Now many Americans know why ‘It’s more fun in the Philippines’

maraming salamat

courtesy of Philippine Embassy Washington DC Facebook Page

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than 6,000 people, most of them Americans, got to know why it’s more fun in the Philippines after the Philippine Embassy opened its doors to the public for the first time and regaled them with dances, music and, of course, Filipino food!

A total of 6,105 visitors, mostly Americans and other nationalities, were able to experience Filipino culture, many for the first time, in what Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. considers the most successful cultural diplomacy event undertaken by the Philippines here in the United States.

“It simply was overwhelming,” Ambassador Cuisia said of the open house event that was undertaken as part of the annual Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour organized by the District of Columbia Cultural Tourism Office.

More than 50 embassies participated in this year’s Passport DC, one of the much-awaited cultural events in the US capital that the Philippines participated in for the first time this year.

“For six hours on Saturday, we were able to let other people know why it’s more fun in the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said, adding that the event was a tremendous success since the Embassy was only expecting a maximum of 3,000 visitors.

People started streaming into the Embassy grounds along Massachusetts Avenue even before the gates opened at 10 a.m. Many said the Philippines was their first destination for the day because the Washington Post listed it as among the embassies to visit for this year’s event.

The number of visitors entering the Embassy gates averaged 1,000 per hour with the 3,000 target being reached by noontime. There were still some people who wanted to get in after the gates closed at 4 p.m.

Minister and Consul for Cultural Affairs Emil Fernandez said the ubebuco and mango popsicles from Magnolia; calamansi juice; the Ati-Atihan costumes; and the Tinikling lessons were instant hits among those who trooped to the Embassy.

Aside from Filipino dance, music and martial arts, the Embassy also gave visitors a taste of Filipino cuisine by serving them lechonpancitlumpia and turon that were provided by Filipino restaurant Bistro 7107 and caterers like Filipino Global; Northstar; Lumpia, Pancit Atbp; and Luming’s.

Even Philippine fastfood chain Jollibee supported the event by providing its popular Chickenjoy and Peach Mango Pie while its sister company Red Ribbon provided mamon. Tito Al’s served its signature chicharon as well as lumpia, Magnolia popsicles and Skyflakes while the Filipino Community provided four suckling pigs for the occasion.

The fiesta-like atmosphere at the Embassy was highlighted by Filipino dances like the Sakuting, Aray, Pagapir, Pansak Pindulas, Tinikling, Salip-Banga, Pangalay and Asik performed by Mabuhay Incorporated, Club Filipino of Georgetown University the Philippine Culture Society of George Washington University and the Migrant Heritage Commission.

Visitors were also treated to an exhibition of Filipino martial arts such as arnis and escrima courtesy of DC Lightning Scientific Arnis of Virginia and Pinakatay Arnis Sigidas of Maryland. The open house was capped by classical Filipino music performed by the Northern Virginia Rondalla.

Many of the visitors said they also were impressed by the wood and fruit sculptures prepared by the Paete Woodcarvers Association.

Also popular was the exhibit at the Romulo Hall of photographs of the Danajon Bank taken by members of the International League of Conservation Photographers as well as the Filipiniana pina gown collection of fashion designer Cathy Ebrada Cleveland.

Visitors were also provided with brochures from the Department of Tourism, with a number of them expressing their desire to visit the Philippines. The US-Philippines Society was also able to promote its After the Storm benefit concert for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.