The pride of the Philippines, internationally renowned designer Monique Lhuillier, was back in town last week, with husband Tom Bugbee (with their kids in tow) and several close friends from Los Angeles.
Their first stop was Monique’s home in Cebu for a much-needed visit with family and friends. They then headed to Manila, where Bettina Aboitiz, Monique’s cousin, hosted a dinner for them in her lovely home. Monique gave a heartfelt speech to thank her hosts and to say how much she misses her home country.
One of her close friends, Colleen Bell, a former US ambassador to Hungary and now an American TV producer, also spoke and said how “Monique loves the Philippines so much, and that’s why we had to finally come and see what she has been raving about for a long time!”
The group then headed off to one of our lovely islands for a much-needed break.
Outset, a British group that provides funding to contemporary art all over the world, was in the country for a dialogue with local artists, curators and art enthusiasts at the Bellas Artes Outpost. The discussion was led by cofounder and director Candida Gertler OBE, Dedes Zobel, who recently became an Outset Partner, and Bellas Artes Outpost director and founder Jam Acuzar. Outset recently brought 12 Filipino artists to London to raise global awareness on Philippine arts and culture.
Somali-American Halima Aden, the first hijab-wearing fashion model, was invited by Century Group CEO Chris Po and his wife, philanthropist Nanette Medved-Po, to learn more about the Hope in a Bottle initiative, and to support the Vita Coco Project which gives back to coconut farmers and their families by way of education and livelihood assistance.
The project is something that resonates with Aden, who was born to Somali refugees and moved to the US when she was six. She is also a Goodwill Ambassador for Unicef. Aden has been on the cover of British Vogue, Teen Vogue, CR Fashion Book and Vogue Arabia.
One of the guests in the intimate dinner, TV/radio journalist and my good friend Karen Davila shared her thoughts on Halima: “She isn’t just beautiful, she radiates with gratitude when she shares her story of being born in a refugee camp and the struggles it took, moving to a better life. What struck me with Halima is that she tells her story without a hint of bitterness; there’s such a purity about her, no arrogance even after all her Vogue covers and what she’s achieved. Halima even joked that, more than the Vogue covers, her mother is impressed with her being a Unicef ambassador, as it is the logo they saw in the refugee camp that was helping them!”
There are several wedding celebrations coming up in a couple of months, and one of them is Cathy Tantoco Huang, who will wed Dr. David Endriga.
The bride is the only daughter of Nedy Tantoco, and works as general manager of Rustan Marketing Specialists Inc. The groom is an orthopedic spine surgeon at St. Luke’s Medical Center.
Other couples saying “I do” are director Quark Henares and singer-songwriter Bianca Yuzon, who are getting married in Bali next month. And one of particular importance to me is my youngest brother Mark San Diego, who will marry Isa Villar in Florence this month. Wishing all these lovely couples lots of love, blessings and happiness.