Letlet Veloso has been a part of my multi-wedding life! She and sister Vicky made my first wedding gown in 1989. Ten years after, I went back to her (by 1999 older sister Vicky had already moved to cooking and writing) to have my Tin (yup that’s tin for the 10th) Anniversary wedding gown made. At that time, the fad was the super simple Carolyn Bessette Kennedy wedding dress, so simple that it was just like the camison inside the big wedding gown I wore 10 years prior. Letlet made me a simple tin/silver gown.
Weeks before our 10th, I took out my old gown and I felt nostalgic, especially when I put it on. So I decided to at least have some photos taken wearing my 10 year old gown.
Fast forward to 2014 and it was our milestone Silver Wedding Anniversary. Again, I was happy to still fit in it and it was upon the suggestion of my sons that I decided to wear my original gown. They said, “Ma, who fits in her wedding gown after 25 years, you should wear that!” (To find out how, click How to fit in your original wedding gown after 25 years)
However, the Princess Diana inspired big sleeves were still too much to take and so I decided to bring the gown to Letlet. She took out the big sleeves and made them into my pouch and replaced the sleeves with simple see through material.
Letlet now shares the shop with her famous designer mom Malu Veloso, located at the basement level of Podium. Theirs is really a family of artists. Malu Veloso is the only daughter of designer Marina Antonio and the national artist Architect Pablo Antonio, a pioneer in modern Philippine architecture responsible for the Ideal Theater, Far Eastern University, Manila Polo Club, among others.
I read somewhere that he was commissioned to do the Manila Polo Club after they saw his house at 2650 Zamora St., Pasay City.
This house, now over 60 years old, is still standing and can be your venue for a private lunch or dinner. Here they serve dishes taken from old family recipes. That’s why I was thrilled when Letlet invited me to bring some friends to have lunch in their ancestral home, which is also called My Mother’s Garden.
I decided to bring my fellow Veloso brides, together with our respective huge wedding albums in big white boxes!
It was a long drive with some challenges as you traverse the narrow streets in Pasay, but it was all worth it. You have to be familiar with the place or ask Waze to help you so you won’t get lost. Once they open the green gate, you are transported to an old world, a stark change from the busy streets outside this 4,000 square meter property lush with all sorts of plants and old trees.
You enter a sprawling bungalow reminiscent of Manila in the 50s and 60s. And then you see the interesting centerpiece on the big round table made of macopas, balingbings, sineguelas, kamias, San Francisco leaves, etc. picked from the garden. The basket of Indian mangoes I brought which were harvested from our own garden in Quezon City was at home with these other organic picks.
Here are the Letlet Veloso brides circa 1989 – 1995.
Following are the dishes that we enjoyed during that one fine lunch last week.
The long drive really got me hungry that I failed to take photos of the other dishes like mustard chicken, adobo, inihaw na liempo and seafood, etc. They also served an interesting drink that makes you feel you’re in a spa, fruits, ice cream (or was that sherbet?) and tarts. Another remarkable item was their bagoong. I asked for it to go with the Indian mangoes and wow! That was some alamang, it had cherry tomatoes, and kamias. (I bought a bottle of this and the yummy chorizo sauce and they were gone before I remembered to take photos for this article. My husband fell in love with the bagoong, that he ate it during all his meals at home, not just with his mangoes but also as salad dressing! He asked me to order more of that designer bagoong – the Malu Veloso Bagoong!)
It was a great afternoon of happy conversation with topics ranging from weddings to common friends, to food, to interesting clients and many more. When all four Veloso brides cleaned up their plates, Letlet said, “Wow! You girls eat well ha? It’s a good thing you kept in shape, hahaha!”
After our hearty lunch, we took out our heavy wedding albums.
There was nostalgia and laughter as we looked at our Aquanet-aided hairstyles, those big sleeves, bows and ribbons, make-up by Jesi Mendez (I think all three of them had him while I had mine done by my neighborhood salon.). We remembered how all four of us just fitted the camison only and not the finished gown to avoid bad luck, to which Letlet said, “It’s a good thing that brides don’t observe that superstition anymore! It makes my work simpler.”
Let’s take a peak at those albums, from most recent to the oldest.
Tita Malu also invited her amigas and I was surprised to see an aunt who’s also our wedding ninang both in 1989 and 2014.
After we said our goodbyes, we had our last photos taken and we were given take home gifts – the cado plant used for that amazing cado salad from Tita Malu, and necklace from Letlet, great accessory and gift, which is available at their Podium shop.
It was a lovely lunch and I’m definitely coming back. Stomachs and spirits were filled and I parted with my friends with the challenge to once again wear our Letlet Veloso gowns!
(If you’re interested to experience this private lunch or dinner with your family and friends, please reserve in advance. Call their landline 232 4573; cellphone 0917 600 8886 (Malu Veloso); 0918 702 2125 (Letlet Veloso, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
- I will speak at the #FitToLiveFree on June 20, 2015 at the SMX MOA Function Room 4. Event starts at 9am, and my talk is at 11:20am. If you want to register for free click this link.
- I will speak at Avida’s 25th anniversary event Homepossible 2015 on July 11, 2015 at Fairmont Hotel, Makati City.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon. Her new book is the Filipino version of the latter entitled Ang Muling Pagsasalaysay ng Ang Pinakamayamang Tao sa Babilonya. Click this link to read samples of the books. Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is also the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards.
Photo Attribution: Photos from the Veloso brides’ albums and phones during the lunch put together by the author to help deliver the message.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.