Spanish month at Casino Español de Cebu opened with a gala dinner at its ballroom, Salon de España, attended by Spain’s Ambassador Jorge Domecq. He recalled having been here for last year’s celebration. He took the opportunity to renew acquaintances.
Presiding the event was the new president of Casino Español, Antonio Veloso Jr., Buddy to close friends and relations. In his welcome speech, he told Ambassador Domecq to come back to Cebu any time because “el Casino Español es su casa.”
The brief program was hosted by Francisco “Paco” Jarque Jr., the club’s director for social and cultural events. With him was his wife Monique del Gallego Jarque.
Officers present included vice president Editho Tirol with wife Meriam; secretary and past president Gabriel Leyson with Tina Jordana; treasurer David Chan with wife Tess.
With them at the presidential table were Honorary Consul of France Michel Lhuillier, a past president of the club, with wife Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, president of Amigos de España en Cebu; Anton and Maripaz Perdices, he being groomed as the next honorary consul of Spain in Cebu.
Among the past presidents present were Honorary Consul of Sweden Jose Sala with wife Susan Montenegro Sala, vice president of Amigos de España; Cuco del Gallego; and Manoling Sainz with wife Melba.
The “Amigos” were well-represented by secretary Myra Gonzalez who was seated next to the ambassador, treasurer Julina Muertegui, Paqui Aboitiz, Jose Mari Miranda, Marichu Garcia, Angeles Antigua, Teresin Mendezona, Carmen Campbell, Winglip and Pinky Chang, Choco Escaño Laplana, Tessie Javier, Manuel and Margot Larrañaga, Chinggay Utzurrum, Vivina Yrastorza, and Fe Sala Villarica.
More: Antonio Veloso Sr. with wife Edwina, Gary and Charity Muñoz, Carmen Muertegui, Rosalie Duran, Miguel Angel and Cristina Monreal, Gabriel Palmer, Michael and Bethilda Smith, Monina Ouano with children and grandchildren, Terry Escaño Manguerra, Eddie and Marilou Bernardo, Merle Zamora with daughter Mia, Rosita Arcebas, and many more.
Casino Español general manager May Ocaba and F/B manager Marina Codina were congratulated for the splendid array of appetizers, including two legs of “jamon serrano” cut into paper-thin slices that did the delights of all. Highlight of the evening was the entrance of the “conchinillo” (suckling pig) sliced up with the edges of porcelain plates. The rest of the buffet spread consisted of the club’s Spanish specialty dishes.
Danny’s Entertainment Group performed stylized Flamenco numbers, Mexican dances, Latin sambas and the ubiquitous Paso Doble. At the end of the evening, there was audience participation with Michel and Amparito leading the impromptu Flamenco stomping. Olé! Olé!
Sabores de España
Next evening, Ambassador Domecq was guest of honor at the opening of “Sabores de España,” the annual Spanish food festival of the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. “This is the sixth year we do it, and the second time we have Ambassador Domecq with us,” said general manager Hans Hauri.
“Maayong gabi-i,” said Ambassador Domecq in Cebuano, for which he was much-applauded. He complimented the fine guitar artists who had been playing beautiful Spanish music—Reginald Bernaldez and Cyreil Lepiten.
He also singled out Gema Luisa Pido for once more preparing the dishes served throughout the one-week duration of the food fest. It is always a sellout, and for the past six years the largest revenue drawer of all the food fests at the Marco Polo.
Gema had prepared a special degustation menu for the seated dinner that marked the opening night. With Ambassador Domecq sat Hans and Bo Hauri, Gema, Anton and Maripaz Perdices, Glenn and Honey Loop, Julina Muertegui, Julius and Nelia Neri.
Resident manager Julie Najar presided another table where sat Myra Gonzalez, Manuel and Margot Larrañaga, Dr. Nestor Alonso, Jigs Arquiza, Cookie Newman, plus the hotel’s sales/marketing director Lara Constantino Scarrow, and Kyra Cabaero, public relations officer for media.
The “mechado con salsa” was particularly good. During the lunch buffet, it was sold out so that the chefs had to churn out more for the evening, when 110 had made reservations at the Café Marco, and a larger number turned up, waiting to be seated.
Gema explained that some of the new recipes she had prepared for this year’s food fest came from her late mother Doña Luisa’s “libro de recetas” handwritten in Spanish. That’s where she found how to make “turron” with crushed almonds, honey, what-have-you, as crunchy and delicious as anything from Alicante or Jijona.
As Ambassador Domecq said his farewells he was told “Hasta el año que viene,” which more or less means same time next year. “Con mucho gusto” was the ready answer.