Saturday, February 8, 2014

Somewhere over Isobel's rainbow

“Somewhere over Isobel’s rainbow”
Sun.Star Davao, Feb. 8, 2014

“Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true”

Ylisha Isobel Patiño-Ong is certainly a dream come true for her parents, Randall and Vanessa Ann.

“We are so blessed by the miracle of Isobel. She came when we’ve accepted that we will only have two kids. It was such an amazing surprise for us. She is our ray of sunshine, a happy beautiful baby”, Mommy Vanessa, a furniture and interior designer, reveals.

With skin as white as snow, angelic eyes and calm temperament, doting sisters Zoe and Caelie immediately fell in love with the newest addition to the family.

Isobel also had that magical and magnetic effect on other family members, her parents’ friends (including me!) and even random people at the mall. One can’t just help but be instantly drawn to this darling cherub!


Charming Isobel recently celebrated her 1st birthday at the grand ballroom of The Marco Polo Hotel with a whimsical “Wizard of Oz” theme.

“When I heard that "Wicked" would be staged in Manila, I thought that it would be a perfect theme for Isobel’s birthday. It was something new. After researching through the internet and Pinterest, I saw cartoon-like “Wizard of Oz” characters that were so cute. It got me extremely excited with the theme!” the creative mom shares.

Vanessa collaborated with the ever-reliable party planner Annie Paz-Lim to make sure that Isobel’s party will be Oz-worthy. Annie has always been the Ong family’s go-to person in conceptualizing and organizing their important milestones. 

Invitations to the grand event were nestled in ruby red slipper paper cutouts and came with a reminder to guests to send their “regrets to the good witch” a.k.a. Mommy Vanessa.

Somewhere over the rainbow

As guests entered the ballroom, a huge and colorful board surrounded with red balloons displayed the lyrics from the song, “Somewhere over the Rainbow”. This was the enchanting ballad that Dorothy crooned in the movie version of the “Wizard of Oz”.

Amiable party host Jymmez Infiesto gamely donned the Cowardly Lion’s costume while the assistants were playfully dressed as the Wicked Witch and the Scarecrow.

The birthday celebrant looked dainty in her Dorothy-inspired attire from the Rajito line of top designer Rajo Laurel.

Meanwhile, eldest sister Zoe especially requested that she be dressed as Finley, the witty monkey from “Oz the Great and Powerful”, sans the wings. Edgar Buyan happily obliged with her young client’s request and designed her shiny blue porter suit and hat. On the other hand, Caelie fancied being the Good Witch in her lovely Rajito dress. 

This way to Emerald City

 “We wanted the ballroom to look like we were walking on the yellow brick road on our way to the Emerald City”, explains the meticulous Vanessa.

With Emerald City as the party’s backdrop, the venue had a rustic feel to it. “We incorporated elements from the movie like ceiling decorations made of red and powder blue fabric, hot air balloons as well as Japanese lanterns. In addition, gingham patterns of white and blue reflected Dorothy’s character in the party decorations", Vanessa details.

The guest tables had different Oz elements such as picnic baskets full of apples, paper cutouts in vases, red balloons, characters like the Tin Man and Scarecrow, hot air balloons, as well as picture frames bearing famous lines from the movie.

The fun and interactive kiddie games such as “Search the Tin Man's Heart”, “Pass the Cowardly Lion's Crown, “Witch of the West Relay”, “Dorothy's Learn the Wizard Dance” and “Scarecrow's Race Relay” also carried the “Wizard of Oz” theme.

Layers of love

The four-tiered birthday cake was a labor of love from the wonderful women behind Baby Cakes. Vanessa’s good friend and business partner Maite Gempesaw baked the scrumptious cake while Isobel’s godmother Kay Gempesaw masterfully decorated it.

Each layer was a tribute to a character or a particular scene from the movie. The first layer featured the gingham pattern of Dorothy with a house and the Cowardly Lion’s badge of courage while the second tier was colored silver as a tribute to the Tin Man with his heart.

On the other hand, the third layer had a garden full of red flowers while the topmost layer highlighted the 3-D character of Dorothy carrying her dog Toto with a vibrant rainbow in the background. The iconic yellow brick road to Emerald City was strategically placed in the center of the towering cake.

Guests feasted on the sumptuous food from Marco Polo’s Lotus Court with the dishes personally and carefully chosen by maternal grandmother Janice Ong; Basti’s Brew’s Pinoy Pizza, shakes and coffee; and Alor’s fabulous dessert spread.

As the party ended, the kiddie guests eagerly received “Wizard of Oz” bag organizers brimming with goodies.

We share photos of Isobel’s splendid “Wizard of Oz” party by Simply Gray.

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