A musical-themed birthday bash

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
A musical-themed birthday bash
Lourdes ‘Nene’ Pe Lim celebrates her 80th birthday with an unforgettable celebration orchestrated by her husband, Benny, at the ballroom of the newly opened Westin Manila in Ortigas Center. They have been happily married for 56 years and have five children — Girlie, Lourdes, Benedict, Michael, and Michelle — along with six grandchildren.
Photo courtesy of Lorna Llanes

On Nov. 25, Lourdes “Nene” Pe Lim celebrated her 80th birthday. It was her husband Benny who took charge of orchestrating what turned out to be truly an unforgettable party.

Tita Nene and Tito Benny (who are very good friends of our family) were both in UST when they met and fell in love. Benny was the brother of a classmate of Tita Nene’s, and would fetch her every day from school. As he has declared many times, “It was love at first sight… how could I live without her and her love?”

They have been happily married for 56 years now and have five children — Girlie, Lourdes, Benedict, Michael and Michelle — and six grandchildren.

Nonoy Zuñiga (standing) entertains the guests including DTI Sec. Alfredo Pascual and wife Menchu.

Through the years, the couple has built a number of hotels in Metro Manila, notably Hotel Miramar along Roxas Boulevard, L&B Hotel in Makati, and Tiara Oriental Hotel, also in Makati. Tito Benny credits Tita Nene as his lucky charm and attributes his success to her unwavering support.

Their love was evident the night of the festive, joy-filled bash held in the ballroom of the newly opened Westin Manila in Ortigas Center. Tita Nene was radiant in a blush-colored gown designed by fashion designer Jing Chua, who also happens to be her brother.

 Complementing the dazzle and brilliance of her gown were the pink sapphires and pink pearls she wore that evening. In addition, Tito Benny gave Tita Nene a huge diamond ring to wear on her finger. “She deserves it, and more!” he exclaimed.

More than 300 of the couple’s friends and family filled the ballroom for the birthday bash, whose theme was “Music in Yesteryears.”

Spotted were DTI Sec. Alfredo Pascual with his wife Menchu, Maurice Lim, Martin Lopez, Nenuca Blardony, Cristina Caedo, Nini Layug, Gisela Concepcion, Randy and Cecile Limjoco, Rose Lazaro, Vilma Valera, Nonie and Bert Basilio, Thelma Gana, Lin Liboro, Baby Ortiz, Mimi Valerio, Nikki Valerio, Baby Ortiz, Nena Casimiro, Raul Sunico, and Father Mario.

The sit-down menu consisted of zucchini soup and a fresh green salad for starters, while the main course was a combination of baked salmon and beef bourguignon. But the dessert —  banana ice cream shaped like a banana — was deemed “too delightful” for some of the guests to eat.

 And who else but the dearest, oldest pals of the celebrant would volunteer to stage musical numbers where they did their darndest best to sing, dance, and act like Julie Andrews, Audrey Hepburn, Cyndi Lauper, Liza Minnelli, and Marilyn Monroe?

The guests enjoyed every minute of the mini-musical, which jubilantly showcased the performers’ abundant love for Tita Nene. Tito Benny led the show of appreciation by loudly cheering and applauding the delightful showmanship of his wife’s friends.

The evening’s one and only professional entertainer was Nonoy Zuñiga, who sang many of his timeless hits. After the last song, Nonoy gave the birthday girl a bouquet of red roses, which Tita Nene was thrilled to accept.

After that unforgettable celebration comes the guessing game: How will Tita Nene design her beloved Benny’s birthday ball when he turns 80 in a few weeks?

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