Philippine Culture Showcased at Madrid’s Second and Bigger La Navideña Christmas Fair

Philippine culture was showcased once again at the second and bigger edition of Madrid’s La Navideña Feria Internacional de las Culturas.  This year’s fair was held from 17 to 23 December 2016, at one of Madrid’s most popular and biggest contemporary art centers, the Matadero.

The fair featured more performances, workshops, and concerts from various cultural organizations in Spain, as compared with last year’s fair.   There were 75 booths this year, 25 more than last year’s 50.

In its booth, the Philippines showcased an array of Christmas décor made of capiz and sinamay, hand-woven abel table linens from La Union and placemats from Basey, Samar.  Philippine lambanog and mango, coffee and calamansi liqueur also figured prominently in the display.

Philippine cuisine was also a big attraction.  Guests made a beeline for meals of adobo, ginataang kalabasa at sitaw, pancit, siopao and Filipino-style barbeque.  Mango cake, turon and bibingka also received positive reviews from visitors.

The Philippines also featured well in the fair’s programming through its participation in the following activities:

Christmas Presentation by the Kudyapi Choir

The festive Christmas songs in Filipino, Spanish and English rendered by the Kudyapi choir on 18 December at Matadero’s Patio Central, brought smiles to the faces of visitors of the fair.

The Kudyapi choir is composed of 41 Filipino-Spanish children who are based in Barcelona.

Story-telling Session Featuring José Rizal’s Ang Pagong at ang Matsing

Over thirty children enjoyed the timeless tale of Dr. José Rizal’s Ang Pagong at ang Matsing in a story-telling session in Spanish language.  The event was held on 18 December at the Intermediae Center.  The children were treated to packs of dried mangoes at the end of the session.

Cooking Demonstration

The ubiquitous chicken adobo was featured in a cooking demonstration which was held at the Matadero Foodtruck on 19 December.

Guest cooks Peachy Mendoza and Angel Munsayac impressed their audience with the ease and speed with which they prepared this tasty viand.  They also shared tips on preparing steamed rice, which the adobo was served with.

Parol-making Workshop

Twenty children of different nationalities, age 10 years and up, tried their hand at making small traditional Philippine parol in a one-hour workshop held on 19 December at the Matadero-Carpa.

Armed with scissors, paste, colorful paper and cellophane, the participants made their own creative versions of the Philippine parol.

Acoustic Concert by Ms. Alexandra Masangkay

Filipina-Spanish singer and actress Alexandra Masangkay showed world-class Philippine singing talent in an acoustic concert on 19 December at Nave 1-Sala Fernando Arrabal of the Matadero.  Her repertoire included the following songs:  Yo Te Diré (from her film Los Ultimos de Filipinas), Hawak Kamay (Yeng Constantino), Anak (Freddie Aguilar) and a few songs by international pop artists.

Los Ultimos de Filipinas, a film released in December 2016, was Ms. Masangkay´s first foray into acting.  She also sang the film’s theme song, a modern rendition of Yo Te Diré, whose original version was released in Spain in 1945.

Filipino Martial Arts Demonstration and Workshop

Filipino Martial Arts techniques called Advance Combat Evolution (ACE) were demonstrated on 22 December at the Patio Central.

The demonstration was led by Chief Instructor Lawrence Oleriana, President of the Filipino Martial Arts International Association and Founder of Advanced Combat Evolution. He was assisted by ACE students, namely Team Leader David Mark, Monica Martinez Huerta and Jorge Lazaro.

On the same day, Mr. Oleriana also conducted a workshop on ACE at the Nave de Terneras.

ACE is a system that emphasizes technique over strength. It takes its roots from Arnis-Tapado which was introduced to Mr. Oleriana by Senior Grand Master Ruben Tansingco, and is continuously being developed by Philippine Tactical Combat Kali under MSGT Prado of the Philippine Marine Corps.