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Marissa Quirino Gonzalez: From Geneva with art & heart |

Fashion and Beauty

Marissa Quirino Gonzalez: From Geneva with art & heart

PERSONAL CHOICE - Frannie Jacinto - The Philippine Star

Manila-born Marissa Quirino Gonzalez spent her youth in Madrid where her father, Luis Gonzalez, was the distinguished Philippine ambassador to Spain. His wife was Vicky Quirino, the only daughter of President Elpidio Quirino and Malacañang’s official hostess during her father’s presidential tenure (he was a widower).

The Gonzalez family lived in Spain for many years and it was there that my sister and I met them while we were in high school. Their friends were the best families of Spain and they often hobnobbed with royalty and the social set yet had simple family joys that included the enjoyment of Ilocano delicacies and delicious Filipino desserts that they shared with their visitors.

Filipinos who were living in Spain during those times were fondly called hermanos or brothers by the Spaniards because of their close ties with the Philippines — having colonized us for centuries and imparting not only the Catholic religion but also setting up the oldest university in Asia (University of Sto. Tomas), public education and hospitalization, the code of law, modern infrastructures for trains, and building bridges that linked many inaccessible areas. 

Bubbly and charming Marissa was the third of the Gonzalez daughters and her creativeness was evident from the start. She took art classes in various parts of the world and since 1992 has had exhibits in Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom, Finland, and the US including the United Nations in New York. All these shows were held while she was actively working at the International Office for Migration (IOM) in Geneva.

She finally came back to her roots by having her first Philippine exhibit, “Road to Silence” at the Ayala Museum with over 300 guests and an almost sold-out opening night. Marissa impressed us with her mastery of meticulous and painstaking brushwork on jusi, the delicate yet tough banana fiber that has been indigenous to our country. 

Thirty-two years of living in Geneva and still so proudly Filipina, Marissa explains her choice of canvas: “Jusi has the smooth and sensual feel of silk without the smearing of paint and the lightness of watercolor on paper. It gives the illusion of being very delicate but is strong enough to be worn, washed, ironed day in and day out, embroidered and now painted.”

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“Road to Silence” is on view until Feb. 13 at the Ayala Museum. For inquiries, e-mail:

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