Michel Lhuillier, France’s honorary consul in the Visayas, was conferred the knighthood as “Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Legion d’Honneur” by French Ambassador Gilles Garachon.
The ceremony took place beneath a tent with the French tricolor flowing in swaths, at the garden of La Maison Rose.
The location serves as headquarters of the French consulate and Alliance Française de Cebu of which monsieur Lhuillier is the president. Also within the complex is a French restaurant, and La Vie Parisienne which offers French products like croissants flown in from Paris.
On the dais with Michel and the ambassador were his wife Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, their eldest son Charles Lhuillier, and Isabelle Garachon, the French ambassador’s wife.
In his speech, Ambassador Garachon lauded Michel’s dedicated involvement with multifarious cultural, business, civic and charity endeavors that reflect French goodwill at its highest level. Three words define Michel, the ambassador said: “Challenge, passion and generosity.”
Michel thanked the ambassador for his kind words and in turn expressed his appreciation for the efforts of the French government in sending extensive medical aid to Cebu after the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in northern Cebu. This was not just medical and financial aid but a whole regiment of young Frenchmen who came as volunteers and were hands on for the duration of their stay.
The ceremonies over, Ambassador and madame Garachon hosted a formal dinner exquisitely prepared by La Maison Rose’s chef Adrien Guerrey. It started with poached oysters in champagne, followed by a lobster citrus salad.
After a peach sorbet came the entreé—stuffed roasted quail with foie gras, flown in from Paris. Dinner concluded with a cheese platter, and poached mango in red wine. The finest wines from the Lhuillier cellar were served throughout.
From the French Embassy had come 1st. Counselor Hughes Antoine Suin with his wife Janet, and Michel Villar, the cultural attaché. Add to them Louis Paul Heusaff, Gilles and Josine Delavictoire.
Alliance Française de Cebu director Louis Thevenin was present, along with his pretty wife Honeylet who manages La Maison Rose. The service and efficiency of the staff on this occasion merited superlatives.
Alliance Française staff present included deputy director Elise Robillart, events and project manager Angelica Valera, Cultural assistant Kim Manzo, graphics and art director Mark Sy and his assistant Kurt Ocenar, secretaries Sandy Chua and Dhevie Hatulan, and cultural intern Melissa Bonnaud.
Among the Alliance Française de Cebu trustees were Fr. Isidro Miranda, president of the University of San Carlos; lawyer Bayani Atup and his lovely wife Racil; and Honey Jarque Loop, escorted by husband Glenn Loop.
Glimpsed about: Japan’s Consul Shoji Otake who is remarkably fluent in French, Johnny Dizon and his wife Anna Marie (née Llamas), Margie Richards Taylor, Provincial Board Member Yayoy Alcoseba, Hans and Bo Hauri seated with Rosebud Sala, and former representative Tomas Osmeña.
Cebu City Councilor Margot Osmeña sat in a very lively table with Sony Velez, Ernesto and Polly (nèe Velez) Garilao, Teresin Mendezona, Carmen Campbell, Chinggay Utzurrum and Cookie Newman. Mood music with a French theme was played by pianist Manuel Cañizares who regularly does it at the Atrium of Northwing at SM City Cebu.
Next celebration for Consul and madame Lhuillier at La Maison Rose will be the national day of France. It comes on July 14, dubbed Bestille Day to commemorate the fall of the prison of that name at the start of the French Revolution. The notorious Marquis de Sade was among the liberated inmates.
In Cebu Bastille Day will be observed on Friday 18 July with a reception at 6 p.m.
La Maison Rose was also the scene for the presentation in Cebu of La Prairie’s latest offering in skin care. That is Skin Caviar which comes as luxe cream, liquid lift, sleep mask and full body cream.
Here to elucidate on its wonders was Debra Klaproth who is based in Hong Kong. With her came Rustan’s team assigned to promote La Prairie—Jeanne Carpio and Alxandra Vallejo.
It was fun listening to Debra, and more so as we were seated with Amparito, Asuncion Velez and Hansky Garcia. Nearby were Dr. Erlinda Po and Kate Anzani with Agnes Heuttel catching up. Everyone had sample sachets of Skin Caviar and the feed back is more than positive. Wear it to sleep and awaken looking years younger.