Celebrating a Celebrated Pianist » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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By Tina Hidalgo Jacinto

It has been said that music is the ultimate way to express one’s self; and the larger-than-life  pianist, Ingrid Sala Santamaria, certainly imbued depth and beauty to this expression at her recent full house concert at the Meralco Theater. Under the baton of Professor Arturo Molina, with the Manila Symphony Orchestra, over a thousand guests were enthralled with her scintillating performance.

The lovely Ingrid never seems to rest on her laurels, as she keeps on moving forward. This former Juilliard School of New York graduate has the incessant energy and commitment to her passion and love—the piano. Recently, in celebration of its fifth anniversary, the First Pacific Leadership Academy hosted the concert. Ricky Vargas, president of the board of trustees, said the academy stays true to the mandate of its illustrious chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan and to its goal, which is to develop leadership, innovation, and Need-Specific HROD programs to build a nation of leaders.

  • Ingrid Santamaria with Imelda Marcos after the performance.

  • Francis Libiran and Nat Manilag

  • Dr. Gerry Buenaventura and Victor Manilag

  • Tony Rose Sy and Stace Sy

  • Roxanne Sy and Clarice Sy

  • Sec. Manny de Guzman, Ferdinand Garcia, and Pearl de Guzman

  • Mark Bumgarner and Marina Benipayo

  • Antonio Sy., Jr., Usec. Antonio Fleta, Arsi Baltazar, and Frances Fleta

  • Bel Cunanan, Rosa Panlilio, and Sonya Garcia

  • Tessie Endriga and Bal Endriga

  • Cynthia Gubler and Janet Maghrablian

  • Christian Nagaño and Randy Gilongo

  • Tingting Cojuangco, the author, Marife Zamora, and Jullie Yap Daza

  • AP Escudero Limpot, Juliet Romualdez, and Ado Escudero

  • Bert Basilio, Nonie Basilio, and Ditas Posadas

  • Mila Belisario and Teresa Palanca

  • Ika Laurel Loewen, Gemma Cruz Araneta, and Raul Sunico


The Meralco Theater stage was transformed into a colorful weave of fabric and lights, celebrating the Tipulo tree of the Academy, which enhanced the visual thrill of the performance. Ingrid beguiled her audience with an acclaimed two-part program: “Piano Concerto no. 2 in C-minor,” “Op.18 Sergei Rachmaninov: Moderato;” “Adagio Sostenuto;” “Allegro Scherzando.” After the intermission she wore a red gown where she performed “Piano Concerto no. 1 in B Flat-minor, Op. 23 by Pyotr Ilytch Tchaikovsky: Allegro Non Troppo E Molto Maestoso; Andantino Semplice-Prestissimo;” Allegro Con Fuoco. FPLA general manager and executive director Roy Agustin Evalle wanted to inspire the audience to experience the facets of the diversity of the artist.

The celebrator Susan Sy, standing, with Agile Zamora, Connie Haw, and Merci Padolina

The celebrator Susan Sy, standing, with Agile Zamora, Connie Haw, and Merci Padolina

A Milestone for Susan

One of the patrons of the arts at Rupert Jacinto’s recent photographic exhibit “Splendor Beyond the River Danube” was Susan Sy. The amiable Susan recently celebrated her birthday at Blackbird in Ayala Triangle. A bookstore magnate with their silent philanthropy, she and husband Tony are proprietors of the oldest bookstore in Quezon since 1949. Attendees were family and close friends, such as Sec. Manny and Pearl de Guzman, Agile Zamora, Mark Bumgarner, Merci Padolina, Connie Haw, Francis Libiran, Arsi Baltazar, Beth and Helen Lee, Marina Benipayo, and Ferdinand Garcia.

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