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Spreading culture and bridging people amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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Anthony Mandap | Consular Bulletin
Anthony Mandap | Consular Bulletin
ANTHONY MANDAP is the Philippine Deputy Consul General in Melbourne. He was Deputy Consul General in Vancouver. Anton also worked as a journalist in Malaya and the now-defunct Times Journal. He was also Consul in Caracas, San Francisco and Venezuela. He is a product of the University of the Philippines for his journalism and law degrees.

The raging COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt immobilised travel and tourism in virtually all parts of the world, but this did not stop the creative minds of Filipinos from exploring new ways and shifting to new platforms to pitch for Filipino culture  and tourism.

After all, only bodies can really be locked down during a pandemic; the longing of the mind to wander continues, and knows no physical limits. Indeed, “whatever your mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” said author Napoleon Hill. 

On this premise, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Centre for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), cooked up a project called “Fiesta Filipinas: An Online Celebration of Philippine Festivals.” 

Wake Up Asia!
Wake Up Asia!

Fiesta Filipinas is a series of interactive, online events that featured the world-renowned Filipino festivals, a creative simulation of the festival experience for the global community, and a clever way to promote tourism and cultural diplomacy even while we are kept indoors by a deadly pandemic.

The project was a six-part, multi-format online event series, a combination of live and pre-recorded videos and live workshops and activities that ran from December 2020 until May 2021. 

It strung together the major events from the Philippine annual festival calendar from north to south;

  • December 2020 – Giant Lantern Parade, a bright and vibrant Christmas festival and parade of showcasing the unparalleled Pampango craftsmanship and artistry in lantern-making. 
  • February 2021 – Sinulog Festival / Ati-atihan Festival / Dinagyang Festival, the wildly popular and touristy festivals cum street dances in the provinces of Cebu, Aklan and Iloilo, respectively. 
  • February 2021 – Panagbenga Festival, the renowned flower festival of the country’s summer capital Baguio City. 
  • March 2021 – Visita Iglesia, a Lenten ritual among the faithful, blended with a tour of iconic, centuries-old Catholic churches of the Philippines. 
  • April 2021 – Lami-lamihan, literally merry-making, seeking to promote cultural harmony among the Yakan, Tausug, Muslim and Christian communities in the Basilan province.
  • May 2021 – Flores de Mayo, a beloved Filipino summer festival devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary, often highlighted by the Santacruzan, a procession paying homage to the Christian conquest of Rome which has evolved into a popular pageant among the town’s fairest.  
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/P8n7xnH_w5pOXC5aN1YcJJD61f9mh7jzE_fHScRYKcSK0zDrIvJdkZexnPtqWf7E8oJjm82Kj8JVHNTrmyWE9uTJlnUX5IQLASTZQEPwarFVK9s6NIwJK3PfrsqNQRn2DB4yBDPM=s0

Filipino participants from Victoria show off their malong dance moves.

A bonus activity, Move with Malong, came just last September, in observance of 2021 as the “Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors.” It focused on the malong, the ubiquitous traditional Filipino garment, and the Kappa Malong Malong dance of the Maranao people of Mindanao. 

Then on 30 October, a special episode will be streamed, this time featuring the Masskara festival of Bacolod City. Similar to the Carnival in Rio, this festival is noted for the intricately designed masks of various colours worn to symbolise the smiling faces of the city. 

The Philippine Consulate General in Melbourne is proud to have been an active supporter of this ingenuous project, as it drew the enthusiastic participation of members of the Filipino-Australian community in Victoria. 

The Consulate also collaborated with vloggers in promoting the events, among them Princess Ann Melchor, Germaine Manalili, Rosa Balderas and Jodilly Pendre. The vloggers shared their exciting virtual experience with their growing audiences. 

Their collaborative video may be viewed to this link below:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1EeBfXjLoOyAP2yV18wjPxwftsTNaOXjv

Anthony Mandap | Consular Bulletin
Anthony Mandap | Consular Bulletin
ANTHONY MANDAP is the Philippine Deputy Consul General in Melbourne. He was Deputy Consul General in Vancouver. Anton also worked as a journalist in Malaya and the now-defunct Times Journal. He was also Consul in Caracas, San Francisco and Venezuela. He is a product of the University of the Philippines for his journalism and law degrees.

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