Transforming Manila into Vienna | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

CLOCKWISE from top left: Sea Princess, Rachelle Gerodias; Riana Hechanova Trajano, past Rotary InternationalDirector Paing Hechanova, Sea Princess, Dr. Andrew Prieto; Benita Yap, Sea Princess
CLOCKWISE from top left: Sea Princess, Rachelle Gerodias; Riana Hechanova Trajano, past Rotary InternationalDirector Paing Hechanova, Sea Princess, Dr. Andrew Prieto; Benita Yap, Sea Princess
CLOCKWISE from top left: Sea Princess, Rachelle Gerodias; Riana Hechanova Trajano, past Rotary InternationalDirector Paing Hechanova, Sea Princess, Dr. Andrew Prieto; Benita Yap, Sea Princess




EVENTS these days in Manila are getting more and more detail-oriented that sometimes I forget I’m still in the Philippines.


Case in point was the Rotary Makati’s 50th anniversary celebration at the new Shangri-La at the Fort in Bonifacio Global City. Coincidentally, this will be the new home of our Red Charity Gala this year.


The grand ballroom of the Shangri-La at the Fort was transformed into a Viennese spring concert setting with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying soprano diva Rachelle Gerodias.


The concert opened with Rossini’s “La Gazza Ladra Overture,” followed by enchanting waltzes and arias.


The Rotary Club of Makati (RCM) is one of the oldest and largest chapters of Rotary in the Philippines. Though most of its campaigns and programs are geared toward  helping fight malnutrition in Filipino children, it also has educational projects that help build public libraries in the country.


Medical assistance is also one of its concerns, helping patients receive free surgery and other medical procedures.


RCM’s anniversary celebration also launched the first environmental program spearheaded by current president Eddie Yap. The project, called Air Quality and Monitoring System, aims to build public awareness and implement the Clean Air Act.


 ‘Les Mis’ in Manila


The world’s longest running musical is now in Manila.


Although I have seen “Les Misérables” a couple of times before, I never will miss out on an opportunity to see it again. It’s quite an experience seeing different ensembles and cast show their own interpretation of the characters. What makes it even more special is that one of our own is in the ensemble.


Rachelle Ann Go portrays Fantine and was flown from the West End in London to be part of the Manila production. Rachel said she transports the plight of Fantine into situations in the country and uses that to give a moving performance onstage: “To witness unfortunate situations that happened to our people—like typhoons and earthquakes—has helped me portray the role more emphatically. I can feel the sadness and fear of the Filipino people when they face such challenges in our world.”


How wonderful, too, that Sir Cameron Mackintosh walked the red carpet at the gala night. The Theatre at Solaire turned more glitzy with the knight of the British empire gracing the event. He’s here not only to support the gala night but also to kick off the Asian tour of the musical and to launch the auditions for the new “Miss Saigon”—the musical that was pivotal to the careers of Lea Salonga and Monique Wilson.


Another unique experience for the “Les Mis” Manila audience is that they will see Victor Hugo’s original paintings as part of the stage’s backdrop. Hugo wrote the original “Les Misérables” novel, which was published in 1862.


Concertus Manila has added an additional week of performances for the musical to run until May 1.


All these wonderful events deserve a toast.


A wine story


Wine Story recently welcomed Emeline Borie, owner of Château Grand-Puy Lacoste and Château Haut Batailley to Manila. Château Grand-Puy Lacoste and Château Haut Batailley represent some of the finest wines from Bordeaux under the 1855 Medoc Classification, which has set the bar for quality and prestige in the wine industry.


The 1855 Medoc Classification was created 161 years ago upon Napoleon III’s order to present France’s best wines at the Paris World Fair.


The wine merchants of Bordeaux hand-picked the top 64 wine estates and organized them into five tiers—First to Fifth Growths, with the First Growth as the highest level.


Wine estates included in this classification are referred to as Grand Cru Classes and are known to this day as the epitome of Bordeaux wine heritage.


Château Grand-Puy Lacoste and Château Haut Batailley are Fifth Growths and testaments to Bordeaux wine making perfected over 200 years of experience.


They have been making wine in the classic style of Pauillac, the region or appellation with a strong and masculine style dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon. This grape varietal finds one of its highest expressions in gravel soils that bring out the trademark blackcurrant fruit, herbaceous and cedary character of Pauillac wines. Merlot plays a supporting role in this region’s wines, adding some softness and body to the Cabernet blend.


Borie represents her family-owned estates. She was born on the Grand-Puy Lacoste estate where her family has lived since 1979.


Formerly handling the communications and public relations side of the business, she now leads the company alongside her father, Francois-Xavier Borie. Her visit was made possible by Wine Story, which is known to have an excellent selection of the finest Bordeaux wines in the Philippines.


Wine Story aims to raise the bar of wine experience from learning, tasting, buying, storing, collecting and investing.


It enhances wine culture by enriching appreciation of the finest wines, from the most accessible to the rarest collectibles.


Wine Story branches offer only the finest quality wine, encouraging passion for premium wine and exposing the Philippines to the most illustrious bottles that wine society has to offer.


E-mail [email protected] or visit


Wine Story is at Shangri-La Plaza, Mandaluyong, tel. 6333556; Serendra, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, tel. 8466310; and One Rockwell West, Makati City, tel. 8690932.


Follow the columnist on Instagram @Seaprincess888; check out more photos of these events on



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