Well, on February 11, 2012, Bettina Margarita Andrea V. Jose, definitely had the world in her hands, on her lap and everywhere else in between. Held on her actual 18th birthday, the “worldly” celebration was held at the Manila Polo Club, Forbes Park, Makati. Themed “My Fair Lady goes around the world”, the concept was a brainchild of Bettina’s talented Mom, Marichi Jose.
Putting together two rich themes, the celebration allowed guests to temporarily belong to an era of old world charm and everything vintage. Different sections of the Manila Polo Club were transformed into various landmarks around the world—London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Madrid and Italy, to name a few.With the impeccable coordination of RNEP (Rita Neri Event Planners) and styling by Marichi Jose and florist Francis Hen (Flower Façade), the debut was a truly magical celebration, befitting a queen and making Bettina everyone’s “My Fair Lady”. The main ballroom served as the formal dining area where guests were treated to a five-course dinner and a sumptuous dessert boudoir, decked out with trinkets, suitcases, and intricately-sewn replica gowns of Eliza Doolittle. The boudoir desserts included sweets and treats by Bizu Patisserie, Cupcakes by Sonja and Haagen Dazs, whereas the Banyan Garden, Turf and McKinley Room were all sectioned off for the after-party celebration and transformed into world landmarks, with food stations taking you around the world. Set between hedges and intricate gates by Debbie How, were Bettina’s 2 massive cakes, an 8-foot Fondant Cake with Faberge eggs and candelabra candles (by Cake Concepts) and a Marie Antoinette-inspired Cake (by Pastry Bin).With gowns by Dennis Lustico and Sassa Jimenez, Bettina looked every bit the divine debutante, in shades of old rose, lavender and pink.
Complemented perfectly by Lito Sy’s photography, snapshots taken from a previous shoot were shown to guests upon their arrival and in anticipation of the evening’s program. Directed by Robbie Guevara, the program began with a medley from My Fair Lady, which creatively segued into some of Bettina’s favorite songs and musical numbers. Among the performers were Gian Magdangal, Marvin Ong, Mian Dimacali, Oli del Rosario, Reb Atadero, Nikko Atienza and Bettina’s sister, Isabella Jose. With musical direction by Joseph Tolentino and stage management by Sunshine Domine, the program prepared by Nine Works Theatrical elicited much applause and laughter.
As the evening drew to a close, Bettina’s Dad, Raffy gave a much-lauded speech that filled the room with tears. Surprising Bettina with a video greeting from her idol, Gary Valenciano, the crowd burst into collective sighs and screams when he started singing for Bettina on video. To cap off the formal celebration, guests were treated to a treasure trove of giveaways that kept everyone in awe and amazement. Rightfully called the labor of love of Bettina’s mom, guests were given Vintage Suitcases and hatboxes with “Keep Calm and Carry On” and “Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake” pillows, Vintage Parfum, Travel Map boxes, London Palace Guard Bears, Eiffel Tower journals and pencil sets, wine in vintage cases and trinket boxes with chocolates. (It’s been a month since, and what lingers are the memories and the priceless moments that every family could ask for—that their baby, was every inch happy and more than ready to take on the world.)