Ambassador Francisco Benedicto held his annual Yuletide luncheon for media friends at the Tsai Cheng Chinese restaurant of the Cebu Grand Convention Center. The menu was a gourmet’s dream come true of what an elegant Chinese banquet should be.
The event was splendidly coordinated by Sam Costanilla. Two of Cebu’s veteran journalists, Bobit Avila and Choy Torralba, gave Ambassador Frank updates on Cebu’s political and business activities. The rest of us were all ears.
Among those present was Brig. Gen. Erik Espina who heads the 1901st Philippine Army Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade. A former Cebu City councilor, Erik is the son of the late Rene Espina, a former senator and well-loved governor of Cebu.
Erik was recalling his group’s recent medical and dental mission in the Catarman Elementary School located in the municipality of Liloan in northern Cebu.
Erik had the full cooperation of Liloan Mayor Christine Garcia Frasco (daughter of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia) and her husband Rep. Duke Frasco. His family produces the famous Titay’s Rosquillos de Liloan. They also make delicious tortas and ensaimadas.
Chic ladies’ gathering
Cebuanas based in Manila Amanda Luym and Cacay Moras came to town for another exhibit of their jewelry with the All that Glitters brand. Venue was the Holicow studio at Crossroads in Banilad.
Amanda and Cacay do this twice a year, resulting in glittering (what else?) gatherings of Cebu’s chic ladies and some.
This time around, aside from the jewels, on display was a collection of Amanda’s latest fine art photography, and Jaime Chua’s luscious orchids as well as other exotic plants.
It is the jewelry, though, that was the main attraction. Done in silver, heavily plated with yellow gold, or in actual gold of 14 karats, they are mounted with authentic colored gems sourced from all over the world.
Amanda and Cacay are their own best models. So are their respective mothers, Sonia Moras and Annabelle Luym, who are first cousins. They were there at the preview party, plus Amanda’s doting father, Cebu taipan Douglas Luym.
There was Jaja Chiongbian Rama drawing admiration for the pendant she wore on a long gold chain. It featured a gem the size of a ping-pong ball faceted to sparkle in lemon yellow intensity.
“It is a citrine,” she said, “and it is all that glitters.”
Spanish songs and dances
The Arts Council and Casino Español de Cebu joined hands to present a night of flamenco songs and dances dubbed “Vientos de Granada” at the club’s ballroom, Salon de España.
The male performers came from Granada, Spain, while the females, all astoundingly pretty, came from Centro Flamenco de Manila.
Before the zapateado started in earnest there were words of welcome from Casino Español de Cebu president Eduard Loop and Dr. Vivina Chiu Yrastorza, president of the Arts Council.
Congratulated for the success of the event was Honey Jarque Loop, Eduard’s mom, and board member of the Arts Council.
In the committee were Arts Council stalwarts Maia Franco, Petite Garcia and Mariter Klepp. They joined the dancers on stage at the culmination. Read that as audience participation.
Present was Rep. Ann Hofer who was greatly instrumental in bringing the group to Cebu. With her was her mom Dulce Kintanar Hofer. Governor Gwen was present along with Marguerite Lhuillier, Lisette Garcia and designer Oj Hofer.
Cuco del Gallego got the rush, and kisses, as it was his birthday. Present were Paco and Mona Lisa Jarque, Cheling and Susan Sala, Glenn Loop, Myra Gonzalez and Margot Larrañaga, Margie Taylor, Elena Palacios and Luis Echary, Edu Jarque, Sonia Moras and son Jun-Jun, and Anna Climaco.
More: Rosebud Sala, Annabelle Luym, Teresin Mendezona, Maribel Antunez, Rene and Joy Kintanar, Ipar and Tessa Miranda, Kingsley Medalla with his mom Pacita Sode and Alexandra Wadskier, Tessie Javier, Warfe Engracia, Gabby and Tina Leyson, Merche Jordana, Annie Aboitiz, Nonie Uy, Sonny and Annabelle Alo, and Conchita van Gelder.