EXCLUSIVE: Here's What Went On At Event Designer Jerry Sibal's Masterclass
It is pointless to be selfish, as successful US-based Pinoy real estate broker Edwin Josue notes. He and his husband, the well-loved and well-renowned event designer Jerry Sibal, have now reached a point in their lives where their actions and choices are no longer hinged on self-promotion. At 61, Jerry is all about sharing his knowledge and training those who want to follow in his footsteps.
Today, Jerry and Edwin may be back in New York where they are based, but they left Manila with the goal of coming back and giving back. "I want to turn Philippines into a major supplier of flowers," Jerry quips.
Event designer Jerry Sibal
Although Jerry built his career in New York, he has never forgotten about his home country, the Philippines, even for a single moment. He has always been proud of being a Pinoy, highlighting this fact every chance he gets, in hopes of showing the global market what Filipinos are truly made of.
This is why when the opportunity to give back to his fellow Filipinos presented itself, he didn't hesitate to share his treasure trove of ideas for everyone to take their cues from.
In the form of a masterclass last March 20-23 at Dusit Thani Manila, Jerry met aspiring Filipino floral and event designers—some of whom even came all the way from Macau and Canada to learn from the master—and provided them basic and advanced lessons to help them get started with these professions or hobbies they wish to pursue.
The masterclass was divided into two: a one-day beginners class on floral design and a three-day advanced class on event styling. The glass pavilion of Dusit Thani Manila was filled with beautiful imported flowers—from roses to orchids to hydrangeas to tulips—all throughout this 4-day event.
On Day 1, Jerry taught the workshop participants the basic principles and mechanics of design that are applied to floral arrangements; this include color, forms and lines, balance, types of floral arrangements, floral materials and accessories, and production techniques. The students were asked to create corsages and boutonnieres, floral centerpieces, and bridal bouquets (facilitated by Jerry's good friend, event stylist Teddy Manuel).
Days 2 to 4 were all about comprehensive workshops on wedding, corporate, and event design. The topics covered included the fundamentals and elements of floral arranging, production lighting, and event planning. As part of the masterclass, wedding coordinator Kutchie Zaldarriaga also had an inspiring talk about her work and its important connection to event styling. Also a highlight on the second day of the masterclass was a talk by a representative from flower supplier Fleur du Monde, who showed the process of harvesting the flowers in Holland and preparing them for import; what ensued after this was an interesting discussion on advocating for the improvement of technologies in the Philippines, aimed at producing import-quality flowers.
Jerry Sibal and Teddy Manuel
The students were tasked to come up with their own flower arrangements, with Jerry giving them guidelines while encouraging them to be creative and think out of the box. These creations were later put to good use, as they were beautifully placed as lovely centerpieces on the tables at Jerry's benefit gala dinner, which took place on the night of March 22.
With Jerry behind the successful coffee table book An Event to Remember, you can't expect less than the best when it comes to an event he designed. The gala dinner held at Dusit Thani Manila's Mayuree Grand Ballroom was for the benefit of Santuario de San Antonio Parish's Outreach Program. To celebrate such a worthy cause, Jerry and Edwin made sure to put together an event that would leave their guests in awe.
The guests, who couldn't stop complimenting and taking photos of the stunning tablescapes, enjoyed a scrumptious dinner, with featured menu items such as charred calamari salad with green olive, roasted pepper, anchovy garlic aioli, and gem tomatoes; cream of morels with tempura enoki and basil touille; main course of salmon with charred scallion, sweet potato puree, sake & miso glaze, pickled shimiji, and seaweed chips; and dessert of burnt lemon meringue tart with raspberry jelly and kaffir lime crystals. The lavish décor was complemented by clever lighting that made the designs further stand out.
While the guests were enjoying their desserts, the performances lined up for the evening began. Jerry and Edwin, who produced "Noli Me Tangere: The Opera," invited the opera's artists (Bianca Lopez, Nerissa de Juan, Ronah Ferrer, and Nomher Nival) to entertain the guests with impressive song numbers. ?
The Mayuree Grand Ballroom of Dusit Thani Manila was dressed up by Jerry Sibal and his masterclass students.
Edwin Josue and Jerry Sibal's thank you speech
"Noli Me Tangere: The Opera" artists Bianca Lopez, Nerissa de Juan, Ronah Ferrer, and Nomher Nival performed at the benefit gala dinner.
The main element Jerry Sibal used for this event was a LED stage backdrop whose images changed for every part of the program.
Jerry Sibal left his students with tips they can apply not only in their careers but in life in general:
- "Turn negative things into positive."
- "Follow your passion."
- "Celebrate failure as a teaching moment to success."
- "Own your mistakes."
- "Develop strong work ethics and business attitude."
- "Be patient."
- "Be humble."
- "Always be prepared."
- "Do your homework."
- "Be attentive."
- "Be a good listener."
- "Be polite."
- "Be honest."
The day after the benefit gala dinner, the masterclass students were awarded TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) certificates to mark this milestone. This may have been Jerry's first masterclass, but one thing's for sure, it won't be his last; if anything, this is just the beginning of more exciting things to come for those who want to learn the tricks of the trade from an event design master like Jerry Sibal.
Photographs by Spotlight Creatives (masterclass) and Grace Libero-Cruz (benefit gala dinner)