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Consular chic

Diplomats walk the runway for a good cause

The Consular Corps of the Philippines is an organization close to the heart of consul general and dean of the Diplomatic Corps of the Philippines, Fortune Aleta Ledesma. If anyone can pull it off, it is through the charisma of fashion icon Fortune and as such, she continues to play an integral part in their annual fundraising “Fashion Harmony.”

Held recently at the New World Makati, it was an inspiring event that brought together members of the diplomatic corps, in the pursuit of its commitment to aid abandoned and abused children, the elderly, scholars, and victims of calamities. Fortune likewise credits the project’s success to vice dean and consul Antonio Gallo, chairperson consul Agnes Huibonhoa of the Gambia and co-chairperson consul Betty Ang of Tanzania.

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  • Olga Martel, Elena Colome, the author, and Cynthia Carrion-Norton /
  • Sen. Migz Zubiri and Myrna Yao /
  • Anabelle Adriano /
  • INSPIRING NIGHT Vice dean and Consul Antonio Gallo of the Consular Corps of the Philippines, Dean of the Consular Corps of the Philippines and Monaco consul general Fortune Aleta-Ledesma, chairperson Fashion Harmony, and Consul Agnes Huibonhoa and New World Makati Hotel general manager Farid Schoucair. /
  • Co-chairperson Fashion Harmony and Tanzania consul Betty Chua; Consul general Fortune Ledesma, Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Perfecto Yasay, Jr., and Cecile Yasay /
  • Maricele Gallo, Consul Antonio Gallo, and Belgium consul Cecile Thoen /
  • Argentina deputy head of Mission Guillermo Devoto, Cory Quirino, and Chile Charge d’Affaires Camilo Sanhueza /
  • Rita Dy, Ambassador Marion Derckx, and Becky Garcia /
  • FASHION FOR A CAUSE Consul general and dean of the Diplomatic Corps of the Philippines, Fortune Aleta Ledesma in yellow, together with the members of the Consular Corps of the Philippines, acknowledge the warm applause of the audience after the fashion show. /

After the National Anthem, the operatic duo Rachelle Gerodias and Byeong In Park sang “The Prayer.” Opening remarks were by New World GM Farid Schoucair after which consul general of Eritrea George Yang rendered two songs. The fashion show opened with easy to wear and simple clothes and it was polished and chic. Gentlemen members of the Consular Corps stepped into the spotlight with a line of pared-down, casual outfits then moved on to more dressy attire. It was uplifting to see ambassadors, wives of diplomats, members of the Senate, and children of the members of the consular corps strut their stuff and parade down the runway. Ladies walked the ramp with casual clothes for dining out; and for the evening wear collection, the long gowns were richly adorned, sophisticated, and colorful. Emcee consul RJ Ledesma announced that the grand prize of the evening was a trip to any European country one desired, and this proved to be a good inducement for guests to stay to the very end.

Fortune enthused: “As dean of the consular corps of the Philippines, I have had the opportunity to visit the various institutions and organizations the corps supports. I am inspired by all the good they are able to do. I organized Fashion Harmony to raise funds so the corps can continue to support these groups that do such admirable and noble work.”

Established in 1971, the Consular Corps of the Philippines is a member of the World Federation of Consuls or Federation Internationale des Corps et Association Consulaires (FICAC) including Cebu chapter and Davao chapter as affiliates. In the spirit of corporate social responsibility, the association engages in community development projects fostering stronger friendships thus making the members’ stay in the country memorable and meaningful. The Corps has partnerships with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration for aiding foreigners in the country, the Environmental Concerns Committee, Community Development Committee programs and Assistance to Public Schools; there are visits to the Manila Youth Reception Center (MYRC) and the Reception Action Center (RAC). The Corps supports livelihood training for wards of End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT) and lastly, they conduct visits to Bahay Aruga and Pediatric Section of the Philippine General Hospital. Sponsors were New World Makati Hotel, 2GO, Calata Corporation, Megaworld, W Group Inc., Lexus, Turkish Airlines, Philippine Airlines, and Oishi.