Congratulations to FrancisFest 2015!

FrancisFest 2015, how it all began ….
Reprinted Message of Francsifest 2015
Chairperson in the Souvenir Program

God works in mysterious ways! I helped Fr. Reu do a thorough search for this year’s Chairperson for FrancisFest 2015, but every effort failed. So I finally went to see him and asked, “What is God’s message to me?” He just smiled.

Because time was running short, I texted him the next day and said that if no one who had been asked could accept the job, I would be willing to do it. He texted me back, “I knew yesterday that it is YOU!” Thus began this “Fantastic Journey!”

Our Lord handed me, as it were, a magic wand that must have touched the hearts of this incredible pianist Cecile Licad, who happens to be my niece on the Guevara side, and Piki Lopez, a business executive who happens to be my nephew on my Dayrit side, and owner of the incredible ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra! Everything has been incredible since this incredible job landed on my lap!

I witnessed Cecile bloom from a chubby little girl of five into the glamorous, accomplished woman that she is today. It has been a joy to have witnessed much of this. Cards and I were at her inaugural concert with Zuhbin Mehta at the Lincoln Center in 1981 just as we had promised her when she excitedly left Manila at age 11. She received the Leventritt Award which launched her career. I was also there when she received a phone call announcing that she had been awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Frederic Chopin in 1985. There have been many other happy occasions!

This evening Cecile will play Bartok’s Concert No.1. which I know is not easy to introduce and much less to be appreciated even by our very discriminating audience. But in the hands of Cecile Licad and the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Gerard Salonga, I am confident that it is going to be an exciting experience. Even Bartok, famous composer of this Concerto readily admitted that “its style is to a point difficult, and even very difficult for the orchestra and the public.” For the sake of our numerous charity and outreach programs, Piki right away agreed to partner with us with his Orchestra to perform this incredible Concerto! We are all truly excited!

God has led us every step of the way! Many challenges came our way, some seemingly insurmountable, but we survived them all as we reached out to God and to each other in love and worked endlessly. Our Working Committees were incredible as nothing seemed to faze them!

You, our dear Parishioners and Friends were one with us too! You also are so incredible! I can’t seem to find a better word than INCREDIBLE to describe every aspect of this “Fantastic Journey.”

We have come together this evening to give glory to God in the music so meticulously and enthusiastically prepared for you! THANK YOU ALL WHO HELPED US TO COME TO THIS NIGHT.


Amelita D. Guevarra
FrancisFest Chairperson


Top pianist Cecile Licad performs at FrancisFest by Rosalinda L. Orosa

CECILE LICAD, the country’s leading international pianist, will be the main attraction at the Sanctuario de San Antonio’s annual FrancisFest in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, patron of the poor and avid music lover, on Oct. 2, 2015.

The Curtis-trained Cecile won the Levintritt Award at 19—as the youngest, the first woman and second Asian to top the oldest, the toughest, and the most prestigious tilt in America.

Cecile has played with the New York Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta, the London Symphony under Claudio Abbado (who was rendered speechless at concert’s end), the National Symphony of Washington under Mstislav Rostropovich, the Pittsburg Symphony under Andre Previn, the London Royal Philharmonic under Charles Dutoit, and the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy. Among others who eagerly wielded the baton for Cecile were Kurt Masur, Neville Mariner, Michael Tilson-Thomas and Pinchas Zuckerman.

The dreaded New York Times critic Arnold Schonberg, on hearing Cecile perform under Mehta’s baton, wrote: “Not surprisingly, she had the notes in her agile fingers, but she had something more, which the audience responded to without a shouting ovation . . . an appealing combination of grace and fiery power.” On her concert with Solti, the Chicago Sun Times commented: “She can produce great, soaring tones in the class of Rachmaninoff himself.” Of a recital the same critic wrote: “She is extraordinary—one of the great flaming talents that comes along one or two times in every generation.” Legions of admirers fill the hall at every concert of Cecile in Manila but few seats are taken by foreign music lovers.

At the initial FrancisFest meeting, plans to ensure the event’s success were discussed by FrancisFest Chairman Amelita Guevara, Parish Priest Fr. ReuJose C. Galoy, OFM and committee members Edmund Lim, Suzette Gatmaitan, Dee Chan, Lourdes de Leon, Girlie Sison, Tina Teehankee and Jaime Blanco.

Reprinted with permission. ENCORE, The Manila Times, July 25, 2015

Rosalinda L. Orosa

Rosalinda L. Orosa


Amelita Dayrit Guevara Francisfest 2015 Chairperson

Amelita Dayrit Guevara
Francisfest 2015 Chairperson

Mrs. Amelita D. Guevara, indefatigable founder and head of our well-known Coro de San Antonio, has been named this year’s chairman of the yearly FRANCISFEST. She immediately called an informal meeting on Friday, July 10 to announce the good news that the long-awaited and world-known Cecil Licad had accepted our invitation to be the honoured guest performer at our Francisfest Concert.

Amelita then briefly mapped out ways and means, over-all strategies and other concerns to be taken up in greater detail at subsequent meetings to make this year’s Francisfest a great success, since it fortunately coincides with our Parish’s Ruby Anniversary.

Present at this initial meeting were Fr. Reu Galoy, OFM, Parish Priest, Rosalinda Orosa, well-known music critic and columnist, members of the Parish Council Jaime Blanco, Edmund Lim, Dee Chan, Tina Teehankee, Girlie Sison and Lourdes de Leon. Also present was Suzette Gatmaitan, so generous about the printing needs of the parish and in charge of Souvenir Program.

A second meeting was held on Thursday, July 16 and included Marilou Consing and Jeannie Bitanga of the Parish Bulletin, Menchu Bautista, Scholarship Committee, Carina Lebron and Lyn Rivilla.

Taken up in greater detail were matters concerning program and production, publicity and promotion, sponsorship, tickets, souvenir program, technical and physical arrangements, traffic and security, and a host of other matters which will be ironed out in greater detail.

The meeting also discussed important committees and their members, details of which will be published when completely finalized. Beneficiaries of our Francisfest celebration have been asked to submit articles to our Parish Bulletin describing their invaluable community work.

Amelita comes from several generations of Church involved families. Her grandmother Pacita Roxas de Katigbak was a daily communicant and used to play the organ in their Cathedral of St. Sebastian in Lipa. So was her mother, Imelda Katigbak Dayrit. She also was a daily mass goer and was the official organist of Our Lady of Lourdes Church.

Amelita was commandeered by Diding Panlilio, then head of the Christian Family Movement, thus becoming the unofficial conductor of small choir of the then Shrine of St. Anthony in 1962. It was then made up of a spritely 10 or so volunteer member from CFM. The rest is history.

Amelita has always been involved in the Francisfest since day 1 when it was conceived by Fr. Hugh Zurat, then Parish Priest, in 1986. She was mostly in charge of the program and has produced major choral works like Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Mendelssohn’s Oratorio of St. Paul and Elijah and many others.
CECILE LICADThis year Francisfest will feature Cecile B. Licad, who is not only a world acclaimed pianist but happens to be also the niece of Cards Guevara, Amelita’s husband. The Chairmanship of this year’s Francisfest was first offered to two other probable Chairpersons, who first agreed and then regretted because of other commitments. What is God’s message here, she asked Fr. Reu. Little did she realize that she has been “divinely” chosen. It is with great pride therefore that Amelita, in her stint as Chairperson for the first time in her long service to our Church that Francisfest presents such an outstanding artist.