PH and Vietnam engage in arts and culture exchange

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In October, the back-to-back “Cultural Days” of the Philippines and Vietnam was held allowing citizens of both nations exchange their arts and culture.

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The Cultural Days of the Philippines in Vietnam was first to happen from October 2 to 7. The Philippine delegation who visited the capital was led by NCCA executive director Emelita Almosara.

It opened with choral performances by the University of Santo Tomas Singers at the Hanoi Opera House treating the Vietnamese people with the Philippine music.

“Going beyond this showcase of a glimpse of Filipino cultural heritage is the promotion of culture of our countries as a means to support socio-cultural institutions in the region, moving towards Asean Community in 2015,” said Almosara in the opening speech.

“More interesting to note is the people-to-people exchanges, which Vietnam and the Philippines agreed to organize at the level of each country. The people-to-people exchanges, through various activities, are another great opportunity to share our commonalities, diverse and immense wealth of cultures of each country,” she added.

Finally, she enthused, “It could be recalled that the cultural ties between our two nations were formerly established on March 24, 1994, upon signing of the cultural agreement between Vietnam and the Philippines. As expressed during the latest Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation, the Philippines looks forward to more years of effective, productive and friendly relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.”

Then, an exhibit of indigenous textiles titled Our Pattern of Islands: The Patterns of Culture in Philippine Traditional Textiles was held at the Vietnam Fine Art Museum in Hanoi from October 3 to 5. It was curated by Dr. Norma Respicio, a professor at the Department of Art Studies of the University of the Philippines.

“Being one of the basic necessities of people, textile production is widely practiced among various Philippine communities throughout the islands. So that even during the Spanish colonization, Philippine textile weavers were already dexterous in employing two weaving implements: the back-strap loom and the up-right pedal loom. Today there are 25 communities actively practicing traditional textile production,” Respicio explained.

The exhibit delved on the patterns and meanings of these traditional textiles.

For the Cultural Days of Vietnam in the Philippines, the Vietnamese delegation, led by Le Ngoc Dinh, deputy director general of the International Cooperation Development, and Vuong Duy Bien, deputy minister, both from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam, came to the Philippines from October 17 to 23.

It opened with a gala at the Tanghalang Guillermo Tolentino of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) on October 18, featuring performances by the Theater of Viet Bac Folk Music, Dance and Song. Some of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups performed, like the dances from the Lo Lo, Lu, Pa Then and K’mer peoples, and songs from the Xa and Cham peoples. They also played ethnic instruments such as the tinh, the native flute, the t’rung and the monochord. They also sang the popular Filipino folksong “Sitsiritsit” to the delight of the audience.

The event was graced by Dr. Raul Sunico, president of the CCP; Marlene Ruth Sanchez, deputy executive director of the NCCA; Truong Trieu Duong, ambassador of Vietnam to the Philippines; and Duong Dinh Chien, First Secretary of Embassy of Vietnam in the Philippines.

The Theater of Viet Bac Folk Music, Dance and Song was established in 1953 and is tasked to research, collect, preserve and promote folk arts of the ethnic groups in the mountainous area of northern Vietnam. The company has performed in various traditional arts programs and international art festivals, and several members are recognized as People’s Artists and Artists of Merit.

A photo exhibit showing Vietnam’s culture, heritage and tourist attractions were also opened at the CCP, and moved to The Block of SM North Edsa mall in Quezon City from October 19 to 22. The Viet Bac Theater also performed at The Block of SM North Edsa on October 19 and at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila on October 22.

Both cultural events were made possible through the efforts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the International Affairs Office, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Vietnam, as part of the agreement in the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation of the Republic of the Philippines and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam convened on July 31 to August 1 in Manila.

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