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And So It Is

How to have the merriest Christmas ever

By: - Columnist
/ 05:51 AM December 17, 2017

Mely Concepcion Hechanova and her family

Your mantra for the week: “This Christmas I have so much to share and spare.”

The most wonderful gift you can give a loved one this Christmas will not even cost you a centavo, because it comes straight from the heart.


It is simply a gift of expression—a loving act or a ritual of lovingness that can be done by emotional courage and deep intent to “reach out and touch” as the song goes.

Today, a week before Christmas Eve, you have a choice of seven days to make a date on a mutually agreed time with someone closest to your heart—a mate, child, mother, father, best-loved friend, or all of the above, on a one-to-one basis.


Sit beside your loved one, preferably to his/her left side (yes, this literally and figuratively puts you closer to the heart), reach out for a hand, and then say:

“I consider you one of the most important people in my life, and because of this, I would like you to tell me, as openly and honestly as you can, whether I understand you enough…

“Is there something you would like me to know about you that I have missed? Am I in anyway causing you to suffer silently, because of the way I am, that you are unable to bring up lest you hurt me?

“Please be as open as I am to you now, because I desire to do the proper thing so I can love you better. I do not want you to agonize in anyway because of what I say and do. I would like to love you better this coming New Year and make you truly happy.”

I promise that this will prove to be the best gift you will ever have given. It is something that will be cherished for a lifetime. Do it and have the Merriest Christmas ever!

Marivic and Joe Concepcion, Raul and Menchu Concepcion

Ivi Avellana-Cosio and her paintings

50 years of Ivi

Ivi Avellana-Cosio opened her two-part exhibit, “In Journey: Art 50,” in celebration of her golden year in the Philippine art world.


Part 1 was held at the Archivo 1984 Gallery last April and closed on May 17.

Part 2, which she entitled “Specimens: The Early Abstractions,” opened last Nov. 23 at the Avellana Art Gallery and will run till the holidays.

Ivi was chosen one of the Top 100 Artists for 2017 by the International Biographical Institute of Cambridge, England.

Well, “the girl can’t help it”—her parents, Lamberto and Daisy Avellana, are both National Artists, and she’s married to another well-known visual artist, Allan Cosio.

2 big parties

There were two big parties last Monday evening held in two separate ballrooms—the Rigodon at the Pen to celebrate Mely Concepcion Hechanova’s 85th birthday; and a joint fete for Flora Chua and daughter Sheree at the Isla of Edsa Shangri-La. Both bashes had a couple of hundred guests trying to out-elegant each other.

The wealth, of course, of the Concepcion-Hechanova family is legendary, while the Chuas are reputedly one of the richest families in Davao.


Both events had a fashion show—the one of Mely’s had 20 of her friends modeling her fashion preferences, while that of Flora and Sheree’s showcased the talents of two youthful designers, with professional models on the ramp.

Naturally, it was striking to watch the professionals do their ramping and sashaying. However, it proved more entertaining and touching to watch 20 amiga of Mely who dared model, especially a few of them who were only capable of “sa-shaking,” to the warm approval of the guests mostly from Manila’s old families.

The presence of her twin brothers, Joe and Raul Concepcion, with their lovely wives Marivic and Menchu, respectively, added to the night’s charm.

I remember so vividly how Joe and I became detainees at Camp Crame upon the declaration of martial law—he, for being an outspoken Con-Con delegate, and myself, for being the columnist Conde de Makati.

I recall how we ganged up on Joe to furnish the Crame gym his family’s famous Carrier air-conditioners, to prevent us from sweating to the bone under its galvanized iron roof with no ceiling.

Joe replied, “I wish we could, but it would probably be better if we could put you-know-who in cold storage,” which, by the way, materialized not long after you-know-who’s assassination.


At the Isla, Flora’s charitable works for cancer-stricken children through her foundation were underscored with a video presentation, followed by her awarding trophies to nine of her guests for their various achievements in their respective areas of interest.


Meanwhile, at the Rigodon, Mely was being wheel-chaired to the center of the dancefloor for the ceremonial birthday cake-cutting, surrounded by her husband Paing and the whole family all the way down to her grandchildren—a touching vision of togetherness that left many guests teary-eyed, especially with Martin Nievera singing her favorite songs.

Needless to say, the sumptuousness of both dinners lived up to everyone’s expectations. But the open bar at the Rigodon, which included champagne, defined lavishness.

While Martin was earning raves from Mely’s guests, Asia’s Queen of Song Pilita Corrales was winning the hearts of attendees to Flora and Sheree’s party.

The manor and minor

What a memorable Monday evening in December, two gala dinners simultaneously unfolding, both with guests to the manor born, as well as to the minor born—one party having more than the other.

May the three birthday honorees have many many more reasons to rejoice!


During the Christmas holidays, many people travel to Baguio and usually stop over in a popular restaurant.

I remember how a friend asked the waiter of the resto, “Ano’ng specialty niyo?” The waiter proudly answered, “Lipton ho!”

Well, mine is camo-tea.

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