All roads lead to Amelia – the beautiful Alfonso Cavite estate of the Ablaza family where society's creme dela creme went for a day of grooving and swinging to Pinoy pop classics last July 2 in celebration of the 85th birthday of Louie Ablaza, the family patriarch and honorary consul of Zambia.
Along with his elegant and gracious wife Mellie, the celebrant welcomed us at their hacienda's pristine white chapel to hear mass headed by Father Rollon. Among the distinguished guests who came were US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, Aubrey Alexander Carlson, New Zealand Ambassador Peter Francis Tavita Kell, Netherlands Ambassador Maria Alfonsa Magdalena Geraedts, Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Dato' Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino and Singapore Ambassador Constance See Sin Yuan.
After giving praise and thanks to the Lord for His Divine blessings during Mass, cocktails followed at the spacious open pavillion where we were treated to a variety of Filipino snacks such as “sorbetes”, “taho”, squid balls, “gulaman”, and many other local street style delicacies. There was also a magician who amused us with tricks, and an artist who sketched caricatures of guests for souvenirs. While enjoying our snacks and refreshments, a flash mob of dancers, with some dressed as Filipino superheroes like Darna, Captain Barbel, and Lastikman, surprised the celebrant and guests as the cake was brought in.
After the customary singing and candle blowing, photo ops followed with the stylish Ablaza family wearing unique interpretations of Pinoy Pop fashion. Couturier Steve De Leon designed most of the Ablaza family's outfits. Louie and Mellie wore handpainted 1930's comic characters of Kenkoy and Rosing, Czarina Ablaza – Syquia had a modern terno with Darna painted on her skirt, the Syquia men wore popular printed local bed linens fashioned as button down shirts, Rocio was in a Chanel-like outfit made of chic Abel Iloco, and Jun Jun had a Jaggy Glarino avant garde solihiya inspired ensemble adorned with his own antique and vintage ivory, gold, diamond and sterling silver brooch.
There were also standouts among the stylish guests who came. The best dressed prizes were Dr. Elsie Pascua, Sheila Kingsu, Joy Rustia, Carlo Calma and Ron de Castro.
Of course, the main event was in the ballroom where guests all gathered in continuation for the day's festivity. It was beautifully decorated by Jun Jun Ablaza with hundreds of yards of pastel colored pleated tulle and bubble wrap, while the tables had native tribal food covers topped by names of popular Filipino bands from different eras.
After a dynamic performance by the Dance Royalties, Louie's grandkids each gave heartwarming and amusing messages to their beloved lolo. More entertainment followed from the Singing Sensations who also hosted the event where they revealed what “Uwit Bala Numnum”(the title on the party invitation) was. It turned out that this foreign sounding word was simply the celebrant's full name – Luis Ablaza Jr! It was how he pronounced it when he was just a kid.
Food at the party was fantastic of course. The sumptuous Filipino fusion lunch was curated by no less than Chef Jessie Sincioco, a favorite of the Ablazas. While we indulged in one delectable course after another, sizzling dance numbers and songs of retro Pinoy music were performed alternately by talented artists. Ambassador Kell also surprised and delighted everyone as he came on stage and sang local pop songs.
The program's highlight was no less than a set from the famous vocal group The Company, who sang familiar classics and danceable songs that had guests jumping from their seats onto the dance floor. The Marcy band capped the afternoon while everyone hobnobbed, wined, boogied, and sang to the rhythm of local acoustic ballads. Even Louie joined in singing “Manila! Manila!.” Halfway in his octogenarian decade, the Ablaza patriarch still has the groove!
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Meanwhile, it was an intimate triple birthday celebration for Jerry Rabano, daughter Jerry Lee Erram and son in law John Paul “Poy” Erram (TNT Giga's center forward), Jerry (July 12), Poy Erram (July 7) and JerryLee Rabano-Erram (July 5), celebrating with family, some relatives from abroad, close friends with Hi-Society, actress Jean Saburit, Joy Fong of Vanity magazine, Director Ricky Davao and Malca Darocca, Lulu Boon, Annie Trillo, Kathryn Manuntag and daughter Mikee, Tuna Exporters Joel Mercado and Sharon Perez and some teammates in PBA's TNT Giga Team. Troy and Mich Rosario, Mikeu Cabahug, Marc Malferari, Bon Pinot, Andre Armenion, Noy Baclao and Erika Baclao, Vin Antonio and Gel Antonio, Emman Monfort and Jewel Monfort, Allen Pascual. It was held at Podium's Lola Cafe last July 12.
The July celebrants have decided a joint triple birthday celebration upon learning that Poy Erram will be away during their (Poy's and Lee's) birthday which is July 5 and July 7. This is the first time that Poy will be away for his birthday which is July 7th due to the camp training that took place in Europe.
Poy left the country for the Gilas Camp last June 18 in preparation for the World Cup happening here in the Philippines on Aug 25 to September 3. The team flew to Estonia and Lituania for a 3-week camp. He came back last July 10 in time for the triple birthday celebration.
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