Joel Cruz, president and chief executive officer of Aficionado Germany Perfume and known as the “Lord of Scents,” celebrated the Chinese New Year along with his golden birthday and his new house.
Although Joel turned 50 on February 5, he chose to mark the occasion on February 19, the first day of the Year of the Wooden Sheep. The event was held at their newly reconstructed ancestral home at Sampaloc, Manila, which was also blessed that day.
According to the businessman, the reconstruction was a gift for his mother Milagros Santos-Cruz. A French chateau-inspired house, it was built at the exact location at Sisa Street in Sampaloc where their old home used to stand.
With the blessing of the new home—officiated by Fr. Jerome Secillano and Fr. Leonard from the Nuestra Senora de Perpetuo Soccoro Church and Fr. Mike Villaflor from Pandacan, Manila—Cruz officially fulfilled the promise he made to his mom two years ago.
After the house blessing, the guests were treated to a birthday feast on Sisa Street that was closed and converted into a lush French garden where guests wined and dined.
The event was hosted by well-loved emcee Johnny Litton and Eat Bulaga co-host and Joel Cruz signature endorser Pauleen Luna.
While guests were enjoying the sumptuous buffet, they were treated to musical entertainment by the Philippines’ Bossa Nova Queen Sitti, pop balladeer Richard Poon and Mr. Pure Energy, also Aficionado endorser, Gary Valenciano.
At Joel’s birthday segment, he was serenaded by Asia’s Diva Dulce with the Four Tenors and Aicelle Santos of GMA-7 Sunday All Stars.
The surprise of the evening was the dramatic unveiling of a 10-foot cake shaped like an Aficionado EDT bottle with a lucky dragon fuming with fog. A celebratory toast by his brother Freddie Cruz ensued to the beat of the drums.
This signaled the entrance of traditional Chinese lion dance to usher the 2015 Lunar Year with prosperity and to ward off evil spirits. A ceremonial brushing of the dragon and dotting of the Lion’s eyes were done by Joel himself to bring him good luck and prosperity.
Guests of honor included second Lady Dr. Elenita Binay and former governor Chavit Singson with Jazz Carrion. Celebrities from TV 5 Talent pool were also present like Ritz Azul and Italian-Filipino Alberto Bruno with their managers Connie Tungol and Al Sumayo.
ABS-CBN talents also graced the event like couple Melai Cantiveros and Jason Francisco and recent transferee Teejay Marquez. GMA Artist Center was represented by Vic del Rosario with stars Miguel Tanfelix, Simon Ferrer, Mike Foz and Ericka Rodelas.
More guests celebrated with Joel including Miss World Philippines licensee Cory Quirino, balladeer Arthur Manuntag and wife Kathy, and Dr. George Sarakinis, CWC officers Mimi Valerio and Nonie Basilio with husband Bert, Club Bulakeno former president Tess Castro, UP PGH Foundation Chairman Dr. Greg Alvior with Lolita Mirpuri, and Muebles Italiano president Noel Gonzales.
From the fashion world came model Marina Benipayo with Ricardo Cepeda-Go, Architect and model Ralph Almeda, and Manhunt International titleholder June Macasaet. Also present were fashion and costume designer Eric Pineda—who did the Cruz family outfits—and celebrity stylist Anjoy Hipolito.
After the last note of Gary V’s performance, who definitely brought the house down, there was a fabulous display of fireworks to the amazement of the guests.