HANOI (June 10) — In cooperation with the Filipino community, the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi, observed National Heritage Month and the 111th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence with two events that showcased distinct elements of Philippine culture, particularly the Santacruzan, Filipino music, and the indigenous dance Pangalay.
On a bright Sunday morning, the 31st of May, Filipinos, mostly based in Hanoi, together with family and friends, flocked to the Hanoi Press Club for the community’s Independence Day program.
The program started with a Santacruzan participated in by children of Filipino community members and other expatriates in Hanoi. The Santacruzan participants rode on cyclos, the Vietnamese version of the pedicab, and went around the historic Sofitel Metropole Hotel and the roundabout in front of the Hanoi Opera House.
After the cyclo parade, the young Reynas and their escorts formed into a procession and entered the Hanoi Press Club Hall as the Cua Bac International Fellowship choir was singing the traditional Dios Te Salve.
The other highlights of the program were performances from the AlunAlun Dance Circle and Joey Ayala.
The AlunAlun Dance Circle (ADC) came to Hanoi upon the invitation of the Philippine Embassy and with support from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts. The ADC performed the Pangalay, an endangered pre-Islamic and pre-Christian dance style indigenous to the Sulu Archipelago – home to the Tausug, Samal, Badjao, and Jama Mapun groups–in the southern Philippines. This little-known dance style has the richest movement vocabulary among Philippine dances and is a living link to traditional dance cultures in the Asian region.
Ayala, on the other hand, who was invited by the Filipino community,is a popular contemporary artist, best known for mixing the sound of Filipino indigenous instruments, such as the hegalong and the kulintang, with the sound of modern pop music to come up with songs that tell stories about the environment, the travails of the common man, different forms of love, nationalism, among others.
Not to be outdone, Filipino community members also took the opportunity to wow the audience at the event with their performances of the cariñosa and the maglalatik.
During the program, Ambassador Laura Q. Del Rosario took the opportunity to inform the audience about important updates from the Embassy, particularly on consular matters, such as the availability of machine-readable passports and continuing registration for Overseas Absentee Voting.
The following day, 1 June 2009, the Philippine Embassy commemorated the 111th Anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence with a vin d’honneur at the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi. Vietnamese government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and prominent members of the academic, business and cultural communities in Hanoi, including those from the Filipino community, were in attendance at the reception.
The Embassy decided to hold the celebration early to give an opportunity to the diplomatic corps to watch a repertoire of Philippine pangalay dances performed by the AlunAlun Dance Circle. The cultural presentation demonstrated the pre-Hispanic linkage of the Philippines to the Hindu/Buddhist-based cultures of Indonesia and Indochina.
The Embassy received very positive compliments from the diplomats present at the reception.
The EU Ambassador, in particular, said that if all Embassies in Hanoi planned their receptions the way the Philippine Embassy planned theirs, the female Ambassadors will have control over the cultural diplomacy agenda in Hanoi. The Indian Ambassador likewise noted the performance’s high-level quality while the Italian Ambassador and the Director General of Vietnam’s UNESCO remarked that it was an excellent performance.
During the toast, Ambassador Laura Q. Del Rosario took the opportunity to mention recent developments in the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Vietnam, such as the exchange visits between Vietnam’s Minister of Public Security and the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government, meetings between Philippine and Vietnamese maritime experts and the upcoming meeting of senior officials from the Philippines and Vietnam under the Joint Commission framework to prepare for the sixth Joint Commission meeting at the Ministerial level.
The guest of honor, Deputy Foreign Minister Dao Viet Trung, also took note of these developments and expressed happiness at the further expansion and development of Philippine-Vietnam bilateral relations. He also expressed appreciation over the impressive performance of the AlunAlun Dance Circle and extended his thanks to the Embassy and the NCCA for bringing the group to Vietnam.