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Always a good time to celebrate milestones

By: - Columnist
/ 04:45 AM June 18, 2017

Jessica Avila and Brian Connelly

Every June 12, the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel in Cebu celebrates the occasion with a Philippine food festival at its Café Marco for lunch and dinner.

For over a decade now, Jessica Avila, the hotel’s consultant for Filipino food, prepares a menu of specialties that varies from year to year. This year the food fest was titled “Independencia.”


Featured was the cuisine of northern Luzon, and a lot of research went into it. There was a media launch to introduce the dishes, and that was one big food tasting night.

It was an opportunity to meet Brian Connelly, the hotel’s new general manager. Doing the introductions were sales and marketing director Lara Constantino and communications manager Manna Alcaraz. The hotel also has a new executive chef, William Stringfellow.

Full house at Onstage

It was a full house at the Onstage theater of Ayala Center Cebu the night the Brigham Young University (BYU) Chamber Orchestra gave a memorable performance.

The program opened with the ensemble from the Cebu Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Giovanni Tabada.

The BYU Chamber Orchestra was conducted by Kory Katseanes who had chosen an eclectic repertoire that started with Aaron Copland’s “El Salon Mexico.”

There were themes from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” arranged as waltzes. Purely classic was the “Pavane” by Fauré. The audience loved the overtures from “The Cowboys” by John Williams and “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein.

So much applause deserved an encore—“Blue Tango” by Leroy Anderson. On stage to present garlands were the Arts Council’s president Petite Garcia, former president Maia Franco and event chair Mariter Klepp.

Italian luncheons


Margie Richards Taylor hosted a lively luncheon at Anzani’s. Present were Rosebud Sala, Annabelle Luym, Annie Aboitiz, Teresin Mendezona and Carmen Campbell.

Margie owns Bibendum, the popular wine store that offers high quality wines from all over the world, some of them at very attractive prices.

Chinggay Utzurrum’s birthday on June 2 was celebrated by The Group at La Trattoria da Gianni at Crossroads in Banilad. Chona Bernad organized the event.

Wellwishers included Alberto and Maritere de Rotaeche, Tina Escaño Unchuan, Helen Martinez Lopez, Terry Escaño Manguerra and Joe Suaco. The Italian fare was pronounced excellent, specially the flat noodles with cream sauce and truffle.

It was more Italian fare, as in pizzas galore, at the luncheon hosted at La Tobolata by A-list’s Kaye Luym Sala and Cybill Gayatin Guynn. It was to say godspeed to Cybill who is leaving this week for Chicago there to make a home with husband Kevin.

Birthday celebrators

Angelina Ong at 80

The Friday lunch group gathered at the Beehive to toast Julina Pando de Muertegui on her 85th birthday. She’s in the pink of health, spry and sharp as ever.

Another birthday girl last June 9 was glamorous Angelina Ong who turned 80. There was a grand dinner at the Grand Convention Center of Cebu hosted by loving husband Ricardo Ong and their children: Eleanor and Edward, Osbert and Sarah, Emily and Henry, Elsa and Patrick John.

Next birthday celebrator is the irrepressible Beling Go Ching Hai who turns 90 on June 20, with a dinner party at Cebu Country Club. Hosting are her children: Paulette Gail and Jasper, Nellie and Antonio, Edward and Leonor.
Michel and Amparito Lhuillier are back from an extended United States vacation, vibrant as ever. They will preside over the next fellowship dinner of La Chaine des Rotisseurs in Cebu, he being baili delegue for the Philippines, and she the baili de Cebu.

That will be on June 29 at La Vie Parisienne French restaurant with the theme “Bretagne and its Fishermen.” Louis Thevenin assures everyone of a truly epicurean dinner with excellent wine pairing.

Among the appetizers will be snails imported from France cooked in butter and garlic. Take a load of the dinner starters: French oysters served three ways, with sabayon, with foie gras and with champagne.

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TAGS: Cebu-Cebu, Jessica Avila, Lifestyle, Milestones
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