Celebrating the Philippines cultural festivals online
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THE “mother of all festivals” is the popular name for the annual Philippines Ati-Atihan festival which kicks off a number of religious and cultural festivals for the Southeast island nation.
Celebrated annually in the province of Aklan, Panay Island, it means "to imitate Ati" - the local name of the Aeta people - the first settlers of the island and other parts of the archipelago.
Because of the pandemic the usual colourful street parades and other festivities were not possible, but the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs has launched a cultural diplomacy project entitled “Fiesta Filipinas: an Online Celebration of Philippine Festivals”.
Fiesta Filipinas is a multi-format online event series from now until the end of May which will showcase various festivals, culture and traditions to an international audience.
Ambassador Joseph Gerard Angeles and the Philippines Embassy in Pretoria have invited interested parties to participate by attending the online activities.
To add to the fun, participants who sign up receive a kit from the embassy which includes instructions to make something representative of the particular festival and some delicacies to make the experience more memorable.
Last week was the turn of Panagbenga, a flower festival which 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 local chocolate, and the coffee Arabica is one of the main crops of the region of that name in the Cordillera highlands.
Included in the box is a magnet, with a flower made of translucent Capiz shell, a material widely used in the Philippines for window detail, lamps, plates and jewellery.
The next event is the Lenten festival of Visita Iglesia (visit churches) on March 20.
Events are broadcast at 8am South African time, but one can follow the recording on the official foreign ministry Facebook page (facebook.com/DFAPHL) or on (youtube.com/DFAPHL). To participate in future festivals, contact Vivien on [email protected]