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Millennial Mellie

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Text and images by Jullie Yap Daza

What an apt theme to choose for a party to celebrate the birthday of one of the loveliest octogenarians in the world!

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Millennial Mellie flanked by Mr. and Mrs. Dodie Puno.

And yet, looking at the youthful happiness giver, Mellie Ablaza, one has to give it back to her: Happiness shows on your face, in your physique and state of mind, in your positive outlook on life, love, work, family, and friends (of which she has an army, more than enough to fill the pavilion in her Amelia estate in Alfonso, the town after Tagaytay City, site of her imaginatively themed parties at least twice, thrice a year).

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Millennial mural.

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Her four-story cake comes with a mini-Mellie shod in boots.

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A profusion of sparkly Christmas balls gives a hint of the season. Bunches of grapes and thinly sliced prosciutto give a hint of the luncheon to come.

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Nature’s nurturing best. Half a lemon is scooped out for sorbet at its most refreshing, take it from Chef Jessie.

This year’s theme was interpreted in the appropriate millennial language: ON FLEEK meaning fashionable; LIT meaning exciting; YAS to praise something or someone; SLAY to do something exceptionally well; and BAE for before anyone else, which is another way of describing that special someone. Methinks Mellie’s vocabulary update was courtesy of her children and grandchildren, and that includes the post-Millennial Z generation, unless time has sped by so fast that I’m stuck in a time warp and that name is no longer appropriate.

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Letty Hahn, another pretty octogenarian whose birthday bash happened 24 hours before Mellie’s, dons red for a long and happy life. Her big shirt shows the portrait of a model complete with real earrings.

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The gang’s all here: Karen Macasaet, Allan Tengco, Danny Dolor, Baby de Jesus, Grace Tiongco, Berna Lomotan.

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Louie Ablaza, Australian Ambassador Steve Robinson, Russian Ambassador Igor Khobaev.

Mellie, the lady whose gowns are the stuff of legends pulled from airy tales, remembered from fabulous balls and imagined in technicolor dreams by haute couture designers, was a surprise when she received her guests in an easy-to-wear cotton dress with three-fourths sleeves, paired with a simple shoulder bag. Dress and bag screamed “ready to hit the streets in traffic-jammed Manila!” That’s Mellie for you: every birthday a younger self, every party a different facet of her personality.

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Gingin Ponce Quiazon says it with a flower in her hair.

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Tess Pamintuan and Frank Evaristo, standing, with Berna Lomotan

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Aisia Syquia is spot on in her playful, madefor-play outfit.

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Boysie Villavicencio, little boy lost?

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Maurice Lim with Nini Layug.

How did her guests interpret “on fleek”? The invitations read “Streetwear Style, Closet Tour,” inspiring many ladies and their escorts to show up in blue jeans. But one or two or a few who came in long skirts. Nene Pe Lim donned the denim jeans of the century with those slashes and holes, while her husband Benny wore enough carats to bedazzle the sun. Mellie’s beloved husband Louie was 101 percent relaxed in a “signature” shirt, i.e., one with the name Balenciaga splashed all over in varying type fonts, in black and white. Mellie and Louie’s granddaughter Aisia A. Syquia gets my vote for most fun outfit of the day. YAS, Aisia!

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