The Kol Hope Foundation For Children proudly presented the Philippine Presidential Gala, now known throughout the world as The Most Glamorous Filipino Ball on Earth. Over 400 of Toronto’s brightest stars, fashionistas, and the veritable who’s who among the Filipino Canadian scene attended the red carpet soirée held last Friday November 11, 2011 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Yorkville. The Filipino Ball is truly the first of its kind, an all out, extravagant, Cultural Showcase of the best in Philippine Culture, Philippine Fashion, Dance, Performance and Cuisine, all for a great cause, to help children born with Trisomy-related disabilities. The beautiful night was a celebration of Kol Rustia’s life, who passed away at the age of 14 on Oct 9, 2011. Kol is the inspiration and story behind the Kol Hope Foundation for Children.
The event began at 6PM with an all-media access, red carpet event. Amongst the Who’s Who attending were: Philippine Consul General Pedro Chan, Toronto’s Former Mayor of Toronto Barbara Hall, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham, Miss Universe Canada Chanel Beckenlehner, Canadian Fashion Designers Baby Steinberg & Louie J. Manzo, Stephen Lynch make up artist for the acclaimed TV series Queer As Folk, casting Director Karyn Fine, Kelechi Achonu Fashion Editor for RGM, Bradley Schmale Head of Leading International Bank for HSBC, and Eric Aragon, Canada’s leading Event Designer.
The Gala dinner and program began at 7pm with a heart warming tribute video to Kol Rustia, a wonderful recap of this 14 year old boy’s life, and the great legacy that he has left behind; a legacy of love, courage, compassion and hope.
The video was followed by a beautiful welcome and tribute speech by Kol Hope Foundation for Children, President and Founder, and Kol’s grandmother, Melinda Parreno Rustia. Filipino- Canadian TV personality, Host of BPM:TV’s Club Fashion, Jeff Rustia, who is also Kol’s father, was the wonderful and entertaining Emcee for the evening. He then previewed the World Premiere of Kol’s World, a brand new groundbreaking, animated pre-school series, about a boy in a wheelchair and his two best pet friends.
And for the very first time ever in Four Seasons Hotel history, the hotel has launched an exclusive Filipino Fusion Menu, comprised of a three course meal starting with a Ginataang Calabasa Soup with Ginger and Coconut Crème Flake, followed by Roasted Adobo Chicken in a delicate Calamus Jus served with Mung Bean Rice Pilaf, and finished with a Guimaras Mango Mousse cake.
As dinner began, Rustia introduced the stellar line-up for the evening which included the country’s top Philippine Cultural Dance troupes in Canada, namely Fiesta Filipina Dance Troupe and Cultural Philippines of Ontario, that performed their award winning Singkil and Tinikling, plus knock out performances from Ma-Anne Dionisio, the international star of Miss Saigon, Lilac Cana, the Award Winning Filipino Opera Singer, Colin Petierre, 12 year old Filipino Canadian Ballroom dance champ, Warren Dean Flandez, R&B Soul Singer, and star of CBC’s Cover Me Canada. The highlight of the performances was the special presentation of Rigodon de Honour by the KOL HOPE DANCERS, choreographed by Siony Srynka.
The showcase event of the night was the Presidential Awards, with the presentation of Awards to over 40 Presidents of Fil-Can Associations. The awards ceremony also paid tribute to 5 outstanding Filipinos for their global achievements, including, Arturo Viola, Zeny Gepilano, Carmelita Petierre Dosayla and Lilac Cana. The lifetime achievement award was given to Ruben Cusipag, for his incredible contributions to Filipino community journalism in Canada.
The evening also featured An Haute Couture and Ready to Wear Philippine Fashion Show presenting fashions by Joy Couture and JP Rangel. Special music was mixed and edited for the show, including a beautiful remix of Pilita Corrales “Dahil Sa Yo” with French Ambient beats. Simply Divine! The night ended with a fashionable competition for the “BEST TERNO EVENING GOWN “ with the 5 celebrity Judges choosing Tara Berkes, a Filipino Hungarian model who sported a one sided Butterfly leather evening gown.
The Kol Hope Foundation for Children is the first charitable organization of its kind in North America that helps children born with Trisomy-related disabilities. All proceeds go to benefit the Kol Hope Fund in the Hospital for Sick Kids, and Easter Seals Society of Canada. And 2 orphanages in the Philippines, namely Bacolod Boys Home and the Holy Infant Nursery in Bacolod City.
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