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PINOY-SWEDES CELEBRATE A WEEK OF ALL-FILIPINO CULTURAL FESTIVAL




  By  Rachel Hansen
Photos by Jenny Hansen
Stockholm-Sweden
October 20, 2016

 
 


Pinoy Culture festival in Europe is best celebrated in one whole week. The Pinoy Swedes know this and they have been doing it for the last four years with a lot of success and appreciation from culture lovers. ENFiD Sweden and Philippine Center Sweden are the hosts of this annual event.


Beginning of October is the ideal month to do this, when everybody is back from their summer holidays, the school children have settled in their schools, and Christmas is not yet around the corner.

The culture festival starts with a cooking contest, or the search for the Pinoy Chef of the Year. While the cooking contest is going on, a five day  Art and Photographic Exhibition and Competition is taking place at Café Eugenia, which is located on the same building as the S:ta Eugenia Catholic Church right in the heart of Stockholm. This strategic location makes this exhibition very popular not only for Filipinos but also for Swedes and other bypassers.
One need not be a professional cook, artist or photographer to join the competitions. What has been a pleasant surprise for many is that they did not know that they have the skills and the talents required. As the competitions become well-known, more and more Pinoys, both the first and second generations, have become more and more self-confident and find the competitions both fun and challenging.

Let us take the example of Anita Söderberg, who has joined the art competitions a couple of times. Anita started as an insecure and shy artist and always gets surprised everytime someone buys her artworks during the exhibitions. Although she noticed that most kababayans are not really used to buying artworks, to the delight of the non-Pinoys or the Swedes, who seem to like or appreciate artworks by Filipinos. Anita said that it is not the selling of the artwork that is important to her, but it is the fact that she has been given a chance to exhibit her artwork – for her that is the reward.

Pinoys seem to have natural talents for photography. This year’s winner, Ivee Bernal Hidvegi, said that never in her dreams had she thought that she will receive the Photographer of the Year 2016 award.

When it comes to the Cooking Competition, this year’s winner is the one who left his comfort zone behind and concocted a fusion of basic Pinoy flavors using Datu Puti vinegar, coconut milk and simmering this with a local and most common fish, which is the salmon. Success!

This years winner are the following: Anabele Bringas, Artist of the Year 2016, Ivee Bernal Hidvegi, Photographer of the Year 2016, Ronald Reyes, Pinoy Chef of the Year 2016.

To add more prestige and excitement to the competitions, the members of the jury are chosen with utmost consideration. Prominent art dealers and  professional artists, photographers, gourmets, half of them mostly Swedes and half Pinoy-Swedes comprise the members of the jury in the various competition.

A special award, the Hall of Fame Award for Cultural Achievement was granted to Ditas Enström for years of untiring and selfless service in promoting Filipino dances through her EuroAsian Dance Group. This dance group have been doing great performances around Scandinavia for over 20 years.


On the last day of the culture festival, a 3 hour Cultural Show, with a variety of entertainment are presented to a mixed audience. Young and old, Pinoys and Swedes alike fill up the auditorium. A prayer, Filipino and Swedish national anthems are sung by all.

A 30 minute show of folk dances by the Euro-Asian Dance Group headed by Ditas Enström is presented followed by a Pinoy troubadour, James Jubelag, originally, from General Santos in Mindanao, who entertained the audience with folk songs in Ilonggo, Cebuano, Tagalog, accompanied by his favorite instrument, the hegalong, which is a native Filipino lute instrument.


This year we ended the cultural show by singing Pilipinas Kong Mahal. Some of us had tears in our eyes as we sang “Ang puso ko at buhay man, sa iyo ibibigay. Tungkulin kong gagampanan, na lagi kang paglingkuran, ang laya mo’y babantayan, Pilipinas kong mahal…!

Many thanks to all who made this Filipino Cultural Week in Stockholm a great success!

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