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Big little cakes for a small wedding

By HENY SISON, The Philippine STAR Published Sep 16, 2021 5:00 am

“Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail,” Leonardo da Vinci once said.

Way before this pandemic created so much uncertainty in our lives, it was uncommon for me to be asked to create a cake for an intimate gathering or celebration. In my decades of experience, intimate gatherings are both an honor and a pleasure to cater to as it allows you to know a chosen group of people and share such a beautiful experience with them.

One of the most celebrated weddings I remember so well was the wedding of Robby Mananquil and Maxene Magalona, both icons in their own right. One can just imagine the creative force combined when these two decided to tie the knot as a couple last January 8, 2018.

 Robby Mananquil and Maxene Magalona at their Santuario wedding with ninongs (right) Michael V, Gary Valenciano, Ben Chan, Richard Gomez, Keren Pascual; and ninangs Lucy Torres-Gomez, Aivee Aguilar-Teo, Rubby Sy-Coyiuto, Carolina Bunagan, Virgie Ramos, Malou Choa-Fagar.

I was privileged to be chosen to create their wedding cake; as excited as I was, I approached this opportunity as I do all my creative endeavors: passionately meticulous.

Whenever I get asked to create a cake for an occasion, and in this case, a wedding, it’s never a question of a template or a portfolio design for me. Instead, the process involves very small but intentional steps, where the vision of a person or a couple is represented in my design. I make sure that my creation captures their passion. My work would be symbolic of their celebration, and this idea inspires me to do my best in everything that I do.

 Robby and Maxene believe that life is meant to be enjoyed. Through all its ups and downs, they can always choose to be happy, kind and free.

That was why when I was commissioned to make their wedding cake I immediately went to work on the elements that would ultimately create the perfect cake.

 The couple’s favorite matching shirts are from the master rapper Francis Magalona’s T-shirt collection.

Robby Mananquil, being a musician and artist, and Maxene Magalona, being an actress, was just the tip of the iceberg. As I got to know them more, learning their stories and how they saw their relationship evolve, I realized that one cake could never encapsulate their journey together as a couple. Their story was full of adventure, inspiration, and positivity. I wanted to use the details of their relationship as my inspiration in a meaningful but low-key manner.

 The couple got engaged on Valentine’s Day 2017 in Tokyo. It was a cold winter when Robby got down on one knee and asked, “Will you ride the rollercoaster of life with me?”

We decided to make multiple cakes that would serve as table centerpieces for an intimate group of guests to bring home.

The wedding reception was at Sala. A special menu was chosen by the couple and prepared by chef Colin Mackay.

 Robby inspired Maxene to go vegan for the animals when they decided to make the transition to a completely plant-based diet. They believe that every living being deserves to be free on this planet. They love their pets Coffee and Yoyo dearly!

The couple handpicked only 33 guests that included family, godparents and friends. They would be treated with cakes that featured the passions of Robby and Maxene: their various travels all over the world that had educated them and encouraged them as a couple, to their love of sentient beings that solidified their commitment to eating a plant-based diet, to the obvious things such as wearing matching outfits that symbolize how they honor each other, and their never-ending affinity with music and yoga, which heals them and brings them closer and makes up a huge part of their lives.

 Music plays an important role in their relationship. It brought them closer to each other and they both believe that it is very healing to the soul.

The godparents were Gary Valenciano, Richard Gomez, Michael V, Ben Chan, Antonio Tuviera, Keren Pascual, Lucy Torres-Gomez, Virgie Ramos, Dr. Aivee Aguilar- Teo, Rubby Sy-Coyiuto, Malou Choa-Pagar and Carolina Bunagan.

 For Robby and Maxene, yoga is a form of life. They practice yoga and meditation as a means to deepen their relationship with themselves and strengthen their connection to the Divine.

Amid happy tears and riotous laughter, almost everyone shared their feelings and stories. The cakes I created served not only as centerpieces for their reception but also sweet souvenirs for their chosen tribe. All the delicate details came together, making this truly one of the exceptional weddings I am proud to have been a part of.