A diamond jubilee » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle


The three-day celebration is filled with shows and activities that provide glitz and glam to one of the most beloved barangays in Makati


By Alex Y. Vergara

Images by Noel Pabalate

  • Bel-Air barangay captain Nene Lichauco

  • A model showcases Ben Farrales’ designs

  • Designs of Ben Farrales and Zalora share the fashion stage

  • Designs of Ben Farrales and Zalora share the fashion stage

  • Designs of Ben Farrales and Zalora share the fashion stage

Bel-Air, Makati, one of the country’s cleanest and richest barangays, is celebrating its 60th anniversary from May 26 to 28 with, among other activities, a tribute to two of its most illustrious residents who have made a name for themselves in the world of fashion.

Day-long activities on May 27, which include marching bands, free calesa rides for kids, and musical shows, will culminate in a fashion show featuring a retrospective collection of longtime Bel-Air resident Ben Farrales. Dubbed as the “Dean of Philippine Fashion,” the now retired designer blazed a trail, starting in the late 50s with mostly Muslim-inspired pieces made wearable and contemporary for today’s women.

Farrales also holds the distinction of being the first Filipino designer to present a fashion show at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in 1984. He has also lent his artistic talent in designing decorations for previous Bel-Air anniversary and Christmas celebrations, as well as other village events.

Sharing the stage with Farrales’ clothes are the latest ready-to-wear collection from leading online retailer Zalora, whose young managing director, Paolo Campos, is a second generation Bel-Air resident. Unlike Farrales’ couture pieces, which are collectors’ items either borrowed from his former clients or from the ailing designer himself, clothes featured in the Zalora segment will be available to online shoppers. In lieu of professional models, young residents of Bel-Air will be modeling both collections.

Bel-Air’s annual three-day anniversary celebration, which is dubbed “Pasinaya,” is now on its 15th year. In keeping with Bel-Air’s 60th or Diamond Year anniversary, organizers, led by barangay captain Constancia “Nene” Lichauco, have adopted “Bel-Air: Kumikinang” as this year’s theme.

“On the three days of the ‘Pasinaya,’ Zalora will give shoppers huge discounts,” said longtime Bel-Air resident Malyne Loyares, executive producer of this year’s Pasinaya. “Both Mang Ben and Paolo are from here. We’re so proud of them. That’s why we thought of giving them a tribute.”

Ogee Atos directs the Ben Farrales retrospective, while writer Floy Quintos directs the main show, which anchors the three-day celebration. Quintos, a Quezon City resident who adopted the term pasinaya or celebration in Filipino, has been collaborating with Bel-Air’s leaders for 15 years now.

Although it’s a barangay-wide celebration, the bulk of activities as well as nightly shows, including “Kasambahay Idol” on May 26, will be held at the Solar Street Park and the adjacent air-conditioned events venue.

“During fiesta days, guests need to just check in at the gate with the village guards,” said Lichauco. “Everyone is welcome to come. Please tell your friends about it.”

During previous celebrations, barangay officials and organizers used to conduct polls among their household help, including nannies, drivers, gardeners, and errand boys, on whom they would love to see as special guests. Actor Jericho Rosales, for instance, graced a previous “Pasinaya” celebration.

This time, though, village leaders want to focus on the household helpers themselves. In the weeks leading up to the three-day event, organizers have been conducting auditions to choose the best singers among their helpers. Those selected would get to strut their stuff on stage tonight, May 26, in a battle royal for the best total performer. The evening will then segue into all-night dancing.

But there will still be guest celebrities led by singer-impersonator Jennie Gabriel on the evening of May 26, and comediennes Boobay and Pepita, who will provide lunchtime entertainment on May 27. Incidentally, Bel-Air residents, through its leaders, are also behind the highly successful and much anticipated Salcedo weekend market, which was declared by the Department of Tourism as one of the must-go-to activities for tourists when in Metro Manila.

On Sunday, May 28, the final day of “Pasinaya” will also have free calesa rides for kids from 8am to 5pm. There will be a morning mass and flower offering to the Virgin Mary, as well as a blessing for pets. It will be followed immediately by a furry fashion show featuring the village’s dogs in “Diamonds are…Fur Ever.”

The day continues with “Pa-Bingo sa Bel-Air” in the afternoon. The entire Bel-Air community will gather together for a special performance at the Pasinaya Velada. The Power House Band will cap off three days of celebration with an evening performance.

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