Love conquers fear this month of February. The coronavirus has sparked panic and paranoia of a global pandemic, yet, hopefully, it is considerably less deadly overall than the common seasonal flu. With the precautionary measures taken to fight the outbreak, like the travel bans and quarantines, it is best to stay in town.
Since the Chinese New Year (CNY) Spring Festival happens for 15 days, celebrations continue until Feb. 8. We chose Feb. 5 to host our annual CNY party and jointly celebrate the birthday of my mother-in-law Cynthia Valdes. It was a quintuple celebration as well, with the coming birthdays of family members Amanda Carpo-Bond, Tinkay Crespo-Prieto and Paolo Prieto.
Aside from birthdays, we also celebrated my sister Sandy Prieto-Romualdez’s winning her 14th Manila Golf Ladies Club Championship. We are happily looking forward to the arrival of our first grandchild sometime this month or next. Wouldn’t it be wild if Baby Louie is born on Feb. 29?
Our CNY party featured a Lion Dance and performance by Mulan, plus a feng shui forecast by my Bikram yoga teacher and Lillian Too feng shui enthusiast Ollay Aninion. Ollay spoke of the traits of babies born in the Year of the Metal Rat, saying they will have the “money bag” star indicating prosperity, the scholastic star for intelligence and optimism, a very keen intuition and a rich imagination.
Whether your animal sign is going to have an auspicious year, like the Monkey, Ox, Dog and Dragon, or an afflicted year like the Horse, it is always good to create positive energy by doing charity or acts of kindness, or supporting arts and culture.
Helping art scholars for the past 20 years is the Asian Cultural Council Philippines (ACCP). To date, over 300 individuals and organizations—contemporary and young emerging artists in theater, music, dance, literature, architecture, and other allied arts—make up the grantees list. It is led by National Artists Lucrecia Kasilag, Jose Maceda, Francisco Feliciano and Ramon Santos for Music, Jose Joya for Visual Arts, Alice Reyes for Dance and Kidlat Tahimik for Film; and institutions such as the Asian Composers League, Ballet Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Museo Pambata, National Museum and the University of the Philippines (UP) Ethnomusicology, to name a few. ACCP opens its 20th anniversary celebration with the ACC Art Auction on Feb. 22, 2 p.m. at León Gallery. The event will feature impressive works, topped by a 1930 Fabian de la Rosa painting in oil, “Dos Hermanas,” a gift of the artist to Rafael Palma, journalist, patriot and former president of UP, and Ang Kiukok’s 2001 oil piece “Still Life (Window Series).”
Other works by modern and contemporary masters such as Hidalgo, Manansala, Malang, BenCab, Sansó, Lao Lianben and Joya are also featured among more than 150 pieces up for bidding.
In the same auction two years ago, it was Joya’s “Space Transfiguration” that fetched a record sale price. Also included are items of historical significance, fine antiques, distinct furniture pieces and other objets d’art. Check it out at León Gallery, G/F Eurovilla 1, Rufino corner Legazpi Streets, Legazpi Village, Makati City.
‘Agents of change’
Last week, Lifestyle Asia featured individuals who help make the world a better place. With its theme, “Agents of Change,” the magazine published stories of influential figures who inspire us. Included was Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray with her advocacies beyond the crown. Catriona helps out in Love Yourself Philippines and volunteers as an assistant teacher in Young Focus, an NGO that educates underprivileged youth from Smokey Mountain in Tondo, Manila.
Also included was Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, who has over a decade of government experience starting with the Department of Agriculture. Berna is at the forefront of urban planning, sanitation, and waste and disaster risk management in tourist-heavy destinations like Siargao, Coron and Baguio.
I was overjoyed that my Red Charity Gala (RCG) cochair Kaye Tiñga and I were awardees, too. The RCG benefits foundations like Philippine Red Cross and Assumption High School Batch 1981 Foundation. Lifestyle Asia likewise featured my hubby Dennis and my ongoing reef project, which we started at our 25th wedding anniversary in 2019.
For her part, Kaye has W/17, a sustainability-driven home store. Together with Andrés Vázquez-Prada, they showcase Filipino heritage and talent with the fair-trade products. With local and imported pieces placed together, people realize that Filipino-made products are as beautiful and high-quality as international ones. Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman was another awardee. She is the first openly transgender elected to Congress, and a gender equality advocate. Apart from leading the proposal of the Sogie bill and advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, she has championed changes in other industries, from agrarian reform to education.
The awardee of the evening was Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, the former actor who continues to make headlines with his style of governance. While his unconventional initiatives like massive clean-up operations, Mayor Isko, or Yorme, pursues his vision of rehabilitating Manila to create a new golden age for the Philippine capital.