ISLAMABAD: There were fewer nicer places to be at on a clear sunny monsoon day this Saturday than the Philippines embassy where there was a celebration of the country’s culture with dance and home-cooked culinary delights.
“We are actually celebrating a very important part of our culture and that’s dance. The best traditional dance is Sakuting, which originated from the northern islands in the Philippines. It’s a dance with sticks which is a huge part of Filipino tradition, all of which reflects our rich cultural heritage before foreign influences,” said Dan Erwin Bagaporo, deputy head at the embassy of the Philippines, who hosted close friends from the diplomatic community and a few local guests at a show organised to promote cultural cooperation between his country and Pakistan.
Trees in the embassy looked particularly fine in the morning with the lush green grass and the ground speckled with flowers outside, under the soundtrack of traditional Filipino tunes.
Besides the home-cooked food by the embassy staff such as sweet and sour fish, Pancit Canton and Sotanghon Guisado (vegetable mixed noodles), chicken Adobo, the highlight of the show was that all the guests danced the Sakuting, a dance inspired by martial arts.
“We hope that with the mixing of cultures we can highlight not just our colourful traditions but also complement the Pakistani culture,” said the deputy head.
After a few instruction lessons for the guests, First Secretary of Economic at the Indonesian embassy Indra Noer and his wife Henny Lidya were declared the best dancers.
“I love to dance and Sakuting is quite energetic,” said Henny Lidya quipping.
Charge d’ Affaires Maria Agnus Cervantes told her guests that dances and food were a great way to see and experience the true cultural experience of the Philippines.
Desserts such as Buchi made from rice and seeds and Puto Maya were a must have, especially the Sago at Gulaman to wash down the food, Maria Agnus told her guests.
“Food in the Philippines is varied because of our history especially our seafood. The Sago at Gulaman is one of our favourite drinks for summer in which the Sago comes from the palm and Gulaman comes from sea weed, mixed in sugarcane juice,” said Maria Agnus who believed that Pakistan and the Philippines had numerous opportunities for promoting mutual cultural, economic and trade relations.
“The Philippines is a representative of a strong cultural heritage, which has many similarities with Pakistan’s culture and civilisation, which can be helpful in bringing the two countries closer with significant opportunities for cooperation in tourism,” Maria Agnus said.
In his remarks, Bagaporo said the promotion of cultural relations between Pakistan and the Philippines would also strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations.
He said cultural, diplomatic, economic and trade ties had been established between the two countries in many potential sectors with wider possibilities of further strengthening bilateral relations in the future.
Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2022