The Philippine Embassy in Spain, under Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier, conducted a workshop to promote traditional Filipino games, martial arts, and culture at a public school in Madrid.
The Embassy, represented by Consul Mikhal de Dios and Cultural Assistant Ms. Karen Caro-Trujillo, also counted on the participation of Dr. Raphael Angelo Gonzalez, a member of the Filipino community in Madrid and frequent contributor to the Embassy’s activities.
The event was hosted by the Colegio Público San Juan Bosco, a bilingual public school in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, where the Embassy had been invited to present by Ms. Camille Urmatan, a Filipina working as an auxiliar de conversacion (language assistant) for English at the school.
During their visit, the Embassy team taught over 160 schoolchildren, ranging in ages from 3 to 12 years in age, over four consecutive sessions. Consul de Dios, with the assistance of Dr. Gonzalez, gave demonstrations on the Filipino national martial art and sport of arnis, and invited the students to join them in learning some of the art’s basic techniques.
Ms. Caro-Trujillo then taught the children the traditional sangkayaw or coconut shell race, which proved very popular, especially with the younger children. Afterwards, the team distributed educational materials, including a primer on common Filipino phrases; a text of “Bahay Kubo” with lyrics in the original Filipino and translated into Spanish; small Philippine flags; and paper dolls featuring figures from the story of Magellan and Lapu-Lapu’s encounter, produced by the National Quincentennial Committee.
After spending the morning teaching the students, the Embassy team met with Mr. Roberto Femenía Lozano, the school’s director, and presented him with a Fiesta Filipinas kit and a Filipiniana doll. Mr. Femenía and his fellow teachers expressed their appreciation to the Embassy for the visit and remarked how the students had really enjoyed learning about the Philippines.