Comedy Relief: To Tea or not to Tea, 1998

This happened years ago but I only remembered it very early this morning and I was convulsed with laughter at 3:00 a.m..  I was laughing so much that the big bed was shaking.  If anyone heard me — but I don’t think anyone did — they would have thought that I had been “possessed” by The Dark Force or something…

We had been invited to a formal dinner by a grand gentleman to bid farewell to the popular British Ambassador and his very chic Japanese wife, during whose term several British luminaries — royals, aristocrats, officials, famous artists — had come to Manila.  Our host was a popular social lion and we were absolutely certain that it would be a wonderful evening, certainly worth all the hours of grooming and dressing that such an elegant evening would entail…

And so after the incredible traffic along EDSA, we finally arrived at our host’s magnificent residence.  The high gates were open, revealing the front garden and the elegant fountains.  There was the usual queue of black sedans to the porte-cochere where the beautifully-dressed guests alighted assisted by a dozen uniformed valets.  The guests were led through the grand house to a sparkling pavilion in the vast garden where our host waited and where cocktails were being served.  The strains of violins were everywhere, clinking of crystal, bubbling of champagne, clanging of silver, elegant conversations and subdued laughter, whiffs of expensive scents…  The atmosphere was magical.



  1. l*ding said,

    December 13, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    And I might add the winter funeral of Emperor Hirohito. Slow moving in the all white slush, priests in all black chanting, others shaking requiem bells, Imelda in black guipure lace terno by Salazar with a huge veil. And the biggest Bentley hearse in silver.


    cory was one of the five main guests at the funeral aside from presidents bush and mitterand. so imelda was probably in the back and cory in the front row? in fact the household agency had to break some protocol to allow bush to be in the front even though he is just newly elected. how fortunes can reverse. cory in front, imelda at the back with the other commoners. hahahahah. i wonder what’s in imelda’s mind that time.

  2. Garganta Inflamada said,

    December 3, 2008 at 1:33 pm


    U r 2 kind. Well, definitely we must have a mini-summit in SF next summer with Isla, Jeremiah (I know he’s Bay Area), and hopefully Periphery (“Come out, come out wherever you are…”). Hopefully, Toto and Zippo & whomever can also make it.

    But do let me know when you guys are coming because I might be doing the Trans-Canada rail ride or the Lake Louise trip next summer…either July or August when you get the longest days. So we have to make allotments on the calendar. O, baka, we can just all meet in Banff na lang??? Alam mo na, Gstaad in the winter, Banff in the summer…

    U know Louie and I might be related. But all shall be revealed in due time… winks..

    G 🙂 I

  3. larry leviste said,

    December 3, 2008 at 8:38 am

    G.I. Baby,

    Your are intellectual as well as intelligent. Fiesty when the topic is caliente, generous as HOT MAMA when you approve.

    It was the Albertville, France opening for SURE.

    And guess what I’m watching as per your suggestion, The Rape of Europa by PBS. I’m at Louie Cruz and he says hello !

    We simply ADORE you.

  4. Garganta Inflamada said,

    December 2, 2008 at 6:51 pm


    Re your ‘favorite’ winter Opening, that was Lillehammer, Norway, 1994. With the Vetti (the trolls) and its folksy approach, many regard that as a close runner-up to the Salt Lake ’02 Opening.

    Unless of course you are referring to the 1992 Albertville, France Opening which indeed was the surrealistic one; staged by a French director, Decouffle. Indeed, it did have very Cirque du Soleil overtones.


  5. larry leviste said,

    December 2, 2008 at 11:37 am

    When the REMEMBRANCE of things GRANDE gets us into overdrive, in heat and great blood perculation, I adore ALL of you.

    Minds sharp as spears, emotions at high tide, sharing like an AA meeting.

    It means for me, our worlds are turning in perfect beat with the GALAXY.

    All the comments like movements in a SYMPHONY with no phonies allowed.

    Well, let me DIVE into this whirlpool of YULETIDE excitement.

