The birthday dinner of Benjie Yap was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Known for his fine taste, the president and chairman of Favored Son, Inc. enlisted internationally acclaimed interior designer Manny Samson to conceptualize and execute the Madhatter’s Tea Party. Up to the task, the creative impressario envisioned a feast for all the senses, calling the dinner Au Plaisir des Sens.
Butterflies and Dragonflies
The setting of the celebration was the elegant Champagne Room of the Manila Hotel. Amidst the crystal palm trees, Manny created a visual feast for the eyes. The table setting was a lavish arrangement of glass, candlelight, flowers and fragrances. Centrepieces of cups and saucers were precariously piled on top of each other, chipped and glued back together to create towering china pieces frozen in a moment before a fall. None fell, held together by clever and masterful engineering. Other cups dangled from candelabras with lighted candles. Roses and tulips bloomed among lilies and carnations.
Spectacular food was prepared to please the taste buds. Each course was served to the violin music of Jay Cayuca, who performed throughout the dinner. The fragrance of the flowers and the aroma of the food were the agreeable elements to please the sense of smell. Plates with the names of each guest designated the seat assignment. These plates were inscribed with butterflies and dragonflies which Manny’s team had selected.
Toasting with Champagne and Cherries
The toast was another extraordinary experience. Bottega Champagne was poured into champagne glasses which each had big red fresh cherries. When it was time to blow the birthday candles, the waiters of Manila Hotel brought out a cake for each guest. The cakes were decorated with bejewelled butterflies and dragonflies.
The waiters themselves all had a jewelled buttoner. Benjie Yap, after all is the jeweller behind Favored Son. Everyone went home with their personalized plates and individual cakes.
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This article was originally published in our latest coffee table book “Lifestyle Asia. Millennials. Travel. Entertaining.” To see more parties from Manila’s most discerning hosts and hostesses, you can purchase the book by sending us a private message on Instagram (@lifestyle_asia) or on our Facebook page. The book is also available in leading bookstands.