Serna: Ogie, Empress very impressive

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By Roger Serna

Sounds and images

Thursday, February 20, 2014

IF YOU can still recall, I mentioned here a few weeks back (after the Sinulog grand parade, to be exact) that I had the rare chance of boarding the second float of MLhuillier (made possible by Nico Ivan Velasquez and Michael Roma of MLhuillier and Josie Pereyra of JSP Ads & Promo).

It was because I wanted to observe the goings-on around the parade route, speedily and with less hassle. It was not my first time to board a float during the grand parade though (o-ha!).

The company’s main float, an entry to one of the grand parade’s many contests, had a Phoenix-like creature in front, a winged dragon at the back and in between, a circular structure supported by columns where the image of the Sto. Niño emerged once in a while amidst artificial smoke.


MLhuillier endorser Ogie Alcasid and Kapamilya actress Empress Schuck were the second float’s star attractions. Also onboard were the company’s executive vice president Michael Lhuillier, his wife Joanna, sons Michael James, Matthew and Myles, who are star materials themselves, and some relatives and friends.

Ogie said he went to the airport to catch his flight to Cebu straight from a show’s taping and had lacked sleep. Yet he was able to endure the parade from lunch time to the end of the parade at around 8 p.m.

Those on board were impressed by Empress who showed professionalism all throughout the parade with neither a complaint nor a hint of bad mood even when the float got stalled several times.

That just shows that despite the length of time the two show biz personalities have spent in the industry and the status they have acquired in the process, they still have their feet firmly rooted on the ground.


As far as I can remember, at least two most recent press conferences for visiting movie stars (Eugene Domingo, Sam Milby, Kim Chiu and Xian Lim) promoting their respective projects had been held in Casa Amparito (used to be Pino Restaurant) where Cebu’s entertainment writers savored the food that was served even before the press cons could start.

Then on Feb. 3, I received a text message inviting me to the relaunch of the Pino Restaurant on the eighth, which we later learned had been renamed to The Original Pino Restaurant – Home of the Best Filipino Buffet!

Also, we learned that after hibernting for three years more or less, Mr. Pino himself, Joel del Prado, had made a comeback to reclaim “his title” as the “Food Festival King.” He has tapped the services of well-known author, international food journalist and culinary extraordinaire, Editha Cerdeña Singian, for the Heritage Recipes: Editha’s Way featuring well-loved recipes from different places in the country.

This is for the whole love month (that means you still have a good whole week to savor the dishes). Then coming close to the heels of the Heritage Recipes, another internationally accomplished iconic chef, Nora Yap Daza, whose gastronomic might will be orchestrated in a menu created by her son, the renowned chef Sandy Daza.

March could turn out to be a month of mouthwatering possibilities then.


True enough, Jun Esma made good of his promise to transform the extension of his salon right in his Banilad residence into an intimate party place with lights and sounds taken from the former Musicology Bar & Resto which he closed at the end of 2013.

He treated some friends to an informal dinner of native dishes prepared expertly by his cousin Flor with videoke singing before and after dinner.

That was Jun’s way of greeting his natal day which happened a day after Valentines day.


I felt fortunate enough to be among those who were especially invited to watch the one-act play, The Gift, the latest masterwork of award-winning playwright-director Al Evangelio last Feb. 8 at the hall of the Cebu Catholic Television Network.

Cebuano actors Dante Luzon, Maryrose Villacastin-Maghuyop, Jujie Ponce and Emmanuel Mante gave life to the characters in the complicated story of a family torn apart by suspicions, anger and hatred.

It did not have a happy ending but at least a realization, repentance and forgiveness occurred. So impressed was the audience that it gave the actors and, of course, the playwright-director a standing ovation. More plays please, Tito Al!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 21, 2014.


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