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SPANISH Ambassador Luis Arias and Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, president of Amigos de Espaa en Cebu

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MARLINDA Tan, Soledad de Arias and Honey Loop



Cebu Cebu
Tapas Night caps month-long Spanish festival

By Jaime Picornell
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:46:00 08/31/2008

Filed Under: People, Culture (general)

MANILA, Philippines - Casino Espaol de Cebu recently celebrated Spanish month and culminated it with a Tapas Night on ?Dia de Santiago,? at the club?s grand ballroom. Spain?s Ambassador Luis Arias graced the occasion, accompanied by his lovely wife Soledad de Arias.

They were welcomed by Casino Espaol president Manuel Sainz Jr. and his wife Melba, the general manager Ed Tongco, and services manager Rudy Ruby. Officers present included treasurer Rene Kintanar and his wife Jocelyn, house chairman Jos Luis Alba and his wife Rosemary, and director for cultural affairs Jimmy Escao with his wife Ellen.

Amparito Llamas Lhuillier, president of Amigos de Espaa en Cebu, was a stand-out in flaming red and a king?s ransom in diamonds. Beside her stood Michel Lhuillier, collecting congratulations. A lot of what was served was made with ingredients from his deli-restaurant Hola Espaa.

There were more than 20 specialties in array, such as Jamon Iberico cut in paper-thin slices, assorted cheeses from La Mancha, chunks of balacao in rich tomato sauce, Tortilla de Patatas?regarded as one of Spain?s national dishes, chorizos cooked in wine and many more.


Glenn Loop, a former president of the club, was emcee during a brief program. President Manoling Sainz explained that ?Dia de Santiago? has been celebrated by the club since its founding in 1920. It honors Spain?s patron saint, and was also called ?Dia Espaol.? Many still remember the splendor of those celebrations.

Ambassador Arias gave a most emotive speech. He recalled how last year he had come to Cebu for the same occasion. And he was most grateful for having been invited once more. ?I will come again next year, ? he promised.

There was much applause to that from the assemblage. Others present were Cheling (he was president last year) and Susan Sala, Spanish language teacher Mariton Villaflor, Miguel Monreal and his wife Cristina who sometimes also teaches Spanish at Casino Espaol, and Joey Villareal who manages Hola Espaa.

More glimpses of Honey Loop, Marlinda Tan, Marit Remonde, Jean Lopez Bondoc, Jos Mari Moras, Conchita and Eric van Gildre, and Jos Mari Miranda, whose son Ipar will open a Spanish restaurant with his name. It will be in the lawn fronting the family?s ancestral home on Ramos Street.

Ambassador and Ms Arias were billeted at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. They were all praises for the excellent accommodations and service. ?Next time we will stay for more than just one night,? they said.

The day after the event they visited Casa Gorordo, a house built in the 19th century, and home to Cebu?s first native-born bishop, Msgr. Juan Gorordo. The house was passed on to his niece, Telesfora Jaen. Her heirs sold the property to the family of the late Ramon Aboitiz. It has been a museum since 1983.

Before departing for Manila, Ambassador and Ms Arias returned to Casino Espaol for lunch with the officers. Vice president Gabriel Leyson was present this time along with Tina Jordana and John Owen Pages, the sports director.

Ambassador and Ms Arias were presented with a memento of their visit: a series of prints replicating the components of a mural that depicts scenes of Barcelona. Artist Ireneo San Agustin Robles was specially commissioned by Casino Espaol de Cebu to do the prints, which are a limited, numbered edition.

Greater interest

There has been an increase of interest in Spanish cuisine in Cebu lately. Hola Espaa is full all the time, and the Saturday-night Spanish buffet at Casino Espaol is also a blockbuster.

Not so long ago, Cebu had the visit of Enrique Ruiz de Lera, based in Singapore as director of the Spain Tourist Board for Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and India. He presided two events, both dubbed ?Spain in your Palate.?

One was held at Casino Espaol for the Spanish community. The other was for travel agents and the press at Marriott Hotel where Gema Luisa Pido prepared the menu.

Gema has been asked to make a repeat, plus more, for the ongoing Spanish food festival at Marco Polo Plaza. It is titled ?Sabores de Espaa? and will be on up to Sept. 14. ?Ole, ole,? says general manager Hans Hauri and events manager Carlo Borromeo. Featured nightly are two Filipino artists highly regarded in Spain.

Adolfo Timuat is a guitar virtuoso much admired in Madrid as an excellent concertist, composer, professor and researcher.

Jessie Santos is a male flamenco dancer who first learned the art in Manila from Guillermo Gomez. He has gone far, even to Granada to study with Carmen de las Cuevas at her Escuela Flamenca.

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