    I will have to say the BEST Olympic opening I saw on the telee was a WINTER one. Could have been in Canada in the mid 90’s. It was an all white pageant by the newsy Cirque de Soliel choreographed in slow motion like a Henoymous Bosch painting. Tres Surreal.

    And I might add the winter funeral of Emperor Hirohito. Slow moving in the all white slush, priests in all black chanting, others shaking requiem bells, Imelda in black guipure lace terno by Salazar with a huge veil. And the biggest Bentley hearse in silver.

    Took my breath away, those two televised extravaganzas. Late at night, viewed only by Louie Cruz and I in a dark, cold room.

  6. Garganta Inflamada said,

    November 24, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Periphery, you were in Barcelona in ’92? So was I. My first live Olympic Opening. We sat right under the trajectory of the arrow that lit the cauldron. Zip, Barcelona’s was very innovative in many ways, and was the first one to unfold with a strong narrative line. (Altho as someone pointed out to me, the “sea” thing was preivously done at the Commonwealth Games opening in Auckland 1990.)

    Have this thing for Olympic Ceremonies, ever since the first one I saw as a kid in Manila onTV – the Mexico Games. (With Don Manolo Elizalde. as the IOC rep to the Philippines at that time. Notice they don’t like it called the “whatever” rep TO the IOC — as the case with the UN. It’s the other way around, since the IOC members are handpicked, by invitation or in the case of the Athlete-reps, chosen by the athletes who attend a Games. And supposedly that arrangement removes the political overtones of the Olympic movement.)

    Worked briefly with (Zip, I may have told you this previously…) the Los Angeles Games, and participated also in the Atlanta ’96 Opening. Tried to get my Beijing tix a year ago, but as you well know, it was an oversubcribed event, and had to go to the lottery mode. Wasn’t as lucky as I was with Barcelona. Same thing now with Vancouver, and I imagine all future OCs from hereon.

    Peri, I agree with you, Beijing’s the all-time stunner so far. It takes the ‘moon’ cake or the tikoy. 🙂 If you spent over $100 million, one would hope so. But I really missed the dancing chopsticks and fortune cookies. 🙂 For Winter, I think it’s still Salt Lake’s. But come 2014, I think Sochi (Russia) will challenge Beijing.

    So, supposedly, there’s this young Manila-based Filipina who’s trained quite a bit in figure skating in the US; and won a couple of competitions. Does she have enough points to qualify for Vancouver?

    G 🙂 I

  7. IslaSanLuisParis said,

    November 24, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Hands down Beijing! That Opening Ceremony will remain forever etched in my mind. The grandeur and elegance from the very start were mind-boggling. Of course I only saw it on TV.
    Sure, Barcelona was very nice but I’d forgotten about it. Imagine if Madrid gets it in 2016 (doubtful but possible). They’ll put on a decent show, but I don’t know how anything could top Beijing.

  8. Thundernut said,

    November 24, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Perhaps Hotel Chatter has some Atlantis bones to pick. Why does Hotel Chatter even ask about the gap between soft opening and grand opening of a 7-star hotel? Every hotel devotes some time for employee and management training. The higher their rating, the more sensitive they are to perfection. 2 months for the 132-acre Atlantis would speak of high efficiency. BTW, how could Atlantis Dubai earn 7 stars if it gets bad rating as reported by Hotel Chatter?

  9. periphery said,

    November 24, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    I beg to disagree. I was in Barcelona in 92. My first Olympics, ever. I only saw the Beijing ceremonies on TV, but for me Beijing takes the cake.

  10. zippo said,

    November 24, 2008 at 8:00 am


    I still consider the Barcelona Games’ Opening in 1992 the best Olympic Opening Ceremony so far.

    Z 🙂

  11. IslaSanLuisParis said,

    November 24, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? Albeit not having the age to have attended the gala dinner, Persepolis was a beathtaking vista of good taste and it was all done only with sound and light, the way it’s done today at the Pyramids in Gizeh and at the Acropolis.
    Iran in the days of the Shah was superb and what I’d give to turn back the years and revisit Tehran. Some of my happiest childhood memories are attached to Pahlavi Avenue in Shemiran.

    As for the Shahanshah, whether you approve of the Imperial régime or not, it was a stable and ordered society. His grave mistake were not celebrations like Persepolis because, after all, it was the 70’s and the oil made conspicuous consumption there and all over the Gulf part of everyday life. His grave mistake was to try and modernize the country too fast and more seriously, agrarian reform which took a lot of power and land away from those religious zealots running, or should I say ruining, Iran today.

    Since you enjoy reading, I recommend Oriana Fallaci’s “Interview with History.” The Shah is featured in it together with other icons of 20th Century geopolitics like Kissinger, General Giap, Golda Meir, etc.



  12. Garganta Inflamada said,

    November 23, 2008 at 4:40 pm


    Were you at Persepolis? How can one say it was ‘staged in good taste’? I mean there are hardly (aside from the Shah’s home movies), any visuals records of that; none on Youtube that I could find. It was staged for a select few hundred. It glorified an empire long gone; and I am sure it was one of the catalysts that sparked the theocratic mullah revolt of 1979 that eventually threw out the oh-so-serious Shah Reza Pahlavi. (Not that what followed was a better choice.)

    But purely from a spectacle POV, my vision of that event must’ve been like the Klepsydra portion of the Opening at Athens 2004? A parade/tableau of past, faded glories. The Athens Opening sortta looked good on TV, but from those who were there — especially those in the bleachers — they said it was boring and the figures looked like nothing but cheap, plastic dolls on moving platforms. I think Beijing beat Athens, despite its “lake,” by spades.

    Anyway, if I got invitation for the Dubai event, I gladly would’ve accepted. I’m a sucker for such spectacles. They’re not staged every day ya know. Also, it’s NOT art; doesn’t pretend to be art. It’s a resort opening, FGS…glitz, spectacle, glory…in true Vegas fashion. I mean they’re both in the desert and what else do you do in the desert but hide from the sun and watch the camels? You gotta do something flashy… I am sure even Lawrence would’ve approved. 🙂

    BTW, the Aussie outfit that staged the Doha 2006 Opening will be doing the Vancouver 2010 Ceremonies. I’ll know by mid-December if I got tickets for their Opening. Does anyone here know where one can get a Region 1 DVD of the Doha 2006 Opening Ceremony? Private replies are fine — via Toto.

    G 🙂 I

  13. IslaSanLuisParis said,

    November 23, 2008 at 4:29 am

    Persepolis was staged in very good taste, but this makes me sick.
    As for Qatar, it was hosting the region’s equivalent of the Olympics and nobody can dispute Lea Salonga’s voice.
    On my way to Manila I usually take superb Qatar Airways and my new motto is: “If you love Doha, you’ll hate Dubai.”

  14. Garganta Inflamada said,

    November 21, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Dubai has just staged a $35,000,000 party for the opening of its new Atlantis resort.

    Here’s a video:

    and an Open Letter (from Hotel :

    Dear Atlantis on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai,

    You may be familiar with our work — we’re familiar with yours, for sure. You also may understand by now that we take a keen interest in hotel opening parties and tend to get all gushy about them, which usually results in an open letter like the one you’re reading now.

    So listen. We’ll cut to the chase: we hear you’re throwing the most expensive private party ever thrown in the history of the world. Literally. $35 million bucks for a grand opening soiree? Dubai is over the top — this we understand — but can you please be for real, here?

    The fireworks alone cost $6.58 million. And while we love us some Kylie Minogue, you’re paying her 4.4 million bucks to sing a few songs and look pretty?

    And our last question: you’re supposedly taking your first guests on September 24, right? So why isn’t this party-of-the-century happening until November 20th?

    Oh! Wait. Sorry. Perhaps it got pushed back so you’d have ample time to make sure the girls at HC received our invitations, since 2000 of your closest pals have already been invited. You might as well stuff our envelopes with diamonds while you’re at it.

    All the best,

    I guess Persepolis is just a distant memory now. 2 years ago, Qatar spent $185 million for its Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Asian Games which featured Lea Salonga as its star performer.


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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: