Street Festivals to Highlight Philippine Festivities in Seoul’s Banpo Park

By: Philippine Embassy

On July 5, 2009, the Philippines comes to Korea. Enlisting the local Filipino Community to showcase six of the most popular street festivals in the Philippines, the Philippine Embassy in Seoul will hold a series of activities at the recently opened Banpo Park on July 5 to celebrate the 111th Philippine Independence Day, the 14th Filipino Migrant Workers Day and the 60th Anniversary of Philippines-Korea Bilateral Relations.

Sinulog dancers during the dress rehearsal on May 24, 2009 at the War Memorial of Korea
“Lively festivals, with their energetic and costumed street dances, are key tourist attractions in the Philippines,” said Philippine Ambassador to Seoul Luis T. Cruz. “This year, we will bring these festivals to South Korea to give the public a glimpse of the vibrant history, society and culture of the Philippines in hopes of further promoting mutual understanding between our nations and strengthening people-to-people exchange,” he added.

The featured events will include the Panagbenga, a festival of flowers; Sinulog, Ati-atihan and Flores de Mayo, religious festivals that underline the importance of Christianity in the Philippines; Masskarra, a parade of masks; and Kadayawan, a popular thanksgiving festival in Southern Philippines.

Approximately 300 members of the Filipino Community from all over South Korea have volunteered to take part in the street dances, training for two months under professional instructors sent by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

The street dances will begin at 1:30PM and last for about one and a half hours. A mass for the Filipino Community will open the festivities in the morning while a brief recognition ceremony for Korean individuals and organizations that actively help Filipino workers will take place after the parade of festivals.

The daylong program will also include labor counseling services by the Korea Ministry of Labor, a concert by Filipino bands based in South Korea, and free tests and basic medical services by the Seoul National University Hospital.

The celebration comes after the successful state visit of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Seoul on May 30, 2009, at the heels of the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit in Jeju on June 1-2. Pres. Arroyo and Pres. Lee Myung-bak have agreed to intensify and broaden cooperation as both countries celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and South Korea, which were established on March 3, 1949.

The Philippine National Day is celebrated every year on June 12 and the Philippine Migrant Workers Day, an annual celebration in honor of Filipinos working abroad, in the month of June.

Other organizations that provided support for the festivities on July 5 include the Human Resources Development Corporation, Korea Exchange Bank, Landbank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Western Union and Woori Bank. The celebration is open to the public.