Last July 29, the Philippine-Italian Association celebrated its 55 years of cultural exchange between Italy and the Philippines in an impressive party held at the ballroom of the Manila Peninsula Hotel.
To see a cultural association still on the wave at 55 is not common, but to see a 55th anniversary so well attended is a very good sign of the health of this organization and a good promise for the future.
The long history of the PIA started in 1962 when the organization was founded by 2 eminences: Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican, Proceso E. Sebastian and Italian Ambassador to Manila, Eugenio Rubino. Soon the PIA assumed the role of the unofficial cultural arm of the Italian Embassy in Manila and it remained so till the late 80s when a Cultural Office was opened at the Embassy.
Since then, the role of the PIA has slowly evolved into a language school and a platform for cultural exchanges between the Philippines and Italy, always nurturing excellent relations with the Italian Embassy to the Philippines and the Philippine Embassy to Italy. In connection with this it’s worth notice some of the PIA’s current projects, notably, the partnership between the National Library of the Philippines and the Italian Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense and the donation of 2 Diosdado Magno Lorenzo busts, now in Italy, to the National Museum of the Philippines.
All this effectively narrated by the Philippine Italian Association’s President, Ms. Zenaida Tantoco, during her welcome remarks, as well by the PIA’s VP for Culture, Mrs. Silvana Diaz, whose toast ended like this: Brindiamo insieme ad un brillante futuro ricco di scambi culturali e rinnovata amicizia! “Let’s toast to a brilliant future, rich in cultural exchanges and renewed friendship!”
A series of panels also helped the guests to recall the many achievements of this organization throughout its history.
In an emerald green themed ballroom, 250 guests, composed by the PIA’s members, students and friends, but also institutions and sponsors, gathered to celebrate this milestone and were accompanied by a full program: Recognition of the Italian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Massimo Roscigno, who will soon conclude his tour of duties in the Country; a superb piano performance by Dr. Raul Sunico; a Silent Auction (almost sold out!) of Italian decorative items and Philippine artworks by Ramon Diaz, Paolina Luz, Al Perez (the three of them were present) and Benjamin Dailo. The most thrilling part of the evening were the live auction, masterly conducted by Mr. Johnny Litton (who for the occasion dusted off his Italian repertoire), the dancing and a rich raffle that kept all the guests in suspense till the very end.
Lunga vita alla Philippine Italian Association! Mabuhay Philippine Italian Association!