MARRIAGE MADE MARVELLOUS IN MANILA
The wedding between Zaireen Ayu Ibrahim and Shazlan Sufian in Manila last January was definitely the Malaysian wedding of the year in Philippines. Over a hundred Malaysians flew over to congratulate the blissed out couple, with the Vice-President of Phillippines, former President Fidel Ramos and Secretary of Foreign Affairs as guests of honour.
The radiant bride Zaireen with me, both looking so resplendent, laces, feathers and all. Only the tiaras were missing!
I think Princess Dr Becky Leogardo and I are even more matching in our colour-coded designer gear made for this occasion!
Top international Dutch lawyer with wife Princess Dr Becky Leogardo and top international journalist Kee Hua Chee!
The gorgeous couple in traditional Malay costumes with the groom wearing a keris .
The VVIPs; HE the Vice-President of the Phlippines Jejomar Binay and HH Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah the Crown Prince of Pahang.
One for the album; next to bridal couple is Malaysia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dato' Seri Anifah Aman.
The happy couple being blessed by the Vice President of the Philippines as the bride's father the Malaysian ambassador to Philippines looks on smilingly.
The Crown Prince of Pahang blessing the couple.
The bride's father Dato Seri Ibrahim Saad the Malaysian ambassador to Philippines presented a Malay keris to the Philippines Vice-President which is customary.
Dutch lawyer Michael Mantz, Toh Puan Habibah, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo and Tengku Arif Bendahara, brother of the Sultan of Pahang.
His Highness the Crown Prince of Pahang with the Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dato Seri Anifah Aman.
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo with the Under-Secretary of Foreign Affairs Mr Brillantes (left) and former President Fidel Ramos.
Dato' Razman Hashim and lovely wife Datin Latiffah
Miss Malaysia Universe 2011 Deborah Henry, Princess De Becky Leogardo and Michael Mantz
Tunku Tan Sri Dara Tg Naqiah, eldest child of the late Yam Tuan of Negeri Sembilan and Tunku Mudzaffar.
Pretty Lim Ai San with her parents Dato and Datin Lim.
Like father, like son! Dato Seri Ibrahim Saad with son and they look like brothers!
Ning Baizura and British hubby Omar Sharif.
Tengku Nong Soraya Sultan Abu Bakar with her handsome son.
Why marry in Manila if you are not Filipinos? Since Zaireen Dato' Seri Ibrahim and her husband Shazlan have no Filipino lineage, the sole reason they chose Manila to host their wedding reception was because Zaireen’s father is the new Malaysian ambassador to the Phillippines. Academician and former politician Dato Seri Ibrahim Saad and his ever smiling and jovial wife Dato Zainab Kader are respected pillars of Malaysian society so fellow pillars and the social elite were buying airtickets to attend the happy occasion.
The talk of both capitals was the acceptance of the President of the Philippines Benigno Aquino III to be Guest of Honour, the first time a Filipino president had ever consented to attend a foreign ambassador’s daughter wedding. Proof positive of the strong ties between our two nations, more so when he was not a personal friend of Dato Seri Ibrahim Saad.
Alas, the President of the Philippines fell ill in the morning and his doctors ordered him to stay in bed. President Aquino sent his regrets and despatched Vice-President Jejomar Binay to represent the highest office of the land. What a letdown and everyone, especially the Malaysians who flew over to say hello to the scion of the Aquino clan and head of the land. Oh well, worse things have happened so we Malaysians took the news calmly and I had to send new SMS to all my friends lamenting I would not be flooding their FB and emails with unsolicited photos of me smirking with President Benigno Aquino after all.
Still, there were many other illustrious VVIPs to make up for this disappointment and include a former President, the highly respected President Fidel Ramos who was seen puffing away at his trademark cigar which was never lit! This is just a habit and a healthy one at that since he gets to exercise his jaws without the ill benefits of snoking.
There were the Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs (equivalent to our Minister of Foreign Affairs) Alberto Romulo and wife Rose Lovely, Social Welfare and Development Secretary Mrs Dinky Soliman and former congressman Robert Jaworski Jr and wife Mikee Cojuangco.Yes, I checked and this is their real names and correct spelling. The Filipinos do have fancy and romantic names! Fancy being named Rose Lovely though I would prefer to be Lovely Rose!
The Malaysian contingent was headed by Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah the Crown Prince of Pahang the Tengku Mahkota Pahang, Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dato Seri Anifah Aman, the brother of the Sultan of Pahang Tengku Arif Bendahara Pahang and his wife Cik Puan Bendahara Dato Habibah, former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Musa Hitam and his wife Toh Puan Zulaika.
“I am so touched and happy over a hundred relatives and friends flew all the way from Malaysia to Manila to attend our wedding, including 30 ambassadors,” beamed Zaireen Ayu Ibrahim who works as Sales and Marketing Manager of Melium Group and looked resplendent in Rizalman couture. Hubby Shazlan Sufian, vice-president of head of cash management of UOB, looked spiffy too. “We picked Manila Peninsula as my husband and parents like the character of this wonderful hotel and the ballroom is the right size for the intimate wedding we wanted. As Dad has just been posted to the Philippines, our wedding provided a great reason for friends to visit. Most continued their trip to various holiday spots in the Philippines after the wedding.” The Filipino Ministry of Tourism should give a certificate of merit to our man in Manila for bringing in so many wealthy tourists!
After the bersanding ceremony in which Filipino VIPs performed the customary blessing rites, a Malaysian dinner was served. Peninsula Manila rose to the occasion by producing a commendable feast of Nyonya prawns, laksa lemak, popadam, ayam panggang and western desserts.
Entertainment was unique as it was provided not by paid stars but by the guests, each representing a particular sector or industry! Ning Baizura started the ball rolling by singing P.Ramlee song and ‘You Are Too Good To be True’ and of course she represented the music industry.
Dato Razman Hashim sang evergreen tunes and represented commerce and industry. Tg Idris Sultan Abu Bakar of Pahang represented Malaysian royalty, Dato Abang Sufian Saufi, father of the groom represented the bridal family, Dato Faridah Hashim represented glam grandmas, Dato Tom Abang Saufi, paternal aunt of groom represented the world of fashion, Putri Mona represented the new generation of royals and Datin Nina Dato Suhaimi represented that much maligned category---the housewives!
Dato Seri Ibrahim Saad thanked his VIP guests (“some of whom flown 12 hours to be with us tonight” he noted) and wife and advised his son-in-law to listen to his new wife and take the path of least resistance. “Even if her advice will lead to disaster, if she suggests something, just say ‘it is a good idea and I was just thinking of the same thing’! If you think like your wife, you will be a goner one of these days but don’t let her know this!” grinned the arch diplomat.
Mind you, the Manila marriage was the fourth reception! The Akad Nikah was held at the bride’s palatial home in Taman Tun Dr Ismail and attended by 500, the groom’s reception with 300 guests was at Double Tree and the gathering of the clan of 280 people was at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.