The magic that was the Red Charity Gala | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Today, I want to talk about that Ball! I’m still amazed at how Manila makes magic. And magic it was on the night of the Red Charity Gala.

The lobby of the Makati Shangri-La Hotel looked testosterone-fueled, with an Audi R8 Spyder festooned amidst a bed of fresh, yellow blooms. Two other hot machines from the German marque were on display.

Upstairs in the ballroom foyer, a different hormone filled the air, as the photo exhibit “Women in Love” adorned the walls, showcasing Pond’s and Canon products. Canon ambassador Wesley Villarica took all the portraits of the women of style and substance, along with their adoring husbands.

Aside from Red Gala co-producer Kaye Tinga and myself, the women featured were Cris Albert, Beng Dee, Aivee Teo, Liza Marcos, Trina Alindogan, Tina Ocampo, Lara Villafuerte and Crickette Tantoco. Pond’s Gold Radiance model Tweety de Leon-Gonzalez’s photo was also taken with her gorgeous husband, Mon.

All these women support the Philippine Red Cross, among other charities. They were each given a Canon camera and Pond’s Gold Radiance products to thank them for their generosity. They also received a Jane Iredale makeup set, Goldilocks Luxe cakes, a coffee-table book from National Bookstore, and a limited-edition Slim’s Fashion Book from Slim’s Fashion and Arts School owners Sandy and Mark Higgins.

Whimsical centerpieces

The Rizal Ballroom foyer was abuzz, as guests enjoyed bubbly from Piper-Heidsieck Champagne while viewing displays of Megaworld Corporation’s latest projects, and Fila Skele-Toes shoes that were being launched that evening. Soon enough, the ballroom doors swung open and the guests walked in to find their tables, delighting on the whimsical floral centerpieces masterfully created and donated by expert florist Robert Blancaflor. Robert also designed floral arrangements of shoes and bags that complemented the elegant table settings.

Also on the tables were copies of Preview magazine, featuring Anne Curtis wearing featured designer Michael Cinco. Summit Publishing generously supported the Red Charity Gala, with a lengthy feature on Michael and his fashion. The Summit website has detailed photos of each gown at the Gala, and their society tome, Town & Country, features Xandra Ramos-Padilla, who runs Crossings and National Bookstore, and was also a generous sponsor of the Gala.

It is impossible to put together a huge fundraiser without the support of so many. And many do find ways to give, all in their own unique ways.

Pinky Yee of Goldilocks Luxe always makes sure every guest has an extra dessert cake to take home. This year, Vince Aldanese of Villa del Comte Ciocollate created specially designed red boxes filled with sinfully delicious chocolates to add to the calorie count.

Repeat buyers

The Red Charity Gala is blessed to have so many repeat table buyers, including Ben Chan, Linda Legaspi, Keren Pascual, Joseph Calata, Joel Cruz and many more. All found giveaways from Sunlife Financial and Pond’s in their swag bags.

Resorts World opened the program, with entertainment provided by its international singers and dancers. This was followed by a fast-paced, high-flying dance routine, created by Fila owner Cris Albert and her sister Ana Abad Santos, to launch Skele-Toes shoes. Fila brand models Borgy Manotoc, Abs Abdelkader and Georgina Wilson looked so cool and energetic sporting the new footwear.

Shangri-La GM Reto Klauser always puts up a show of his own with the Parade of Waiters. This year, the pomp was on full throttle, highlighted by Remy Martin VSOP Red Champagne Cognac. This very special, old pale, fine Champagne Cognac, with its unique balance of intense aromas and distinct finish, is truly the champagne of cognacs. During the auction, a bottle of Louis XIII de Remy Martin, Grande Champagne Cognac, was paired with an Ivan Acuña abstract painting, and won by generous bidder Kevin Tan.

Sarah Meier Albano once again proved to be the hostess with the mostest. She elegantly awarded plaques of appreciation to all the major sponsors, including Kevin Tan of Megaworld, Benedict Coyiuto of Audi, Esther Santos of PLDT-Smart Foundation, Marga Cobarrubias of Smart, Robert Hukom of Etihad Airways, Tony Cripps of HSBC, and Reto Klauser of Shangri-La. Media sponsors Inquirer, Philippine Star and Business World were also awarded.

The auction also included three Blackberry 9900s, courtesy of Smart Infinity. This new smart phone combines a touchscreen and a keyboard, for a unique dual feel.

Winning bidders

Among the winning bidders was Cristalle Henares, who won a brooch from Jul Dizon Jewelry combined with an HSBC pre-loaded credit card. Fellow body doctors Z and Aivee Teo won a Subic Leisure Golf Club package combined with a Philip Stein watch from Lucerne.

Top bid honors went to Swatch queen Virgie Ramos, who won an Etihad Airways Pearl Business Class ticket to any European destination. The winning bid came with Jericho Dead Sea Minerals Beauty Products, and Sunlife Financial also gave her and all the auction winners personal insurance certificates. Sunlife CEO Riza Mantaring has pledged to support the Red Charity Gala every year. Now that’s partnership!

Judith Barran, distributor of Jane Iredale beauty products in the country, also took the occasion to award a Jane Iredale makeup package to Ruffa Gutierrez, their muse for the night. And there are countless more that Kaye and I need to thank, for helping us create the magic that evening.

Our production team—director Ariel Lozada, event head Maggie Gineta, stylist Noel Manapat, makeup maven Patrick Rosas and PR guru Edd Fuentes—is just the tip of the iceberg. Annual supporters Samsung and SMDC are among the many that enable our beneficiaries, the Philippine Red Cross and Assumption HS ’81 Foundation, to support so many deserving charities.

All that, and I have not even talked about the astoundingly breathtaking creations of Michael Cinco! Thank goodness seeing the gowns is enough, as they speak volumes on their own.

Follow Tessa on Twitter @tessavaldes or e-mail her at