‘Rendez-Vous’: A celebration of Philippines and France’s vivid cultures

The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines held its Annual Gala 2023 “Rendez-Vous” at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila last 8 November to celebrate 76 years of the harmonious relationship between France and the Philippines.

Over 460 key members of the French and Filipino communities were in attendance, brought together to build connections, recognize a year’s worth of achievements and celebrate the fruitful alliance between the two countries.

Also present were dignitaries from various countries, local government officials and celebrities including Nadine Lustre, Issa Litton and Solenn Heusaff.

The Gala was also graced with the presence of the French Ambassador to the Philippines, Marie Fontanel, who gave a speech on her “Make It Iconic” campaign.

Guests also heard from First Lady of the Philippines Marie Louise “Liza” Araneta Marcos, the president of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jacques Christophe Branellec, the Pasay City Mayor Imelda Calixto-Rubiano and Miss World Philippines 2023 Gwendolyne Fourniol.

The main event of the evening was the awards ceremony of Le Trophée Bleu: Sustainability Business Awards, which recognized and celebrated the efforts of companies in establishing initiatives and programs in pursuit of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Held in partnership with HAVAS Ortega, the Business Awards awarded the following companies for their initiatives in the four categories: for People, Sanofi; for Planet, Essilor; for Partnership, CMA-CGM Philippines; and for Sustainable Excellence for SMEs, MAD Courses.

A theatrical production also took place after the awards ceremony, showcasing both French and Filipino cultural dances and performances for the guests to enjoy as dinner was served.

Dinner was an exquisite exhibition of Filipino-French cuisine prepared by chef Bettina Arguelles, the 2019 World Gourmet Awards Chef of the Year and executive chef at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.

The six-course meal featured Bacalao Rillette and Foie Gras au Torchon & Piña for the appetizers; Duck Adobo Façon “Vol-au-Vent” and Fillet de Boeuf “Bulalo” for the main course; a selection of cheeses including Brie, Ossau Iraty, Comte, Fourme d’Ambert and St. Maure de Touraine; and Pink Guava Charlotte and Petit Fours for dessert.

The meal was paired with a selection of wine and spirits, such as Champagne Martel, Victoire Prestige Brut; Gerard Bertrand, Heritage “An 542” 2018, Languedoc; Agimat Ube Cream Liqueur; and Plantation Rum XO 20th Anniversary.

The Jewelmer Band, joined by Branellec, serenaded the gala after the program proper and invited guests to the dance floor after dinner. The evening wrapped up with a celebration with DJ Abdel Aziz.

It was truly a magical evening building connections, creating memories, celebrating the accomplishments of the year and looking forward to more achievements to come.

FCCI Gala sponsors and partners include Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Jewelmer, BDO, Clinique de Paris, ENGIE Services Philippines, Vienovo, Artelia in the Philippines, 10Inch, ReelReve, Globaltronics, R Concepts & Events, Auro Chocolate, L’Oreal Philippines, The French Baker, Alternatives Food Corp., Winedrop, Malongo Atelier Barista Philippines, Citadelle Gin de France, Plantation Rum, Destileria Barako and THE DAILY TRIBUNE.