Casino Español de Cebu held its traditional costume ball on New Year’s Eve with the usual merrymaking. Many guests came early to hear the anticipated Mass celebrated by Msgr. Achilles Dakay, media liaison officer of the Cebu Archdiocese.
Everyone then gathered at the foyer of the ballroom to sip chilled wine. Two legs of jamon Serrano were carved into paper-thin slices that delighted one and all. There were also two tables with the Casino’s best tapas—assorted cheeses, “tortilla de patatas,” Spanish sausage, croquettes and more. The club’s general manager May Ocaba was congratulated for the impressive spread and the efficient service.
Rep. Raul del Mar and his wife Melanie greeted everyone a Happy New Year. Honey Loop went in and out of the ballroom, still closed until the appointed hour. She was putting the last touches to the décor. It consisted of colorful strips of crepe paper hanging from every beam of the ceiling and the chandeliers.
Finally, the doors of Salon de España were thrown wide open and everyone rushed to get a good table. No reservations were accepted, so if anyone wanted a good seat it was wise to be on, or ahead of, time.
During the Oct. 15 earthquake, the ballroom had suffered some damage. One of the chandeliers even fell. But all repairs were done before this signal event.
Vice president Gabriel Leyson led the Casino Español officers present that evening. He came dressed as Louis Leonowens with Tina Jordana in a voluminous hoop skirt as Mrs. Anna right out of the opening scene of “The King and I.” They danced to the tune of “I Whistle a Happy Tune.”
Other officers included secretary Edgar Chiongbian with wife Cely who wore an elaborate Aztec headdress, treasurer David Chan with wife Tess, house chair Eddie Gonzalez as a cowboy, and director for social and cultural affairs Paco Jarque with his pretty wife Monique.
Sports director Luis Moro III and his wife Lynn were in a group that evoked Formula 1 auto racers. In it, too, were Honorary Spanish Consul Anton and Maripaz Perdices, Sonny and Annabelle Alo.
Caped and duly fanged vampires were Glenn and Honey Loop, Cheling and Susan Sala, John and Maria Domingo, Vic and Toots Torres, Tony and Grace Lozada, Lisette Garcia and Paquing Serafica.
Kathy Kiener Javellana came as Minnehaha, Gema Luisa Pido wore a complete Indian costume she obtained on her trip to New Delhi, and Betty Young wore a modern Filipiniana outfit which won her the prize for the Most Elegant.
Haresh and Vandana Sadhwani wore Indian attire, as did their daughter who did an authentic dance for which she was much applauded.
Alexander and Jocelyn Ho were one of the awarded couples for their flaming red Chinese costumes. Carlito Alvarez as the Lone Ranger made quite an entrance, toy gun and all. He sat with wife Gigi and his dad Itos Alvarez and a large family group.
A superb buffet was served at Salon Madrid and remained open through the night. When it closed at dawn another was laid out at the ballroom foyer with hot soup, rice cakes and other native delights.
Two bands alternated playing dance music, but their choices of tempo were rather limited. As a matter of fact, it took a while before the ball really took off. The costume parade took time, and by the time prizes are awarded some have shed their costumes. It seems they only came to win a prize, and not really be in the spirit of a costume ball.
All told, the Casino Español de Cebu remains the safest place to be during New Year’s Eve revelry. No whistle bombs, firecrackers or explosive firearms to disturb the disco beat of the band as midnight approaches, comes, and the new year is on its way.
Many like us venture out not earlier than 1 a.m., which is a fine time to be home. In our younger days we waited for daybreak.