DINNER WITH MISS UNIVERSE
Former Miss Universe and president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Margie Moran Floirendo was the image of a woman who does what she loves, and loves what she does.
The space, a beautifully well-appointed condo styled in modernist aesthetics and with a panoramic view of the city, is her sanctuary. My husband Rupert’s elegant portrait of her was displayed prominently at the hallway, which one simply cannot help but notice when one is seated in the dining room. Noting her personal style, she highlighted sentimental framed photographs on console tables and paintings on the walls of her green-themed dining room, such as a painting by famed artist Sandra Gfeller, a gift from the board of trustees of Ballet Philippines, which she used to head.
Margie is a natural at arranging her collections as well as her objets d’art. A kinetic sculpture by Gabby Barredo is accented with a Manansala painting. Other walls boast of a Tabuena, Westendorp, Alcuaz, Garibay, and Rubio, among others. It also has a portrait of Margie dressed in Filipiniana by Dante Silverio at the entrance of the living room, the likeness of which was taken from Rupert’s humongous centennial coffee table book, Portraits of an Era: A Celebration of the Filipino, which featured Margie photographed at Jose Rizal’s shrine in Calamba, Laguna. Despite her worldwide super-fame, Margie was her most authentic self with close friends. “I organized intimate casual dinners with friends in Manila when I got back, to bond in a way with enjoyable conversations.”
Donning a vacation glow and a renewed sense of calm, Margie narrated, over a delicious sit-down Japanese dinner, that the first part of her birthday was spent in Iceland, a frozen wonderland, the Arctic known for its sheer scenic beauty. She said that the special cruise ship was equipped with ice breakers. It was a snowbound hotel with Michelin meals and a prodigious wine list. This ice safari was a combination of addictive rush and spectacular dreamscapes. Not wanting the expedition to end, Margie was so captivated by the majestic display of the northern lights, so much so that her praises for this amazing spectacle of nature had her guests wanting to sign up for the next voyage. The evening was capped off with music and singing by divine songbird Ping Valencia. After the toasting, the birthday song, and the cake, the ever regal Margie said, “Friendships matter as we grow older and I appreciate moments like these.”