Celebrating Philippines Cultural Festivals Online
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THE “Mother of All Festivals” is the popular name of the annual Philippine Ati-Atihan Festival which launches a number of religious and cultural festivals for the Southeast Island nation.
Celebrated annually in Aklan Province, on the island of Panay, it means “to imitate Ati” – the local name of the Aeta people – the first settlers of the island and other parts of the archipelago.
Due to the pandemic, the usual colorful street parades and other festivities were not possible, but the Philippine Foreign Ministry launched a cultural diplomacy project called “Fiesta Filipinas: An Online Celebration of Filipino Festivals”.
Fiesta Filipinas is a series of multi-format online events by the end of May that will present various festivals, cultures and traditions to an international audience.
Ambassador Joseph Gerard Angeles and the Philippine Embassy in Pretoria invited interested parties to participate by attending the online activities.
To add to the fun, participants who register receive an Embassy kit that includes instructions for doing something representative of the particular festival and a few delicacies to make the experience more memorable.
Last week it was the turn of Panagbenga, a flower festival that started after the 1990 earthquake and the kit included dried flowers with dried tropical fruit crisps, Malagos chocolate and Benguet coffee.
The award-winning chocolate has a distinctive taste, different from the local chocolate, and Arabica coffee is one of the main crops in the region of the same name in the Cordillera Highlands.
The box contains a magnet with a translucent Capiz shell flower, a material widely used in the Philippines for details on windows, lamps, plates and jewelry.
The next event is the Lent Festival of Visita Iglesia (visit to churches) on March 20.
The events are broadcast at 8 a.m. South African time, but the recording can be followed on the official Foreign Ministry Facebook page (facebook.com/DFAPHL) or (youtube.com/DFAPHL). To participate in future festivals, contact Vivien on [email protected]