Berlin, September 25. A display of hidden Filipino musical talents happened during the Culminating Program of the Philippine Week. A group of five talented Filipinos in Berlin with international caliber fascinated the mixed crowd of Filipino and Germans at the Parish Hall of the Holy Spirit Parish. This marked the fitting highlight of the week-long showcase of Philippine Culture in songs, dances, literature, liturgy, culinary specialities and films.
On Saturday, September 24, three Filipino films were showed and reflected upon by the Filipino and German audience. The Philippine Film Festival started with the award-winning masterpiece of Joel Lamangan on the Japanese occupation in the Philippines, "Aishite Imasu". The second and third films featured Alessandra de Rossi in two films directed by Gil Portes."Homecoming" narrates the true-story of a Filipina in Toronto who came home infected with SARS. "Mga Munting Tinig" is a touching film on a teacher in a far-flung province who tried to instill vision in the hearts of her pupils.
The culminating day started with the celebration of the Holy Mass where two Protestant members of the Philippine community converted to the Catholic Church. In a solemn celebration, Heinz Eller and Myrna Dagatan professed their faith and commitment to the Catholic Church. "The Philippine Community is like my family and a Sunday without the Community is like lost Sunday," said Heinz Eller. "I want to be a Catholic because I simply want to be one of you," professed Myrna Dagatan. Another member of the Community, Kristine Aquino celebrated her First Communion in the presence of around 200 mass-goers.
After the Holy Mass, the community savored the summerly weather with a fiesta at the Church grounds. Filipino Food and other international specialties were served to the crowd who cherished each others' presence, something which they look forward to on Sundays. The delicious food were prepared by three groups in the Community, namely: Bible Sharing Group, Shalom Community and Moving Friends.
After the agape, the German and Pinoy guests went inside the Parish Hall for the most-awaited Music Festival. International performer Karen Francisco opened the Program with "Etude Nr. 1" then followed by Baritone Rico Villavert's renditon of excerpts from "Les Miserables" and "West Side Story". Former Manila Vocal Enseble member, Vincent Valiente inspired the audience with his two songs: "Ma-ala-ala Mo Kaya?" and "Matud Nila". Then Karen Francisco played a nostalgic repertoire of Filipino Folksongs from different regions. The first part of the evening ended with Rico Villavert's "Mamang Kutsero" and "Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas". Abelardo Galang II was the assiting pianist and musical director of this unique musical experience. In the second part, Lito Borja shared his enthusiasm with several jazz and contemporary songs.
It was an evening of music and appreciation of Philippine talent with Filipinos who have found a home in Berlin. The Philippine Week hopes to have achieved the same goal: to bring a little piece of the Philippines in the hearts of many Filipinos and other guests. Indeed, the motto of the Week was: "Re-discover the Philippines!"
(by Fr. Adonis Narcelles Jr. SVD)