Category Archives: Tributes

The Plaza at 50 (5)

The Plaza at 50

By | Celebrations, Tributes | One Comment

 Happy 50th Anniversary to The Plaza.

I’ve known Tita Millie since I was a kid since the Plaza was a favored caterer of the family.  And recently I met Karla who is 29 years old and the COO ( Child of Owner haha!! ) of the company. She has injected a lot of new ideas and implemented many new dishes. She’s so much fun.  They are also my fellow writers at the Philippine Star. More power to Tita Millie and Karla Reyes and here’s to more years of success! The Plaza at 50 (5)

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Richard Antonio, an old timer of the Plaza!  I would always see him in the caterings and now he has white hair!  White hair means loyalty :-)
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He took me to this table that had old scrapbooks that were very delicate as they were quite old and they contained newspaper clippings!!The Plaza at 50 (9)

My Mom!!!

They catered for the bridal shower of my Mom at the Willow Court which is a restaurant that was part of their events complex in Makati many years ago

The Plaza at 50 (10)And they catered for my parents’ wedding 48 years ago and our wedding 20 years ago!

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We visited Tita Millie and Karla in their home and when you enter, there is a collection of elephants!!  The trunk has to be going up which means luck and prosperity :-)The Plaza at 50 (21)

They served us the best of their best and the food that will be part of the Best of the Plaza promo menus


Smoked Salmon Pinwheel Prosciutto, wrapped Asparagus,  Caviar Blinis and
Spinach & Mushroom Quiche

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 Smoked Tanguingue with Dill Mustard Sauce Condiments: onions, chopped eggs, lemon, capers

Lettuce with Brie and Strawberry Vinaigrette

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 Angel Hair pasta with 2 kinds of sauce:

Seafood Pomodoro and Garlic Chorizo

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 In 1965 when The Plaza @theplazainc first opened, Dari Creme asked their Swedish Chef, Chef Gosta Pettersson, to use Dari Creme in a tv commercial

Chef Gosta Pettersson the plaza

and he chose the dish Chicken Ala Kiev and that was when Chicken Ala Kiev was introduced in the Philippines. Thank you Chef Gosta!!The Plaza at 50 (19)

I LOVE CHICKEN ALA KIEV!  You can buy this frozen at the Plaza and you can cook when needed!  YAY!The Plaza at 50 (18)

 The famous Plaza ham! My favorite part is the top – the honey glazed top

More trivia – the Plaza ham was only available in their catering but in 2006 they made it available in kiosks in malls. That was the project of Karla The Plaza at 50 (16)

3 ways to serve the ham!  3 kinds of bread!The Plaza at 50 (15)

 Karla launched the 10 feet pandesal sub with 150 grams of ham for P 350.00.  That was the wish of her Lolo before he passed away and she implemented it! Way to go Karla!!! The Plaza at 50 (20)

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 Decadent Chocolate Cake, Salted Caramel Cheesecake and Croquembouche

 Crepes Station – Mango and StrawberryThe Plaza at 50 (11)

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The Plaza at 50 (23)Smoked Lengua in cream sauce from the Plaza  The thinly sliced Lengua is under the pile of chorizo, olives and cubes of ham.Smoked Lengua in cream sauce from the Plaza The thinly sliced Lengua is under the pile of chorizo olives and cubes of hamYUM! Cured pork knuckles with red cabbage or sauerkraut served both boiled or friedThe Plaza at 50 (17)

 As they celebrate their 50th Anniversary They are offering special promo menus for P50,000 for 50 people with all the best dishes of The Plaza!  The Plaza at 50 (31)

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The Plaza at 50 (35)Plaza Siggie

Tita Tina (8)

Tita Tina

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 So happy to see Pam Villanueva Pena and her family – Edwin, Rosanna, Eliana and Manoli.   They are here following the wishes of Pam’s Mom, Tita Tina, to be buried in Foster City where they used to live.  Pam was my roommate when we lived in Madrid. She now lives in Denver with her family

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Tita Tina was the pillar of the family and kept them all together

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 Assumption Batch mates reunited for Pam – Triccie Campos Lacson and Marichit Bantug Mendoza.   Marichit stayed in Assumption till 2nd year high school and left to continue high school in Foster City which is how she met Pam. She is now a pediatrician and is married also to a DoctorTita Tina (1)

