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Gabi ng Kundiman

Gloria Hernandez-Grejalde, Moscow

Gabi ng Kundiman” kicks off Kalayaan 2022 celebration at Philippine Embassy in Moscow.

A night of classical Filipino music ushered the celebration of the 124th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence at the Embassy in Moscow as it launched the “Gabi ng Kundiman” festival on 13 May 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

Ambassador Igor G. Bailen hands the certificate and the cash gift to the winner Mr. Jerwin Belmonte.

Ambassador to Russia Igor G. Bailen said in his welcome remarks that the tradition of “kundiman” (folk songs) is rooted not only from the love for others, but also (for the love) of country. “In joy and sorrow, in victory and loss, music remains a unifying factor for all of us,” he enthused.

He also emphasized the importance of music and culture in fostering unity, strengthening people-to-people ties and promoting greater understanding between (nations). He added that the event was also part of series of activities that the embassy will launch to promote Filipino culture in the country.

“The festival celebrates one of the timeless elements of Filipino culture (and through this, we) aim to enhance knowledge and appreciation of this art form among Russian and Filipino communities,” he explained.

Mr. Bailen also took pride for initiating the first ever “kundiman” festival saying that “it was a fitting reintroduction of in-person cultural events at the embassy following two years of Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings and events.”

The six finalists with Ambassador Igor G. Bailen. From left: Mr. Jerwin Belmonte, Ms. Jocelyn Baldamor, Ms. Gerly Ganelo, Ms. Maricel Castillo, Ms. Ana Maria Santos, and Ms. Rosita Advincula

Six finalists from the Filipino community joined the musical competition. They were Jocelyn Baldamor who sang “Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig” composed by Constancio de Guzman, Gerly Ganelo rendered “Magbalik ka Hirang” composed by Nicanor Abelardo and Jerwin Belmonte belted “Bituin Marikit,” another Abelardo composition.

Maricel Castillo’s piece was “Gaano Kita Kamahal” composed by Ernani Cuenco, Rosita Advincula had “Pakiusap” composed by Francisco Santiago, and Ana Maria Santos delivered the piece “Saan Ka Man Naroroon” composed by Levi Celerio. Jerwin Belmonte won the competition with his soulful rendition of “Bituing Marikit.”

The finalists with the judges and Ambassador Igor G. Bailen. Front row from left: Madame Judylyn Ferrer, Ambassador Bailen, Dr. Ekaterina Baklanova, and Engr. Lenin Magallona

Russian students studying Filipino language at the Moscow State University (MSU) were among the guests during the musical event. Their professor for Philippines Studies, Dr. Ekaterina Baklanova, was one among the three judges. The two other judges were Madame Judylyn Ferrer, spouse of Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Ferrer, and Engr. Lenin Magallano, a Filipino scholar and entrepreneur.

The Philippine Embassy Officers and staff, distinguished judges, members of the All-Russia Filipino Community Leaders Council, Moscow State University (MSU) Russian Professors and students and friends of the embassy.

Vika, one of the Russian students, said that listening to the Filipino songs enhances their appreciation of the Filipino culture.

Meanwhile, the Independence Day celebration will be held at the embassy compound on June 12. A fiesta-like feast awaits the guests and the Filipino community. There will be cultural presentations, bazaar, and food festival.

And as part of the continuing cultural promotion of the embassy, on the pipeline is a drawing contest and painting exhibition that will be held on the date and the place yet to be decided.

Philippines and Russia share National Day celebration

On June 12, as the Philippines celebrates its 124th independence from the Spanish colonization, Russia will commemorate its declaration of its state sovereignty that it attained following the collapsed of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Meanwhile, this year marks the 46th year of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Russia that begun on June 2, 1976.

The Philippine Independence

Ironically, while the Philippines commemorates on June 12 its liberation from over 300 years of Spanish colonization in 1898, the country subsequently fell under another foreign rule, the American.

The United States of America (USA) “bought” us from the Spanish government in the amount of US$20 million after they forged the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. The treaty broke the country’s shackle from the Spanish regime. It also facilitated the transfer of sovereignty from Spain of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the USA. The treaty also ushered the rise of America as a domineering country.

The Russia National Day

Following the end of the Cold War and the collapsed of the USSR in 1991, Russia, along with 14 others, was formed as an independent nation. The other countries were Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. They once formed the most powerful and the most influential union in the world.

Russia adopted its new name, the Russian Federation on Christmas of 1991. Its national holiday was proclaimed twice, first by the Supreme Soviet of Russia in 1992 and second through a presidential decree that was passed on June 16, 1998, officially naming June 12 as “Russia Day.”


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