Flowery fiesta welcome for Bush

THE STATE dinner for US President George W. Bush combined the flair of a typical Filipino fiesta without sacrificing the classy but simple elegance befitting a head of state. The effect was achieved with economy, not anywhere near the grandiose estimates by detractors, some of them coming from the age of Her Imeldific.

Malacaņang's directives to Cibo's Margarita Fores, who coordinated the food ensemble, and Mabolo's Antonio Garcia, who handles the floral side, for the Malacaņang "fiesta" was to highlight the Filipino, using products and materials that were representative of all regions in the Philippines-from the kiping of Quezon to the sugarcane and puto manapla of Negros, the mangosteen, bananas and pineapples of Davao, and the coconut of Batangas.

The gamut of food required the cooperation of several restaurants and food suppliers.

For instance, the Inasal (Visayan roasting) of chicken, pork tocino and pusit were by Ramon Nozan of Manokan sa Gapo in Subic Bay, Olongapo.

The lechon stuffed with tamarind leaves was roasted on the spot by Nen Belsa's Lechon and was served with the usual liver sauce and Asian mustard fruit sauce made of guava, santol and kalamansi shells spiked with local rhum by Cibo.

The special bibingka and puto bungbong were by Mama Lucy of Lucy Villegas. The sorbetes (native ice cream) was by Juanito Maranan of Project 2, QC. Flavors of the night were mangga, keso and tsokolate, which were all a hit with the US Secret Service.

The polvoron was by Tia Osmeņa Valencia, granddaughter of President Sergio Osmeņa, and the ube puto was by Michelle Concepcion, daughter of former trade secretary Joe Concepcion.

The special ensaymada was by the Blue Kitchen of Malou Fores and by Mary Grace of Mary Grace Dimascali.

The dining set-up combined native bilaos lined with banana leaf and gold rim China for plates. There were also coco shell forks and spoons with silverplated cocktail forks.

The serving platters were a combination of wooden bowls and trays, nito baskets, wood and bamboo boxes and silver-tiered tea trays and large heirloom silver-footed trays.

The papag tables were lined with banana leaves and elegant cotton printed cloths.

The kiping chandeliers added color to the bahay-kubo roofs. The scent of the sampaguita garlands mixed with the aroma of the inasal being grilled.

The layout of the dining hall closely approximated a rustic Philippine setting a la Amorsolo.

Garcia put pawid roofs on bamboo legs for the bahay kubo. He also transformed the traditional bamboo papag, otherwise used for sleeping, into dining tables.

And what's a fiesta without the pabitin? The Malacaņang dinner had one where hung fresh vegetables, fruits and buri (little wooden knickknacks such as trumpo, hats, buri mini bags, fans, maracas and other local curios).

Authentic kalesas were scattered on the Palace grounds. Palayok (native pottery) was hung everywhere. The sugarcane installation was crowned at the base with coconut. The fruit installation was a cornucopia of the best produce from Davao with blankets on the floor, for peelings just in case the guests decided to enjoy the fruits.

The flowers were also a showcase of the country's floral riches-with a mix of orchids, ginger torches and sampaguita garlands plus growths from the coconut tree-quite rococo and florid for the visit of a man named Bush.

25/10/2003

Bron : Inq7.net

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