Catching up with the Cebuanos

SEDA Abreeza was the recent venue of the latest Marks & Spencer personality photo shoot. After Eshma Bautista-Dumama’s stylish images and working mom story landed on the pages of the local newspapers and featured in blog sites, it was time to take her story to Cebu.

It’s been more than a year since I sat with my Cebuano peers Naiza Mariñas of Cebu Daily News, Luis Quibranza of SunStar Cebu and the Cebu’s foremost fashion bloggers Toni Pino-Oca, Doyzkie Buenaviaje, and Marco Paulo Diala. Another meet up was in order.


Marks & Spencer thanksgiving event for Cebu media

Catching up with the Cebuanos. Jinggoy with Niza Mariñas, Frances Alfafara, Doyzkie Buenaviaje, Marco Paulo Diala, Toni Pino-Oca & Luis Quibranza


The planned gathering came at a most opportune time. Seda Ayala Center Cebu was on its soft launch and welcoming guests. With the assistance of Seda Abreeza’s Faith Dimaano, Frances Alfafara, DOSM of Seda Cebu, agreed to host my visit and the “reunion.”

Misto’s sunken area was the perfect spot for the gathering. It provided the privacy for a small group and the view of the verdant garden brought the outside in.


Marks & Spencer thanksgiving event for Cebu media

Centerpiece. M&S treats, Malagos Farms cheeses & Seda savories


Marks & Spencer thanksgiving event for Cebu media

Malagos cheeses for the bonding session


Updates and chitchats, over the fun exchange a fine spread was shared—M&S wines, chocolates, biscuits and sweets, and Malagos Cheeses, which Olive Puentespina personally selected, with instructions on how it should be presented. Seda’s executive sous chef Nestor Alcoseba did his magic. He threw in freshly-baked breads, fresh grapes, nuts and a savory to come up with a gastronomic centerpiece before us.


Marks & Spencer thanksgiving event for Cebu media

Friendship like good M&S wine gets better with age


Marks & Spencer thanksgiving event for Cebu media

So what’s you favorite Malagos cheese


Each of us had our favorites—the M&S selections of Chardonnay or the Shiraz wines, the dark or milk chocolate, and the fruit jelly candies made a perfect substitute for the membrillo; and the stronger-flavored Malagos cheese or the milder choices.

Andrea Mastellone, Seda group general manager, joined us. He shared his stories of Italian wines and said the M&S wines served were quite good.


Marks & Spencer thanksgiving event for Cebu media

With the Seda team. Executice Sous Chef Nestor Alcoseba; hotel group GM Andrea Mastellone & DOSM Frances Alfafara


As much as we had to keep the party going and finish the spread before us, the busy Cebuanos had to leave for their next engagement. I’m just glad everyone made it to this thanksgiving party. Looking forward to the next gathering, my Cebuano friends.

Thank you Marks & Spencer for the wines and treats, Olive Puentespina of Malagos Farms for the cheese spread, and the team of Seda Ayala Center Cebu for hosting the gathering.


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Also published in the SunStar Davao newspaper.