Summer time again, children are out of schools and parents are busy either organising holidays or somewhere to leave their children while they are at work. For many Filipinos summer is the busiest time of the year. So many festivals around the UK, quick trips back home, birthdays, weddings, christening and BBQ’s!
This year the Philippine Generations team attended the 25th Silver Anniversary of Barrio Fiesta sa London on 19th July, 2009 to promote the organisation and also promote the upcoming workshop KULTURA. On the day a surprise visit from Myleene Klass was well…. surprising! For two years, the PG team never really thought she would actually show up or even take part in these kind of events. Especially when she often avoids talking with the media and public about her Filipinos roots. Maybe she was affected by the negative press we as a people seem to attract, maybe her daughter has made her rethink her involvement in the community, maybe her trip to the States showed her that being vocal about being Filipino does not hurt your career from people like Lou Diamond Phillips, Allen Pineda aka APL from Black Eyed Peas or even Manny Pacquiao. Maybe her management feel she is accepted enough a personaility to discuss her Filipino roots, either way it is still very hard to speak to her management about the Philippine Community. This years barrio fiesta definitely made it into the local newspaper where Myleene was the talk of the town along with Jano Gibbs & Arnel Ignacio, celebs from the Philippines and Micheal Copon a hollywood actor who starred in Scorpion King 2. Many was dissapointed that Robin Padilla did not make it due to problems with his visa, bad boy kasi eh!
Many Filipinos and non Filipinos attended the fiesta despite the bad weather. The PG team distributed flyers about the workshop and met different people and groups. Particularly the SEAMUSIC group, one of their members Larry Oliver Catungal play the Kulintang. It’s an indigenous musical instrument usually played in the southern part of the Philippines. He had a tent in front of us and he played beautiful music through this distinctive sounding instrument. As always we all enjoyed the food and meeting old and new friends, I look forward to next year’s fiesta!
On the 25th July, a week after the Barrio Fiesta in Hounslow we at the PG team hosted our first ever funded event ‘KULTURA’ that was funded by the Grassroot grant provided by the Westminster council. Hooraay! Finally after so many attempts we had a break through. The workshop was a series of cultural activities featuring different Filipino groups in the community.
The aim was to provide an activity where Filipinos and the local residents in the Westminster area could participate and enjoy Philippine culture. The workshops focused on ‘Dance’ facilitated by Lahing Kayumanggi, a professional dance company in the UK, ‘Martial Arts’ facilitated by Doce Pares, experts in Philippine martial arts systems of Eskrima also known as Kali or Arnis and an interactive activity about the Philippine Heroes through ‘Drama’ facilitated by The Don Rae Academy of Movements and Arts, a professional performing arts academy for schools and individuals.
Many parents came with their children, some couples and a few individuals came too. Some only watched but many participated in the workshop. The beauty about it was that parents and children both enjoyed the free workshops together, which was great for family bonding and keeping everybody active!
First on the schedule was the dance for 8- 11 year olds; ‘Bao-Bao’, a dance using 2 coconut shells banging them together in the beat while dancing, this was fun! Children really enjoyed it and parents joined in too! They danced and banged those coconut shells like there was no tomorrow. After an hour of dancing a short break was taken, during the break Larry Catungal and his group played the Kulintang. Audiences gathered around to listen and admire the music they played. Then next up was Eskrima, 8 – 11 years old, although dads stood at the back trying the moves too. The children learnt different techniques and self defense. During the martial arts 12 – 16+, dance was running in the next room where they learnt ‘Subli’, a dance where nipa hats are used.
Other activities on the day were playing ‘Sungka’ a popular game from the Philippines traditionally played by women. Children coloured pictures of different things you can find in the Philippines, such as carabao (indeginous water buffalo), jeepneys and women washing clothes by the river. There were also speech bubbles of tagalog words with English translations and posters with different facts about the Philippine Islands. This event was truly an educational day not just for us Filipinos but also to non Filipinos, not only for the children but also for the adults and parents!
During the drama workshop, children played games and learnt about the different lives of Philippine heroes like Jose Rizal. The last workshop was martial arts for older children and adults. This and dance were the most popular activities on the day.
It was a great day for everyone and a worthwhile event where we could all share the beauty of Philippine culture.
The day after was Taste Asia, it was our second year of involvement in this event. We had
our tent next to the Mayor of Redbridge who was fundraising for a charity. This year we shared our tent with Doce Pares who were performing on the main stage, they created so much interest about filipino martial arts! After seeing them do a demo on Eskrima (Kali or Arnis), showing some techniques using the sticks and also the Bolo (Machete). Many came to our tent asking about the Philippines, thankfully the Departement of Tourism for Philippines gave us some posters and information to give out & a WoW Philippines bag to go with it!
PG did a raffle competition on the day too, giving 1st prize (ticket no.89 Simon) a Dinner for 2 at Guanabana Restaurant, 2nd prize (ticket no. 62 Andy Castle) a Fresh water pearl with gold pendant and 3rd prize (ticket no.129 Ryan) Box of Chocolates.
The biggest news this summer has been the death of the former President of the Philippines Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009). She was the 11th President of the Philippines and not only our first female president, but also Asia’s first female president. She was married to Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr who was the main opposition to President Ferdinand Marcos during the early 1980’s. It was after his death and the call for her to run in his place by the people that she emerged from his shadow as a formidable woman. She led the inspirational ‘People Power’ bloodless revolution of 1986. This was a seminal moment in world politics, it led to similar peaceful people power revolutions in South America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Her influence was immense and she served as a figure of inspiration for the people that belief in what is right and in God is all you need to make a difference in the world. She died after a long battle with Colon Cancer and is remembered as one of our greatest public figures. A person with the moral character and aura our country is currently desparately crying out for!
Philippine Generations partnered with Katrina Woodford, a British documentary maker and created a short film about the filipino community and the issues filipinos in UK have. The film ‘WE ARE’ can be seen on Youtube, this is just a very short film made for her course on documentary film making using moving image capture, she has previously specialised in still image and narrative films. We are in the progress of making a longer film and are hoping to send the documeary to channel 4 to show it to a larger and wider audience. Watch the film here!
Lastly this summer we celebrated our 2nd year anniversary at the August PG POW WOW, ou
r social event every 1st thursday of every month held at the Comedy Pub in Oxendon street. We were joined by the new Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, DCM Reynaldo Catapang and his family, Manny Guzman, Consul General Tess De Vega, PG directors & members and PG supporters. On behalf of the PG team I want to thank those who made it. We also showed the short film ‘WE ARE’, everyone liked the film and are looking forward to seeing the longer version. So watch this space!
Look out for our next event in Christmas is our fundraising ‘Parol Making’ (christmas lantern) show your interests and joing our mailing list or email us.
By Mae Williams