Beauty and The Belo

Everybody knows what a big success the dermatologist Dr. Vicki Belo is:  in the Philippines, quite simply, beauty is synonymous to the gorgeous Dr. Vicki Belo.

“Wow!!!  You’re so ‘Vicki Belo’!!!”  [ “Wow!!!  You’re so beautiful!!!” ]

“I’m having my ‘Vicki Belo’ this afternoon.”  [ “I’m having my dermatological appointment this afternoon.” ]

So when my dear friend, award-winning production designer Gino Gonzales said that his New York- based mentor and onetime professor Eduardo “Toto” Sicangco would be doing the production design for Dr. Vicki Belo’s anniversary party, and that “Venus would be emerging from a big seashell,” I knew that I would have to make a beeline for those sought-after invitations!!!  For not only was THE Dr. Vicki Belo giving a big party, two of the best-ever production designers of the Philippines would be staging it!!!

I earnestly requested Vicki’s elder sister Jackie to secure an invitation for me, specially in the event that the Cancio-Gonzalez siblings would have extra invitations…  Thanks to her, the elaborate invitation featuring “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli arrived one afternoon, declaring that it would be a “Venetian ball.”  Since I obviously couldn’t come as a Doge, I thought of coming as a gondolier…

The big day came and careless me, as usual, and also because of several bothersome concerns, had neglected to prepare an appropriate “Venetian” costume.  No Doge, no gondolier…  So I did the next best thing and threw on Italian clothes:  Giorgio Armani shirt, pants, and jacket and Ferragamo shoes.  I tied a silk scarf around my head.  I looked like a misplaced Chinese corsair!!!  Thus did I sally forth to the Belo “Venetian ball”…

As always, I was already late as I arrived at 8:00 p.m..  I entered through the separate ballroom entrance of the Makati Shangri-La Hotel as the invitation had specified.  I went up the escalator to the Rizal ballroom.  Oh my, it was really a full-blown gala event…!!!  Waiting at the top of the escalator was a horde of paparazzi ready to shoot the rich and the celebrity guests.  Thank goodness the young and pretty actress Y*smin K*rdi dressed as Marie Antoinette was ahead of me so she attracted all the attention of the eager photographers.  I passed through the back of the paparazzi and proceeded to the registry table where I signed my name under beautiful Hong Kong socialite Audrey Puckett-Chiu.  I slipped through the back of the announcer, received a nice papier mache mask from the Belo staff, wore the mask, and finally entered the ballroom.  Since I was not used to wearing masks — with eye slits some millimeters off my own eyes — I bumped into at least 12 different people on the way to Table  # 13…  Whattaklutz!!!   😛

OhmyGod, I was the least-costumed.  The affluent and beautiful — simply beautiful — guests really took the “Venetian ball” attire seriously and were resplendent in silks and satins.  Oh well, I wouldn’t be seen the moment I sat down anyway, I thought to myself as I made my way to Table # 13, which turned out was to the immediate right of the stage…   😛

I arrived just in time to see burlesque queen Dita von Teese’s first number called “Birdcage”…

The guests were requested by Dr. Vicki not to take photos or videos of Dita von Teese’s performance…


Odd, but the loudest cheers came from the gay men in the audience.  Perhaps they were fantasizing about performing as Dita von Teese themselves in private.  The real men were just dumbstruck and certainly sizzling inside their pants.

Sarah Geronimo.

Regine Velasquez.

Senator Mar Roxas.  The launch of the Ike and Nena Belo foundation.

Christian Bautista.

Dr. Vicki again reminded the guests NOT to take photos or videos of Dita von Teese’s performance…

Then burlesque queen Dita von Teese’s second number called [ Champagne ]  “Toast”…


Again, the loudest, most rambunctious cheers came from the gay men in the audience…  The real men were simply sizzling in their pants.  I knew that there would be plenty of “Dita von Teese-ing” that night in the gay, and even straight, guests’ homes.  Dita von Teese the burlesque queen was a big hit at the Belo bash!!!  I knew she would be the talk of Manila in the days to come…  I was sure that many libidinous old politicos would be fuming that they had not been invited to see and drool over the voluptuous Dita von Teese’s performances!!!

It was past midnight and the party was going on strong.  But I had a string of commitments the next morning so I had to leave.

Thank you Vicki, it was the most marvelous evening of the year thus far…!!!   😀

[ It so happens, through a fortunate circumstance, that Dr. Vicki Belo is a Gonzalez second cousin of mine  { Vicki’s adoptive mother Florencia “Nena” Singson Gonzalez-Belo, Vicki’s biological mother Imelda Concepcion “Conchita” Singson Gonzalez-Cancio, and my father Augusto Beda Arnedo Gonzalez, were Gonzalez first cousins }.  And that I am close enough to her eldest blood sisters Charo Gonzalez Cancio-Yujuico and Jackie Gonzalez Cancio-Vega. ]



  1. September 9, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    randy b:

    Diana Ross sang:

    “Touch me in the morning / then just walk away / we don’t have tomorrow / like we had yesterday…”

    *dances ala 1960s*

    Toto Gonzalez

  2. randy b said,

    September 9, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Does anyone here know what happened to J*sie A. M’rcelo, formerly of Cambridge Circle, after she was dispossessed of her ex’s house in the 90’s? It became the Pakistani embassy last I saw.
    To avoid her demands for a share in any sale of the property (bought by her industrialist ex pa-in-law) husband G**rge allegedly disguised the sale as a foreclosure w/the supporting role of the Sh*riff’s ofc.
    We hear their daughter is turning her Welsh castle into a hotel, and is Unc E**ie M still with M*tes R**illa?

  3. randy b said,

    September 9, 2008 at 6:21 am

    Find your blog fascinating Filipiniana. Speaking of The Senator, a lady from Cebu who was a “steady date” of his was mystified as to why after all the USD $$$ he spent on her, he still hadn’t “taken” her… So how does he handle KS and appeal to the ABS-CBN “masa” voters at the same time?
    When the Cebuana lady informed him she was marrying a Fil-Am on her mom’s advice, He went as far as to tirade Mom by phone, ranting and raving and blaming her for the marriage decision.

  4. August 28, 2008 at 1:57 pm


    Beats me!!!

    Oh, Parties like that don’t happen anymore in this day and age…

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. August 28, 2008 at 1:56 pm


    Dita von Teese? LUSCIOUS. Like really delicious fruit.

    And that’s from someone who’s more interested in luxury objects than people. 😛

    Toto Gonzalez

  6. Babblefish said,

    August 28, 2008 at 11:14 am

    Toto, I’m confused… Why was Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus” on the invite, when Venus is not the goddess of beauty but the goddess of love… Venetian or Venusian? If so, then the party must have been truly out of this world… : ) : )

    And Marie Antoinette???

  7. zippo said,

    August 28, 2008 at 8:49 am

    So how was Dita von Teese?

  8. August 27, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    santA santitA:

    Back??? Hahah!!! I just didn’t have anything to write about!!!


    Toto Gonzalez

  9. santA santitA said,

    August 27, 2008 at 2:59 am

    Toto! I’m so glad you’re back.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: