Year after year, I have been privileged to be part of a grand birthday celebration of a man who is so well-loved in society circles.
This year, emcee par excellence and fellow columnist Johnny Litton turning 80 is kind of a cause célèbre in our small world of society writers.
Grand Ballroom D of the Marriott Grand Ballroom, the epitome of grandeur, was the perfect venue to house Johnny’s well-wishers—almost 600 A-listers—for the evening.
It was a job well done for Marriott Hotel Manila general manager Bruce Winton and director of marketing communications Michelle Garcia as ambassadors, local government officials, business associates, celebrities and close friends trooped to the hotel in Pasay City in droves.
Testimonial videos from Johnny’s roster of friends were shown: former Foreign Affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, business icon and diplomat Bobby Romulo, Ambassador Chuching Tambunting, SGV & Co. founder Washington SyCip, Senator and Philippine Red Cross chairman and CEO Dick Gordon, Belo Medical Group founder and medical director Dr. Vicki Belo, singer and songwriter Jose Mari Chan, and Concepcion Industries’ Paing Hechanova, among others.
A Johnny Litton party is not complete without beautiful women and a fashion show. The first part featured Johnny’s four Muses: Guatemala consul Mellie Ablaza, Monaco consul general and Dean of the Consular Corps of the Philippines Fortune Ledesma, Angola consul Helen Ong, and Tanzania consul Betty Chua.
Afterwards, ambassadors, consuls and the lovely ladies of the Spouses of Heads of Mission (SHOM) gamely strode down the catwalk in designer clothes from Rustan’s.
Johnny is deeply grateful for consul Fortune Ledesma for the daunting task of turning members of the diplomatic corps into runway models. Guests also had a sneak peek at the lovely awardees of the 2016 Best Dressed Women of the Philippines, a much-awaited annual charity event close to the celebrator’s heart.
To close the program, the country’s well-loved Concert King Martin Nievera sang many of the favorite tunes of our beloved Johnny who has really touched many lives across the spectrum of society. He makes it a point to include donations to the EJ Litton Foundation in his birthday pledge.
To remember the evening by, guests went home with tokens from Rustan’s, Beabi, Laneige, and Aficionado Germany Perfume. Tita Trillo of Titania Wine Cellar, as always, provided overflowing spirits for the memorable party.
We would also like to thank the ever-reliable show director for many years now, Raymond Villanueva and tenor George Tagle who provided some entertainment numbers.
Meanwhile, let us rock and twist at the Johann Strauss Society’s Rockin’ ’50s & ’60s Fellowship Night on Wednesday, September 7, 6:30 p.m. at the North Forbes Park Pavilion. Dance to the music of two live bands. Prizes will be given for the best authentic attires.
This fun-for-a-cause evening will benefit the Psychological Center for abused children at Marillac Hills, the home for abandoned children of Virlanie Foundation and the Philippine General Hospital Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Ward for leukemia and cancer patients.
Co-chairs for the event are Fanny Blanco, Lilibeth Campos and Marissa Fenton supported by JSSP President Olga Severino Martel, Consul General of Monaco and JSSP Chairman Fortune Ledesma and committee members Agnes Huibonhoa, Betty Chua, Virginia Lane, Ditas Posadas and Rosalind Wee.