Society Doyenne celebrates at Okada » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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By Tina Hidalgo Jacinto

When down-to-earth society doyenne Helen Ong sets out to do something, she does it big or nothing at all. And so it was, with her recent birthday and thanksgiving bash, where on a whim, the Consul of Angola, threw a party for 300 at the Golden Ballroom of the Okada, Manila. With her glamorous aura, one of Helen’s joys of expressing herself, is the giving of her time and effort as patron of the arts. She continues to inspire with her virtues and she endears herself to her friends with her passion forsharing.

Cocktails preceded the dinner as the guests arrived in their elegant gowns. Helen’s brainchild, the Philippine Ballet Dance’s scholars of the Sayaw Foundation performed a special dance number as a tribute to the much admired lady. Helen’s vision of promoting the love of dance among public school students has been realized; for 20 years now, the Sayaw Foundation has produced dance performances across the archipelago. Radiant in her Amir Sali white beaded gown, the refined and stylish celebrator made a grand entrance escorted by son B.Y. Special host George Sison introduced the entire family, starting with her two daughters, Marian Ong Nuguid and Czarina Camus and with the whole entourage of Juliano “B.Y”., his wife, Angeli and children, Marian Ong Nuguid and her four sons; and Czarina and Jay Camus.

  • Marian Ong Nuguid and Cha Cha Camacho

  • Society doyenne Consul Helen Ong posed with her birthday cake at her thanksgiving and birthday celebration held at the Okada Manila

  • Czarina Camus, Sheree Chua, Anna Raquel Santos, Marinella Bacasal, Nini Layug, Palmy Layug, and Joe Rebaño

  • Bob Miller, Elaine Villar, Johnny Litton, the author, and Ito Curata

  • Frannie Jacinto, Charisse Chuidian, and Jojo Zabarte


Helen happily glowed when colleagues gave their personal testimonies on her magnanimous contribution to Philippine society. Cha Cha Camacho, chairman of the Sayaw Foundation, highlighted Helen’s continued support to future ballet enthusiasts. Danny Dolor, chairman of the Cofradia de La Immaculada Concepcion Foundation announced Helen’s involvement in the procession of the hundred Virgin Mary statues in Intramuros. Dr. Jaime Laya, vice-chairman of the Society for Cultural Enrichment talked on her influence to the organization, and host-with-the-most, Johnny Litton credited Helen for spearheading the Philippine Cancer Society’s successful annual fund-raising event, The ‘Best Dressed Women of the Philippines.’ Helen’s children, Juliano “B.Y.”, Marian, and Czarina praised their mother’s virtue of fairness, strength, and love. She is fondly called Mama by her grandchildren, admiring her for her brevity and wisdom.

Program emcee was statuesque Bianca Valerio. Helen’s children acknowledged her kindred spirits, more particularly, Mario Katigbak for his expertise in creating a seamless event execution and TOPP guru George Sison for his support and as master of ceremonies. Jayelles Roselle Rebano and Raymond Villanueva were in charge of the program. An impressive seven food stations were positioned all around the ballroom, with peking duck, jamon Serrano, roast beef, lechon, pasta station, seafood, and crisp salads. Bianca acknowledged some of her Best-Dressed ladies who sang as a tribute to the woman they call Mother.

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