Consul Louie Ablaza’s 80th Celebration of Life

The Ablaza family has been known to throw elegant, grand and sometimes out of this world theme parties. Last July 2, Ablaza Patriarch Louie Ablaza, the honorary consul of Zambia had a spectacular African Safari party in celebration of his eightieth birthday. The festive occasion was held again at their sprawling countryside manor named after his beauteous wife, Amelia, better known as Mellie, the celebrated high society hostess of fabulous parties.

The birthday celebrant, Consul Louie Ablaza, dressed as a Safari explorer, welcomed his guests along with Consul Mellie Ablaza garbed as a glamorous tribal empress in fabulous feathers, a creation of their son, Jun Jun Ablaza. She also wore a gown by fashion designer Steve de Leon, who also did the outfits for the rest of the Ablaza family. Their daughter Czarina Ablaza-Syquia with her husband Dr. Jofe Syquia and their children gamely dressed up in matching tribal outfits with raffia details. Multi-talented designer Jun Jun Ablaza on the other hand was a chieftain in a colorful outfit, donning an over-the-top feather headdress, and his own collection of tribal accessories. All their jewelries made of antique ivory, and antique Philippine gold diggings were from Jun Jun as well.

The day started with a mass at the Ablaza family’s chapel officiated by Father Jefferson Agustin from the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. Guests arrived in sartorial safari and exuberant animal printed outfits. Most of the gentlemen were dressed in safari ensembles reminiscent of Allan Quatermain, or as rangers in camouflage. Grand dames wore African tribal inspired caftans, some had colorful fowl feathers and fur, while many others were decked in chunky ivories, multi-colored stones and gold jewelries.

After the mass, the guests were ushered into a giant tent for cocktails where they had champagne, cabernet sauvignon, canapés and a roasted suckling pig. A safari jeep and a drum playing group completed the tribal/ safari vibe.

Lunch was held at the estate’s grand pavilion where guests gaped at the lavish and festive African themed decór. The high ceiling was draped with animal printed fabrics where gigantic tribal masks were suspended. Two life-sized giraffes stood by a wall and arched a doorway. All the tables were bountiful – decked with fruits, flowers, palm leaves and ferns.

Lunch was made extra special and sumptuous by Chef Jessie Sincioco, a favorite culinary expert of the Ablazas. The guests had an African degustation of Kachumbari black eyed peas with warm wild rice and vegetable salad, grilled tilapia fillet yassa with coriander, frozen black grapes, soya with yaji rice and mango chutney, kienji chicken with kelewele, oxtail curry with jollof rice, and dessert was a delectable plate of malva pudding, hertzoggie, milk tart and crunchies. Louie and Mellie were seated in a pair of ebony colored peacock chairs like the king and queen of a tribal feast. Together with them at the presidential table were Ambassadors Igor Khovaev, Mme. Lizia Lu, H.E. Rolando Guevara Alvarado, H.E. Ephraim Ben Matityau, H.E. Kok Li Peng, H.E. Roland Van Remoortele, Mme. Sylvia Van Remoortele, H.E. Ezra Cankorur, H.E. Ahmed Ezzat, Mme. Mervat Ezzat, H.E. Ly Guoc Tuan, and Mme. Dan Vu.

The program started with drums rolling, and a powerful rendition of the song, Circle of Life by theater actress and story book writer Pam Imperial in a Jun Jun Ablaza feather cape and headdress. It was followed by an upbeat tribal street dance number by the Dance Royalties headed by Daniel Cabrera. The afternoon was finally highlighted with a well-applauded fashion show by no less than Manila’s famed ‘enfant terrible’ of wearable art, Jun Jun Ablaza. He presented a 17 piece Neo-Tribal collection in distressed, acid washed and patched denims with unique accessories in shells, corals, ivory and feathers.

The party’s dramatic extravaganza was successfully staged and made possible by production manager Marvin Choa and Jett Carpio who directed the show.

Consul Louie Ablaza’s African Safari affair was more than just another grand gathering of high society’s crème de la crème. His 80th birthday party is a celebration of life and his family’s thanksgiving for God’s blessings and bounty. Marc Ablaza, his eldest son revealed in his speech about how his father overcame a health ordeal in the past few months. It was a time that made them see more of the beauty and importance of living every second to the fullest, celebrating love, happiness and togetherness. The African Safari theme was chosen by Louie’s family since he currently serves as an Honorary Consul of Zambia in the Philippines. A safari is an overland journey, usually to the African continent which was once a trip to go on a hunt. Today, it is often referred to as a trip to observe wildlife, do sightseeing, take photographs and enjoy the glorious wonders of nature at its finest and along with the bounties of the Great Creator. The theme was also inspired by everyone’s love of travel, love of finding new adventure, discovering new places, and most importantly, enjoying it with loved ones. Because, in reality, life is an endless journey of discovery with family and the people who become a part of everyone’s lives. To Consul Louie, more happy celebrations to come. What will it be next year?