Venezuelan photographer’s nude shots cause sensation in Cebu | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

VENEZUELAN photographer José Antonio Nigro with Qube Gallery’s Maris Holopainen and Jon Gotiong
VENEZUELAN photographer José Antonio Nigro with Qube Gallery’s Maris Holopainen and Jon Gotiong

The Imperial Palace Waterpark Resort and Spa had a grand celebration of the Chinese New Year in the open air at its Familia Garden. The eyes of the lion were dotted, the dragon dance wound its way to constant clanging, and the Yee Sang salad was tossed as high as the starry sky.


Leading the ceremony were Lapu-lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza and Councilor Queenie Amman, along with Imperial Palace chairman of the board Park Yong Jun, president Justin Uy, CEO Jason Uy, corporate secretary Jerry Uy, Rosebud Sala and Spanish honorary consul Anton Perdices, among other VIPs.


Welcoming the guests were Imperial Palace’s new sales and marketing director Myla Mohammad, and sales account manager Ritchel Bojos. They indicated to guests the various buffets serving the specialties of the resort’s food outlets.


The observance was capped by a magnificent display from Dragon Fireworks. Justin Uy thanked everyone, and in his speech praised God for having spared Cebu from the wrath of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” which from all indications was supposed to have hit Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Cebu cities.


Potato safari


The United States Potato Board brought to Cebu the US Potato Safari, a multi-event undertaking to promote US Frozen Potatoes.


The “safari” hopped from Maribago Bluewater resort in Mactan to Café Laguna in Ayala Center Cebu City, Ansani’s restaurant in Nivel Hills and further up to Marco Polo Plaza Hotel.


Here for the intense promotion were Susan Weller, international marketing manager of the US Potato Board based in Denver, Colorado; Reji Retugal, the US Potato Board representative in the Philippines; and chef Hylton Le Roux, consultant with the US Potato Board.


Our turn to savor a six-course menu that involved US Frozen Potatoes came over lunch at the Manila Room of Marco Polo. Preparations were done by celebrity chef Sau del Rosario, also a consultant with the US Potato Board.


It all started with salmon on a potato brioche, and Eggs en Cocotte which was simply delicious, and as energizing as almost raw eggs can be. That’s something we learned from “The Perfumed Garden,” or ask any chef from Araby.


The creamy onion-garlic soup had a potato crouton on the edge. It was followed by sea bass smothered in potato mash. The canard was tough, redeemed by its garnish of potato gratin.


For dessert there was potato butter pudding with a scoop of potato orange ice cream. Of that, we could have had a second ration.


Making all the arrangements to ensure the success of the “safari” was Dessa Virtusio, vice president for account management of Virtusio PR International, owned by her parents Romeo and Lulu Virtusio.


With Dessa had come Joy Bordador, the firm’s media relations officer, who, weeks before the event, had efficiently e-mailed, called and followed up with reminders to the guests about their attendance to the various potato celebrations.


The US Potato Safari did not end there. It is now on until May 31 at Café Marco, for lunch or dinner, in Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. Executive chef Stefano Verrillo will show what one can do with US Frozen Potatoes aside from French fries.


Bonsai, ‘suiseki’


The Cebu Bonsai Society and the Cebu Suiseki Society held a joint exhibit at Atrium C of SM City Cebu, with a record attendance of enthusiasts as well as the general public.


Bonsai is the Japanese art of dwarfing trees in urns or receptacles. It is amazing how they can bloom and even bear fruit in such constrained conditions. It is all in the caring, we are told.


Suiseki, which also originated in Japan, is the collection and display of stones as found in nature. They can be smooth or rocky, big or small, and shaped any which way. Look around you and pick up some. You will be surprised at what you can gather.


Vita Macaray is president of Cebu Bonsai Society, while Betty Eustaquio presides over Cebu Suiseki Society. Both organizations share the remaining set of officers: vice president Lito Alansalon, secretary Marife Daehler, treasurers Elaine Alansalon and Fe Mendoza, and auditor Leodie Tagorda.


Directors of Cebu Bonsai Society are immediate past president Norma Sanchez, Angie Escaño, Needash Sanchez, Jess Cuenco and Linda To. Directors of Cebu Suiseki Society are immediate past president Ado Macaraya, Susana Page and Ida Sevilla.


Qube Gallery


Body heat was at fever pitch in Qube Gallery at Henry Hotel the night Jon Gotiong and Maris Holopainen opened “Tales from Our Skin.”


The event is an exhibit of photos (for sale) by José Antonio Nigro, a Venezuelan with Italian ancestry now residing in Cebu. The photos are mostly of male nudes, in very good taste, which means they are not erotic.


There are also photos of body parts but the best one is “Unity” depicting a male/female couple whose bodies are laced with tattoos.


This exhibit made a sensation in Seoul, Korea, last November. As Nigro says, he explores the human figure, aiming to integrate simplicity, strength and emotion.


Among those present on opening night were Cebu City Marriott Hotel general manager Patrick Carroll, Bob and Suzie Oliver of Timex, Jurgen and Sandra Pesch, Rose Hennessy, Richard Stolzman, Steve Aznar, Yvette Vass, Agnes Huettel, Mike Jo, Mary Love Deen and dozens more.





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