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Why it's okay that I missed out on Martha Stewart.

Have you posted an Instagram photo with Martha Stewart?

America's queen of lifestyle, Emmy award-winning television host, entrepreneur and best-selling author took Manila (including Pampanga) by storm when she visited the Philippines for the first time last week.

She was here for the latest ANC Leadership Series, where she gave a talk, 'A Conversation with Entrepreneur and Lifestyle Legend Martha Stewart.' She told her story of success and business philosophy with the country's business executives, entrepreneurs and students in a forum moderated by ANC anchor Karen Davila.

Upon arrival, Stewart toured Manila with Mayor Isko Moreno and Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. The 78-year-old celebrity was treated to lunch at the National Museum of Natural History. Seasoned restaurateur and 2016 Asia's Best Female Chef Margarita Fores designed the special menu, serving a variety of the country's freshest catch, as well as lechon, laing, bibingka, suman, binakol na manok, inihaw na apahap sa dahon, and bistek Tagalog.

Fueled for sightseeing, Martha and her group visited Manila's famous landmarks including Intramuros, the Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago and San Agustin Church.

Making the most of her first visit to the country, Stewart was feted with a mini-fiesta in Pampanga that included rice planting at the farm of Filipino musician Andy Alviz. She posted on Instagram that she had always wanted to experience planting rice and thanked the Kapampangans for going all out with the food preparations and festivities.

And then it was time for more food. She had lunch at the ancestral home of the great-grandparents of Town and Country editor Yvette Fernandez in San Fernando, Pampanga.

In one of her books, Stewart wrote, 'The homes I like the best are totally occupied, busy, and useful, whether it's a tiny little house or a great big one.'

I think the country will find a special place in Martha's heart, and Pinoy food, a special place in her tummy.

Cafe Casablanca

Yvette recounted to me more Martha encounters while we partook of the special Moroccan lunch at the home of Marilen Tantoco. In line with the ongoing 'Fall in Love with Morocco' festival at Rustan's, the intimate lunch featured a sample of the delicious menu that will soon be available at Cafe Casablanca on the fifth floor of Rustan's Makati.

Moroccan chef Rachida Bousta cooked spiced lamb and beef roasts, sweet and nutty desserts and other amazing Moroccan dishes.

'Fall in Love with Morocco' is now on its second year. The monthlong festival is held in partnership with HSBC, Adventure International Tours and Ralph's Wines and Spirits. Check out true Moroccan fashion with experiential vignettes at Rustan's Makati and Rustan's Shangri-La, and discover curios that will help bring more personality and charm to your spaces.

From Rustan's, bring the memorable experience back to your own home and kitchen as you learn the secrets to hosting your own Moroccan-inspired spread with Happy Ongpauco-Tiu. The renowned restaurateur and hotelier will be at Rustan's Makati on Aug. 27 to give an intimate, hands-on workshop exclusive to HSBC premier cardholders.

On Aug. 30, learn more tips and techniques to put together an exciting spread with a tablescapes workshop with Rachelle Wenger at the Grand Atrium, Shangri-La Plaza. Have fun learning from the interior decorator to decorate vignettes for your home and dining.

Channel the vibrant mood and spirit of Moroccan culture with a belly dancing performance at Rustan's Makati on Aug. 31. The rhythmic power of the music and choreography will have you clapping and tapping along with the heart-thumping presentation.

In closing, I must say that I was not among the many who had the good fortune of posting their Instagram photo with Martha Stewart. I had to decline the gracious invitation of good friend Ricco Ocampo to hang with her because I had to attend a family wedding in Manila. If I could have teleported myself to Pampanga and back, I would certainly have done so. goes live

That said, I was super glad to have hosted a mini-bridal shower for newlywed Maiqui Laurel-Camara at the launch of the online shopping site of Rustans,

With the launch of the website, customers can now shop for their favorite luxe items anytime, anywhere. Aside from me, tastemakers and style mavens Tim Yap, Nicole Andersson, Rica de Jesus and Jaja Rama enjoyed a shopping night out with their friends as went live with exclusive deals and special perks.

The site features a curated selection of Rustan's brands and products. It's the upscale department store's answer to busy customers who are looking for high quality in their online purchases.

The easy-to-navigate online store features well-known brands covering men's and women's fashion, kids' fashion and toys, beauty, bespoke home items, and even gift ideas and a helpful registry section for Weddings and Beyond.

There are over 140 must-have brands now available on this exciting online shop, including well-loved international brands such as Acca Kappa, Bobbi Brown, Clarins, MAC, Hackett, John Hardy, Le Sportsac, L'Occitane, La Mer, Gefu, Mustela, Nike, Seafolly, Stila, Swarovksi, Little Tykes and Royal Albert.

From the Silver Vault, there's John Hardy, Kate Spade New York, Arygor and Roberto Coin.

Also in the selection are Rustan's well-respected private labels including Portuguese designer Ricardo Preto, Lady Rustan and Lotus Resortwear. offers nationwide delivery, and Click and Collect at Makati.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Aug 25, 2019
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