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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana leads in the community singing of “Ang Pasko ay Sumapit” (“Christmas is Here”).
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
The Philippine Embassy ushered in the Spirit of Christmas with the over 300,000 Filipinos in Abu Dhabi and the Western Region in the recent weekend.
The diplomatic mission organized the “Paskong Pinoy sa Abu Dhabi (“Filipino Christmas in Abu Dhabi”)-A Christmas Chorale Concert in the Year of Tolerance” on Dec. 6.
It was in collaboration with the Bayanihan (Spirit of Cooperation) Council, Philippine Emirates Private School Chorus, The Philippine School Woodwind and Chorale Ensemble, The Philippine Youth Chorus, St. Mary’s Filipino Community Choir-Dubai, Filipino Christian Church Choir-Abu Dhabi, Concert Chorus, Organisasyon ng Pilipinong Mang-Aawit at Mananayaw sa Abu Dhabi (Filipino Singers and Dancers in Abu Dhabi), Philippine Business Council-Abu Dhabi, Shootercada, Institute of Integrated Electrical Engineers-Abu Dhabi, Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines-UAE Chapter, and Exceed Events LLC.
Venue of the “free admissions” concert was the Al Jaheli Theatre of the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel bedecked with giant “parols”—from the Spanish word “farol” (lantern)—the Philippines being a Spanish colony for 300 years—straight from Pampanga Province north of Manila.
It is the second year of the community event which served as the platform not only of the artistry of the Filipinos in the performing arts, but also their ingenuity in the crafts, specifically in the creation of the “parol.”
The electricity-powered lanterns, the base material of which are the capiz shells, were courtesy of the local government unit of San Fernando, Pampanga.
“This year’s concert in Abu Dhabi was again enhanced by the bright, colourful and iconic Christmas lanterns called ‘Parul Sampernandu’ flown in from the Philippines through the generosity of the City Government of San Fernando, Pampanga,” said Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana.
Pampanga came to be known as the “The Christmas Capital of the Philippines” primarily because of the talent of its crafts people and artisans in the design and production of the “parol.”
The roots of parol-making are traceable to the Spanish Period when the ordinary folk began inventing paper-bamboo Christmas lanterns.
The concert is a replica of what Quintana had introduced in her previous postings particularly in Washington, D.C. (US), Dublin (Ireland), and Muscat (Oman).
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