Having a Ball with
Manila Bulletin’s society columnist celebrates a decade
of living and writing about the good life
For 10 years now, Tina Hidalgo-Jacinto has kept the ball rolling.
Every Sunday, on the Lifestyle pages of the Manila Bulletin, she with her husband, the portraitist Rupert Jacinto, has brought us to the very inside of some of the grandest, most elegant, most sophisticated society events in the country. Whether it was this consul’s birthday party or that other lady’s anniversary or the launch of a not-for-profit initiative, Tina would always be there, capturing the essence of the moment for her column. In 800 words or fewer, Tina manages to take readers to these social occasions, inviting them to have a ball, but never in a way that is cold and distant. Instead, she invites her readers to be up close and personal with whomever it was she was featuring. What better way to celebrate a decade of having a ball by, well, having a ball—only this time, it’s not by Tina Jacinto but with Tina Jacinto.
At an invitation-only event held at the grand ballroom of the City of Dreams recently, Tina and Rupert launched the book Having a Ball, a hefty coffee-table book with 250 colored pages featuring the highlights of the social scene in the past decade that Tina has previously shared in her columns.
“I thought it worthwhile to capture some of the highlights of this decade in a book,” she tells an audience of friends. “I realized how varied and rich Philippine society and culture is. This book is truly a special opportunity for me to celebrate my fellow Filipinas—women of achievement and success in business and personal lives, empowered women who are blazing trails, contributing to the local and global stages while balancing family.”
Tina chose 12 amazing women on the cover of the book: Anna Vergel Raquel Santos, Malou Tamayo Martinez, Merci Poblador Padolina, Marivic Tengco Burgos, Katrina Ponce Enrile, Cris Albert, Love Marie Ongpauco Escudero, Mabel Abaño, Nonie Basilio, Mellie Ablaza, Josie Natori, and Nedy Tantoco. Each of their stories is featured in the book, under one of the four categories—“Celebration,” “Giving Back,” “Painting the Town Red,” and “Living It Up”—which also describe Tina’s own life. “I am very proud to pay homage to these 12 cover ladies. I also pay homage in this book to the women who have been an influence in my life: Imelda Cojuangco, Chito Madrigal Collantes, Mary Prieto, and Priscilla Sison,” she says. “The greatest joy I’ve had in my 10 years as society columnist of the Manila Bulletin is the friendships I’ve gained and still enjoy with all of you. Thank you for letting me experience what having a ball truly means.”
That evening, guests indeed had a ball. We were entertained by an amazing band from Tina’s brother-in-law, which performed hits from the ‘50s to the ‘80s. We helped ourselves to fantastic food prepared by the chefs at the City of Dreams. My personal favorite was the egg boiled for an hour in a sustained 36 degrees of heat—a French delicacy, I was told. Amid the celebrations, I had a chance to speak to Rupert. “Tina’s book is the first of its kind in scope and magnitude, so I’m really happy for her,” he tells me. “To Tina: Continue to look at the depth of a person. If you keep on doing that, you’ll have a second book!” I also had an opportunity to speak to Tina, who spent the greater part of the evening entertaining guests. “It’s really wonderful,” she says. “It’s like seeing all these people I write about and sharing the happiness and joy that I’ve had through the past decade. I’m so grateful that Dr. Emil Yap III and our editor, AA Patawaran, have really helped me along the way, supporting me all these years.”