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Ablaza All Ablaze

At the foot of the grand staircase, wearing regal winter white and covered in jewels, stands Mellie Ablaza. In a bustling floor-length Steve de Leon gown, and wearing a butterfly-accented tiara and jewel-encrusted choke, she is the image of a royal snow queen. Her fingers are adorned with diamonds so large, they would put Kim Kardashian’s engagement ring to shame. On either side of her are vases draped with feathers, cascading like a virtual red and black fountain, the perfect counterpoint to the snowy white gown and icy cool marble.

Ablaza certainly has a flair for drama. Whenever an occasion arises, there is a dazzling, highly conceptual themed party involved, with decorations, entertainment, food, and all the trappings. She tells us about get-togethers she’s arranged in the past—there was a circus-themed shindig, complete with acrobats hanging from the ceiling performing death-defying acts. Other themes have included Alice in Wonderland, a Hawaiian luau, James Bond, and gods and goddesses. Rest assured, when there is a gathering at the Ablazas, they pull out all the stops. 

And so the annual gussying up of their grand, imperious residence come Christmas is hardly any exception. The man behind this flamboyant display? Her son, interior and events designer, jeweler, and perennial decorator of the Ablaza estate, Jun Jun. Dressed in head-to-toe black, and adorned with a chunky gem necklace, silver chain bangle, and star-lined ear cuff (his own creation), he no doubt gets his larger-than-life aesthetics from his mother. “He’s not a minimalist,” she says with a laugh, and one need only look around their decked-out home to conclude that this is, indeed, an understatement.

The Ablazas usually book entertainment, and there are also musical performances by her grandchildren, who sing as well as play the piano and violin. The food is catered by The Rockwell Club’s Chef Jessie; she entrusts the menu selection to her friend, fashion designer, and gourmand Boysie Villavicencio. Although the offerings vary yearly, Christmas favorites such as lechon, turkey, ham, or roast beef are served. Son Marc takes charge of the wine and drinks, and daughter Czarina oversees the performances. “It’s a family endeavor,” she says proudly. And what does her husband Louie have to say about all this? “He’s very supportive,” she says, beaming—she and Jun Jun practically transform their home with every new celebration. Mr. Ablaza happily sits back while mother and son let their imaginations run wild.

Once the rush that comes with the festivities subsides, the family tries to get away from it all to celebrate the New Year, leaving the city and escaping to vacation homes. But this being Mellie, one of the country’s great hostesses, her mind is already thinking ahead, planning the next huge event. You can expect that it will be yet another amazing bash. After all, she reasons, “Parties are part of life!”