MANILA — The Philippines will hold the Special Gala Celebration for the 50th Anniversary of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Sunday, November 12.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will host the ASEAN leaders and dialogue partner leaders and their spouses and respective delegates.

The gala celebration, which will showcase the best of Filipino artistry and talent through an evening of outstanding local music, dance, design, and culinary arts, will be held at SMX Convention Center. It will begin with a welcome message and toast from President Duterte.

The ASEAN leaders and dialogue partners and their spouses will wear an intricately-designed Philippine national costume.

"Embroidered piña cocoon Barong Tagalog, designed by one of the country's top fashion designers Albert Andrada, will be worn by males," the President’s Social Secretary Annalyn Tolentino said.

Each barong, she added, is named after distinct Filipino qualities such as "magiting", "magiliw", "marangal", "mapayapa", "magalang", among others. The ASEAN logo is also shown through the garment's customized buttons, found in the center front and cuffs.

On the other hand, elegant Filipiniana attire, designed by well-known Filipino designers Rajo Laurel, Albert Andrada, and Randy Ortiz, will be worn by the leaders' spouses. It has a design theme inspired by the three major Philippine islands: "terno" made of high-quality poly Thai silk for Luzon, "baro't saya" made of piña cocoon for the Visayas, and a Mindanao-inspired garment made of piña cloth and special fabric.

"President Duterte's attire will be the same as the leaders' as designed by Andrada, while his partner Madame Honeylet Avanceña will be wearing her own Filipiniana garment," Tolentino disclosed.

Guests will be treated to a four-course Filipino-Asian fusion menu, curated and prepared by Chef Jessie Sincioco and Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, while sounds of the big band era will fill the ballroom. Two soloists will also serenade the guests as dinner commences.

The celebration will have a three-part program of music, dance, and songs dubbed as "Bravo, ASEAN!"

An orchestra, a marching band, a rock band, and soloists will welcome the leaders and delegates to the country with the iconic Original Pilipino Music (OPM) "Manila."

Five different dance forms—ballet, folk, ballroom, tap, and contemporary—will also be performed, signifying 50 years of regional diversity and partnership, while jubilant music will be sung.

Prior to the gala celebration, a welcome fanfare will await leaders and delegates as they will be led to the site of five of the world-renowned giant lanterns of San Fernando, Pampanga, representing 50 years of ASEAN.

Spouses to tour ASEAN exhibition at CCP

Meanwhile, spouses of the leaders attending the ASEAN Summit in Manila will be treated to a tour of an exhibition that will showcase the organization's golden year as an interconnected region.

In celebration of ASEAN's 50th founding anniversary, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is presenting “ASEAN at 50: Power as Flow,” a show of artifacts, images, and texts featuring the history of the Southeast Asian people who, for the past years, have excelled in trade, art, and culture.

The spouses of international leaders visiting the country will attend a guided tour of the exhibition on November 13 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Little Theater, where they will get a glimpse of ASEAN's vast goals.

The exhibition will highlight the organization’s plans to sustain the region’s water resources, from proper management through reservoirs and other hydrological infrastructures to the protection of its marine species and ecosystems.

The NCCA will lead the event, in coordination with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and with the assistance of CulturAid Inc. and the CCP.

Museum and exhibition development corporation TAO Inc founder Marian Pastor-Roces and cultural stalwart Cora Alvina will guide the spouses during the tour.

A Spouses Luncheon will then take place at the historic Manila Hotel, where guests will be treated to a four-course Filipino menu to be prepared by the hotel’s executive chef Konrad Walter.

A fashion show by Randy Ortiz, entitled "Manila Wear," will also be staged during the luncheon to entertain the guests.

"Madame Honeylet will give boxes of world-renowned chocolate produced in Malagos, Davao City as her personal token to the spouses of the leaders," Tolentino said. (PCO-Content)