Fiesta-themed gala dinner for Asean leaders

Writer: 
Leila B. Salaverria Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

Southeast Asian leaders will enjoy the best of Philippine hospitality when President Duterte fetes them at a fiesta-themed gala dinner at the end of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit on Saturday.

Mindanao, the island where Mr. Duterte comes from, will be featured in the decor of the dinner venue and in the Rajo Laurel-designed barong that the Asean heads of state will wear.

The Mindanao-inspired barong will feature fabric from the different Philippine ethno-linguistic tribes, Malacañang said in a statement on Thursday.

The heads of state usually wear variations of the host country’s national attire to the gala dinner.

The leaders’ spouses will wear formal dresses designed by Rhett Eala. The top will be made from gazar or mikado fabric, while the bottom will be made from crepe, the Palace said.

State Counselor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (Myanmar), who represents her country in the summit, will be given something distinct from that to be worn by the other leaders, according to Marciano Paynor Jr., director general of the Asean 2017 National Organizing Council.

The Asean leaders and their spouses will pose for a photo in their Mindanao-inspired attire before the gala dinner.

The dinner, to be held at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, will have the theme “Asean fiesta.”

Some 800 guests are expected at the event, which will feature the best of Philippine cuisine and showcase the Filipinos’ innate warmth and hospitality.

Malacañang said the postsummit dinner would celebrate the cultural diversity of the Philippines, as well as the things it has in common with its regional neighbors.

The hotel lobby will feature Mindanao decor, jewel tones, and intricate detail, according to the Palace.

The holding room for the Asean leaders will have on display furniture from internationally renowned designer Ito Kish.

A string octet from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra will play during the dinner, which will be followed by a cultural presentation that will feature indigenous instruments from Asean countries.

Filipino singers will also perform a mashup of Asean pop hits. Dances from different parts of the country will also be featured.

The Buganda Drumbeaters is expected to end the cultural presentation on an upbeat note.

The Philippines will gift the Asean leaders with wooden trays made of Philippine mahogany with brass etching.

The design features the folk dance “singkil,” a pattern from the traditional tapestry “t’nalak” of the T’boli from South Cotabato, and the legendary “sarimanok.”