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Super hero birthday

Celebrating the 40th birthday of his partner-educator Ethan and their first year anniversary of blissful togetherness, event organizer and educator Rene Hinojales showed how easily we have forgotten the joys of giving a successful party.

Well, this one turned out to be a very private affair, thanks to the Kung Flu, which will limit this season’s socials, for sure. Everybody got their invitation by email, requesting the guests to come in red and white.

Derek Bage, Marivic Lacson, Cindy Ballesteros, Chart Motus, birthday boy Ethan Argones, Gabriel Motus, Rene Hinojales, Romulus Gendrala, and Larry Lacson (l-r)*
Shane Argones, Revin, Melania and Rexiemel Pasilong, and Jenny Arcan (front, l-r); Paul Selyular, Melandro Jr. and Jasmine Argones, Melvin James Ethan, Medardo Argones Jr., and Rex Pasilong (back, l-r)*

Rene and Ethan’s home was an example of restrained, manly Christmas decor. There was the entrance Nativity scene in elegant silver, red and white. A magical revolving Christmas tree that had me fascinated how the electrical wires wouldn’t get tangled with the endless spinning of the red and white themed tree decked in my favorite candy canes. The doorways and pillars of the terrace had minimalist silver buntings with just a touch of red added to the sparkle. Fairy lights were tastefully turned into dripping chandeliers as they were hung on top of buri baskets outdoors.

Teofilo, Grace and Melmar Villanueva, and Aileen Rosie Estacio*
Portia Lamela, Ethan, Chita Reyes and Enriqueta Lopez*

Each table had a masculine centrepiece of Yuletide logs caught in a roll of black and white plaid atop sprigs of conifer leaves. We were given a homemade news bulletin that recorded the milestone 40th year of Melvin James Ethan Argonez with tidbits on events that happened during his birth, with games at the back page asking who were the celebrities born the same year, the songs popular that year, etc.

After waving at a safe distance to the other invitees, we were treated to a superb meal by socialite-caterer Mia Lizares Gonzaga without skipping that most important ingredient to a birthday bash, noodles – for long life…this time a duet of pasta dishes which I gobbled up immediately. There were stuffed chicken and braised beef, tomato drenched fish and a healthy ceviche salad garnished with grapes and nuts for a touch of Christmas. Topping the menu was a creamy Cathedral pane cake and a decadent toffee pudding.

Jubal Gallaga (seated), with Ethan, Chita Reyes, and Rene Hinojales (standing, l-r)*

Since the family of Ethan had to go home early, he and Rene declared their vows to each other in celebration of their first year of togetherness, making our eyes well with tears as the meaningful words were said heartily and with feeling. Everyone loves a good romantic story and this one was made for the books, literally! Going back to his 40th birthday, Ethan led the guests inside as everyone sang in chorus as he prepared to blow the candles out on his giant Superman and Batman cake.

Cindy Ballesteros, Enriqueta Lopez, and Portia Lamela (seated, l-r); Gabriel and Chart Motus (standing)*
Romulus “Boy” Gendrala and Larry Lacson*

The evening was capped off with everyone sharing the trivia quiz on celebrities born the same year as Ethan as well as the titles of the songs that were popular that year. It was a great way to connect with the other tables of guests and was definitely the ultimate social ice breaker. How out-of-touch have I gotten with those recent years and more so with our collective manners in civilized party hosting. It seems that for the past decades, parties have transformed into organized programs that starts with speeches and ends with a pictorial diorama of life events of the honorees. Well, Dahlinks, Rene and Ethan that night showed us how to host one graciously!

My prayer. The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4. NIV*

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