More than 500 attended the Fashion ‘N’ Rhythm show presented by the Consular Corps of Cebu and Zonta Club of Cebu I, in partnership with Smart and the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel at the latter’s ballroom. It was all to raise funds for the consuls and the Zontians’ various charity projects.
Guests started to arrive a good half-hour before the stated time of 7 p.m., with Tina Ebrada indicating seating arrangements. To avoid congestion, a sumptuous buffet was available upon guests’ arrivals, supervised by the hotel’s Tess Catipay.
The show was conceptualized and directed by Mila Espina, whose idea was a takeoff on “A Night at the Oscars,” complete with red carpet for a fashion parade by Cebu’s prominent ladies in fabulous gowns.
Sam Costanilla emceed the preliminary program in which words of welcome and gratitude were expressed by Honorary Consul of Russia Armi Lopez Garcia, chairperson of the Consular Corps in Cebu; and Stella Solero Bernabe, president of Zonta Club of Cebu I.
Current Zonta Cebu I vice president Lucille Colina was acknowledged as the event’s overall chair, and her club’s president-elect for 2012. The show was off to a splendid start with hosts Carol Go as Anne Hathaway and William Sieness as Tom Hanks.
Julie Carceller from Smart expressed her appreciation for being part of this effort, and hoped there would be more opportunities of cooperation between the organizers and Smart. Its booth at the foyer was much-visited.
First on stage were women legends of the silver screen; Russia’s Catherine the Great, Armi Garcia; Spain’s Isabel II, Sylva Paderanga; England’s Elizabeth I, Cely Chiongbian; France’s Marie Antoinette, Margarita Onglatco; Catherine di Meidci, Lucille Colina; Cleopatra, Janice Minor; Evita Peron, Mariter Klepp.
A collection of hats by Janice Minor was presented as dancers evoked a scene from “Latin Lover,” the MGM film with Ricardo Montalban and Lana Turner; and Liza Minelli’s “Cabaret.” Adept at the samba and the Charleston were the hatted beauties:
Much applause greeted the Desperate Housewives: Alice Woolbright as Marcia Cross; Tamsin Booth, Nicolette Sheridan; June Alegrado, Teri Hatcher; Jackie Lotsof, Eva Longoria; Karen Woolbright, Halle Berry; Kate Anzani, Beyoncé; Janine Taylor, Lindsay Lohan; and Yvette Vass, Paris Hilton.
Coming close behind her, sparring with the wind, was a dead ringer for Manny Pacquiao, and sounding like him, too. Overnight, Jesselito Moncada has become famous. Everyone wanted a photo-op with him after the show.
Next came Charlie’s Angels; Jane Gocuan as Drew Barrymore; Bo Hauri, Lucy Liu; Tess Javier, Cameron Diaz; and Agnes Heuttel, Jennifer Lopez, with husband Greg, good-looking as he is in real life, characterized as Steve Tyler, and most convincingly at that.
Defining their Time were Honorary Consul of Israel Emily Chioson as Julia Roberts; Chabeng Garcia, Demi Moore; Tess Chan, Jennifer Aniston; Pilar Puno, Reese Witherspoon; Carmen Campbell, Meryl Streep, with a company of dancers singing “Mamma Mia”; Floram Limotlimot, Sandra Bullock; Kristin Lerin, Marion Cotillard; Anna Quisumbing, Penelope Cruz; and Joy Onozawa, Kate Winslet.
A couple of celebrated couples stole the show, for their stance, their attire, their sparkling jewels and the felicitous personification. Mariquita Yeung, in a Chanel gown with the most transparent emeralds, was Angelina Jolie, escorted by US consular agent John Domingo as Brad Pitt.
Amparito Llamas Lhuillier in black lace by Monique Lhuillier, was Catherine Zeta Jones; and a dapper Michel, honorary consul of France, was Michael Douglas, of course, saying that there’s nothing better than being “married to my wife.” It brought the house down.
Francis Monera, president of Cebu Holdings, serenaded the couples with a mellow rendition of “Portrait of My Love.” Later, he’d be on stage, pointing a magnum at some imaginary adversary in his role of James Bond.
In that same sequence, Aida Uy floated about in red chiffon as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With The Wind; Joe Ng strutted as The Godfather; Bruce Winton crossed his arms as Superman; Iris Arcenas was acrobatic as Wonder Woman; Jong Fernandez stomped as Batman; and Chris Lebumfacil swished about as Zorro.
“Jailhouse Rock” and a number from “Grease” were performed by the Amparito Lhuillier Education Foundation scholars, along with Cherry Callero, Ann Momongan, Penny Carvajal, Baby Dy and more. The scholars did other numbers during the show, alternating with the Knapsack Dancers, led by Cymbeth Orellana.
The evening’s show-stopper was “Do-Re-Mi” from “The Sound of Music,” by the Von Trapps, 70 years later. Cute as can be in their Tyrolese playsuits were Vince Colina, Ed Chiongbian, Anita Sanchez, Lucy Segura, Rufina Tanchan, Pauline Deduque, Malou Mendez and Mat Baguia as Maria.
The grand finale was to the tune of “I Could Have Danced All Night” from “My Fair Lady” with Gov. Gwen Garcia nimbly pacing the red carpet in frothy white tulle. Her escort was Sammy Chioson, honorary consul of Portugal, and current president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Members of the Cebu Consular Corps formed a line, holding champagne glasses which the governor clinked on her way up the stage. By then you couldn’t hear the music anymore as the audience clapped, cheered and shouted “bravo, bravo.”
Everyone ended up on stage, as tight as it was, to enthusiastically return the applause to the audience, which was by now in the state of a standing ovation. “Director on stage!” everyone clamored, and Mila Espina made her way up.
Someone then took the mic to say that since it was an Oscars Night, there was indeed a golden statuette, and “the winner is none other than Mila Espina!” For best director, best producer, best scriptwriter, and any other superlative you’d care to add.