Rhapsody in blue » Manila Bulletin Lifestyle

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Celebrating culture

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By Tina Hidalgo Jacinto

  • WOMEN IN CHARGE The women behind the Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines’ (FCCP): Baby de Jesus, Nene Pe Lim, secretary Lin Liboro, vice-president Tessie Rodrigo, president Nonie Basilio, assistant secretary Gay Jamias, treasurer Margie Ortiz Luis, assistant treasurer Karen Macasaet, and directors Cristina Galang Caedo, Baby Ortiz, Sol Tan Gatue, Gilda Salonga, and Terry Tambunting

  • Former CCP president Raul Sunico (3rd from left) was awarded the FCCP Achievement Award for Excellence in Music, with an Orlina Rhapsody in Blue Glass sculpture, by Nonie Basilio, FCCP president (2nd from left), and CCP president Arsenio Lizaso, (4th from left). With them are Lulu Castaneda Tesoro, chair of the Awards committee, Ramon Orlina, and Lay Ann Orlina

  • The author and Tessie Rodrigo

  • Connie Garcia, former Ambassador Victor Garcia, Hungarian ambassador Jozsef Bencze, Susan Batungbacal-Fries, and Swedish ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries

  • Jullie Yap Daza and Johnny Litton

  • CCP president Arsenio Lizaso and Belen Lizaso

  • Helen Ong and Jun Jun Ablaza

  • Olga Martel and Ado Escudero

  • Czarina Syquia and Dr. Jofe Syquia

  • Emmy Florentino, Baby Luat, and Baby Ortiz

  • Mache Ackerman, Lilia Hao, Daisy Tieng, Janet Maghrablian, Dallaz Eure, and Mitzi Piad

  • (Seated from left) Lulu Castañeda, Beth Cristobal, Joe Cristobal, Standing Beng Fores, Vicky Montilla, Minerva Tanseco, Frank Evaristo, and Chloe Periquet

  • Rose Basa, ChuchiVillar, Maru Go, and Baby Tan

  • Mache and David Ackerman with daughter Emilia

  • Bob Miller, Marivic Vazquez, Ito Curata Standing Gela Cornelissen, Nini Layug, and Dr. Joni Dizon

  • Allan Tengco and Danny Dolor

  • Gene Reyes, Lydia Reyes, and Linda Cruz


The Friends for Cultural Concerns of the Philippines’ (FCCP) 38th Annual Ball was one of the notable events of the season. With a ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ theme, the event was held at the Makati Shangri-La, and the evening was studded with well-heeled guests from the diplomatic circle, business, government, and society.

President Nonie Basilio and her committee members, director Tessie Rodrigo, chair Rose Lazaro, and co-chair Karen Macasaet are catalysts for fundraising initiatives.

With Nonie’s intensely heartfelt work, she directed her team to their twofold goals of the scholarship program, where they took in 21 new scholars, and the increase in FCCP’s membership, with 17 new members.

The indefatigable spirit of master of ceremonies Johnny Litton injected energy and gaiety into the event. He introduced Nonie who announced a forthcoming coffee table book and the premier awarding of a trophy to deserving individuals. Raul Sunico, former president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, was the first recipient of the FCCP Achievement Award for Excellence in Music. His trophy was Rhapsody in Blue Glass by acclaimed glass sculptor Ramon Orlina. Future awardees will receive similar covetable sculptures in different colors. The award was presented to him by Nonie, assisted by Nick Lizaso, president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and lawyer Lulu Castaneda, chair of the awards committee.

Entertainment followed with a dance number by the president and her committee to the tune of George Gershwin’s popular hits, followed by the other FCCP members. Members of the Philippine Ballet Theater performed Gershwin Suite, and the iconic musical moment of the evening was the performance of award-winning pianist Raul Sunico, who rendered the intricate and celebrated “Rhapsody in Blue” piece. The four-million-peso piano was through the courtesy of Willem Van Suijdam Manila Piano.

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