“It was the best of the best!” said her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain to Senator Loren Legarda during the cocktail reception for the Queen that followed her guided tour of the Philippines´ first permanent textile galleries at the National Museum on July 6, 2012.
Legarda, the event’s host and patron of the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino textile galleries, said that the Queen was very amazed during the tour at the textile galleries especially when weavers from Ifugao performed a Hudhud for Harvest Chant as well as a farewell chant for Queen Sofia.
“Her Majesty inquired much on the various textiles and where they are from. I showed her the Banton cloth which is the oldest textile found in the Philippines. But the highlight was the Hudhud chant by the Ifugaos. That was my surprise which she so much enjoyed and appreciated. The Queen said she loved the chants and spoke to the Ifugaos one by one and said they have a certain mysticism about them,” the Senator narrated.
The Hudhud chants, declared by UNESCO as one of the 19 Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, symbolize special episodes in the life of the Ifugaos such as times of harvest and weeding rice, during funeral wakes, and when they perform bone-washing rituals.
Legarda said that the Queen also enjoyed the food served at the cocktails, which was meticulously prepared for a vegetarian.
“The Queen was so enthused and relaxed. She asked about every dish in the menu and even the sampaguita and white roses on the tables. The Queen was so appreciative and genuinely interested, so down to earth and charming and so at home,” Legarda said.
The Senator said that Queen Sofia also inquired about other issues such as the trafficking of children and women which she expressed concern about.
“Her Majesty was genuine and enthusiastic. A very down to earth queen with innate inquisitiveness especially on rural women, indigenous peoples, art and culture and the plight of trafficked children. We were very honored with her visit and she said that when she comes back to the Philippines, she would want to go to the Ifugao Rice Terraces and see not only the beauty of the scenery but also the culture of the communities that surround it,” Legarda concluded.