Beautiful venue for the reception in Foster City – Hearts of San Francisco – for the benefit of the San Francisco General Hospital – Heartwebs by Jeanne Briggs Feb 2009Tita Tina (11)

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Beautiful sister of Pam, Val who lives in Hawaii

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Dr. Gene Ciocon (2)

Dr. Gene Ciocon

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Last May I was hoping to get to see Tito Gene but was unable to.  But I was fortunate to have been able to say goodbye last August.Dr. Gene Ciocon (2)

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 So happy to see Mayen Lagdameo Hogan and her husband Bryan and eldest son Kyle. Mayen has been living in New Jersey since she was high school and eventually met her husband and had her two boys here. She is a lawyer for Children’s Place. Kyle is 17 years old and will soon be going to college also! Time flies!Dr. Gene Ciocon (5)

Tito Stephen and Tita ReggieDr. Gene Ciocon (6)

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 A close friend of the family, Dr. Gene Ciocon, passed away last month. A very good and well respected surgeon in New Jersey who we met around 30 years ago. Tito Gene saved many lives through his practice as a doctor. He saved the life of Congressman Roe ( Cong of NJ for 23 years) and he donated his whole estate to Chilton Memorial hospital in New Jersey in honor of Tito Gene.  The priest today said that Tito Gene was given the Ministry of healing. He said, What is the measure of a man? It is not found in words or titles but in deeds done and the love shared in healing others. And that was what Tito Gene did – Not only did he save lives or heal people – he gave them his personal attention and as his son David said in his eulogy, His patients became friends and family and his friends and family became patients. There was really no distinction. Tito Gene’s life serves an example and an inspiration to all of us to be healers for others. We can all be healers in many ways – healing poverty, violence, hatred, self centeredness. St. John the Baptist says that the greatest miracle is is to nurture the soul of others, spark minds, and most of all touch the ??s of others. I chose this photo of Tito Gene with Romana and Maria. Two people who were mourning just as much, if not more than the family members because they too were family. They served the Ciocon family – Romana 30 years when she came to take care of their son, Eugene, in 1967 when he was only 6 months old. And Maria 28 years now and who is the niece of Romana and came from the Philippines also to serve the Ciocon familyDr. Gene Ciocon (1)

Thank You Lina Trinidad (8)

Thank You Lina Trinidad

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 If you are a regular Rustan’s shopper particularly jewelry you will know this lady, Lina Trinidad. She’s been working with us for 57 years. She was only 21 yrs old ( grade 6) and was regularized on day 2 of her job ( salary of P4.00 a day) since Lolo and Lola saw her skills in selling. I knew Lina since I was a kid and would buy bracelets from her and we worked together when I handled the Jewelry division. I love her and we still text each other once in awhile and visit her sometimes. She is now 80 yrs old and she told me she owes her life to Rustan’s but to me Rustan’s owes a lot to her and to all the people who have served the company and the family. You know who to look for when you are looking for something specialThank You Lina Trinidad (3)

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Tita Nedy and the family gave her a special dinner to pay tribute to her and say thank you to her for her loyalty and her service to the company and family.  We love you forever Lina!! I think she feels the same because she said she will still go to the store and doesn’t want to retire haha!! That is the GRT in us – we love Rustan’s no matter whatThank You Lina Trinidad (1)

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ZRT speech for lina trinidad Rustans silver VaultThank You Lina Trinidad (1)

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ZRT speech Lina Trinidad SIlver Vault Rustans 2


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My Daddy Love

By | Father's Day, Tributes | 2 Comments

When asked to describe my Dad,  there were so many many words to describe him!  And all of them were good!

Dad watch

We recently had a video made for my Dad’s 70th birthday by Producer Nicolo Reyes and Director and Writer Troy Bernardo and we asked friends and family to describe my Daddy and they too did not seem to find it hard to describe him.

