Korina Sanchez hosts thanksgiving celebration

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
Korina Sanchez hosts thanksgiving celebration
Our ‘class picture’ features everyone dressed in pajamas, courtesy of Mariole Alberto. Not in the photo is Mr. M, who was busy directing us. From left: Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, Joel Mercado, yours truly, Eloisa Matias, Mariole Alberto, Law Tan, Roselle Monteverde, Enrico Santos, Leo Katigbak. Front row: Keren Pascual, Girlie Rodis, Korina Sanchez, and Joann Maglipon.

November 23 was Thanksgiving Day, an official U.S. holiday. So important is the holiday to Americans that it was estimated that 55,000 U.S. citizens drove their cars to visit friends and relatives on Thursday, while at least 38,000 flights were expected to have taken off and flown their passengers to their Thanksgiving destinations for reunions with those near and dear to them.

Some Filipinos also celebrate this very American event. Case in point, Korina Sanchez Roxas, who welcomed a few friends to her beautiful home last Thursday for a Thanksgiving dinner. It was a multiple celebration: A belated birthday dinner for Korina, Ricco Ocampo and Joann Maglipon, an advanced birthday dinner for Enrico Santos, and an advanced Christmas celebration as well for our circle as well.

Korina Sanchez-Roxas with her adorable twins Pepe and Pilar.

As expected, Korina was the perfect host. She opened her home as early as 3 p.m. for early birds like me who had to be up before dawn the following day (for my early morning show, ASPN). Before 5 p.m., most of the invitees had arrived and were already enjoying an assortment of finger foods and drinks. While we were nursing our cocktails, Pepe and Pilar, the adorable twins of Mar and Korina, made an appearance, and we were all thrilled to see how much they’ve grown and how talkative they’ve become. After a few minutes, they said their goodbyes and by 6:30 p.m., dinner was served.

Our director for the evening, the one and only Johnny Manahan.

Cibo --- which is owned by Mar’s first cousin Margarita Fores --- was the caterer. In a word, dinner was divine. For starters, we had Caesar salad and chestnut soup, which were absolutely delicious. For the main course, we had rib-eye steaks, buttered chicken, and the to-die-for Alaskan King crabs with lemon butter sauce. (The crabs, according to Korina, were from Oye, the brother of Margarita.) For dessert, we had Cibo’s famous tiramisu and assorted fresh fruits.

Birthday boy Ricco Ocampo with all his birthday and Christmas loot!

Of course, as we were all enjoying dinner, juicy stories quickly materialized and made their way around the table as well. Almost every guest had an intriguing story to share, and there were even instances when another guest would contribute another facet or missing detail to another friend’s story. And since most of us are from showbiz, it was no surprise when talked swirled around five controversial couples who are either heading for splitsville or had just recently broken up. Rumors of third parties, falling out of love, and even violence were volunteered as the reasons behind the break-ups. How ironic, considering we’re in the middle of the merriest, most joyful season of the year.

The Taipans in their fashionable pajamas: Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, Roselle Monteverde and Robina Gokongwei-Pe.

On the other hand, Eloisa Matias, who is a Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) member and part of the production team that produced the Gabby Concepcion/Sharon Cuneta sold-out concert Dear Heart, happily shared that the former couple has finally buried the hatchet after all these years, and that daughter KC Concepcion is thankful for this development. We also learned that KC now has a Swiss boyfriend who resides in Manila.

As some of us were getting ready to leave around 8 p.m., Mariole Alberto handed out her Christmas gift bags and requested us to wear the pajamas inside our bags to check if the sizes were correct. (The pajamas were just one of several gifts in each bag). Leave it to Mariole to cajole everyone into complying with such an unusual request during a dinner celebration! It was hilarious to see grown-ups sporting pajamas with dogs on them gamely posing for a photo and taking direction from ace director Mr. M, a.k.a. Johnny Manahan!

After the pictorial, everyone followed Mariole’s lead and began going around to distribute their gifts. The blockbuster gift that never fails to brighten the occasion is the huge box from Lisa Gokongwei, which every year contains 80 packs of Jack’n Jill V-cut potato chips. Korina’s scented candle was a huge hit as well, but the most hilarious and practical gift was from Keren Pascual, who gave each of us two large bottles of Minola cooking oil and two tubs of margarine beautifully packaged in a sombrero. He then disclosed that these gifts were from his new client. He then disappeared for a few minutes and came back with another set of gifts, this time his “real” gifts for us.

By 8:30 p.m., it was time for me to reluctantly say goodbye. I would have wanted to stay longer like the others, but I needed to head home and get some sleep. As I headed home, I said a prayer of gratitude for the friends who have been a constant blessing in my life through the years. What wonderful gifts true friends are. Happy Thanksgiving, dear reader!  

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