Philippine-Italian Association turns 50

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MARNELY Salvador, Joseph Calata, Mellie Ablaza, Patrick Jacinto, Tina Jacinto, Louie Ablaza

To mark its golden anniversary, the Philippine-Italian Association (PIA) recently hosted an intimate dinner and cultural program at Peninsula Manila for artists and the social set.

MIA Borromeo, Mario Katigbak, Susan Joven

In the ballroom foyer, Murano glass sculptures, Italian furniture and paintings by such artists as Popo San Pascual and Duddley Diaz were on display for silent bidding. The proceeds went to the PIA endowment fund.

Dressed in a Patis Tesoro beaded overlay and gown accessorized by an heirloom necklace, PIA president Zenaida R. Tantoco lauded the people who have helped the association through the years. She acknowledged Italian Ambassador Luca Fornari who shortened his vacation leave in Italy to grace the event.

Tantoco pointed out that Fornari worked for the membership of PIA in the European Union National Institutes for Culture, thereby elevating its status as a cultural arm of the Italian embassy. It is now in the league of France’s Alliance Française, Spain’s Instituto Cervantes and Germany’s Goethe Institut. Fornari also inspired Tantoco to produce the opera “The Barber of Seville” in Manila.

ILAC and Silvana Diaz

PIA’s founder and former president, Tantoco’s father Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco, was also cited for building two monuments—the statue of Antonio Pigafetta by Abdulmari Imao in Cebu, and the Juan Luna in Intramuros by sculptor Anastaceo Caedo.

Tantoco also thanked Betty Ildefonso Chalkey, a member of PIA, who donated a 5 x 4.2-ft painting of the Ildefonso family, done in 1938 by Italian-trained Filipino painter Diosdado Lorenzo. The painting will be on exhibit at the National Museum.

She also commended the efforts of the officers, members and friends of PIA.

The evening climaxed with the announcement of the winners of the silent auction. Arturo Luz’s abstraction “Rajasthan” went for P175,000.

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