AN exhibit of gold artifacts discovered in Butuan was kicked off with a gala benefit dinner that celebrated the rich culture and history of precolonial Philippines on September 10 at the Asia Society in New York City. The exhibit, called Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms, was opened in the presence of 200 guests and dignitaries, including Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr., Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. and Philippine Consul General in New York Mario L. de Leon Jr.
Also present were Asia Society Global Cochairman Henrietta Fore; Don Jaime Zobel d Ayala, his wife Dona Bea, and sons Jaime Augusto and Fernando; Ambassador Nicholas Platt, who served as the US envoy to the Philippines and former president of Asia Society; former US Ambassador to the Philippines Thomas Hubbard; and Oscar Lopez of the Lopez Group of Companies. The guests were welcomed by Asia Society President Josette Sheeran and Doris Magsaysay-Ho, chairman of Asia Society Philippines and one of the three cochairmen of the Philippine Gold Exhibit Committee.
Loida Nicolas-Lewis and Ayala Corp. President Fernando Zobel de Ayala also chair the committee.
In his remarks, Cuisia talked about how the discovery of the gold items led to a greater sense of pride and a shift in how Philippine history is viewed.
These treasures reveal the existence of thriving, diverse and immensely creative societies during the precolonial era.
We are presented with an exceptional cache of evidence pointing to rich and flourishing cultures, dynamic commerce and complex social interactions among the Asian kingdoms of that time,Cuisia said. For Filipinos, the knowledge that some of these prominent polities were located in the Philippines gives us greater reason to be proud of our ancestors and our heritage.
The envoy encouraged Filipinos and foreign friends to view the rare exhibit and learn more about a portion of Philippine history often overlooked. The ancients admonished us, ‘know thyself’ so that you may unlock true and lasting wisdom. Filipinos who come and view this glittering exhibit will increase their knowledge and develop greater appreciation of where Filipinos came from. Our American friends, on the other hand, will gain new insights into Philippine history and cultural heritage, Cuisia said.
The gala benefit dinner marked the opening of the exhibit and launched a season of shows that highlights the richness and diversity of Philippine culture and current affairs, and explores Philippine cuisine, performing arts, film, design, and literature.
The exhibit runs from September 11. 2015 to January 3, 2016 at the Asia Society.
The guests were unanimous in their praise for the collection, which consists of a selection of the most extraordinary objects from a 1981 discovery in Butuan. The exhibition also includes a few important loans from public and private collections including the BSP.
This significant event is organized by Asia Society, New York, and Ayala Museum, Philippines. The exhibition is co-curated by Florina H. Capistrano-Baker, Consulting Curator, Ayala Museum, and Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art, Asia Society.