“He is really a role model.  Imagine me being a priest, I have to preach almost everyday and you see a lay person giving you inspiration, words of wisdom, the serenity that he has in his mind and heart.  He is really a blessing”

-Father Julian (Priest )

DSC_4700kissing the saints Dad

“One day, this driver was taking me to my sister’s home and he told me – “Sir, your friend Sir Jun is a very good man.”  And that was out of the blue, totally unsolicited.  And to me that was most telling and to me I felt  it came from the heart and to me that was fantastic”

-Louie ( friend )

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“He is very people oriented.  They felt so happy that a member of the family – a boss at that , went there.  It as a big deal”

-Jess ( HR Manager )

“One thing that characterises what he does is LOVE!  Love with passion and most importantly love with compassion.  The one that sticks in my mind that chraracterizes him is his love for people who should we say not as fortunate as he is or as we are.  I remember this fellow who grew up as one of the helps in our house. But he moved on to another company.  When he retired, he retired blind.  So what Jun did was take care of him for so many years.  He housed him, he made him a part of the household, he took care of him until he passed away.  And that is the compassion I am talking about “

-Butch ( Brother)

Dad siblingsdad as a kid

“He endures me, I don’t know what kind of internal  turmoil that costs for him to do it.  But anyway he did it”

-Gogs ( nephew)

IMG_2068“My parents loved Jun so much.  He was like a son to them.  And he is really really very nice.  He is truly a man of honour and dignity.  His humility touches everyone.”

-Dorothy ( Partner in Business  and very good friend )

Dorothy Dad tributeDad friends“What I noticed immediately was how he would give trust and dignity to the people who spoke to.  But here is the twist, everyone that he gave dignity and trust to was also held accountable,  and that to me was different. And for some reason you start to perform more”

-Dino ( Subordinate at work and nephew )

Dad starbucks

“His leadership style was always to affirm and celebrate and to make people feel great.  Increase everybody’s confidence.   That is why the malaskati and the esprit de corpse of the people are very very high because he had that way of leading and motivating.  His philosophy is in all things, in good times and in bad, and in all situations  just remember three words, just be fair,  just and be christian.”

-Donnie ( Subordinate at work and nephew )


“I think that But he really has a heart of gold.  He talks a tough game but he is actually a softie.  His generosity of time, the human connection he makes with other people. He is such a well loved person and it is genuine from both sides”

-Noey ( son )

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“We used to play basketball together.  I was this cocky kid.  He put me in my place.  He stopped the game.  Quito, that’s not how you play the game.  You have to respect the game.  Don’t be dirty, especially to me your Father.  That really shook me. from that day on, it changed me, changed my outlook in life.  That’s one experience I will never forget”

-Quito ( son )

dad tribute quito

“The lesson that I have learned from Dad is to Always be true to yourself,  Integrity is so important.  Never compromise your values no matter what”

-Maricar ( daughter )


“One of the things I learned from him is how to be disciplined with the things I want to do, things that what I want to achieve.  One thing with my dad, he is always there when you need him I wish I could be like him and raise my kids the way that he raised us”

-Jun Jun ( eldest son )

Dad india animals

“Lolo is very loving, caring, he is always there to support me whenever I ask him to watch me in my tennis games and basketball games.  I would do my best to win because I know if I win he will be proud of me.  He always watches what I eat and make sure I am eating right”

-Javier ( grandson )

Lolo and JavsLolo and Jaime HK

“Anyone he sees or talks to, he will always puts his hands on someone’s back to make them feel welcome. So it shows that he is personable. He always tells us to remain humble.  He just taught me so many things that  shows how much of a good person he is”

-Gabbi ( granddaughter)

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“Lolo always says that I am gwapa and it makes me feel good inside”

-Stella (3 year old granddaughter )

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“At breakfast we always chat with each other, he doesnt talk to me like he is my lolo. I feel like he is my very good friend”

-Mischka ( granddaughter )

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“He likes to show me new things.  It’s nice. I appreciate what he does”

Mio ( grandson )

“Your love is meant to be shared.  It is the kind of love that is so big, so vast that it cannot be contained.  We can only give it away like you do to everyone that comes into your life. We are blessed to live out our dreams with you.  We are blessed by your love to wake up to it. To have breakfast lunch and dinner with it.  To feel it, to receive it, to live it.  To know that whatever happens, no matter where we are, we will always have your love till eternity”

-Menchu ( wife )

Dad and Mom tribute

They were all very similar and very loud and clear and I love how they put it all together in the end


tribute borsadad

Today, I gave tribute to my Dad. Many of the most successful and famous people in the world are either a King, a Pope, a President of a country, A genius who invented some gadget or a rich person who made it to the Forbes list of Billionaires. My dad is successful and famous and he did not have to be any of those. He is successful because he does what is right and what is good. God wants all of us to be Christ like ( Faithful, virtuous, prayerful, obedient, kind, generous, charitable, giving, patient, and humble ) and we know that’s not easy but my Dad is one of the few that I know that is Christ like – in his words and deeds.  Dad recently told us that he is happy to reach the age of 70 and just that alone is a gift And I benefit from that by being able to spend time with him.

