Diplomats’ wives take the stage at musical fund-raiser | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

ISABELLE Garachon, Alice Guerrero, Eti Bar-on, South African Ambassador AgnesNyamande Pitso, Evelyn Farounbi, Ziki Ralte, Margaret Ledoux. PHOTOS BY ARNOLD ALMACEN
ISABELLE Garachon, Alice Guerrero, Eti Bar-on, South African Ambassador AgnesNyamande Pitso, Evelyn Farounbi, Ziki Ralte, Margaret Ledoux. PHOTOS BY ARNOLD ALMACEN





Months after the onslaught of Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” wives of the diplomatic community united to raise funds for the Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban, Leyte.


“Although parts of the Visayas have been rebuilt, there is still much that needs to be done to restore the lives of its people, and the International Bazaar Foundation (IBF) and the Spouses of Heads of Mission (SHOM) dearly wish to be part of this effort,” said Monaco consul general and event chair Fortune Ledesma.


PAT CASTILLO, Eugene Villaluz, Jacqui Magno, Ding Mercado

Hosted by New World Hotel and directed by Roxanne Lapuz, “The World of Music” featured Filipino world-class talents then and now. Baby boomers reminisced with songs by Ding Mercado and Eugene Villaluz of the New Minstrels, Jacqui Magno and Pat Castillo of Circus Band, and violinist Jay Cayuca.


Then there were numbers from crossover artists Jed Madela, Rachelle Gerodias and Jonathan Badon.


For drama, the champions from World Championships of the Performing Arts changed their costumes from nuns’ habits to evening gowns.


Muslim fan dance


The highlight of the show was the Muslim fan dance performed by the SHOM and South African Ambassador Agnes Nyamande Pitso. They were trained by a dancer from the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group. Statuesque Isabelle Garachon, wife of the French ambassador and a former professional dancer, was the lead artist. Trained in ballet, modern dance, musical theater and cancan, she easily adapted to the mellifluous Asian dancing.


Garachon admitted she had performance jitters before the show. But the moment she came onstage, she enjoyed performing.

NEWWORLDGMFarid Schoucair, Fortune Ledesma, Loida Lewis, Israeli Ambassador Menashe Bar-on

“The native costumes made us feel very Filipino,” she said.


Evelyn Farounbi, SHOM president, said that IBF and SHOM have cultivated a 47-year relationship. Aside from the annual bazaar, the ladies undertake various charities and fundraising events.


“This year’s ‘World of Music’ was exciting and effortless. We were like one big family,” said Farounbi. “Our creative and resourceful events coordinator worked hard. We had the charming chairperson of IBF, Gretchen del Rosario, and the members brought along a truckload of goodwill.”


Farounbi added: “There was full support from the management of the New World Hotel. Finally, there was the full and creative support of SHOM members and the solid backing of the ambassadors. The result was a great show that kept everybody spellbound and fully entertained. There really is so much fun in the Philippines.”


GERMAN Ambassador Thomas Ossowski, Egyptian Ambassador Mahmoud Mostafa Ahmed, French Embassy’s Michel Villar, Jerome Tang

On her involvement in the Muslim fan dance, Farounbi observed that the dance patterns had similarities with the native dances in Africa.


“Initially we were going to do the cha-cha, she pointed out. “I said we should do a Filipino fan dance to convey the message that we are doing this out of love. Our performance of a Filipino dance in a fundraising event was a demonstration of our identification with the hopes of Filipinos.”


In her speech, event chair Ledesma explained the significance of the event: “For us, ‘The World of Music,’ is more than a celebration of music; it is a tribute to the strength and generosity of the human spirit.”


Acknowledging the people who shared their talent, time and resources, she quoted Winston Churchill as saying, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”