MANILA–President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s common-law wife Cielito “Honeylet” Avanceña on Saturday, served as the official hostess to the wives of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) heads of states attending the 30th ASEAN Summit.
Avanceña toured the leaders’ wives to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Manila. She was assisted by the museum’s executive director Jeremy Barns.
First Ladies Iriana Widodo from Indonesia, Naraporn Chan-o-cha from Thailand, Tran Nguyen from Vietnam, and Naly Sisoulith from Laos joined the tour. They were joined by some foreign ministers and Philippine ambassadors’ spouses.
As the spouses and their entourage entered the museum, they were greeted by the sounds of Pangkat Kawayan that drew exceptional music from bamboo instruments. Known as the “Singing Bamboos of the Philippines”, the youth orchestra played a medley of popular folk songs, which included “Leron, Leron Sinta” and “Bahay Kubo”.
They proceeded to the main gallery and were given dalandan juice as welcome drinks.
A photo opportunity then took place in front of the imposing “Spoliarium” painting, the largest painting in the Philippines, by Filipino artist Juan Luna, which hangs in the museum’s main gallery.
Afterwards, the spouses were ushered to the National Art Gallery, which showcased religious, academic, romantic, classical, and neoclassical arts and sculptures from the 17th to 20th centuries done by Old Masters and National Artists.
Then, they witnessed actual weaving demonstrations by South Cotabato and Palawan weavers.
After the tour, Avanceña hosted a lunch for them held at the 3rd floor inside the Old Senate Session Hall.
The National Museum, formerly known as the Old Legislative Building, used to house the various legislative bodies of the Philippine government, and it was transformed into a dining area to accommodate the luncheon of the ASEAN leaders’ spouses.
They were feted with a sumptuous meal. For starters, they were offered pistachio-coated goat’s cheese on caramelized onions and vegetable and duck confit crepe.
For the main course, roasted angus beef tenderloin with assorted vegetables and roasted potatoes on the side were served.
Mango-basil sorbet with fresh mini mango balls and ube-sans rival brazo de mercedes with mango coulis and bits were the choices for dessert, and fresh fruit juice for beverage.
While they enjoy their lunch, the spouses and other guests were serenaded by the Voice Kids of the Philippines’ finalists Darlene Vibares and Reynan Del-Anay.
A cultural presentation immediately followed. Folk song and dance numbers were performed by Pangkat Kawayan and the Kalilayan Folkloric Dance Group.
The wives of the ASEAN heads of states were presented Philippine handicrafts each as gift and token, courtesy of the Malacañan Palace and the National Museum of the Philippines.
They were Banting brass bells made by T’boli metalsmiths using the lost-wax technique; Tingkep, a traditional basket from Southern Palawan used as containers in rituals; Ikamen, a woven pandan mat from Palawan; and T’nalak, an ikot-dyed abaca woven cloth from South Cotabato.