B.P. (Student Staff Leader)
Since I came to Waseda University, one thing I am always asked when meeting someone new is “Where are you from?” I reply — quite proudly if you may ask — “I am from the Philippines!” And then almost all the time I would receive the response, “Oh! I have been to Cebu.” Don’t get me wrong, the beaches near Cebu area are beautiful, but it does disappoint me to know that all the Philippines is known for is Cebu.
The Philippines is not just known for their beaches: it is the combination of a rich nature and a rich culture engraved in the Filipino people that make the Philippines the Philippines. With the ICC Philippine Country Festival, I wanted to showcase exactly as I mentioned to the Waseda community.
The event was held on July 9, 2019 (Tues.) from 18:15 to 19:45. The program was divided into three parts: Philippine Tourism, Philippine Culture and Philippine Dance. During the Philippine Tourism section, Ms. Charmaine Serna-Chua from the Philippine Embassy gave a captivating presentation on the different tourist spots all over the Philippines. She showcased places such as Iloilo, Banaue, and Siargao; places that in my opinion, are extremely underrated. One of my personal favorites too was mentioned: Palawan, which I highly suggest everyone visit.
Secondly, Waseda students, John Mallari and Rumi Misuzako, from the circle, Waseda Filipino Association, gave presentations on interesting aspects of the Philippine culture. John Mallari talked about Filipino Language. The audience laughed along when John explained the non-oral forms of communication in Filipino culture such as raising eyebrows as a greeting, or pointing to something with your lips. Rumi, on the other hand, talked about Filipino superstitions and traditions. One tradition that shocked the audience was the fact that during Filipino funerals, you could sing and even gamble! This is to keep everyone awake during the funeral.
Lastly, there was a Philippine Culture Dance from the Philippine Cultural Dance Troupe of the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. The Dance troupe danced 4 dances of 3 genres: Mountain Tribal Dance, Spanish Influence Dance, and Village Festival. The dances were a trip through time, and besides the dancers graceful movements; their colorful costumes handcrafted by Filipinos themselves were eye-catching and entrancing. The audience definitely enjoyed the performances and could feel the spirit of the Philippines.
After the program, there was free time, where participants were free to roam around. The highlight of the event was definitely the Sari-Sari Store, where Filipino snacks were served for free! The snacks were displayed beautifully, and the decorations surrounding the Sari-Sari store were educational as well. For example, many liked the little facts about the Philippine national animal: the Philippine Eagle. Did you know it eats monkeys?
I was also very pleased with the Garden House decorations that gave out a very festive vibe with the colorful hangers, the Manila photo wall, and the beautiful posters provided by the Embassy.
Although the amount of participants was quite small for a country festival, I enjoyed every step of creating this event. I made sure to consider every detail of the event from the contents of the program to the decorations of the venue. I would definitely love to conduct another Philippine-themed event again soon so even more people can learn more about my home country.