IT was in a postcard-pretty hideaway on the isle of Mactan where Nena Chiongbian-Young chose to mark her 70th summer. The setting was indeed classy with a sweeping view of the channel by night. Chateau by the Sea at Punta Engaño was such a perfect venue for her Hawaiian luau!

An afternoon Thanksgiving Mass by Msgr. Roberto “Boy” Alesna commenced the celebration, after which sunset cocktails followed catered by Ginza Restaurant (owned by Nena’s family). As guests started streaming in, we noted Nena’s siblings: Victor and Marilu C., Albert and Tetel C., Ely C. Johnston, twins Edward and Henry and spouses, and cousins by the dozen.

By this time, Nena had already blown her birthday candles with family and sat on a uniquely crafted blue vintage chair, with latest “apo,” baby Rafa. As guests feasted on a superb dinner prepared by Pino Restaurant, a heartwarming video flashed summarizing Nena’s journey of 70 years—it was quite a trip.

It was now entertainment time and Nena’s loving friends and family sprang a few surprises, including her fellow Zonta Club of Cebu 2 members. Since the theme was Hawaiian, blooms were everywhere: on colorful caftans, wristbands, neck and headpieces galore!

Chateau proprietress Nonie Uy, herself a Zontian, then announced that the dance band was now in full swing, so the floor was open.

But before we end, let me tell you something truly admirable in celebrant Nena, ever a woman for others. Throughout the entire fabulous, memorable event, she never once forgot her favorite charities. At the reception area, she laid out different boxes for guests to drop their donations in lieu of gifts.

At the end of the day, one of the beneficiaries, the Zonta Club of Cebu 2’s project group, was richer by six figures. Thank you Nena, you are blessed a hundredfold, because you share those blessings too.

More happy birthday blessings!