Lolo Dad Eskaya boys

I am sure all of you have a story to tell about your Dad.  Let’s Celebrate our Dad today and always!  Happy Father’s Day to all the Daddys  ( Click below to read the article )

My Daddy Love Phil STar Fathers Days 2015 page 1 copyDaddy Love Fathers Day Phil Star 2015 page 2 copyDad videographer photographertribute dad swordsDad and jamesSuperheroes with Dadtribute Dad 8970xmas 2013 my boys

Beautiful Ana

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What a blessing for me to see Ana after such a long time

Previous entry: Friends of Ana July 30, 2013

Friends for Ana by the Dream Team August 7, 2013

 Update on Ana Aug 2, 2013

 I took advantage and asked her to send a message to all of you who have shown your concern and love for her through your messages and prayers.  It’s been almost two years and she continues to have a positive outlook in life.


Ana is looking very well and so I am sharing herewith photos of Ana – she’s looking more beautiful even now and so radiant- both on the inside and out

Family photo :-)

Ana The Maid of Honor at Ken and Faith's Wedding (2)

A year ago, Ana’s sister, Faith, was supposed to get married but because of what had happened to Ana, Faith postponed the wedding because she said she was not going to go through with it without her sister Ana.  It’s amazing how Faith took care of Ana and how she stood by her sister every single step of her journey.  I admire them and love them for their strength and courage.

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Three weeks ago Faith finally got married and with Ana as her Maid of Honor. Look how beautiful she is and always smiling :-)

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Our BFF Des

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 Yesterday, God called our good friend, Des Rodriquez Torres.  Des was diagnosed with breast cancer around 4 years ago and it recently spread to her liver then to her brain. She was in a lot of pain the past weeks until this morning when all her suffering ended. Des was a manager in Rustan’s when I first met her. We worked together when she was a Merchandise Manager then became Division Manager of the Men’s Division. After we left Rustan’s we continued to see each other – thanks to our BFF Mother Butler, Lucille Calbuqauib, who organised our lunches and we saw each other throughout her journey with cancer. God has given her so much time to prepare and blessed her with many more years to live with her loved ones who for sure was also able to prepare themselves as well. And I am sure up to this day will be very heartbreaking for all of us to accept but we know that she is in a better place. We will forever remember Des because we LOVE her. We we will miss her but she will forever be in our hearts and will be with us in spirit alwaysDes Torres Tribute

Many of you probably know her as the Des Torres from Pamangan in the Salcedo Market. My Mom loved Des and always passed by her booth to buy something.  I would also pass by to visit her and get the yummy Chicken ala King that came in heart shaped shells

Previous entry:

Salcedo Market Again August 6, 2010

Salcedo Market Breakfast July 20, 2012

des and mom salcedo marketShe also had her home cooked foods /prepared meals and my favourite was her barbeque

Previous entry:  Pamangan by Des Torres July 14, 2009


We had a Rustan group which was formed after we left Rustan’s ( Except Luzanne who is still in Rustan’s ).  We eventually called it the BFFs ( Beautiful Friends Forever ) named by our Mother Butler Lucille who is really like our Mother! Always bringing us together and making us sermon and making sure we pray! :-)


This was our last get together with Des last year in November during Det’s birthday treat

Previous entry:

Va Bene at Central Square November 12, 2014
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I remember I formally announced about Luzanne and Des and about their cancer diagnosis.  These two have always been very strong from the beginning

Previous entry:  Le Bistro D’Agathe December 11, 2011


2nds-024.jpgWe had many others where we were able to spend time with Des and those were valuable moments we will treasure forever!! She will forever be with us in HEART AND SPIRIT!

