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The Pen at 40

It’s time to relive your most cherished memories and make new ones at the Peninsula Manila

In a fastchanging world, the Peninsula Manila has stood the test of time, possessing the secret of longevity. At 40 years old, this bastion of elegance, of quintessential fine taste and where high society frequent, to see and be seen, has remained the icon where hospitality is golden. Genial general manager Mark Choon stood at the red carpet entrance and greeted each guest to its 40th anniversary gala.

After his opening speech Mark Choon introduced Sir Michael Kadoorie, chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, the holding company of The Peninsula Hotels, who flew in from Hong Kong for this special festivity.  He said, “This hotel is very close to my heart being only the second Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels property to bear the Peninsula name. Following our flagship property The Peninsula Hongkong, which opened in 1928, we were thrilled to open a new Peninsula Hotel in the Philippines, which is famous for its warm people and spectacular scenery.”  He expounded on the memories it evokes, the spirit it reflects and truly a legendary, aristocratic hotel, the heart of high society life that hosted the most famous names in government, business, the diplomatic world, art, and society.

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  • Fernando Zobel de Ayala, David E.T. Lim, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd. chief operating officer Peter C. Borer, chairman of The Hongkong Shanghai Hotels, Ltd. the Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Noel Malaya, Teresa Chan Sola, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd. chief executive officer Clement Kwok, The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd. chief financial officer Matthew Lawson, and The Peninsula Manila general manager Mark Choon (Manila Bulletin)
  • (From left) Sonja Vodusek, Nedy Tantoco and D.J Lopez (Manila Bulletin)
  • Madeline Lim and Lady Betty Kadoorie (Manila Bulletin)
  • Consul Mellie Ablaza, Consul Helen Ong, and Mario Katigbak (Manila Bulletin)
  • The towering lobby of the Peninsula Manila was transformed into a huge gala party place with ladies in red carpet gowns and men in black ties. (Manila Bulletin)
  • The Peninsula Manila’s Pioneers Danilo Basallo, Jimmy Padua, Luisito Roa, and Michael Esquivel (Manila Bulletin)
  • Mila Sicat, Gesela Fernandez, and Robert Nacino (Manila Bulletin)
  • Evelyn Lim Forbes, Ben Cabrera, Rowell Santiago, and Betsy Westendorp (Manila Bulletin)
  • Tito Yuchengco and Marit Yuchengco (Manila Bulletin)
  • Joanne Rae Ramirez, Mila Magsaysay Valenzuela, and the author (Manila Bulletin)
  • Anna Sobrepeña and Gaita Fores (Manila Bulletin)
  • Amb. Josef Muellner, Madame Kai Wang, and Johnny Litton (Manila Bulletin)
  • Kenny Limjoco and Monette Ramirez (Manila Bulletin)
  • David Batchelor, Marilu Batchelor, and Mariano Garchitorena (Manila Bulletin)
  • Jojie Lloren, Trickie Lopa, and Din Din Araneta (Manila Bulletin)
  • Bea Ledesma and Juana Yupangco (Manila Bulletin)
  • Reniner and Margaretha Gloor and Paing Hechanova (Manila Bulletin)
  • (From left) Cristina Pappas, Naty Pappas and Jun Jun Ablaza (Manila Bulletin)
  • Glen Gale, Joy Fong, and Joseph Calata (Manila Bulletin)
  • (From left) Albert Avellana, Rupert Jacinto, Bum Tenorio and Philip Hagedorn (Manila Bulletin)
  • Jun Magsaysay Jr. and Gemma Cruz (Manila Bulletin)
  • Mia Borromeo and Stephanie Chong (Manila Bulletin)
  • Dandy Gomez and Marivic Rufino (Manila Bulletin)
  • Grace Glory Go and Hans Sicat (Manila Bulletin)
  • (From left)Alicia Sy, Washington Sycip and Nympha Valencia (Manila Bulletin)
  • Elizabeth Lee, Daniel Vasquez, and daughter Bea (Manila Bulletin)
  • Criselda Lontok and Ellen Morais (Manila Bulletin)
  • (From left)Jocot de Dios, Rita Dy and Jennifer Choon (Manila Bulletin)
  • Victor and Liz Aliwalas (Manila Bulletin)
  • Baby Girl Fricke and Ching Montinola (Manila Bulletin)
  • Helen Lee and Helen Yuchengco Dee (Manila Bulletin)
  • Nadia Granger and Elena Colome (Manila Bulletin)

Mr. Kadoorie acknowledged the Pen Pioneers, particularly his uncle Sir Horace Kadoorie, then chairman of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited and wrote in 1976 “their unmatched Filipino charm.” Their familiar faces to guests and colleagues exemplify the Pen’s “family” recurring theme.

All around, things of beauty vied for attention; the custommade capiz chandeliers cascading down The Lobby ceiling, floral displays, and the immaculate white stage with the Pen logo. GM Choon and his lovely wife Jen Evangelista Choon with their son stood for photo ops. At the Pen mezzanine famed Broadway singer Lea Salonga entertained the tuxedoed and long gown glitterati. The original Las Guitaras performed and added a touch of nostalgia.

The gala party was splendid at every level. Notables of Manila’s 400 have sampled haute cuisine under its stylish and self-contained domain of old families. The exhaustive flow of champagne and wines set a bubbling atmosphere at the entrance. A dazzling array of food stations unfurled before the eyes of the well-heeled invitees, which included the spread of Russian caviar, French cheeses, Maine lobster,  Atlantic turbot, Philippine artisanal chocolates, lechon, and which exceeded all expectations. It engaged all of the senses, leaving something to relish.

The grand dame of Makati hotels in the words of Mr. Kadoorie: “The Peninsula Manila is inextricably linked to the past, present, and future of the Philippines and the city of Manila, adding that with its wonderful location at the heart of the Makati district, the Peninsula Lobby quickly became the place that creates unforgettable memories and has witnessed the variety of life in all its drama and excitement.”

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