The marquee ballroom of the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa was transformed into a fairy tale kingdom the night Dr. Jose Enrique de las Peñas and Jill Johns de la Peñas celebrated the 18th birthday of their beautiful daughter Mary Elizabeth.
An elegant crowd of mostly dear friends and close relatives stepped into a scene where myriad crystal chandeliers sparkled, flowers from Pink Flora gave a magical dash of color, and dancers from the Val Sandiego company flitted about as elves, butterflies and fairies with star-tipped wands.
Happy parents Joen and Jill, donning royal crowns, reigned over the fantasy-filled realm. Joen took Mary Elizabeth for a traditional waltz, and somewhere along the way the lilt changed to disco beat.
They were game for it, joined in by elder daughter Mary Ellen and the youngest of the brood, Mary Angeli. As tradition has it, 18 roses were presented to Mary Elizabeth by 18 dashing young men with princely sashes who also whirled her to the strains of more waltzes.
In the cotillion Mary Elizabeth was escorted by Paolo Larrazabal; Mary Ellen by Ramon Larrazabal Jr; and Mary Angeli by Joseph Lanuza. Their brother, John Edward de las Peñas, danced with Kiana Pedroza.
Collecting congratulations were Jill and her daughters for conceptualizing the program which lasted about two exciting hours. A jewelled tiara was ordered for Liz and came in as precious cargo. She wore three dazzling gowns created by Bernard Flores.
Proud Papa Joen laughed when he was told he had one more debut to dance at, when Mary Angeli turns 18. “Maybe I’ll give her a car,” he said. “But no, these balls are really a lot of fun, and the memories are treasured forever.”
Two years ago, a similar celebration took place at the same setting, and with just as much splendor and panoply when eldest daughter Mary Ellen was 18. It was just as much fun.
The Zonta Club of Cebu I held its induction of officers for 2014-2016 at Salon Madrid of Casino Español de Cebu. Guest of honor was Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.
Everyone knows that the Zonta Club of Cebu I and its sister club, the Cebu Zonta II, are dedicated to the advocacy of supporting the Pink Room at Cebu’s Vicente Sotto Medical Center for battered women and children.
That’s very close to Vice Gov. Magpale’s heart. Twenty years ago when she was the only female in Cebu’s provincial board she instituted the committee on women.
Ever since then she has nurtured and championed that cause, going to great lengths in fighting violence not only against women but also against children, more especially the victims of trafficking.
Incoming president of Cebu Zonta I is Nellie Chiu. With her on this occasion were her husband Antonio Chiu, honorary consul of the Slovak Republic; their childen Janice, Jillian and Jason; and her mother, Civic leader Beling Go Ching Hai.
Outgoing president Lucille Colina was congratulated for the many accomplishments of the club during her two-year term. Most supportive is her husband, prominent businessman Vice Colina.
For many years they lived in Detroit, Michigan. Some time ago they decided to come home to Cebu, and built themselves a scenic home in Maria Luisa Estate Park.
The other inducted into office were included: vice presidents Melanie Ng and Beverly Dayanan, secretaries Erlinda Binghay and Pilar Puno, treasurers Rufina Tanchan and Letty Canoy, auditor Zenaida Uy, PRO Tina Ebrada, director Stella Bernabe and immediate past past president Lucille Colina.
Tina, Stella and Lucille belong to the council of past presidents and advisers. They are in charge of organizing the celebration of the club’s 50th anniversary in 2018.
Top of the list has Dr. Suga Sotto Yuviengco who was Cebu Zonta’s first president in 1968. Also in it are Anita Sanchez, Mila Espina, Merle Cunanan, Fe Necesario, Flor Streegan, Mathea Baguia, Teresa Chan, Teresita Schaap, Minnie Yuvienco and Rufina Tanchan.
An ambitious project they want to make a reality is the construction of a Cebu Zonta Center. Meanwhile, the Cebu Zontians are busy with a fund raising fun run come Nov. 23.
They have also plans for a grand ball in 2015, partnering with the Cebu Consular Corps. Chair person is honorary consul of Israel Emily Benedicto Chioson, who happens to be a member of Cebu Zonta I.
A preliminary meeting was held with lots of inputs from Mila Espina who has directed some of the most successful events for the Zontians as well as for the American Chamber of Commerce, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and other eminent entities.