“These days, the modern young lady must display a miscellany of talents in her quest for a suitor. The social season is upon us.”—Lady Whistledown
What is marriage truly about? Friendship? Though that may be a good start, most marriages are more like battlefields. But even if it is like one, there must be other things that hold the troops together. Why settle for a duke when one can have a prince? We could all gather so many of life’s answers watching all the different Netflix series.
Romance is still in the forefront of “Bridgerton” Season 2, now streaming on Netflix. The very intriguing take on the strict social affairs of early 19th-century London leads the main story revolving around the Bridgerton family. From Julia Quinn’s series of romance novels on which the show is based, an unseen gossip hound voiced by Julie Andrews narrates all the episodes.
One of Netflix’s biggest hits, “Bridgerton” Season 1 was dropped in December 2020 and was basically a combination of the best parts of “Pride & Prejudice” and “Gossip Girl,” with a classical soundtrack version of all the top hits.
For the launch of Season 2, Netflix Philippines invited guests to experience “the ton” in the tropics! I recently visited Villa Bridgerton (villabridgerton.com), a mansion in New Manila that Netflix has glammed up in the style and elegance of the Regency era, to give “Bridgerton” fans a glimpse into the world of the series, and to celebrate the second season.
The new season tells the story of the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Lord Anthony Bridgerton, a viscount. I knew I had to visit Villa Bridgerton in royal fashion. For my Lady ensemble, I chose an elegant gown by Ronald Enrico, complete with long gloves by Sofie.B, jewelry, tiara and an elegant wig that could give the series’ Queen Charlotte a run for her money!
Upon my arrival at the villa, I was quickly transported into the Regency era (that is, after taking an antigen swab test, a safety protocol for all guests). Walking up the drive, I saw a horse-drawn carriage and was welcomed inside by a butler, who gamely posed for photos with me.
The living room looked like the drawing room at Bridgerton House, from the classy decor to the luxurious curtains—and flowers, flowers, flowers, not just in the living room but also all over the villa. The music also added to the classy atmosphere: a string quartet played classical versions of modern songs throughout our visit.
Fashion and croquette
In the dining room, a luscious feast was laid out. And what’s a fancy feast without macarons? A golden dish filled with different-colored macarons was one of the highlights of this room for me! I chatted with Moss Design House designing power couple Mado Beltran and Cyndi Fernandez, who transformed the entire setup in just nine days. I was marveling at all the details just in the dining setting.
Upstairs, a carpeted hallway led to the bedchamber. In one corner of the room was a cabinet with dresses inspired by the series’ main female characters Daphne and Eloise Bridgerton, Penelope Featherington and Season 2 additions Kate and Edwina Sharma. As a safety protocol, visitors were not allowed to put on the gowns, but could take pictures while standing in front of a mirror, as if they were at modiste Madame Delacroix’s shop.
Out in the garden, a game of croquet (known as pall mall in the Regency era) was set up, and guests were free to try. The pall mall game at the Aubrey Hall grounds is a fan favorite scene from the book, and fans should be happy to know that this scene is part of the second season.
During the dinner, guests were treated to some Regency-style dancing. Introduced by host Justine Luzares, well known for his British “Marites” persona on TikTok, the dancers emulated the dancing done on the show, to Season 1’s “The Lady Whistledown” by composer Kris Bowers and Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.”
Villa Bridgerton, located at 35 Broadway Ave. corner 9th St., New Manila, Quezon City, is open to the public until April 3. Book your free tour of the villa.
I had fun playing royalty for the day! But the best part of it was to actually attend a live event and catch up with some friends. It felt like we are finally coming out of the pandemic and getting our lives back, but only better!
Art in the family
Even theme parties are coming back. To celebrate her 60th birthday, good friend Sandy Lamb-Moran hosted an African-theme celebration at Punta Fuego. After a very challenging time in her life, Sandy was delighted to celebrate her milestone with her family and closest friends. The pandemic has certainly taught us to appreciate all our blessings and be grateful for being alive and well.
Family is everything. I am so happy to be spending more time with my kids and looking forward to our Easter vacation in Australia. We all now have more time to enjoy with the ones we truly love.
I was happy to learn about the upcoming family show of my husband’s aunt, Elaine Ongpin Herbosa (tel. 0917-8901219). She continues the legacy of her revered ancestors that started with Damian Domingo, the first recognized Filipino artist who established Academia de Artes y Dibujos in Tondo, Manila, in the 1800s.
In 2000, Elaine established L’Arc en ciel Atelier Inc. and taught hundreds of students from age 6 to 87. She made a second home for talented artists, some of whom have soared higher with their own wings. She is proudest of her daughter Mia Herbosa, an international artist, who studied at Art Students League for 28 years in New York City.
Passing the torch to the seventh generation, granddaughter Nina Herbosa started to create her own version of modern art and how she perceives it. Her cousin Lana Agoncillo, Mia’s 19-year-old daughter, is a budding artist herself. She is inclined to do interior design for college.
Catch the Ongpin Herbosa family art show “Passing On The Torch” at L’arc en ciel Atelier Inc. on April 7 as they celebrate art and history together. INQ