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12 September 2015

WASHINGTON, DC—An exhibit of gold artifacts discovered in Butuan, Philippines kicked off with a Gala Benefit Dinner that celebrated the rich culture and history of pre-colonial Philippines.

The “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms” Gala Benefit Dinner took place on 10 September at the Asia Society in New York City. Some 200 distinguished guests and dignitaries graced the gala event, 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 Co-Chair Henrietta Fore; Don Jaime Zobel De Ayala and his wife Doña 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 Mr. Oscar Lopez of the Lopez Group of Companies.

The distinguished guests were welcomed by Asia Society President Josette Sheeran and Ms. Doris Magsaysay-Ho, Chairperson of Asia Society Philippines and one of the three co-chairs of the Philippine Gold Exhibit Committee. Ms. Loida Nicolas-Lewis and Ayala Corporation President Fernando Zobel De Ayala also chair the Committee.

In his remarks, Ambassador 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 pre-colonial 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. 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,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

The envoy also 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,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

The Gala Benefit Dinner marked the opening of the exhibit and launched a season of programming that highlights the richness and diversity of Philippine culture and current affairs, and explores Philippine cuisine, performing arts, film, design, and literature. “Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms” runs from 11 September 2015 to 3 January 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 Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines).

Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms 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. ###

12 September 2015

(L-R) Doris Magsaysay-Ho, Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon, Jr., Josette Sheeran, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., Loida Lewis, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Henrietta Holsman Fore, and Governor Amando Tetangco at the Gala Benefit Dinner of "Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms" on 10 September 2015 at the Asia Society in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan Company)

12 September 2015

Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. delivers his remarks at the Philippine Gold Opening Gala on 10 September 2015 at the Asia Society in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan Company)