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Enchanting evenings

Friends recall their most unforgettable guests for memorable meals that remain near and dear to their hearts.



I fondly remember the great David Emanuel — who, together with his then-wife Elizabeth Emanuel, designed the wedding gown of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, betrothed to Charles, the Prince of Wales — was on a Philippine holiday.

THE author with David Emanuel.

Having been hosted in a string of restaurants, his one desire was to meet up with some locals at a private home. My brother Edu, who was assigned in London for years, immediately passed on to me the request.

Sharing a table with my husband Glenn and 10 other friends at our home in Cebu, the fashion designer regaled heartwarming anecdotes of behind-the-scenes scenarios on the iconic princess gown
— the arduous fitting schedules, the utmost secrecy, the absolute security and even contingency plans should some fashion mishaps arise.

It was an enchanting evening, one not easily forgotten. Today, I asked some close friends on their most unforgettable guests for memorable meals that remain near and dear to their hearts.



My great friend, Betsy B., invited me to dinner at the Carlyle Hotel and seated me next to Joan Rivers.  She was alternatively hilarious, witty, shocking and incredibly kind. How we laughed!  In retrospect, I have thought of a million fabulous bon mots that would have had Miss Rivers rolling in the aisle. But alas, that evening I was struck dumb.  Miss Rivers repeatedly praised a brilliant shahtoosh I had thrown around my shoulders — I was torn — present it as a gift?  Would she be my new best friend?  What a struggle. Gift or freeze? Selfish to the end, I wandered home snug and warm — no gift.



I would say my Dad, not just for dinner but for any meal, especially midnight snacks. We nourished not just our bodies but our intellect and spirit, as well as a lively exchange of wit, humor and life lessons. He never lacked experiences for us to learn from and I look back wishing I can have another midnight snack with him — just one more to say thank you and share the life I have now.



In 2005, Speaker Ingrida Udre of the 8th Parliament of the Republic of Latvia came to the Philippines to attend the 112th International Parliamentary Union General Assembly. I was then the Honorary Consul of Latvia to the Philippines. It gave me the opportunity to show many places of interest and we shared several meals which proved to be memorable. Since then, we have become good friends. Soft-spoken and
well-learned, she is a woman of substance and her strengths are in the fields of culture, arts, sports, business, politics, diplomacy and democracy.  She is currently involved in international business in Latvia and abroad.



My happiest memories involve several dinners with both of my grandmothers. I spent hours and hours listening to their stories about the war! I likewise enjoyed their anecdotes on the people they encountered in their journeys called life — interesting would be an understatement and I would tune in with rapt attention. Each visit was always infused with several important lessons which I genuinely adhere day-to-day. I really do miss them.