By Myra Colis | Photo credit: Salome aan den Toorn-Panoy
On July 2, 2016, Stichting Bayanihan celebrated her 25 years of empowering Filipinas in the Netherlands with the theme, ‘In celebration of the Bayanihan volunteers’. In her opening remarks, Stichting Bayanihan Chairperson and co-founder Diana Oosterbeek-Latoza calls the volunteers the key to keeping the organization alive for the past 25 years and onwards.
Among the major highlights during the celebration were the awarding of certificates in recognition and appreciation of the Bayanihan volunteers and the showcase of Philippine cultural dances and traditional dresses.
Founded in 1991, Bayanihan has established herself as a center for the Philippine women in the Netherlands by helping empower Filipinas with psycho-social, cultural and legal problems as well as Filipinas who want to become emancipated, integrated and who wish to participate in the Dutch society through training events.
“The work of organizations such as Stichting Bayanihan is so valuable,” says His Excellency Jaime Victor B. Ledda, Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands in his inspirational talk during the anniversary celebration. “You are the bridge that links the government with our kababayans abroad, especially those in need. Stichting Bayanihan has been a partner of the Philippine Embassy in its activities in relation to gender and development (GAD).”
More than 80 people came to celebrate Bayanihan’s silver jubilee at 3 Generatiecentrum in Utrecht, including the volunteers, supporters, friends and family members. As key to keeping the beacon of hope and light for many Philippine women in the Netherlands, Bayanihan awarded the certificates of recognition and appreciation to 36 volunteers for their selfless service and commitment towards the empowerment of Philippine women in the Netherlands.
There’s no Philippine celebration without a salu-salo. Before the showcase of Philippine cultural dances and traditional dresses was a fine dinner, featuring a potluck of home-cooked Philippine dishes and desserts prepared and donated by the Bayanihan volunteers and friends.
The day ended with a community line dancing led by Bayanihan volunteer Leah Kleijn-Sanchez and was enthusiastically participated by many, including Philippine Ambassador Jaime Ledda who stayed till the last hour of celebration—a truly genuine gesture of support and presence that the Filipinos, Dutch and Indonesian attendees find remarkable.
The showcase of Philippine cultural dances and dresses
Though short by 1 dance presentation, Stichting Bayanihan made a successful attempt in showcasing an overall representation of the 3 main regions in the Philippines– Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao– by presenting 2 of the many Philippine cultural dances and 10 beautiful traditional attires.
(Captions are excerpts from the script prepared and narrated by Bayanihan volunteer Rochita Loenen-Ruiz on the day of the presentation).
Dress has always been an important element of culture. Dress reveals a lot about the wearer and about the times when that particular dress was in use.
Filipino traditional attire continues to be worn today. Most often, worn during formal and festive occasions, modern day dressmakers and designers have given the traditional attire a modern look. Filipino dress remains timeless and elegant and is often worn in a show of pride for the Philippine national heritage.
In conclusion, Stichting Bayanihan wishes to congratulate everyone who took part, shared their talents, made commitments and gave their efforts in making this celebration a huge success.
Mula sa puso ng Stichting Bayanihan Board, maraming salamat po! Mabuhay at patuloy po tayo sa diwa ng Bayanihan!