Dressed to the nines in formal Filipiniana, guests came to Manila Hotel’s Centennial Ball ready to celebrate the historical landmark’s 100th anniversary. Embellished ternos, jewel-toned wraps in piña, and barongs redesigned to suit women showed that the night’s fashion echoed the elegance of the building itself, which is beautifully clad in the works of the Philippines’ National Artists.
The program kicked off with a brilliant presentation reliving the history and glory days of “Grand Dame” that was projected against the façade of the hotel.
A gallery featuring black and white photos of famous guests like Michael Jackson, Liza Minelli, Hilary Clinton, and Queen Sofia of Spain ushered everyone into the dining area. The spectacle didn’t pause for dinner with performances by the Bayanihan National Folk Dance Company, and songs from baritone Andrew Fernando and pianist-composer Tess Salientes accompanied the meal.
In attendance were President Benigno Aquino III and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim who did not stay for dinner but were present for the opening festivities. This year’s Miss World winners were also there, dressed in ornate ternos and yes, their crowns. Other familiar famous faces were Giselle Toengi-Walters in a blush Rajo Laurel terno and Tim Yap who managed to snag one of the barongs the same designer made for our country’s Olympic contingent.
All this was as much a celebration of Manila Hotel’s colorful past as it was an optimistic view into the future. The hotel has undergone dramatic renovations since 2008 to be ready for this centennial year and now boasts of modern facilities and amenities enveloped in the charm of its old world décor.