Every day is a blessing and a precious gift from God. Among the many special days in a year, I am most grateful for Jan. 19.
Not only is it the birthday of our elder daughter Annika, it’s also the day my hubby Dennis survived a helicopter crash while he was on a business trip in India in 2004.
I was then pregnant with our youngest, Athena, who is now 13. Dennis’ miraculous full recovery is a constant reminder to be always filled with gratitude and to celebrate life and all its blessings.
We are proud of our Annika, who turned 21 yesterday. She is currently discovering the wonders of Nepal and Bhutan before continuing her junior year at Chapman University where is she taking up film.
Over the Christmas holidays, Philippine Tatler editor Anton San Diego and longtime friends Patty Chilip and Ling Ling King jointly celebrated their birthdays at Manila House. These three friends have been rejoicing in the gift of life, especially after their own helicopter crash in July 2015.
Manila House’s roof deck was transformed into an all-white lounge, while the Avenue Bar was set up for dancing to the music of the band Sabor Latino. Family and friends were there in full force to greet the lovable threesome in the midst of the Christmas mayhem.
Celebrating life through the most unique and fascinating theme parties is the signature style of travel buddy Tim Yap. He recently partied with many beautiful mates in Arthaland Tower. With the theme, Lava Red, guests came in outfits that would seemingly illuminate the darkest room.
The inspirations behind the party included Miss Universe Catriona Gray’s lava walk, and the patriotic energy needed to welcome the year of the Fire Earth Pig.
Thus was born Tim’s Lava Red party, the hottest party to start the season, one to inspire passions to last throughout the year.
Everything about the party revolved around “hot.” Yaparazzi Events converted Common Ground, a co-working space, into a lava red venue.
Tim’s partner Javi Martinez was on top of it all, and put together the elements, along with Barbie Pardo and Tess Villareal. Mia Cabawatan-Lazada of Bloomwoods made a giant, flame and floral installation for the photo wall, and DJs from all over flew in to provide the music.
The buffet included seven lechon from Elarz, and for giveaways, Elarz canned lechon, a special hot sauce made by Caramba, lipsticks from Vice cosmetics, Close Up Red, and tinted sunblock from Belo to jumpstart summer.
Our #tropafrica gang was reunited at Tim’s party where we planned our next destination.
Also present were the lovely sisters Cris Albert and Ana Abad Santos. We were also with Fila Philippines’ royal couple Butch and Cris Albert earlier this week as they celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with an intimate dinner for 16 at Elbert’s Steak Room. Indeed, this year is all about love.
At the dinner, Butch and Cris expressed their love for family, friends and especially God, for all His blessings.
Dennis and I are already planning our #DandTLove25 celebration, our silver wedding anniversary that will have an African flair. We will be incorporating the photos of Dennis from all our safari trips in Africa.
Some of Dennis’ framed photos were part of the Kartini Gallery that recently opened in Madison Galeries in Alabang. The art market in the Philippines is experiencing a glorious era where gallery owners and artists collaborate and share their stories with the world.
Passion for the arts
This is the story of Kartini Gallery, born of the passion for the arts of entrepreneur Nina Malvar. At the opening last Jan. 12, Nina told me she finds it “a joy to create an art gallery as an arena to showcase culture and to collaborate with artists, despite the tremendous and difficult challenges.”
Nina has long been a champion of up-and-coming and experimental artists. She founded Mission Artists Philippines to join the works of art masters and emerging artists through Kartini’s art exhibitions.
Kartini’s oeuvre showcases the masterful renditions of Filipino artists in painting, sculpture and photography. Mission Artists Philippines members who have exhibited in Kartini Gallery include Nune Alvarado, Leonard Aguinaldo, Rodney Martinez, Bert Monterona, Ronald Castrillo, Waldz Villanueva, Arnaldo Mirasol, Jojo Garcia, Mon Villanueva, Victor Espinosa, Mark Kiram Tolentino, Lloyd Tronco and Dennis Valdes.
Kartini also features an exquisite collection of Asian furniture and artworks, including paintings and tapestries, sculpture in wood, brass and natural jade stone, antiquities and home accents sourced from various parts of Asia.
The artworks of world-renowned Vietnamese artists are also featured.
Since opening two years ago, the Madison Galeries has become the favorite neighborhood mall in Alabang Hills. Madison Galeries offers residents easy access to basic necessities as well as entertainment and leisure.
Unlike the usual commercial malls in the south, Madison Galeries is a promising lifestyle destination that offers shopping and pampering services as well as an events venue for rent.
At its grand opening, guests and celebrities like Dingdong Dantes, Johnny Litton and Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi joined the festivities. An al fresco buffet party and live music welcomed all.
Additionally, guests received special giveaways and gift certificates from the restaurants in the mall.
I am all excited for the upcoming Year of the Earth Boar on Feb. 5. For our annual Chinese New Year party, the food-and-grocery app Honestbee will be hosting, complete with lion dancers, a Chinese lauriat buffet, fortune tellers and the feng shui forecast of Marites Allen.
May the Year of the Boar bring luck and happiness to all of us!