A golden celebration

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

THE PRINCIPAL SPONSORS. (From left) Teresin Mendezona, Marguerite Lhuillier, Mariquita Yeung, Rosebud Sala, Anna Marie Dizon, Doña Pilar Zaragoza, Amparito and Michel, Philippe Lhuillier, Carlos Yeung, Johnny Dizon, Juan Miguel Llamas and Vicente Zaragoza.

THE Michel Lhuillier-Amparito Llamas golden wedding anniversary was easily the most awaited society event of the year. Guests in their formal wear flocked to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral for the Mass of thanksgiving officiated by Fr. Ernesto Javier SJ who said in his homily that it was an occasion that called for jubilation. Co-celebrants during the mass were Msgr. Roberto Alesna and Msgr. Ruben Labajo.

The bridal procession began with the sponsors leading the march down the aisle: Doña Pilar Zaragoza with her son Vicente; Carlos and Mariquita Yeung; Johnny and Anna Marie Dizon; Juan Miguel Llamas, Teresin Mendezona and Rosebud Sala.

Then came the children with eldest son Charles Andre and his daughter Nicole on the lead follwed by wife Joana with Veronique and Marcel. Michael Edouard and Joanna came next with their children Michael James, Matthew and Myles. Franck and Yvette Warnod followed with their Maxime and Bianca, and last came the youngest of the Lhuillier siblings, Monique with husband Thomas Bugbee and their children Jack and Sophia.


The cathedral doors then opened and in came the golden couple, Michel and Amparito.

She was the epitome of elegance in a gown designed by daughter Monique who fashioned a glittering lace gown and used the train of the original bridal gown to complete the "something old" tradition of the bridal finery.

Other than the mass, there was no other ceremony, not even a renewal of married vows—after all, Michel and Amparito know they are married for keeps, as the past 50 fruitful years have shown.

Days before the anniversary affair, Marco Polo Plaza Hotel had already mounted a 10ft. high tarp with the golden couple's photo lording it over the hotel lobby, as if to announce the forthcoming grand event.

Cocktail tables dotted the entire second floor balcony adjoining the ballroom which had remained closed until dinner was announced. Already, a mini-fashion parade was going on as guests, dressed to the nines, moved around with gourmet canapes and goblets in hand.

A collective sigh was heard as the ballroom door opened and the scene of a lush French garden with select sections wallpapered with leaves, came into view. Orchids and exotic flowers seemed to bloom overhead as the lights flickered. Truly, an enchanting creation by wedding consultant and planner Teresin Mendezona and floral artist Pinky Chang who also took care of the church decor. Meanwhile video footages of Michel and Amparito's wedding in 1964 as well as important family milestones were shown.

Everything was coordinated by events organizer Bliss Unlimited headed by the super-efficient Tisha Cue.

As the well-coiffed and fashionably garbed guests (around 300 from Cebu, Manila and the USA) feasted on the fabulous spread, the good-looking Lhuillier children offered a toast to their parents, wishing them continued love, blessings, good health and success!

It is no secret that the glamorous Amparito is also a generous and benevolent lady, whose Allef (Amparito Llamas-Lhuillier Educational Foundation)has produced more than 600 scholars to date. That evening, as an appreciative gesture, a group of them presented a meaningful song (You and I). Then there was singing doc Dr. Warfe Engracia and nationally known entertainer Ogie Alcasid who wowed the audience with love songs.

Funny and touching was the number presented by a group "nearest and dearest" to the couple, who sang Loveliest Night of the Year with the lyrics hilariously modified by director for all seasons, Dr. Mila Espina.

One unique feature of the celebration was the giving away of pearl earrings to all the widows present. Yes, Amparito listed down all of them (more than 20) and called them forward one by one. Indeed a lovely gesture!

The rest of the unforgettable evening continued with dance, dance, dance till the break of dawn. It was a memorable celebration of love and life—the likes of which Cebu will not see for a long time. (Nelia G. Neri, Jenara R. Newman, Chinggay V. Utzurrum and Mila C. Espina)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 25, 2014.


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