Premio Zobel

OH YES, IT'S JOHNNY! - Johnny Litton () - February 18, 2007 - 12:00am
To my dear Chinese colleagues and readers, may we all prosper in luck and fortune this Year of the Fire Pig. Kung Hei Fat Choi!

A prestigious book on the best Filipino writings in Spanish, 81 Years of the Premio Zobel — A Legacy of the Philippine Literature in Spanish, was launched with much anticipation at the Ayala Museum recently. Authored by Prof. Lourdes Castrillo Brillantes, the Premio Zobel Awardee of 1998 and a member of the Academia Filipina de la Lengua Española, the book is a publication of Georgina Padilla y Zobel, granddaughter of Don Enrique Zobel de Ayala, the founder of the Premio. The book was produced with the support of the Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation and contains biographies and works of the awardees.

Over the last eight decades, this most prestigious award has been bestowed on eminent writers and intellectuals: Gomez Windham, the invincible balagtasan duo Bernabe and Balmori, Leon Ma. Guerrero, Antonio Abad, Guerrero-Baranco, Zaragoza, Laygo, and many other ardent Hispanistas and honorable politicians who collaborated to its success. The jury would be composed of prominent personalities such as Claro Mayo Recto, the brothers Mariano and Jesus Cuenco, the jurist Arsenio Dizon, Jaime de Veyra, Jorge Bocobo, Rafael Palma and Carlos P. Romulo. The Premio Zobel in its apogee was a literary and social event acclaimed by all media and attended by the ilustrados. The Premio Zobel has come to symbolize the enduring presence of Spanish heritage in the Philippines. Gracing the book launch were guest speakers Spanish Ambassador Ignacio Sagaz and his counterpart, Philippine Ambassador to Spain Joseph Bernardo, among others.

Congratulations to the Zobel family for being true patrons of the arts!
Filipina blooms in Japan
The Philippines was well represented in the recent celebration of the 50th anniversary of Ikebana International World Convention in Tokyo. Enthusiastic participants from the Philippines were led by the radiant Kay Siazon, the hardworking wife of Philippine Ambassador to Japan Domingo Siazon Jr. Kay exhibited a remarkably unique flower arrangement entitled "Boracay Beach," made of fresh orchids and elegant Pampas grass decorated with finely crushed marble stones and Philippine shells of various colors and sizes. Her Imperial Majesty Empress Michiko and Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado were among the thousands of visitors who came to the exhibit.

Congratulations Kay and more power!
Johnny’s Wine of the Week
This week, your columnist recommends Zonin Pinot Grigio Classici made of 100 percent Pinot Grigio grapes. It has a straw yellow color with green reflections and a broad bouquet, fruity and elegant. The flavor is soft, fairly dry and yet extremely fresh and it has a light and good structure. This elegant wine goes well with appetizers, delicate pasta and rice dishes as well as eggs, fish and shellfish.

(Exclusively imported and distributed by BestWorld Beverage Brands. For inquiries, call 637-8491 to 94 or e-mail
Happy birthday to our celebrator today, Loreto Cabañes.

Advance birthday greetings to Philippine STAR managing and Business editor Tony Katigbak and Lolita Villareal, Feb. 19; Chari Bagatsing, Leenie Laurel Castillo and Jay Lopez, Feb. 20; Dusit Hotel’s Frank Grassman, Feb. 21; Lyra Rufino Maceda, Grace Padilla, international star Lea Salonga and architect Jorge Ramos, Feb. 22; Ellen Reyes and Christopher Lim, Feb. 23; Rustan’s Cosmetics’ Rhoda Campos, Beaver Ledesma and Ambassador Isabel Wilson, Feb. 24.

So, how was your week?

(For comments and inquiries, please e-mail me at

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