• Consul Louie Ablaza’s celebration of life


    Becky Garcia

    The Ablaza family has a reputation of throwing elegant, grand and even out-of-this-world-themed parties. The 80th birthday celebration of the family patriarch on July 2 was no exception. Louie Ablaza, honorary consul of Zambia, had a spectacular African Safari party for his special day.

    The festive occasion was once again held at their sprawling countryside manor Mellie, named after his beauteous wife Amelia, the celebrated high society hostess of fabulous gatherings.

    Louie, dressed as a Safari explorer, welcomed his guests together with Consul Mellie whose glamorous tribal empress garbed in fabulous feathers made by their son Jun Jun Ablaza complemented fashion designer Steve de Leon’s creation. The fashion designer also created outfits for the rest of the Ablaza family.

    Louie Ablaza

    The couple’s daughter Czarina Ablaza-Syquia with her husband Jofe and their brood gamely dressed up in matching tribal outfits with raffia details. Multi-talented designer Jun Jun, on the other hand, was a chieftain in a colorful outfit, an over-the-top feather headdress, and his own tribal accessories. Jun Jun also provided the jewelry—made of antique ivory and Philippine gold diggings—for the whole family.

    Following the theme, guests arrived in sartorial safari and exuberant animal printed outfits. Most of the gentlemen were donned Allan Quatermain, or rangers in camouflage. Meanwhile, Grand dames wore African tribal inspired caftans, some had colorful fowl feathers and fur, while many were decked in chunky ivories, multi-colored stones and gold jewelries.

    The day started with a mass officiated by Father Jefferson, Agustin from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, at the family’s chapel.

    After the mass, the guests were ushered to a giant tent for cocktails where they had champagne, cabernet sauvignon, canapés and a roasted suckling pig. A safari jeep and a drum-playing group completed the safari vibe.

    Later on, lunch was held at the estate’s grand pavilion adorned with lavish African themed decór. The high ceiling was draped with animal printed fabrics and gigantic tribal masks while two life-size giraffes arched the main doorway. Tables were accordingly arranged with fruits, flowers, palm leaves and ferns.

    The birthday celebrant
    with wife Millie

    Chef Jessie Sincioco, a favorite culinary expert of the Ablazas, made the feast extra special and sumptuous. The guests had an African degustation of Kachumbari black eyed peas with warm wild rice and vegetable salad; grilled tilapia fillet yassa with coriander; frozen black grapes; soya with yaji rice and mango chutney; kienji chicken with kelewele and oxtail curry with jollof rice. Dessert was a delectable plate of malva pudding, hertzoggie, milk tart and crunchies.

    In the middle of the tribal feast, Louie and Mellie were seated in a pair of ebony colored peacock chairs. Together with them at the presidential table were ambassadors Igor Khovaev, Lizia Lu, Rolando Guevara Alvarado, Ephraim Ben Matityau, Kok Li Peng, Roland Van Remoortele, Sylvia Van Remoortele, Ezra Cankorur, Ahmed Ezzat, Mervat Ezzat, Ly Guoc Tuan and Dan Vu.

    The program began with a powerful song rendition of the Circle of Life by theater actress and story book writer Pam Imperial. An upbeat tribal street dance number by the Dance Royalties headed by Daniel Cabrera followed it.

    The afternoon was finally highlighted with a well-applauded fashion show by no less than Manila’s famed enfant terrible of wearable art, Jun Jun Ablaza. He presented a 17-piece neo-tribal collection in distressed, acid washed and patched denims with unique accessories in shells, corals, ivory and feathers. The party’s dramatic extravaganza was successfully staged and made possible by production manager Marvin Choa and Jett Carpio who directed the show.

    The Ablaza family

    Consul Louie’s African Safari affair was more than just another grand gathering of high society’s crème de la crème. His 80th birthday party is a celebration of life and his family’s thanksgiving for God’s blessings and bounty.

    Marc Ablaza, his eldest son, revealed in his speech how his father overcame a health ordeal in the past few months. It was, according to Marc, a moment that made them see importance of living every second to the fullest and of celebrating love, happiness and togetherness. The Ablaza’s chose the theme since he currently serves as an Honorary Consul of Zambia in the Philippines.

    A safari is an overland journey, usually to the African continent. Once it was a destination for hunting but today, it is a special place to observe wildlife, to take snaps of the unique place and to enjoy the glorious nature and the bounties of the Great Creator.

    The theme was also inspired by everyone’s love of travel, love of finding new adventure, and most importantly, enjoying all of it with loved ones. Because, in reality, life is an endless journey of discovery with family and the people you care about.

    To consul Louie, more happy celebrations to come. What will it be next year?


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