MANILA, JULY 6, 2006 (STAR) C‘EST CEBU By Honey Jarque Loop - Portuguese Ambassador to the Philippines Joao Caetano de Silva recently launched several activities lined up by the Embaixaida de Portugal and the Instituto Cameos to celebrate the weeklong Portuguese Festival in Cebu.

One of the highlights of the festivities was an art exhibit that featured the works of two prominent painters, Manuel Baldemor and Phyllis Zaballero, at the gallery of the Cebu Waterfront Hotel. Manuel Baldemor, a noted painter, sculptor, printmaker, graphic designer, and writer, has mounted over 120 solo exhibitions. His awards and grants include fine arts and sculpture awards from the Art Association of the Philippines, and artist-in-residence in Santiago, Chile, Basel, Switzerland, Jerusalem, Israel, and Lisbon, Portugal.

Zaballero, a visual artist, has had 31 solo exhibitions to her credit. Distinctions include exhibitions in Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, with grants from the Goethe Institut Study Grant, Museums and Art Education, Federal Republic of Germany, the British Council Study Grant, Museum and Galleries, England and Scotland and the Fundacao Oriente Residency Grant, Arrabida Monastery in Portugal.

The culmination of the event was a sumptuous buffet dinner at the Uno Restaurant where Portuguese culinary chef Antonio Santos masterfully created several dishes to the delight of guests.

The dried cod, the staple food of the Portuguese, was presented in so many different ways. A classic example was the bacalhau a bas (codfish with eggs), bacalhau com natas (codfish with cream), and bolinhos de bacalhau (codfish cakes). Olive oil was the base of most cooking and was also used in soups, the most common of which are chicken broth and caldo verde, or green broth, which is made from mashed cauliflower and potatoes. Rice was served as a dessert with milk, sugar, egg, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Complementing the excellent dishes were superb Portuguese wines, port and Madeira, with their incomparable aroma and delicate flavor.

The fete was attended by society icons Rosebud Sala, who came with her husband Choy, and Teresin Mendezona. Among the art set were Elvira Luym, Marissa Fernan, and Therese Gonzalez. From the diplomatic corps were Honorary Consul of Portugal Samuel Chioson, US Consular Agent John Domingo, Honorary Consul of Sweden Jose Sala and his wife Susan, Honorary Consul of Belgium Enrique Benedicto and his spouse Helen, and Spanish Honorary Consul Jaime Picornell who came with his Cecilia.

There were other events lined up which were aimed at raising awareness of Portugal as the ultimate destination, with more than enough reasons to travel around the country and discover its many hidden wonders and pleasures.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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