Arts, gifts and spirits in this season of love


Arts, Gifts and Spirits in this season of love! Love is truly in the air with so many celebrations happening in the city.

February is also National Arts Month. The combination of arts and love has resulted in an explosion of creative energy seen in various art exhibits, music and dance festivals this month.

Top of mind is visual artist Mav Rufino’s “Luminescence Dreamscapes,” her 18th solo exhibit of new watercolors and mixed media at the Gallery of the Peninsula Manila. The show also featured her “soft art,” functional pieces such as one-of-a-kind lamps, furniture and dividers with her signature watercolor dreamscapes.

I was intrigued to note Rio Alma’s poems on beauty, with translations by poet of the year Marne Kilates, mounted beside Mav’s paintings. Theirs is a continuing artistic collaboration that started with their book “Romanza,” which was launched in Manila and Madrid a few years ago.

The “Luminescence Dreamscapes” opening created a ripple of excitement in art and literary circles, as the guests of honor were three National Artists in those fields, BenCab in the former, and Virgilio S. Almario and F. Sionil Jose in the latter. To the Pinoy and other guests who crave and appreciate creative nourishment, that was a major draw.

Also present was hardworking Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, who is soon retiring and deserves much kudos for his even-handed handling of our foreign affairs during this administration. The guest mix included prominent visual artists, society figures, media personalities, art collectors, bankers, businessmen and family friends of the artist.

Guests enjoyed Robert Mondavi’s Woodbridge wines provided by sponsor Future Trade.

Mav’s oeuvre of peaceful, meditative and dreamy lightscapes always evoke a feeling of déjà vu, past and future memories mixed into one. Part of the proceeds of “Luminescence Dreamscapes” will go to Mav’s long-term beneficiaries, the Child Protection Network Foundation, and the Oblate sisters, who have been taking care of young victims of incest and abuse in Tagaytay and Pasay.

Art auction

Also on the art scene, the Asian Cultural Council Philippines and León Gallery partner in presenting another exciting fundraising art auction on Feb. 20. Up for bid are significant pieces by the country’s most sought-after contemporary artists and distinguished visual arts icons such as National Artist BenCab, Robert Chabet, Elmer Borlongan, Manny Garibay.

The much-anticipated auction is for the benefit of the ACC Philippine Fellowship Program instituted in 2000 by the ACC Philippines Foundation in alliance with ACC New York. ACC aims to promote awareness, support international dialogue and advance the development of Filipino artists.

There are more than 300 fellows who have received grants for cultural exchange programs in the United States and Asia. Among the first ACC grantees in visual arts were National Artist Jose Joya, Chabet and Manuel Rodriguez Jr.

The Feb. 20 auction starts at 2 p.m., and previews are ongoing until Feb. 19 at León Gallery at G/F, Eurovilla 1, Rufino cor. Legaspi Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City. Visit

ACC Philippines Board of Trustees Ernest Escaler, Dedes Zobel, Liza Marcos, Rajo Laurel, Atty. Alan Reyes, Maribel Ongpin, Ching Cruz, Deanna Ongpin-Recto, Isabel Caro-Wilson, Tess Rances, and Malu Gamboa

Valentine’s Day gifts

For that perfect Valentine’s Day gift, head to Rustan’s for great gift ideas. My favorite writer/blogger Rica Lopez de Jesus, who runs, recently hosted an intimate pocket event at Rustan’s Makati to showcase the beauty and fashion sections of the leading department store.

Rustan’s Flower Shop created beautiful flower wreaths at the venue with several areas showcasing different products. Delighted with all her Heart2Heart friends, Rica surprised her guests with lots of beauty products and giveaways from sponsors like Nuxe, Nars, and Murad.

There was on-the-spot make-up from Nars beauty specialists. The Murad Youthcam analyzed skin’s true condition by measuring skin concerns. Each guest also received a Murad gift voucher for a facial.

Beauty specialist Cat Gumabao shared make-up tips while stylist Rachelle Que gave excellent fashion tips. For the ladies’ crowning glory, Toni Aviles of Vidal Sassoon shared blow-drying tips and guests were given Phyto hair products.

The East Café provided cocktails as ladies stayed on to shop for gifts. Clarins products were given to lucky winners but everyone went home with Rustan’s Rate New York Clutch bag giveaway.

Single malt

Straight from that affair, I headed straight to The Macallan 1824 Master Series launch at Blackbird at Nielsen Tower, Makati City. It was perfect event to grab a Valentine’s gift for my hubby Dennis—The Macallan Rare Cask, a single malt of great diversity and intricacy.

The Macallan Rare Cask encapsulates The Macallan’s dedication and commitment to exceptional wood management, with far less than one percent of casks maturing at The Macallan distillery deemed fitting for the Rare Cask label by master whiskey maker Bob Dalgarno. Rare cask draws from the broadest spectrum of cask profiles including different wood species—handpicked Spanish and American oak casks.

Keith Nair, The Macallan’s brand trainer, told us that a master whisky maker is also responsible for creating rare casks that will house his whisky creations. Identifying a selection of casks is the initial task to be branded rare. Each of the cask styles results in a different character, so each imparts its own distinct influence on the final whisky.

The Macallan Rare Cask showcases two of The Macallan’s greatest strengths and prides, exceptional, sherry-seasoned, oak casks and beautiful natural color.

For the launch, Blackbird was magically transformed into a cozy dinner setting for 80 VIP guests. The second floor had three private tasting sessions with Keith.

Manila’s celebrated chef Colin Mackay specially curated a four-course menu incorporating the different liquors. Seared Scallop and Caviar was paired with The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old, followed by a delicious cheese soufflé that was paired with The Macallan Edition No.1.

The roasted deer fillet was impressively paired with the evening’s star, The Macallan Rare Cask. Lastly, the sinfully delicious dessert was paired with The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years Old. The Macallan Rare Cask is now available in the Philippines at Forth & Tay.

Follow @tessavaldes on Twitter and @seaprincess888 on Instagram.

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