Poet and author Virginia Moreno hosted an intimate birthday party for fashion czar Pitoy Moreno at Pitoy’s beautiful atelier and home on General Malvar Street in Malate, where the rich and famous have been going to for 30 years to have their fabulous wedding, debutante, and Filipiniana gowns and dresses made.
Pitoy, according to his “Ate” Virgie, was baptized José Reyes Moreno Jr. Although held in his own home, the birthday was a surprise party, she added.
First to arrive for the old-fashioned merienda were Pitoy’s closest relatives. Nieces Yollee Flores, Litta Villanueva and Mary Moreno. Very pretty granddaughter Elaine Cruz held Pitoy’s great grandnephew Luis Enriques, six months old.
Then out of a white SUV came Pitoy’s closest friends—Conchitina Sevilla-Bernardo and Stella Marquez-Araneta. Then Celia Diaz-Laurel, radiant in a blue pantsuit though wheelchair-bound, arrived with actor-son Cocoy, whom I have known since our La Salle Greenhills high-school days.
Favorite nephews Bobby Moreno Cruz and Jimmy Cruz made sure everyone was comfy for the Mass that started at 4 p.m., officiated by Pitoy’s close friend, Fr. Mac Reyes.
“In the end it is family who will stand by us and close friends who are bound by the years of friendship and love,” Virgie Moreno said. “Yes, in the end, only love remains and teaches us how to survive and accept with grace, our lives God blessed with so much happiness and success.”
Afterward, a sumptuous merienda cena was served on classic china and white embroidered cotton tablecloths. There was pancit palabok topped with squid ink, fresh buko salad, baked macaroni, empanadas and the most amazing fresh grape punch.
The intimate crowd of 30 was joined by Pitoy’s staff of helpers, sewers (some have been with him for 40 years) and his pretty and smart secretary Mary Jane Marcelo, for the viewing of the film that documented Pitoy’s Gala Tribute Fashion Extravaganza at the Edsa Shang ballroom last year. It was a spectacular parade of a brilliant body of work worn by the country’s top actors, celebrities and models.
I overheard Pitoy whisper, “Did I make all those gowns?”
Yes, Pitoy, you did, and this is your legacy for future generations—the colorful, historic and iconic Filipiniana that will inspire us, hearten us, and always gladden our memory.