Monday, February 25, 2008

A Date with Madge

Belated Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! While I am still at it, allow me to let you on what I had for V-day. I had a wonderful dinner at Chef Laudico’s Bistro Filipino conveniently located at the heart of Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. But more than anything else, it was the company of Madge Lejano that made the evening more memorable.

There were two things that made me want this restaurant for my dinner-date with Madge:

1. A place away from the crazy Valentine’s Day crowd
2. Good food, good ambience and good service in one place

I came to know of Bistro Filipino since it opened a few years ago. It was the husband-and-wife team of Chef Rolando and Jackie Laudico who catered the wedding reception of Gino and Via Abano in Punta Fuego as well as their Manila reception held at the pool side of One McKinley Place (back in April 2005). I had a gastronomic feast during those two functions and was excited to know that they opened a restaurant to cater to their steady stream of discriminating clientele.

I was early for the dinner and was eager to see Madge. Upon entering the cozy restaurant, I was gladly welcomed by Jackie herself, who despite the busy evening ahead of her hopped from one table to another to make sure that everything was perfect.

Madge arrived in her nicely coordinated black-and-white ensemble. After exchanging pleasantries, we started with the set dinner.

We had crispy lumpia cone filled with chorizo, prawns and heart of coconut topped with spicy sinamak sorbet for appetizer. Gingerly presented in clear shot glasses, it was a refreshing drift to the all-time favorite lumpiang ubod. The sinamak sorbet provided an interesting flavor to the dish.

Madge and I talked about life in general. I learned how Madge started and how grateful she is to Dino Lara who took notice of her talent when they first collaborated for an album cover project. She was convinced by Dino to enter the wedding industry. On the other hand, it was the collaboration with another photographer, John Ong, that made Madge a popular name among soon-to-wed brides. Since then, Madge has turned to both Dino and Jong for matters concerning marketing and the improvement of her craft. Just like the sinamak sorbet to the dish, they both influenced Madge on what is she is today.

Next came the seafood sinigang na miso bouillabaisse with grilled pan de sal. The broth was topped with garlic aioli and was cleverly placed in a martini glass. The soup was perfect with its consistency and flavor. Small portions of mussels, shrimps and clams added texture to this sumptuous bisque.

Just like the soup, Madge’s life is filled with a lot of surprises—the formulaic elements of an interesting teleserye material. Since I am bound by our pact of secrecy, I would not elaborate on the nitty-gritty.

Salmon cured in tamarind salt was served with cucumber and mesclun salad was up next. It was served with pepper vinaigrette topped with mango salsa. It was a unique combination of texture and flavor.

For the main course, I had slow-braised Wagyu beef and lengua estofado style with potatoes. It also came with vegetables layered with rice tutong crisps. Madge on the other hand, had oven- baked Chilean sea bass served with Lukban noodles in local sea urchin roe with asparagus sauté.

At this point, we exchanged funny and not-so-happy stories of our lives. Our conversation was so spontaneous. I could not even remember the last time I laughed so hard at how crazy I was years ago—from the outrageous antics I had to resort just to meet someone (I flew all the way to Cebu and Davao just to meet this person.) to the traumatic experience of how I saw a dear friend being turned over to a rehab center (I swear, I still have a very vivid picture of that fateful day.).

Madge is also a pretty amazing woman. Her superwoman responsibilities range from her duties as a doting mother to her three kids (I learned that in a few years from now, her eldest daughter will be celebrating her debut already) to her being the head of her own make-up studio—where she takes care of the business as well as the welfare of everyone—Aaron, Felicity, Jesy, Karen, Joel, Steve and Mot).

For dessert, the chef prepared yema experience which reminded me of munchkins filled with sweet custard cream. It was served with vanilla ice cream and bignay wine shooters.

Just like the dessert, you get to enjoy life only if you are willing to take what it has to offer you—complete with surprising twists and turns.

Getting to know Madge is truly something I am happy about. Not only is Madge a great talent but she is also a woman of strength and character. She is worthy of all the praises heaped on her. If there is someone who deserves to be happy, it surely is Madge. I am with her in praying that she finds “the one” who would be able to appreciate her and bask under her sunny disposition.

To you Madge, thank you for a very memorable Valentine’s Day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Playing Favorites (Part 1)

One of the questions frequently asked of wedding coordinators is: Who is/are the best supplier/s in photography? In wedding videography? How about wedding gown designers? Florists? In this connection, allow us to play favorites, and for this particular blog, we are featuring not one but ten of our trusted suppliers, ones we have previously worked with and whose works we have seen. Their personalities combined with talent make them the best in their fields.
l Jason Magbanua (Video). A supplier that needs no need further introduction, Jason teems with style, creativity and the perfect attitude which make him the most sought-after wedding supplier. His wedding videos are as diverse as his clients—from the pure romantics to the uncanny non-conformists. Watching his same day edit videos leave you in blissful abandonment. Considered as the lone rock star in wedding videography, Jason is known for his unobtrusive shooting style—it is always a welcome treat to work with Jason. Click the following links for some of the weddings I’ve coordinated where the onsite video presentations masterfully became the highlight of the wedding programme. (Lex and Lynn, Jojo and Weng, Gary and Luzel, and Erick and Mamai)

l Dino Lara (Photography). To say that Dino Lara is a master is a huge understatement. He is unassuming despite the rave reviews and awards he gets from his photographs. Dino captures the raw emotions of couples even in unexpected places. His inherent ability for capturing the perfect emotion enables him to come up with breathtaking, captivating and idyllic photographs. Witness some of unforgettable weddings Dino captured for the following Events! Events! clients: Tom and Michie, Mandy and Janelle, and Tim and Diane.

