Amigos de España recently held a most lively meeting at Salon Barcelona of Casino Español de Cebu. La presidenta Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, ever the fashion plate, gave the opening remarks.
“Todo riquisimo,” she said about the exquisite menu, with Teresin Mendezona echoing, “Si, de verdad, especialmente Pollo al Vino.” The French would call it “Coq au vin,” said Angie Mathieu as a rejoinder.
“Calabaza, que rica,” said Paqui Aboitiz and Quina Melendez about the pumpkin soup with croutons. “Y el salmón,” countered Julina Muertegui about the fresh salmon filets in white sauce.
There to collect the compliments was Casino Español’s general manager May Ocaba, who announced there’d be another Spanish-themed epicurean experience when the club has an advance celebration of Dia de Santiago on July 2.
“We’ll have tapas, including jamon serrano, starting at 7 p.m. Dinner will be at 8 p.m., featuring Spanish specialties. Paella is one of them definitely,” said May, adding that the price is P500 per person. There was a collective “Wow” to that.
Guest of honor on this occasion will be Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq. He will be welcomed by the club president Antonio Veloso Jr., VP Gabriel Leyson and the rest of “La junta directiva,” which includes Edgar Chiongbian, David Chan, Eduardo Gonzalez, Paco Jarque and Luis Moro III.
“Hope to see you all there,” said May, adding “Hasta luego,” with a perfect castizo drawl.
Highlight of the ambassador’s dinner will be a performance by internationally acclaimed Spanish flamenco guitarist José Luis Monton, brought to Cebu by the Spanish Embassy and Instituto Cervantes. His program opens with a farruca titled “Mujer Española,” followed by nine other selections.
Cristina Ebrada was asked to inform “los amigos y amigas” about the forthcoming Romantic Piano Concerto tour of Ingrid Sala Santamaria and Reynaldo Reyes, which will bring them to Cebu on Friday, July 5, 6 p.m., at the lobby of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. Admission is free.
“Es gratis pero venir temprano,” Tina said, as early birds will be able to get good seats. In the program are Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B Flat Minor. Yes, the one associated with Van Cliburn, a dear friend of Ingrid.
Next to speak was Fe Sala Villarica, who explained about her latest project: the Metropolitan Ballet Theater (MBT). It is not a school but a dance company, the only one south and out of Manila.
“Solo bailamos,” stressed Fe, saying they don’t teach, but just dance. The company has five female dancers and three male. All have undergone intense training and rehearsals from the best ballet professors, Fe foremost among them, we might say.
MBT will have its debut with a program titled “Divertissements,” set for Friday, July 19, 8:15 p.m., at the ballroom of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. It is presented by the Arts Council and Marco Polo in association with the Philippine Pediatric Society-Cebu chapter.
In the repertoire are numbers which will be staged for the first time in Cebu, like the brief one-act ballet “Flower Festival in Genzano,” with choreography by Bournonville and music by Helsted.
“Danse Gitane Espagnole” has a decidedly Spanish flavor and comes from the ballet “Paquita.” It is capped by an exciting “Pas de Manteaux” with swishing bullfighters’ capes.
For the finale, it’s “Venice Carnival” with music by Pugni and choreography by Marius Petipa, who created those fantastic ballets for the tsar of Russia over 100 years ago. This version is taken from “Satanella,” an adaptation from the occult romance “The Devil in Love.”
Vivina Yrastorza, chairperson of the event, went around, pad in hand, noting down who wanted to make reservations for the performance. It is by invitation, with limited seats.
Next to say a few words was Carmen Campbell. At the previous “amigos” meeting, Carmen had been absent and unable to give her opinion on the day’s topic—El Amor. She prayed the Lord to give her wisdom to understand her man, and patience to bear his moods, but not strength as she’d probably beat him to death.
It was then announced that at the next meeting the topic would be “La Felicidad” (Happiness). That may involve its pursuit and achievement, or (why not?) the inability to attain it. That already stirred up a discussion.
“Mejor sola que mal acompañada,” one amiga said, on the adage that it is better to be alone than in bad company. There were other reactions, some of them accompanied by nervous titters, but everyone was told to keep them for “la siguiente reunion.”
Marilou Ordoñez wanted to see more of “El Rejoneo,” bullfighting on horseback, which Cecilia Rodriguez had put on the screen while lunch was served, “Si, si, muy bonito,” she was told.
“Tomates de España!” everyone exclaimed when Margot Larrañaga started distributing bags filled with luscious tomatoes. She and husband Manuel bring the seeds from Spain to plant and harvest at their farm in northern Cebu province.
Among those present was Marichu Garcia, sharing a table with Pilar Cusi, Carmen Martinez and Julie Gandionco. Annie Aboitiz sat with Rosebud Sala and Maritere de Rotaeche. Maia Franco and Lourdes Narcise were recalling schooldays at St. Theresa’s College.
Myra Gonzalez was with Susan Sala, Tessie Javier, Chinggay Utzurrum and Kingsley Medalla who was shooting photos all throughout.