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At long last Philippine Gold has arrived and will be on display at the Asia Society in New York City.  The Big Apple welcomes the opening of Philippine Gold:  Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms, 120 gold pieces from the Ayala Museum in Manila.  A modern day reversal of sorts of the Manila Galleon Trade Route, a sampling of the Ayala’s Philippine Ancestral Gold made its way to Asia Society. 


Benefits, dinners, receptions and various community events have been set up and the glitterati and hoi polloi of the Fil Am community are lined up to attend.  Curated by Floriana H. Capistrano-Baker of the Ayala Museum and Adriana Poser of Asia Society, the Philippine Gold Exhibition will run at Asia Society Sept. 11, 2015 through January 3, 2016. More than the spellbinding glitter of the gold - it is about history and the ancestral Filipinos of the time.  Asia Society is located at 725 Park Avenue.  For tickets and more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 212-327-9335. 

Loida Nicolas Lewis, Co-Chair of the Philippine Gold Benefit Committee with Doris Magsaysay Ho, has compared the Philippine Golf sophisticated work and exquisite creativity to that of King Tut exhibition. 

The most notable piece is the Kinari Vessel from Surigao.  In the form of a half woman and half avian being, the items reflects the Indian mythical kinari – a celestial female with wings and legs of a bird personifying beauty, grace and accomplishment.  Another magnificent piece is a gold caste evidencing a prosperous elite class with strong influences to Hindu culture.  Other memorable items include lotus ear ornaments from Butuan to belt buckles from Northeastern Mindanao to burial ensemble from Daet, Camarines Norte. 

Kudos goes to the Leandro and Cecilia Locsin who were responsible in securing the bulk the collection.  Catpistrano-Baker cites that this extraordinary collection would not exist without the passion and dedication of Leandro and Cecilia Locsin, whose vision of preserving for future generations these marvelous objects provides valuable glimpses into the Philippine pre-colonial past.

The Philippines has the second largest gold deposit in the world. The works on display - from tiny gold tweezers to fabulous pieces of jewelry - reveal that these natural resources were readily exploited by the local people during that time.  The regalia, jewelry, ceremonial weapons, and ritualistic and funerary objects show of a prosperity and achievement of Philippine communities that flourished between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, long before the Spanish discovered and colonized the region.  Some of the pieces will show indigenous forms and connections to local traditions such burial practices and social groupings. 

There are adornments of elite individuals and the deities they adored including a spectacular array of golden sashes, necklaces, pectorals, diadems, earrings, finger rings, and arm and leg ornaments.

Although the forms and styles of the majority of these works developed locally, some indicate that Philippine craftsmen had been exposed to objects from beyond their borders through the robust cultural connections and maritime trade in Southeast Asia during what was an early Asian economic boom.  Scholars have also pointed out there are similar styles between the Philippine objects and those from such cultures of Java, Champa, and Borneo.

In the book about the collection at the Ayala Museum, Philippine Ancestral Gold, editor and author Capistrano- Baker stated that the deeper value of these gold objects “can be assayed only in consideration of its historical and academic significance and the self-knowledge and pride it gives to Filipinos.”


Co-author John Miksic, Associate Professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, pointed out in the publication that the pre-colonial gold of the Philippines is “perhaps the country’s greatest tangible cultural asset and can stand comparison with any other assemblage of gold artifacts in the world.” - Marilyn Abalos, Philippine Gold Benefit Committee Fil Am Media Coordinator

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