With “Don’t Miss the Mo­ment” as my personal mot­to, my dream come true—a massive 250-page coffee table book entitled Having a Ball: A Decade of Celebrations— will soon be launched. This is in celebration of my 10 years as resident society col­umnist of this paper. A door opened when dear friend, City of Dreams (C.O.D.) vice president of public re­lations Charisse Chuidian offered to sponsor the book launch, which will be held next month.

Co-presented by the Ad­vertising Foundation of the Philippines and The City of Dreams, and with support from Tita­nia Wine Cellar, Liquid Gold, and Volvo, this book features milestones on social and cultural scene and offers a peek into the gilded world of the past 10 years and further back, with tributes to five “Icons of Society,” namely, Imelda O. Cojuangco, Chito Madrigal Col­lantes, Chona Kasten, Mary Prieto, and Priscilla Sison, with portraits of the ladies done by my husband Rupert. To learn about the icons is to visit their time when the ultimate in elegance and sophistication was the norm, whose lessons should help Millennials better understand the present.

For the book cover photo, Rupert envisioned a spectacular grand ba­roque staircase, where 12 ladies would be positioned; and with the help of Rampver‘s power couple, Rex and Anna Mendoza, this hidden gem of a staircase was found at the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, courtesy of Jose Acuzar, for which our team lost no time in making the trip to Bataan.

The theme of ebony and ivory colored gowns was upon the suggestion of book consultant Mario Katigbak and thus the elegant ladies were digitally positioned on the magnificent Gone with the Wind staircase and voila! Our book cover is— if I may borrow Rupert’s word—faaabulous!

My book is a most de­lightful page-turner generating broad appeal headlined by 12 ladies I person­ally handpicked for their style and their success in their chosen field. Cover ladies include Rustan’s president and CEO Nedy Tantoco and internation­ally acclaimed fashion designer Josie Natori who flew in from New York es­pecially for her photo shoot. An inter­esting photograph of Josie with Mar­garet Thatcher is featured in the book. Also on the cover are society doyenne Consul Mellie Ablaza and prominent ladies Nonie Basilio, Mabel Abano, Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero, Cris Albert, Katrina Ponce Enrile, Anna Raquel Santos, Engr. Merci Poblador Padolina, Malou Tamayo Martinez, and Marivic Tengco Bur­gos. They immersed themselves in the eye of my noted photographer hubby Rupert and allowed me to share in the book what made them tick.

The guests of honor at the book launch are Gemma Cruz Araneta, Dr. Emil Yap III, president of the Manila Bulletin, and Kevin Benning, COO of the City of Dreams. Many thanks to the invaluable help of Manila Bulletin Lifestyle editor and celebrated writer, AA Patawaran and consultants Mario Katigbak of Hermes and Bulgari and Clarissa Hidalgo of UBS New Jersey. Associate photographer is Federico Ortiz; head graphic designer is our son Jeremy, who is assistant graphic head of IAC Barry Miller, one of the largest IT firms in New York. Our research team is composed of Liezl Jacinto Sato and Jacqueline Zuratynsky. The graphic designers are James Nues­tro, Edmark Odi, and Angel Paulo. Thanks, too, to our studio men Venny Santos and Anthony Santiago.

To jumpstart the book’s celebration of a glittering decade is the the very article that premiered “Having a Ball,” the ‘Black and Platinum Ball’ of Con­suls Louie and Mellie Ablaza, on Aug. 10, 2008 in The Manila Bulletin. The select columns covering my first 10 years have been divided into four cat­egories: “Celebrations: Moments and Milestones,” “Giving Back: Benefits and Social Awareness,” “Painting the Town: Arts and Culture,” and “Living it Up: A Toast to the Good Life.”


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