Neri: People

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Neri: People

After several postings in different hotels in Asia, Albert Lafuente has found his niche in Ho Chi Minh City as the general manager of the five-star Sedona Suites. Lunch with him and Poppet Celdran (another Cebuano-turned Ho-Chi-Minh resident) at the classy 28th floor of Sedona found us reminiscing about their Cebu days.

BALIKBAYANS. The Gabao family from Rome — Cathy (Anoba) with husband Joemar and son Marc; middle photo, Lito Aranas and wife Dr. Adelaida (Cañete) from Las Vegas; and Canada residents Boy and Mila Labitan.
BALIKBAYANS. The Gabao family from Rome — Cathy (Anoba) with husband Joemar and son Marc; middle photo, Lito Aranas and wife Dr. Adelaida (Cañete) from Las Vegas; and Canada residents Boy and Mila Labitan.

Albert talked of his first job at Cebu Plaza Hotel (now Marco Polo Plaza Cebu) and his moving on to Shangrila-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, and subsequently, to other Shangri-La properties in Asia. Presently, GM Abet has his hands full with the renovation of the scenic 28th floor lobby-cum-restaurant-and-bar of the all suite hotel located in the heart of the bustling city.

CEBUANOS IN HO CHI MINH. Albert Lafuente, general manager of Sedona Suites and producer/director/cinematographer, Poppet Celdran, chief executive officer of Zen Tech Asia.
CEBUANOS IN HO CHI MINH. Albert Lafuente, general manager of Sedona Suites and producer/director/cinematographer, Poppet Celdran, chief executive officer of Zen Tech Asia.
VISITORS FROM HAWAII. Dr. Jerald Garcia and family, from left, daughter Coco, sons Matteo and Paolo, Dr. Jerald and wife Christina.
VISITORS FROM HAWAII. Dr. Jerald Garcia and family, from left, daughter Coco, sons Matteo and Paolo, Dr. Jerald and wife Christina.

Meanwhile, Poppet Celdran recalled his days as photojournalist of SunStar Weekend which he says paved the way for his career as producer/director/cinematographer. He came to Vietnam 16 years ago as part of the Miss Universe production team and fell in love with the place. He decided to stay and found fulfillment in his work. Today, he is involved in other ventures and is the founder and chief executive officer of Zen Tech Asia, a wellness tech startup in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Another feather in the cap of poetess Milagros “Gingging” Dumdum is her fourth book of poems entitled “Moving with Moonrise,” a collection of 56 haibun (Japanese form of poetry which combines prose and haiku).

The book was recently launched during an afternoon gathering of writers and artists at Casino Español de Cebu. In her talk, Gingging shared that her poems are recollections of precious moments in her life.

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The artist couple Celso and Fe (Madrid) Pepito celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a dinner affair at Montebello Villa Hotel. It was a happy group of artists and art lovers in attendance wishing the Ruby couple many more years of loving togetherness. Cheers!

BOOK AUTHOR. Poetess Milagros “Gingging” Dumdum at the launch of her book of poems shown here with Annabelle Amor and Bernie Quimpo. Right photo shows Gingging with her husband, retired Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr.
BOOK AUTHOR. Poetess Milagros “Gingging” Dumdum at the launch of her book of poems shown here with Annabelle Amor and Bernie Quimpo. Right photo shows Gingging with her husband, retired Judge Simeon Dumdum Jr.
RUBY COUPLE. Artists Celso and Fe (Madrid) Pepito during their 40th wedding anniversary celebration at Montebello.
RUBY COUPLE. Artists Celso and Fe (Madrid) Pepito during their 40th wedding anniversary celebration at Montebello.

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Cebuanos living overseas will always come to visit the dear old hometown because Cebu retains a special place in their hearts. Dr. Jerald Garcia who lives in a beautiful lakeside home in Hawaii makes it a point to bring his family here every year. This time around, with wife Christina, sons Paolo and Matteo, and daughter Cecilia, they made side trips to Boracay and to Camiguin, the home province of his Mom Ninette (Neri). But, of course, they also spent time in Barili where Dad Alvin has built a seaside haven.

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Rome is now home to former SunStar colleague Cathy Anoba who with husband Joemar Gabao and son Marc are happily settled in the city of seven hills. However, she longs for home every now and then, so she came with her family for that long awaited vacation. Cathy lost no time rounding up SunStar colleagues for fond reminiscing. Oh yes, she also came to visit me. A most welcome reunion after all these years!

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Augusto “Boy” and Mila Labitan are yearly Cebu visitors from their home base in Canada. This year they timed their visit this year to attend a relative’s wedding in Mindanao. Indeed it was family bonding time for them.

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Now that Lito Aranas and wife Dr. Adelaida “Dadie” (Cañete) are retired, they come to Cebu and go back to Las Vegas (where they lived for several decades) as they please. They have a home in Balamban (hometown of Dadie) and a condominium in the city. They are enjoying their extended stay here. No place like Cebu for them!

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