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Met gala: A-List for art

Masterstroke event brings VIPs and advocates—from rarely seen Baby Fores to Ben Chan, Vicki Belo who could connect to after-party techno sounds



Jaime Zobel de Ayala had just been to Davos, but when he walked into the Metropolitan Museum of Manila, he looked fresh and energetic.

Socially selective Jorge and Stella Araneta not only made an appearance but stayed for the dinner with good friends and traveling companions Lani and Conchitina Bernardo and Bobby and Olivia Romulo.

They joined Chuching and Marge Tambunting, who were also among the early arrivals at the Met 2013 Gala Night for the opportunity to walk through the exhibit on the second floor.

BOBBY Romulo, Conchitina Bernardo, Olivia Romulo, former Ambassador Lani Bernardo

It was worth Washington SyCip’s efforts to negotiate the steps up to view canvases of illustrious names in Philippine art such as Fernando Amorsolo, Romeo Tabuena, Jose Joya, Pacita Abad, Nena Saguil, among key names in Philippine modern art.

While it may have been the years that measured SyCip’s pace, other art enthusiasts also moved slowly, pausing to have their moment before an Onib Olmedo or a J. Elizalde Navarro.

Joanne de Asis Benitez and Jimmy Laya lingered over one or another painting or sculpture.

Paulino Que, quietly taking in the works, was among the collectors, artists and institutions that had magnanimously loaned pieces for the Met exhibit.

Elements of a fine evening

JOEY and Marissa Concepcion

The permanent exhibition, “The Philippine Contemporary: Scaling the Past and the Possible,” was a major attraction of the invitational event.

The event was organized by the Metropolitan Museum Foundation board of trustees, specifically board members Irene Martel Francisco, Doris Magsaysay Ho, Mercedes Zobel with Ricco Ocampo.

Board of trustees chair Butch Campos acknowledged the generous response of sponsors and donors of the museum before Kai served up courses accompanied by LVMH wines—Terrazas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Reserva Chardonnay 2008.

The fundraising dinner was part of a collective effort by advocates of Philippine art and culture to make the Met a truly world-class museum.

Board president Tina Colayco thanked the committee members in her brief remarks after the Apple-Sampaguita Sorbet was served in Japanese tea pots.

Guests were seated at long tables draped in gray which ran the length of the ground-floor gallery.

JOANNE BENITEZ,Washington SyCip, Dee Zobel, Chinese Ambassador Ma Kequing, former Ambassador Delia Albert with the author

The Jazz Quartet at the lobby and Argentine music on the accordion at the Gallery gave way to Nuevo Flamenco’s contemporary sound during the plated service.

The modulation was respectful of social intercourse to allow Baby Fores and Nene Quimson decent conversation, with the guitar, bass, flute and kahon playing in the background.

Gala committee members Olivia Campos and Fe Rodriguez were seen going around greeting friends and ensuring they were well attended.

Art to touch

TABLES running the length of the gallery display current art.

There were intervals between the Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass and the Akamiso Braised American Angus Short Ribs to soak in Emmanuel Garibay’s oil-on-canvas “Masa” or Ronald Ventura’s intermedia “Basic.”

Artworks surrounding the dining set-up stirred another sensibility, adding to the pleasures of degustation. It was a younger set of artists on the walls but even the tablescape was a venue for new and current expressions.

Leeroy New’s plastic coils build up into other-worldly forms with spore-like tendrils in luminous colors. Set as centerpieces with plants and hollow blocks, it was an art statement inviting discourse.

Yet even art philistines might have been provoked to react, especially when performers, wrapped in the same glow-in-the-dark medium, emerged to cavort on the aisles, pleading plaintively to touch them.

MARIBEL ONGPIN and Amparito Lhuillier

It was a masterstroke to invite the generation of Jesse and Patrick Maxwell to an after-party.

The young people had begun to mill in the bar area separated from the gallery by a wall.

Tim Yap and Cristalle Henares enjoined the patrons of art, who were finishing up their Red Velvet Crepe Cake, to stay for the next part of the evening which some of their children had come for.

While sponsors like Ben Chan and Vicki Belo could relate to the techno and house music that replaced the earlier sounds, others like Arturo and Tessie Luz chose to walk the red carpet out into the waiting chauffeured cars.

Departing art cognoscenti waved at each other, leaving the arriving 20- and 30-somethings to find their own space at the museum to the spins of Kat Razon.

Anna Isabel C. Sobrepeña is the editor in chief of Lifestyle Asia.

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Tags: Davos , Jaime Zobel de Ayala , Marge Tambunting , Met 2013 Gala Night , Metropolitan Museum Foundation , Metropolitan Museum of Manila

  • WAJ

    These are the influential people in the Philippines.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IZS723M7OQL5GJ43IEJMJUDDIY hanep

    If  you’re still  wondering   who controls  economic and political
     power  in the Philippines, wonder no more.

    And the Chinese  ambassador  is  ” cavorting ”  with the  top  1% of  the 1% 
    so everything   is just  dandy.

    I can almost hear  Marie Antoinette muttering  ”  ”Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”,

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_44JMK2UGPXICPBKLDGLKPXLXWQ Loy

    If my memory serves me right, isn’t this SGV the company of this Washington Sycip which signed the financial health statement of PLDT when Senyor Manny bought it from Senyor Tonyboy making it appear as if the total loan of PLDT with local banks was somewhere in the vicinity of PP14Billion but it turned out later that all the loans including unsecured ones totalled about PP40 Billion? Senyor Manny nearly declared that he won’t pay any of those loans and the local banking industry would have suffered a whammy.  I wonder how Senyor Manny regards SGV now.

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