From the Kitchen of Lucille December, 2007
Lucille’s Birthday Treat January 8, 2009

Pamangan by Des Torres July 14, 2009

Salcedo Market Again August 6, 2010

Dette and Brenda’s Birthday Dec 21, 2010

IMC Kavino Februry 26, 2011

2nds June 8, 2011

Spiral September 1, 2011
Visiting Grace September 16, 2011

Lucille’s Homemade Cochinillo January 8, 2012

Funpagana Salcedo Market Celebrates it’s 8th Year Anniversary June 28, 2012

Christmas Get Together at Mangetsu December 24, 2012

Lunch at Det’s March 5, 2013

Maria Luisa Garden Room at the  Makati Garden Club May 14, 2013

Birthday Lunch at Spices March 28, 2014

Including here tributes from the rest of the BFFs

From Luzanne

Des is someone who is fun loving, willing to help in every way she can , supportive and a very proper person. Always knowing what to say and do at the right time and place.

From Brenda

She was indeed a gorgeous woman inside out and was a wonderful true friend to me. Des fought a brave and strong battle for 5 years of breast cancer. Every time we have a lunch get together, she never complains. She kept her cool, feeling good with her usual great sense of humor despite her hospital treatments.
I am proud and grateful to have been one of your BFF. You have inspired us to live life to the fullest by keeping your faith and finishing the journey with great contentment. We know you will be looking for our safety and wellness and you are now our angel my friend. We will forever miss you Des

From DetTribute from Det to DesFrom Mother Butler LucilleDes tribute from Lucille

Ask James

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My husband, James, always teases me that I am always on the phone.  But in reality, he is the original when it comes to using the phone and I have proof!! haha!!!! He cannot deny this because I have proof! :-)

This is my birthday greeting to him since it’s his birthday today!! and I love him :-)IMG_9237I used to tease him that he is Ask James – coming from the popular website Ask Jeeves.  Long time ago, Ask Jeeves was very popular because you can ask him anything and he will answer you.  That is how James is.  Everyone asks him all kinds of questions and advice.  And he is always very reliable and very helpful.  He will really take time out to help anyone who asks for his help and be assured he will get things done or he will be able to help you.  As I always say, WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT JAMES?
ASk JamesI collected all my photos of him using the phone from all over the world!  In different places and in different countries! haha!!!

Baguio, Sydney, Bamba Bistro, Starbucks Cebu, Cebu, Recordings studio

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Russia, M Dining Bar, San Sebastian, SpainJames (3)

Subic, St. Petersburg, Amanpulo, In the bus in Spain and in a castle in Spain hahaJames (5)

London, Moscow in the rain!, and in the Educare Daycare Centre in Batasan HillsJames (6)

Aman, Bais, Tennis court in Florida, San Francisco, Black Bird and in PangalusianJames (1)In New Jerseyask james

Lulu Cuna

By | Tributes, What's New at Rustan's | One Comment

 So happy to see one of the pioneers and pillars of Rustan’s – Ms. Lulu Cuna. She turns 85 years old today and she remains strong & remembers still the past so it was a good time to interview her.

We had a reunion last Thursday and she got an award again.   For the past 3 years she has been attending all the reunions and she always gets a recognition. Last night it was for being the “wisest and oldest.” Haha! Lulu Cuna Rustan She brought her album & showed me photos of my Lola Glecy ( known as GRT ). She told me that she loves and misses GRT. It means a lot to me and the family when our people continue to love us and become part of our family. She worked with Rustan’s for almost 50 years. In 1955, she was hired by my Lola as a salesgirl at 25 years old in San Marcelino. She helped Lola with everything -selling, personnel, visual etc. She then became Store Manager. After which she was moved to merchandising and was handling Non fashion for 30 years. One of the departments she was handling was Filipiniana and she went around with my Lola all over the Philippines to source the best products. Lola trained her to buy in Europe, China and America. In 1990 she wanted to retire but my Tita Merl asked her to continue on. She was tasked to put up the Rustan’s Cebu dept store and she became the Resident Manager of Cebu store for 6 years. She then retired at 67 and became a consultant for training managers. All the old timers who know Mrs. Cuna admire her for her loyalty, trustworthiness and her for the company and family. The feeling is mutual and we are blessed to have had good people that not only work hard, but  love hard – love the company, love their work and love the Rustan familylulu Cuna AlbumLulu Cuna album 1 lulu cuna awarded by Gliceria Tantoco Rustan Lulu Cuna Gliceria Tantoco Rustan 2 Lulu Cuna Rustans San Marcelino Lulu Cuna with Bienvenido Tantoco Sr Rustan Lulu Cuna with Gliceria Tantoco Rustans Lulu Cuna with GRT Gliceria Tantoco Rustans Lulu Cuna with GRT Rustan