Text by Nicole Flierman
On March 18, 2023, the Filipino-Austrian Association RAMBAK, celebrating indigenous identities of the Philippines, organized a festival at the “Bezirksamt”/district office of the 5th district in Vienna, Austria. The evening was moderated by Marilyn Velasco Magoo, who led us through a beautiful program, bringing the audience closer to the Philippines and its diversity.
The evening began with an introduction of the Association and speeches of the Permanent Mission and Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines Chargé d' Affaires, Mr. Frank Ivan Olea, district official of Margareten, and speaker of the city of Vienna for Integration and Diversity.
After playing the national anthem of both the Philippines and Austria, a large buffet was opened to the guests to taste dishes from the Philippines, like pancit, lumpia, my favorite stew of vegetables and okra plus Indian samosas.
Next to the food were some booths, showcasing Filipino culture. On a wall were analogue photographs from the Philippines by Venus Velasco Magoo from 2020: “A documentation about the country, their traditional aspect as well as the people living there and the beauty of the countryside.” Another booth was about the Halo Halo community (Filipino-Austrian/Swiss/Germans).
Christel Gano, owner and founder of Ligaya Apparel also had a booth dedicated to their clothing brand.
RAMBAK-Austria, the main organiser of the event, had a table featuring their book and self-made bags. Loreleis Pan, a Filipino-Austrian baker, offered and served their specialty cake as dessert to complete the meal.
The program started with a mountain song from the Cordillera Region, honoring the northern provinces and mountains, sung with the help of the audience. A fashion show presented traditional Philippine clothes from different regions like Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and western lowlands. Some of these clothes were made out of pineapple fiber including the popular Barong Tagalog and Filipiniana.
A surprise act from Vincent Bueno, known Filipino-Austrian singer and comedian. He serenaded the audience with an original song on the piano. Vincent Bueno inherited his musicality from his father, Tony Bueno, who performed a classic Filipino song. He then performed together with the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy Choir.
The RAMBAK Youth showed a dance called “Salakot” with hats as props. The dancing continued with the Filipino Catholic Chaplaincy Dancers and a solo performance from one of the youths. Before the evening came to an end, the audience was invited to dance together through the room as traditional fermented rice wine “Tapuey” was served.
It was an inspiring evening to get to know and experience Filipino traditions, especially from the northern regions while spreading the cultural awareness programs of RAMBAK-Austria.
Nicole Flierman (right) is a Filipino Shiatsu Practitioner and Nurse from Vienna, Austria.