Blink! And just like that, half the year is over. The first six months of my 2016 were marked with many travel adventures and family weekend vacations. I’d say it has been an incredibly exciting year so far, with much promise for the next half.
Our youngest, Athena, who turned 11 last month, is having a grand year now that she’s a certified scuba diver under dive instructor Gigi Santos (e-mail [email protected]). My hubby and ex-dive instructor Dennis and I are thrilled now that all of us in the family are divers. We can plan more diving trips here and abroad.
Athena has been busy, too, joining me at social events and is truly my mini me. At the first anniversary of DreamPlay, Athena and I joined City of Dreams (COD) Manila property president Geoff Andres and family entertainment center director Tourino Dilaga at the ceremonial cake-cutting to mark the joyously entertaining occasion. The Mandaluyong Children’s Choir did a special DreamWorks-themed performance that delighted all.
DreamPlay, COD Manila’s DreamWorks-inspired interactive play space, has an enthralling lineup of new activities. They introduced the “Madagascar” franchise’s King Julien character, and the launch of his first-of-its-kind dance competition for children called “King Julien’s Dance Off.”
This is for children ages 7-14, and is slated to hold its grand finals at COD Manila’s grand ballroom on July 16. (To join, upload your video at cityofdreams.com.ph/dreamplaydanceoff by June 30.)
Until July 17 only, guests can enjoy limited-time activities like DreamWorks character photo opportunities, flash mob dancing, and interactive arts and crafts workshops. A souvenir printed photo with Shrek, Fiona, Alex, Po or King Julien awaits all the kids. (For DreamPlay inquiries, call 800-8080 or visit www.cityofdreamsmanila.com.ph.)
Athena was also my companion at the opening of “Building Bridges,” the photography exhibit of Bengy Toda at the Provenance Gallery at the second floor of the new Shangri-La at The Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue in BGC.
Provenance is a cutting-edge gallery owned by Raul Francisco, Joanna Preysler and Derek Flores. “Building Bridges” is one of their first exhibits and runs until July 6.
Pink’s Hot Dogs
From the Shang, just around the corner is Pink’s Hot Dogs. This is the US hotdog chain’s first international location. Pink’s uses only the choice cut on the hot dogs and bakes all its buns fresh, twice a day.
Owners Paul and Betty Pink started with just one old pushcart in 1939. Their son Richard has expanded to 14 locations across the US West Coast. One popular outlet is Pink’s Hot Dogs at the corner of La Brea and Melrose in Los Angeles. It is a “destination eat” landmark that has Martha Stewart and Ozzy Osbourne among its celebrity customers.
Pink’s local partner is Ana de Ocampo of Wildflour Café and Bakery fame. Richard and his wife Gloria flew in to attend the successful opening, with all the guests enjoying the delicious hot dogs.
Continental fusion fare
BGC is fast becoming the center for new restaurants and food stalls. One new one for all the BGC gourmands is Torch, a continental fusion restaurant and bar that recently opened at Bonifacio High Street.
Torch offers a wide selection of cocktails and spirits with a revamped bar menu and extended business hours. Customers can order as late as 2 a.m. before the kitchen closes.
At the opening last week, Torch introduced its Wine-All-You-Can promo on weekdays, with various Chilean wines available for only P400. Torch’s specialty cocktails and beer, vodkas and whiskeys are served with its all-day dining menu of pizzas, sushi and steaks.
Torch owner Mike Chua is proud of his newest branch; other outlets are in Greenhills, UP Town Center, TriNoma, Greenbelt 5, Circuit Makati, and Molito, Alabang.
Mike’s uncle, Richard Tiu, is one of our annual supporters of the Red Charity Gala.
Preparations are underway for this year’s Red Charity Gala, which will be on Oct. 8 at the Grand Ballroom of Shangri-La at The Fort.
Walking around helped me envision how co-chair Kaye Tiñga and I will set up the Red ball. One new feature will be a pocket event with Zalora Philippines and our past designers, like Ezra Santos.
Independence Day ball
Ezra was recently awarded for his work at the Mega Pinoy Pride Ball. Now on its seventh year, this highly anticipated event by Mega Magazine gathered fashion visionaries, media luminaries and other movers and shakers.
June 12, Independence Day, was a great day for the ball, with its theme of uniting everyone for a “New PH.”
After a glamorous red carpet welcome for guests, the evening began with cocktails provided by McCormick before the sumptuous five-course, Filipino-themed dinner prepared by executive sous chef Edwin Loh and banquet sous chef Guillermo Centeno amid a stunning floral set-up by Robert Blancaflor.
Mega editor in chief Peewee Reyes-Isidro was on hand to welcome everyone and present this year’s recipients of the New PH Awards. Along with Ezra, awardees included Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach, jeweler Ann Ong and many more. Check it out in the June issue of Mega featuring iconic Filipinas, “Les Miserables’” Rachelle Anne Go and pop superstar Sarah Geronimo on the cover.
Mega ball entertainers included pop singer Kyla and Erik Santos, as well as theater luminary Joanna Ampil and dance group G-Force. The New PH Unite music video featuring the vocals of Morisette Amon capped the wonderful affair.
Summer’s last hurrah
Summer is not yet over, so bring on your favorite flip-flops to the beach before the rains come. After the Make Your Own Havaianas 2016 and Havaianas Summer in Boracay, the Brazilian brand teamed up with Spectrum Fair Manila and held the first indoor-outdoor bazaar at Whitespace Manila last month.
Beach umbrellas and huge Havaianas flip-floats were spotted in the area adding beautiful hues, and everyone got the chance to take home some of the Havaianas flip-floats and fun Lulu DK Tattoos for free at the Havaianas lounge.