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My ‘Phantom’-inspired pre-50 birthday bash–minus the chandelier, of course

By: - Columnist
/ 04:53 AM September 09, 2012

DUSIT Thani Hotel guests Aditi and Proteek Ahuja of Interglobe Technologies, Sea Princess, Yvonne and Dusit Thani GM Prateek Kumar, Thrina and Jacky Chan of Siemens, Ben and Bernadette Swee

After watching the much-awaited “The Phantom of the Opera” in Manila, I was inspired to make my pre-50 birthday party just as epic in scope—without, of course, the crashing chandelier.

SEA PRINCESS, Mike Velarde, birthday celebrator Wilson Tieng of Solar TV, INQUIRER chair Marixi and Alex Prieto

But hardly anything can match “Phantom.” Gala night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Main Theater was a full house, and the outstanding performance was given a standing ovation and several curtain calls. It was truly a magical night.


Afterwards, the cast party at the Diamond Hotel was equally fab. It was wonderful to reunite with the South African cast, many of whom we met when we flew down to Johannesburg to watch the show earlier this year. Beringer Rose champagne and an extensive wine selection complemented a delicious selection of hot and cold buffet.

Looking so radiant was soprano Claire Lyon, who plays Christine Daae. Actors Jonathan Roxmouth as the Phantom and Anthony Downing as Raoul were happy to be finally performing in our country and to get the chance to delight Filipino theater lovers.


“PHANTOM” lovers Marta Uriarte, Bryan Prieto,Tim Yap, Anthony Downing, Claire Lyon, Jonathan Roxmouth, Sea Princess, Robin Valdes, Pepper Teehankee

The rest of the cast hit the dance floor to the music of a swinging band. Performers really know how to party.

The “Phantom of the Opera” is presented in Manila by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Hi-Definition Radio, Concertus Manila, Smart Infinity and Citi. It is staged for a strictly limited season, so do catch the show.

(Tickets are available at TicketWorld, tel. 8919999, www.ticketworld.com.ph.)

For “Phantom,” I wore a stunning beaded gown by talented Cebu designer Ronald Villavelez. It was impressive enough to catch the eyes of wardrobe head Eugene Titus.


Bridal masterpieces

BRITHDAY girl Grace Poe-Llamanzares with special guest President Aquino

My other fave Cebu designer is Philipp Tampus. For the 2012 edition of Samsung-Inquirer’s “Face-Off,” I wore one of his flattering, glittery gowns to complement the beautiful bridal masterpieces of the country’s leading designers. Thanks to Inquirer Lifestyle, “Face-Off” is the largest ever Filipino bridal collection, produced in cooperation with Samsung and Look Magazine.


“Face-Off” was a veritable showcase of the design caliber of Filipino veteran designers. Dusit Thani Manila generously sponsored the successful SRO event. Champion detergent co-presented the elegant fashion show. Other participating sponsors were Ayala Land Premier, Stella Luna, Rustan’s, MAC, Schwarzkopf, OSIS+, Frostings and Spruce Floral Designs.

Samsung gave style awardees Margie Moran-Floirendo and Dr. Zee Teo a Samsung Smart TV each. Other Samsung appliances were presented to new brand ambassadors at other affairs.

AMANDA Griffin-Jacob, SEPCO marketing director Benjie Jimenez, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, Samsung business unit head for digital appliances Joey Hidalgo, Daphne Osena-Paez, Sea Princess

At the Samsung housewarming event at the Grand Ballroom of Hotel InterContinental, Samsung digital home appliances brand ambassadors Amanda Griffin-Jacob, Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, Daphne Oseña-Paez and I joined forces to talk about Samsung’s new product offerings.

From fashion icons to full-time moms—it’s been an incredible lifestyle change for Rissa  and Amanda, but it’s a change they both love, for all its challenges and rewards.

SPRUCE Floral Design owner Patricia Pastelero

Amanda loves her Samsung Digital Washing Machine, a fully automatic washing machine that can get laundry done with one press of a button. It comes equipped with Samsung’s Eco Bubble technology, which makes washing more efficient and saves up to 70-percent more energy.

Rissa, who recently delivered a beautiful baby girl, talked about the Samsung Digital Air-Conditioner, whose Smart Inverter Technology makes more efficient use of electricity. Its Virus Doctor technology also immobilizes and deactivates bacteria and turns them into water vapor, for a steady flow of cool, clean air.

Digital vacuum cleaner

I presented the Samsung Digital Vacuum Cleaner, which makes cleaning a breeze with its Super Twin Chamber technology, while Daphne talked about the Samsung Digital Refrigerator and Digital Microwave. Older refrigerators need constant manual defrosting, but this one features no-frost technology to prevent ice buildup. Its Twin Cooling System prevents food smells from mixing, keeping food and veggies fresher longer, while its Inverter Technology saves energy.

Samsung was a generous sponsor at my pre-50 birthday bash.

JC Buendia’s bridal gown at “Face-Off” was so romantic. He is still on a high from his 25th anniversary fashion show held at Marriott Hotel.

At Cru Steakhouse

After his fashion show, we had delicious meal at Cru Steakhouse. Not the average steakhouse, Cru captures the flavor of quality, grilled beef. Steaks are hand-cut, hand-seasoned and carefully prepared. Salads are freshly made and desserts are simply sumptuous. The overall atmosphere is warm and friendly, with a courteous and attentive staff.

Whether you are looking for a great steak, celebrating a special occasion, reuniting with old friends or meeting for the first time, Cru is the steakhouse to go to. The place can accommodate up to 70 people, with two private dining areas for more intimate functions.

It is on the ground floor of Marriott Hotel Manila, open for daily from 6-10:30 p.m. (Call 9889999 for reservations).

The Marriott Hotel Manila hosted my pre-50 birthday bash. I’m still recovering from that monster party, so I will just feature it separately next week. For now, let me just say that the Marriott is a cool hotel for a post-party crash. The two top floors house executive-level rooms and 19 suites. Guests enjoy a spectacular view of the 18-hole Villamor golf course from the executive lounge.

Let me end this week by greeting fellow Virgo birthday celebrator Wilson Tieng, who rocked the city with a fabulous party at the Mandarin Hotel. Among his guests were Kitchie Benedicto, who manages Version 4.0, a high-energy band that performed at my party, too.

It’s September, and party season has started!

Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter; e-mail her at seaprincess@inquirer.com.ph.

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TAGS: Cru Steakhouse, Phantom of the Opera, Philipp Tampus, Samsung
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