A GLITTERING dinner affair at the Marco Polo Plaza ballroom marked the launching of the golden anniversary celebration of the Arts Council of Cebu. The evening’s highlight was the performance of acclaimed prima ballerina Lisa Macuja Elizalde and her Ballet Manila group. They were all superb but Lisa really stood out with her effortless and masterful execution in all her numbers.

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS. From left: Maxwell Espina, Teresin Mendezona, Mayen Tan, Petite Garcia, Arts Council founder Fe Villarica, Jaime Picornell, Vivina Yrastorza, Marissa Fernan, Mariter Klepp, Annie Aboitiz and Elvira Luym. Not in the photo is Marylou Neri.

It was a beautiful evening which started off with a bit of reminiscing. Yes, it was in 1960 when Fe Sala Villarica (herself an accomplished ballet dancer) gathered a group of seven Cebuano artists, one for each of the seven arts, to form the nucleus of the Arts Council of Cebu. They were Pilar Sala for music, Carmelo Tamayo for paintng, Gloria Escaño for drama, Molly Briones for literature, Fidel Araneta for sculpture, Jose Mercado for architecture, and Fe herself for dance.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

From its simple beginnings, the council has steadily made a name for itself as the premier arts advocate south of Manila by sponsoring performances of national and world-renowned artists.

In 1975 the Arts Council of Cebu was recognized as Valuable Institution by the Philippines Foundation Inc. In August 1992, the group became the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation Inc.

All the past presidents were acknowledged during the brief program starting with the founding president Fe Sala Villarica who was asked to say a few words. The other past president present was Spanish Consul Jaime Picornell who remains a very active member of the council to this day. The rest were represented by relatives: the late Esperanza Labucay Cabahug was represented by her niece Angelina Labucay Escaño while the late Loreto Victorino was represented by her daughter Myrna Ballesteros.

Standing in for her mother-in-law, Gloria Ligot Escaño, who is out of the country, was Ellen Aguas Escaño. Maia Villarica Franco who lives in Spain had son Raci Franco for proxy.

The council’s current president is Petite Garcia who with her dynamic board of directors are always up to something “artsy.”

Kudos to event chair Dr. Vivina Yrastorza, the moving spirit during the elegant affair.

Ii was indeed a night to remember for the Arts Council of Cebu Foundation, now on its 50th year!