don Bernardo Alvarez Elementary School in Leyte, damaged during recent heavy rainfall and landslides.
Bernardo Alvarez was Honey’s grandfather, and the school is part of what used to be the extensive estate of the Alvarez family. As an added fillip, The Casino Español is offering a pre-concert buffet dinner at a nominal price, at La Terrace starting 6 p.m.
Going back to French activities, all is set, this early, for Soiree Beaujolais to be held at the Marco Polo ballroom on Nov. 19. Every year special entertainment is brought from France for the occasion. This time it will be Le Can Can de Paris with pretty girls doing those high kicks, and jumps that land them on splits.