HSBC Coffee Talk 3 With Carlos Celdran, Paloma, Maurice Arcache, Isah Red and Raul Manzano

Last Tuesday, January 26, I was invited to a chikahan/coffee session at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel by HSBC’s representatives.

It was part of their promo for credit card holders. As their press kit indicates:

HSBC card holders can present any single HSBC credit card receipt worth PhP2,000 and up, and get a tall handcrafted drink of their choice or a 3-pack Starbucks VIA Ready Brew at any of Starbucks’ 179 outlets nationwide. Alternatively, they can choose to get PhP100 off from their Caltex fuel bill with every charge slip worth PhP2,000 and even get up to a full tank of fuel for free with accumulated charge slips.

For more information about this promo, you may visit the website at

Of course, HSBC did not spend a few hours poring through all the details (this is a nice teaser, huh) and proceeded directly to the fun part: a session hosted by RJ Ledesma. He seems to be a regular PR favorite, as he also hosted a few of the events I’ve covered, namely:  Metro Comic Con (this is still a geek blog, after all) and Ice Watch. His panel of guests include: Astrologer Paloma, Isah Red, Maurice Arcache, Raul Manzano and Carlos Celdran.

Well, the topics were wide-ranged and very showbiz, actually. Just some of the questions that were thrown all over the place were:

  • Do you think Gibo would have been a better President?
  • What’s up with Noynoy’s love life? 
  • Are Willie and Shalani really a couple?
  • What ever happened to the case on the Manila hostage crisis?

I felt quite at a loss over what to write about this event, since many of the discussions were off-the-record.

Before the gab fest started, we were first asked to partake of Makati Shangri-La’s delicious buffet meal. I’ve always enjoyed Makati Shang’s intimate luncheons and dinners. This was no exception.

Over the scrumptious lunch: I met two beautiful and smart journalists, Sarah Hilomen-Velasco of Manila Bulletin and Deni Afinidad of Daily Tribune (Photo at the far end of this post.)

I was actually the very first to arrive and I immediately spotted Carlos Celdran, whose stance on the RH Bill and whose Damaso theatrics rocked the entire country last year. (I say, “Bravo, Mr. Celdran! Idol kita.”)

Maurice Arcache, Raul Manzano, and Carlos Celdran seated at the grilling station. Hehe. Looks like they had a lot of fun, too.

Spotted yet another idol — this time among the audience — Palanca awardee Myrza Sison (far right).

Astrologer Paloma and Isah Red. Ms. Paloma quickly became my favorite among the panelists (should I be saying that? Haha!) mainly because she was such a pleasant surprise. Though her task was to read the charts of the personalities talked about, she offered some very logical and practical advice to all the listeners.

Funny because Sarah, Deni and I were just talking about uplifting the quality of the things we write about as members of the media. And there Ms. Paloma sat, talking about the role of media in improving our nation’s mindset. She shared a lot of other valuable information (off-the-record!!!!) and now I’m seriously contemplating an interview for the PhD papers I plan to write in the future.

Shown here with host RJ Ledesma and Isah Red, Ms. Paloma demonstrates how she reads each celebrity’s charts. I share many of her opinions — beginning from topics that involve the Aquino family and ending with that creative but highly controversial Maggie Wilson-Victor Consunji prenup video.

(As a multimedia arts professor, I like the video. I think Jason Magbanua, the director, had outdone himself this time. But the fact that it was a prenuptial video made me feel like a voyeur.)

And um…I only took this photo because I think Charice Pempengco looks really pretty in that projected image.

Speaking of Charice Pempengco, one of the things asked here was if she’s bigger than Lea Salonga and I’d have to disagree with those who said that she is. Comparing Charice and Lea are like comparing apples and oranges (even if they’re fruits). Both are extremely talented but they cater to vastly different markets. Lea is a high artist, while Charice is a mass artist. The metrics for success won’t be parallel. There, I’ve said it. If you want me to further explain the difference between the two — well, you’ll have to tell me and I can formally post about it at Sarimanok.PH. That is, if you’re not averse to having me begin my explanation with Aristotle’s Organic Unity…

From left: Deni, Sarah and I. These two girls made me feel a little bit more comfortable in an event where I practically knew no one. I was supposed to attend it with fellow blogger Rowena (of Animetric’s World) but she had some car issues that day.

Sarah is a journalist from Davao and she shared a lot of her adventures as a news reporter before she became a Manila-based lifestyle writer for the Bulletin. Deni, on the other hand, is a lifestyle writer for the Daily Tribune and she hailed from the University of Santo Tomas. Our common ground? University of the Philippines. Hehe. Sarah came from UPLB, while I took my undergrad at UPM. Deni studied MA in Communication Research…guess where? At the exact same college where I’m taking my PhD in Communication: UP-CMC in Diliman. That means all three of us have common friends. Gosh, it’s a small world!

Contest Winner Announcement:
Okaaaay, commercial break. Hehe. I know my readers have been dying to find out who won the Starbucks 2011 Velvet Planner. I’m just going to announce it in this post, since: (1) It’s all about coffee and (2) Starbucks is a major part of this chismis fest.

And the Starbucks 2011 Velvet planner goes to…

Ning, whose entry was a last-minute comment in my contest post. She talked about getting lost in Hawaii.  Most importantly, she was very specific about learning some new skills that would make Tiger Mom proud (namely taking up violin or piano lessons), while gathering the guts to go and participate in a recital. Another clincher: She’s going to try to finish her master’s in Structural Engineering. Girl, you totally NEED a planner!

There was someone who came in very close second and that’s Sows. When I say very close, that’s like 0.5 points away from getting the prize. In the comment box, she said that she thinks her plan is not crazy enough for me, but going out of your way to do something you have never done is, in a way, crazy. When I read her story, I could feel my face heating up because I experienced nearly the same thing (except my pants ripped while I was right in the middle of the office). Since I only have one planner to give away, I’ll just send you a couple of Starbucks gift certificates. (You should thank your additional points for this, hehe. They pulled you so close to Ning.)

Anyway, congrats to the winners! Please contact me through this form and send me your full name, telephone/mobile numbers and complete mailing address. Thanks!


  1. Rowena Wendy Lei

    January 30, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Myrza is always in HSBC events hehe, and RJ Ledesma usually hosts. Kainis talaga I wasn't able to go. XD

  2. skysenshi

    January 30, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Were you able to go to the first and second?

  3. Mom-Friday

    January 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I enjoyed this post, read every word! hahaha! The event looked like a lot of fun with the eclectic mix of personalities present 🙂

  4. skysenshi

    January 30, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Really? Thanks! And I thought I wouldn't be able to say anything, what with all the off-the-record bits…but I'm really madaldal talaga. (If I like what I'm talking about, that is.) Hahahaha!

  5. *MrsMartinez*

    January 31, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Ang daming off the record hehe Pero ang galing mo pa din magsulat kasi binasa ko din ng buo ang article na ito haha

    I think kelangan ko gayahin ang pose ni Charice para di malaki ang fez ko sa picture lol

    Tom I can start claiming na my Starbucks coffee! weeeee!

  6. skysenshi

    January 31, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Wahaha, nakakataba naman ng puso ang mga Michelle. Ang daldal ko nga eh. Haha! Di naman malaki ang face mo ah! Although ako dinadaan ko na rin sa buhok yung pagtago ng face ko kasi round.

  7. Sows

    February 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

    hi bea! sorry for replying this late..but nevetheless, tnx a bunch! rcivd the GC's and indeed, 0.5 point means a lot!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.