l Karl de Leon and Mimi Abesamis of Fotogra Weddings (Photography). Karl and Mimi capture images which leave you in awe. Their attention to details, playful use of colors, and drama in their master portraits make them the team to beat in wedding photography. The popular cliché, “you get the best of both worlds,” happens when you have them around to take pictures—a man’s and a woman’s take on any given subject. Their infectious happy disposition makes them any wedding planner’s dream photographer. Be amazed with these engaging photographs stylishly captured by Karl and Mimi. (Jojo and Rowena, Martin and Tetta, and Gary and Luzel.

l Madge Lejano of The Make-Up Studio (Hair and Make-up). Pioneered by Madge Lejano, The Make Up Studio team is composed of several make up artists and hair stylists who have extensive bridal experience. Dependable professionals deem fit the most discriminating brides. They use only quality products when working with brides to ensure a glowing and lasting wear. Having the same philosophy which is to achieve a natural look with a radiant glow, Madge and her team believe that a bride should look like the most beautiful version of herself as opposed to someone else’s idea of what she should look like. Not only a gifted artist, Madge is a woman with a heart of gold. Armed with sheer talent and great personalities, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Make Up Studio would become a make-up empire in a few years. Here are some pictures of my Madge Brides and Madge-at-work. (Photos courtesy of Mimi and Karl.)
Weng and Luzel looked their loveliest during their respective weddings - thanks to the "Madjician".
Madge doing what she does best - enhancing the natural beauty of the bride.
To be continued…

Friday, February 8, 2008

What’s Hot?

This blog will constantly change and improve for the better in the course of time. In the offing are these exciting, informative and interesting features:

l Real Weddings. A first hand account on what happens behind some featured weddings.

l Afternoon Session with the Industry’s Best. A series of interviews with the finest suppliers and how these “masters” live up to their image and reputation.

l New Finds. Novel bridal ideas from a bevy of talented and artistic suppliers.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Milestone and a Welcome

What’s a nice topic for a first blog? I have been wracking my brain as to what would be a good conversation piece. There are many unforgettable events which unfolded last year. Indeed, 2007 was an extremely challenging and fulfilling year in my career as an events planner. So, let me of talk about a major transitional stage in Events! Events!

When my business partner, Cookie Amador, left the country to follow her heart (she met her prince charming while vacationing in LA a few summers ago), I was left with the arduous task of doing everything all by myself. I had always been dependent on Cookie for the financial aspect of the business—paying up suppliers, preparing the salaries of on-the-day-event helpers, transacting with banks, etc. Although I am a business management graduate from the university associated with “green,” numbers are my Waterloo. Add to this, Cookie and I had clearly delineated roles come wedding day—Cookie supervised the church ceremony while I was in charge of the reception. I couldn’t bear the idiosyncratic antics and behavior attendant to the church rituals—the tardy bridesmaids, the missing principal sponsors, and even a bride who was hesitant to step out of the bridal car (oh yeah, Cookie was calm and collected while she talked to the bride if she wanted to push thru with the wedding or not—as if calling off the wedding could simply be announced to over three hundred wedding guests!). Instead, hats off to Cookie for taking care of all that drama for me. With Cookie gone, I was faced with these daunting tasks (and even more than what I expected.). Fortunately, before migrating to the States, she earlier briefed me on what do, what to expect, and how to deal with unforeseen scenarios or events. Moreover, Cookie has competently trained two staff members—Joy Linao (L) and Jona Atotubo (R).

Joy has been affiliated with several build process outsourcing companies in the Metro as a supervisor. Joy has a lot to offer in terms of handling the various daunting tasks of in preparing for a wedding. She feels truly honored to work with engaged couples during this exciting time in their lives and couldn’t wait to help bring their plans to fruition! She can’t wait to help bring their visions to life! In such aspect as scouting for the perfect ceremony and reception venues, Joy will make sure that the bride and groom’s wedding vision come true.

On the other hand, Jona is my first cousin who graduated with a Manufacturing Engineering and Management degree from De La Salle University. She is now connected with Dell International as a process engineer with project management as her forte. Since joining Events! Events! in 2004, Jona has always been excited about the wedding industry. What started out as a way to pay the bills grew into a passion she could not shrug off. She believes that it is the careful attention to details, the so called nitty-gritty, that makes a wedding unique and truly memorable.

Their respective jobs deal with handling people and require them to be organized as well. Thus, it is a breeze for them to shift and do the overwhelming functions of wedding coordinators.

Joy and Jona underwent extensive theoretical and on-the-job training during the numerous events they handled. Both also attended the Basic Wedding Coordination Seminar conducted by the Philippine Association of Wedding Planners (kudos to organizers Tita Celia Cunanan, Ms. Liza Alviedo and Ms. Peaches Go-Tiu). During a lull in our wedding schedule, we held fruitful discussions on wedding trends, industry practices, past events, and other relevant matters. The two pointed out areas of improvement which are vital in producing or materializing nothing but the best for our clients.

Now, it pleases me to announce the appointment of Jona and Joy as account executives. Both are tasked with responding to all of our clients’ needs. Armed with creativity, organizational and people skills, Jona and Joy will surely help me in mounting relaxed, memorable and enjoyable nuptials—the way these occasions are meant to be.

Copyright 2008 Events! Events!