May the merriest season of the year be filled with peace, joy and lots of love and good cheer.
Year 2018 has truly been marked with tremendous love, especially with a wedding in our family. Our eldest son Bryan Prieto married his fiancée Tinkay Crespo last June 18 on beautiful Balesin Island.
This year alone, I was honored to be ninang to four special couples. In two of the four weddings, my hubby Dennis was also asked to be ninong, as well. It was very memorable to be both husband-and-wife sponsors.
Early this year, my goddaughter Belle Litton asked to me to be her ninang once again, this time for her wedding to her fiancé-chef Mikki Buñag. Belle is the daughter of my late cousin EJ Litton and his wife Tess. A touching video of EJ was shown at the reception at Green Sun.
Belle’s grandfather and host extraordinaire Johnny Litton gave a fitting tribute to EJ and shared wonderful stories about his eldest son.
My next three other ninang duties were in the last quarter of the year. October was a very busy month with two weddings just before our Red Charity Gala.
Longtime partners and underwater hockey players Michelle Uy and Jay Bejar were the first Octoberians, tying the knot at the Malate Church. The active couple wanted both Dennis and I to be their sponsors.
Dennis has been playing underwater hockey with the couple for over a decade, and the close-knit group came in full force. Several foreign players from Great Britain and Australia also flew in for the wedding.
Next year will surely be a big year for underwater hockey as it has been included as a sport in the SEA Games, to be held in our country after a 13-year hiatus. This early, the newlyweds are already in training for the event.
A week later, I was once again a ninang, this time to young entrepreneurs Maika Cruz and Jeian de Jesus. Maika’s parents, Norman and Mye Cruz, are the owners of Adworks Graphic Designs, the graphics company that has been creating all the incredible invites and packaging of all my events, including the annual Red Charity Gala.
Like a movie set
For their “Grand Budapest Hotel”-themed wedding, the family worked closely with impressive event stylist Gideon Hermosa to transform the venue, White Space, into an elaborate and magnificent setup with fresh orchids, fabric canopies, glass votive candles and neon lighting. It resembled a movie set. Every detail, from the invites and menu cards to the logo and giveaways, was thoughtfully arranged.
I can’t wait to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary in June 2019 and have that same team come up with something breathtaking and unique!
Boracay Island opened just in time for the wedding of my beautiful Bikram yoga instructor and studio directress Ollay Aninion to Joshua Taylan, a hip Swedish yogi and studio owner. I have been practicing Bikram yoga for several years at Ollay’s studio, Bikram Yoga Makati, so I was only too happy to be her ninang.
Their love story is a perfectly blissful yoga romance. In choosing their sponsors, they wanted to emulate inspiring couples, so most of them are partners. Ollay and Joshua requested for Dennis to also be their ninong. Celebrity doctors Vicki Belo-Kho and Hayden Kho joined us as sponsors.
At the intimate ceremony, most popular 3-year-old Scarlet Snow Belo gamely walked down the aisle as flower girl. She joked around, pretending the flower basket was very heavy.
Elegant mother of the bride Carole Esquivel was beaming with joy, and so was her aunt Lynette Mesa. These strong yet gentle women are the ones responsible for Ollay’s excellent business skills and good character.
After the couple’s heartfelt vows were exchanged, world-famous feng shui master Lillian Too gave Ollay and Joshua Buddha blessings and chanted auspicious mantras.
It was wonderful to see Lillian again after almost 10 years. Together with her husband Wan Jin Too and her brother Phillip Lim, Lillian flew in by private jet courtesy of Oxana Girko.
Very generous Oxana is a big supporter of the Red Cross Ball in Monaco. After I told her about the Red Charity Gala, she invited me to attend the most prestigious charity ball in world. I don’t think I’ll say no to that!
Mesmerized with the blazing sunset, we all walked to the beach after the final walk. It was as if it was perfectly timed with the ceremony.
We headed to the beach to take that perfect sunset selfie. Boracay Island is back and is even more beautiful than before.
Shangri-La Boracay Resort & Spa prepared a beach reception complete with the famous Boracay fire dancers. We were lucky since under the island’s new rules, fire dancers will no longer be allowed. Apparently, the fumes of the flames leave permanent black markings on the white sand.
Before the wedding, Dennis and I were able to scuba dive in a nearby site. It was good to be back diving as preparation for our Christmas holiday with our kids in Palau, where we honeymooned 24 years ago. After the dive, good friend Vina Francisco and I had a relaxing deep tissue massage at Chi Spa.
May the coming 2019 be filled with more love and laughter as we celebrate the Year of the Earth Pig! Happy holidays!