Manila's resident eventologist, Tim Yap, said he was sorry that his guests were photographed mask-less at his birthday party in Baguio City that drew brickbats from social media for visible breaches of COVID-19 protocols.
Yap's fate was similar to that of fellow partyphile, Raymond Gutierrez, who celebrated his birthday at a Taguig City restaurant that was shut after photos of the event went viral.
In Yap's case, guests were provided with masks and shields and they took them off for photos, the party organizers said. Guests also tested negative for the virus before going to The Manor at Camp John Hay, he said.
"Every activity was supervised, contact-tracing measures were followed. It's just sad what's being magnified... There's no excuse for that and I apologize for that. There's no excuse for not wearing your mask. We have to be at all times be really vigilant," he told CNN Philippines.
Photos and Instagram stories of the event circulating on Twitter showed Yap and his high-profile guests line dancing without masks. Some pictures of the buffet showed guests and servers wearing masks. Yap arrived at the party on board a white horse.
"All of a sudden, the cultural dance happened and so the cultural dancers pulled everybody even for myself, we got carried way, we invited everybody to do the cultural community dance. That's what you're seeing right now in the video," he said.
Yap said he underscored that the party was being held in the "reset Baguio" where strict protocols are observed. On Tuesday, OCTA Research Group expressed concern over rising COVID cases in the city.
"Before dinner started... I said welcome to reset Baguio. Let's all be safe lets all wear a mask. We distributed masks and shields. That's what people are not seeing on social media," he said.
Yap said the event was coordinated with the city government and was held outdoors, a 5,000-square meter garden.
"The lesson to be learned, no matter if you have been tested you still continue practicing all the social distancing, you still wear your masks, you still wear your shield, you still protect each other and protect yourself," he said.