The Mansion’s rebirth | Newsmakers, Other STAR Sections,


Hola palanggas, I’m back! And I’m taking you to the land of palanggas, Iloilo City.

One of Iloilo’s most prominent heritage hotels has been rebranded as The Mansion.

Formerly known as the Sarabia Manor Hotel & Convention Center, the 1.5-hectare property located at the heart of Iloilo City was acquired in early January 2017 by Brighthall Realty and Development Corp. and is now operated by its management arm, Brightside Properties & Resorts Inc. The property is slated to undergo a series of renovations and upgrades, promising to offer its guests a gracious experience in a landmark destination.

Why Iloilo? Brightside president, Nena Sy-Lim explained, “The charm of Iloilo is that, although it is one of the most progressive provinces in the country today with such a great potential for increased economic growth, it has largely remained rooted to its heritage.”

Its iconic blend of Chinese-Spanish-Filipino cultural heritage juxtaposed with its rapidly developing business and entertainment districts, makes Iloilo the next destination for vacations and business opportunities,” she added. Her remark was received with wild approving applause, palanggas.

General manager Ruben Alcoriza noted that the first wave of enhancements include “better service in terms of our food offerings…the improvement of our convention hall and function rooms,” along with a fresh, new look for its staff. These changes were apparent at the launch held in the newly renovated Kalantiao Hall of the hotel’s convention center.

Guests were treated to a buffet of local and international dishes, including several carving stations, and an assortment of those calorific desserts that included The Mansion’s signature suman panna cotta, a specialty of The Mansion’s new head chef.

Guests were also given an exclusive preview of the hotel’s new uniforms, designed by Ilonggo fashion designer Hilque Dairo. Sleek, modern silhouettes in elegant gray, punctuated by the brand’s signature Mansion purple were modeled by several of The Mansion’s key staff. The evening’s fun concluded with a colorful dance performance that ended in the unveiling of the new brand and logo and the simultaneous unveiling of the new signage on the hotel’s façade.

These changes herald what one can expect from The Mansion. Brightside chief operating officer Noel Sinclaire Sy said that The Mansion plans to “redefine customer value, where comfort is premium and everybody is relaxed and at ease — where engaging service is synonymous to an all-around pleasant and singular experience.”

The Mansion is determined to maintain this legacy so that “people coming to our hotel will continue to have good and memorable experiences when they stay with us,” said Viviane Sy, Brightside’s chief financial officer.

(For more information, call Babak Niaraki at (33) 335-1021, (33) 335-1027 and 0929-3290472 or e-mail

Romulo Café owners Sandie Romulo and husband, Enzo Squillantini.

‘Happy Hour’ at Romulo Café

The popular Romulo Café is definitely on a roll as it celebrated its “Happy Hour” with a chic gathering, where guests munched on pulutan international as former president of UN General Assembly Carlos P. Romulo would.

Owners Sandie Romulo Squillantini, the general’s granddaughter, and husband Enzo Squillantini with partner Ivy Almario gathered their A-listers and dash of foodie friends to savor their sumptuous cocktails and Filipino-style tapas.

Romulo Café, dahlings, went all out in promoting Filipino finger food as a substitute to the usual Spanish tapas, while making the local pulutan a bit friendlier to their clienteles. A marvelous buffet spread of Filipino-style tapas had satiated guests’ appetite, featuring delicacies such as tinapa rolls, bangus pate, Pato Tim with bun, camaron rebosado, crispy squid, lechon kawali sisig, Vigan longanisa dumplings, and the to-die-for chorizo and relleno empanaditas.

The event, palanggas, was inspired by the multifaceted life of Carlos P. Romulo. Served was a lineup of signature drinks, including Old General, A Foreign Affair, Spritzer Pulitzer, Imelda’s High Heels, Amor de Familia and Dirty White Dove. Cocktails were mixed with the splendid taste of branded wines by the Wine Warehouse Corp., Stoli Vodka by Philippine Wine Merchants, and our very own southern Don Papa Rum, no less.

One couldn’t miss the Romulo clan headed by lawyer RicardoDickRomulo, Marilu Toda Batchelor, Cristina Bradner, Paris-based Ramon Bilbao, Tammy and Dina Campos, Reggie Puno, Bill Luz and lawyer Agustin Montilla, dahlings.

(Romulo Café’s Happy Hour is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at its branches on Scout Tuazon, Tomas Morato, Quezon City; Jupiter Street, Makati City; and Azumi Hotel in Ayala Alabang. For more information, call Ika Roxas-Ysmael at 0917-4261337 or e-mail – Photos By Alex Van Hagen Powered By Mac Center

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