THE NATIONAL Day of France was celebrated in Cebu on July 18 with a grand reception hosted by the Honorary Consul of France and Mme. Michel Lhuillier. Venue was La Maison Rose, home to the Alliance Francaise de Cebu.
Invitations said attire requested was smart casual but nonetheless it was a brilliantly dressy affair. Amparito Llamas Lhuillier set the tone, clad in black Chantilly lace with the signature of daughter Monique. A riviere of diamonds sparkled from her neck.
Here for the occasion was Hughes Antoine Suin, first counselor of the French Embassy, in place of Ambassador Gilles Garachon. He was in Manila with the foreign minister discussing the state visit to France of President Aquino come Sept. 18.
Toasts were made by Messieurs Suin and Lhuillier to the continued friendship and further enhanced relations between the Philippines and France. A message on behalf of Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III was delivered by provincial board member Raul Alcoseba.
Alliance Francaise de Cebu director Louis Thevenin made sure everything was in perfect order. He was ably assisted by his wife Honeylet Samia Thevenin, who manages the restaurant of La Maison Rose ever so efficiently.
Attentive waiters kept those champagne flutes filled at all times and passed delicious bite size canapes. Executive chef Adrien Guerrey laid out a fabulous spread of French cheeses, cold cuts, pates, what-have-you.
Glimpsed about: Michel’s sister Angie L. Mathieu, Michel and Amparito’s son Michael Lhuillier with wife Johanna, Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar, Yemma Senining Judilla who sang all stanzas of the French national anthem in perfect enunciation, the Consul of Japan and Mme. Shoji Otake, and Sweden’s honorary consul Jose Sala with wife Susan.
More: Rosebud Sala and Margie Taylor sitting with Carmen Campbell; Rafaelita Pelaez in a lively table with Alice Plaza, Vikkie Hermosisima, Teresin Mendezona and Quito and Susan Farrarons.
Making a glamorous entrance were Alice Woolbright, June Alegrado, Iris Arcenas and her pretty daughter Mia whose line of airy kaftans and formals continue to make a sensation. Dr. Nestor Alonso shared a table with Alliance Francaise de Cebu trustees Mayen Tan and Honey Loop.
The Alliance of Cebu was well represented by its deputy director Elise Robillart and staff—events director Angelica Valera, Kim Manzo, Mark Sy, Kurt Ocenar, Dhevie Hatulan, Sandy Chua and Renante Recablanca.
Spotted among the French language teachers were Melissa Bonnaud, Kevin Hoffert, Ludwig Kapfer, Mathias Bohne, Gaelle Simonin, Graziella Vergain, Stephanie Hureau, Charlene Virlouvet and Thomas de Sisto.
The Interact Band was there to play dance music beneath a tent all the way up to midnight, by which time a DJ took over to dish out more dance music till the break of dawn or more like, say, 4 or 5 a.m., the perfect hours to munch croissants at nearby La Vie Parisienne.
Seen among the prominent guests were Remy and Shella Rault. He is a French painter of note who has made Cebu his second home. Last year he was instrumental in bringing Cebuano painters from the Mugna group to Paris.
The Cebu painters were warmly welcomed by Frederic de Beauvoir, director of Le 100 (Le Cent), the art center at the 12th arrondissement in the city of Paris. It sponsored the exhibit and residency of the Cebuano painters for a whole month in France.
There was also valued support from the Philippine Embassy in Paris through Vice Consul Andre Peter Estanislao.
This year, in November, it is Cebu’s turn to host the French artists who interacted with the Cebuano painters from the Mugna group. Six are coming from Paris: Claire-James Dupain, Maite Soler, Damien Serban, Cyril Rouge-Golemfabrik, Jean Jerome and Sophie.
Remy Rault counts himself among the Cebuano artists, led by Palmy Pe Tudtud and including Josua Cabrera, Felix Catarata, Melver Mercado, Geraldine Ocampo, Radel Paredes, Marvin Natural and the eminent Jose “Kimsoy” Yap.
It will be interesting to see the paintings the Cebuanos were inspired to produce while in and after their Paris experience.
Aside from paintings in varied styles, the exhibit will also feature sculptures, photographs, installations, video art and other innovative media.
This art event of the first water in brought to Cebu by Alliance Francaise and its corporate partners through the efforts of its director Louis Thevenin and trustee Marlinda Angbetic Tan.
Last Monday, the Mugna group with Palmy Pe Tudtud at the forefront attended a meeting to present the project to acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, chair of the city’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission.