An Affair to Remember-A A +A
Friday, September 7, 2012
FROM the presidential suite at the 18th floor of Marco Polo Hotel Davao, one can have a panoramic view of the breaking of the dawn in the cloudless skies and the streams of people in their brightly colored and distinctive costume trooping to and converging in the long stretch of Roxas Boulevard. The morning sun emerged from the eastern horizon prompted by the beatings of the drums that signaled the start of “Indak Indak sa Kadalanan. The Kadayawan sa Dabaw is into the climax of the festivities of the month-long thanksgiving festival.
It's the 18th day of August. In her suite in Marco Polo, debutante Abigail Ann Ledesma was just about to stir from a deep slumber. She has turned 18 and everyone was up early to check on the progress of a special evening party for her. Her dad Jun and mom Jay allowed her an extended beauty sleep. Today is her special day. Her proud parents and siblings want it to be a special day. Abbie's kin and friends from high school had flown in from Manila the day before to watch and take part in her once-in-a-lifetime event.
Abbie, a second year business management student at Ateneo but wants to pursue fashion design after, has just wished a simple affair for her debut. But she wants to have a ramp where she and her schoolmates and bosom friends can walk like models do -- all for the fun of it. Her mom obliged and just too willingly for she too had always wanted it.
Davao City's fashion guru Erwin Tan of Kasuotan created her gown for the evening, one which he promised will be every debutante's wish. Makeup artist and hairstylist Otoy Mercado had earlier met Abbie and was so eager to transform her to be the star of the show.
Event organizer Des Subido and her crew of professional photographers headed by Ernst Janson and the Marco Polo staff were excited to put the best for Abbie. It was an advantage that the debutante has a brother, Dante, who works as a supervisor in Davao's premier hotel. Abbie was comfortable with the thought and slept unperturbed and then woke up to the pulsating reality of her dream. Only this time it was grander than she thought.
All her bosom friends were there -- from high school in Ateneo most specifically De Brito section to her college chums showed up one after the other to perform the chores that they pledged they will do for Abbie. They danced and walked on the ramp and so did the debutante.
The evening was full of surprises. Abbie's siblings, mom and dad went on stage to display their dancing which they unabashedly called talent with the later pair swaying with the marimba and then romping it with the younger ones.
The celebrant was carried away and joined her family on stage. If there was fun and laughter, Papa Jun drew tears from the audience later as he reminisce the days when he would lull the "ambling baby" Abbie to sleep.
He then handed her the first of the 18 roses and then danced with her as he sings "Sunrise, Sunset". True to form the journalist in Jun altered the lyrics to fit it to the occasion. He might not be Whitaker or Perry Como but he sure is a certified tearjerker. He told friends later that some people in the audience cried in pity as he "painstakingly" attempted to sing the classic.
But what caught everybody’s amazement was when in the middle of surprises Coco Martin appeared on the wide screen to extend his birthday wish to Abbie and then capping it with "I love you". As if that was not enough Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta suddenly popped up to greet Abbie and gave her pieces of advice. The celebrant was deliriously happy she doesn't know whom to thank. The video clip was actually courtesy of Papa Jun's friend Cong. Anton Lagdameo and the cast of "Walang Hanggan".
Anybody who is somebody at Philam Life agency force in Davao was present with their resplendent gowns. Abbie's mom Jay is Philamlife's big boss in Mindanao. They saw Abbie grew along with the career of her mom who started from the lowest rung of the corporate ladder to 1st VP for the region and then now acting as head of Sales of the biggest insurance firm in entire country.
Abbie's school mates only had the best for the debutante whom they endearingly call "Be".
Marco Polo's GM Bruno Simeoni had personally seen to it that the birthday bash meets the expectation of the celebrant and her family. The food was great, the service was excellent and he added more perks like allowing the growing up kids to have extended fun, dance and frolic up to "sawa". But pictures can speak louder than words.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 07, 2012.