Philippine Traditional Dance And Music Take The Spotlight On Diplomatic Milestone Event With South Africa

(MENAFN- African Press Organization)
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Philippine culture was on full display during the event organized by the Philippine Embassy in Pretoria to mark the 30 years of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and South Africa. As a fitting tribute to the countries' diplomatic milestone, Philippine dance troupe KALOOB Philippine Music and Dance Ministry performed on 26 November 2023 at the University of Pretoria's Aula Theatre.

The event was attended by over 700 guests from the government, diplomatic corps, organized business, academic community and other sectors of South African society, as well as members of the Filipino community.

In her welcome remarks, Philippine Ambassador Noralyn Jubaira Baja highlighted the similarities between Filipino and South African cultures despite the two countries' geographical distance. She said that the Philippines, just like South Africa, is a country which is proud of and fully embraces its multicultural heritage. Filipinos also share common values with their African kin such as faith and spirituality, family centeredness, sense of community, as well as fostering harmonious interpersonal relationships.

The Ambassador likewise mentioned the significant developments in the bilateral ties between the Philippines and South Africa, most notably the successful convening of the countries' 5th Bilateral Consultative Forum held on 23 February 2023 in Pretoria, which allowed Filipino and South African policymakers to discuss issues of mutual interest.

As guest of honor, Chief Director for Central, South and Southeast Asia Sindiswa Mququ of the South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation agreed with the Ambassador that both countries have rich and diverse cultural heritage that reflects their unique identity and history. Commending the Embassy for its continuous efforts to promote the cultural relations between the two countries, she emphatically stated that it is through cultural exchange and dialogue that both sides can learn from each other, appreciate their similarities and differences, and foster mutual understanding and respect.

Marking their debut in South Africa, KALOOB provided the South African public with a glimpse of the cultural diversity of the Philippines by performing selected traditional dances and music of the Cordillera region, the indigenous communities in Mindanao, and the Muslim groups in southern Philippines. The group also performed Hispanic dances which were introduced to the country during the Spanish occupation and subsequently indigenized by the Filipino people. KALOOB capped their great performance with Philippine folk dances which are deeply rooted in pre-colonial and Spanish colonial periods but have survived and evolved through time.

The dance troupe captivated the guests with its repertoire of Filipino dances, which included Chalijok (harvest-time dance of the Kalinga people), Sabay (courtship dance of the Subanen people), Kapamalong-Malong (dance showing the various ways to wear and use the malong, a tubular cloth worn by the Maranao people), Singkil (the Maranao people's retelling of the Darangen epic), Jota Moncadeña (a distinctly Hispanized dance in Tarlac province using bamboo hand clickers called kalaste) and the very popular Tinikling. Live music from traditional Philippine percussion and stringed instruments, as well as the colorful and vibrant traditional costumes further enriched KPMDM's performance.

KALOOB received a standing ovation from an enthusiastic audience. As a symbol of the enduring friendship between the Philippines and South Africa, some South African youth who watched the performance presented flowers to the performers.

Founded by Mr. Eduardo Lapiz, KALOOB initially promoted Filipino indigenous culture for use in contemporary Christian evangelization and worship. The group has since branched out to arranging performances for a general audience with the objective of spreading profound appreciation for Philippine heritage. With its continuing extensive cultural research, documentation, preservation and promotion of Philippine indigenous music, dance and rituals, the group has been recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines as one of the major dance groups in the country.

KALOOB's performance in South Africa was made possible through the generous support of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs' Office of Public and Cultural Diplomacy commemorative event is part of the Embassy's vigorous efforts to harness the transformative power of cultural diplomacy in bridging cultural gaps and facilitating greater people-to-people understanding between the Philippines and South Africa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines.


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