NOW on its 90th year, Casino Español de Cebu has more than a dozen reasons to celebrate 2010. These will all be spread out during the year—starting with the Dia de Santiago, a revered Spanish feast. The club marked this feast two weeks ago, with no less than his Don Luis Arias, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines, who arrived with his charming wife, Doña Soledad Arias.

The glam and elegant list included the dapper club officers, their better-halves, members of the Consular Corps, and Honorary Consuls: France-Michel Lhuillier; the US Consular Agent John Domingo; and Sweden-Jose Salad. Before we forget, there was newly elected Cebu City Mayor Michael “Mike” Rama, former congresswoman Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, and last but not least, the señoras and señoritas of Amigos de Espana, who were all accounted for.

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After the brief but well-crafted speech of the ambassador, with a toast following that, it was time for another highlight: the Flamenco dancers, so expressive of Hispanic fire and feistiness. Through the efforts of Consul Jose Salad, the much-renowned Bacolod dance group performed to a lustily cheering crowd!

Past events at the Casino included the food fest, fashion show and a mini-trade fair of Spanish wines and deli. Very well-patronized indeed by members and their guest. Ole!

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Speaking of culture, a must-drop-by event are the twin exhibits at Ayala Center, from Aug. 7 to 21. Set your sights on "Filipina, Bravo," an exhibit honoring and celebrating women who have made their mark in our country’s history and helped define our sense of identity, culture and style. Here are some of them: Gabriela Silang, Margarita Roxaz de Ayala, Librada Avelino, and former president Corazon Aquino, among others.

On the other hand, "Artisans at Work" presents relevant faces of Filipino life that reflect of our culture through the increasingly popular art known as photography. Have you heard of these famous names? Jaime Zobel de Ayala, Jojie Alcantara, Erwin Lim, and our current heartthrob Piolo Pascual (I’m not joking).

In 2008 "Bravo Filipino," conceptualized by Jaime Zobel de Ayala, and implemented by the Filipinas Heritage Library and Ayala Malls, was a four-month festival hailing Filipino artistry and ingenuity. Now it is touring the various Ayala Malls in the country as a campaign, spurred by the love o country as we showcase our rich heritage culture.

Drop by Ayala Center. Exhibits are open till Aug. 21.