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PCG leads cultural show to mark 20th year of Handover

06 July 2017

Performers take a bow to acknoiwledge the cheers from the audience.

By Daisy CL Mandap

It was a spectacle that may never be seen again in Hong Kong for awhile.

Nineteen groups from various ethnic minority groups put their best feet forward as they performed at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wanchai on June 25 as part of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s Handover to China.

The “Celebrate Colours” cultural extravaganza, which took all of eight months to put together, was organized by the Philippine Consulate in cooperation with International Social Service Hong Kong and the Hong Kong government.

Guest speaker, Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung, said the show was part of a series events which the Hong Kong SAR coordinated with various groups to celebrate the Handover in line with the theme “Togetherness, Progress, Opportunity”.

“Togetherness is the lynchpin for progress. As a free and open society with various ethnic groups, Hong Kong upholds the principles of mutual respect and inclusiveness,” Cheung said.

He paid tribute to the 200,000 people from ethnic minority groups who have made Hong Kong their permanent home, as well as the more than 300,000 foreign domestic workers who he said, have helped tens of thousands of families in the city.

“We are truly and deeply appreciative of their sterling contribution and important socio-economic roles here,” said Cheung, who served as labor secretary in the previous administration.

Consul General Bernardita Catalla also paid homage to the migrant workers, saying they were the ones who conceptualized, produced and directed the cultural show, and performed in it as well.

“This afternoon, hundreds of them have come together and out, beyond their own circles and squares, bridges and parks of Hong Kong to present to all of you their talent, and share their colorful, precious and caring customs and traditions in a two-hour program aimed to serve as a gift and a joint bridge to strengthen understanding and unity,” said Congen Catalla.

She also thanked Hong Kong people for “welcoming us to work, live, love, and build and fulfill our dreams in our beloved Hong Kong, our home for now”.

ISS HK’s chairman, C.P. Ho, called on the Hong Kong government and the various consulates to work with his organization in bringing about a “brighter and more fruitful future” for the territory.

Following the opening ceremony, a musical number, “Hong Kong is Home”, was performed, and was immediately followed by the dance performances, each introduced only by the lighted sign in the backdrop.

A hands-down favorite among the performances was the blindfolded tinikling by two dancers of the Tinikling Group of Migrants, which also did an energetic “sayaw sa bangko” in the same loop.

For sheer spectacle, however, the Masskara by the One Negros group was the all-around winner. Not only did the performers wear the most colorful costumes and eye-catching masks, they also made full use of the stage lights to enhance their performance.

Also dazzling was the martial arts number presented by young members of the Hong Kong Wushu Union. They impressed not only with their agility, but also with their grace and fluidity of movements.

The first to earn a spontaneous applause from the crowd were, however, the dancers of La Union Federation, who surprised and delighted everyone when they formed enchanting blooms with their hand-held twigs of mock “kakawati” flowers.

Visually riveting was the “singkil” by the National Organization of Professional Teachers. Their dancers dazzled not just with their colorful and shiny costumes but also the intricacy of their dance steps and movements.

Also getting their fair share of hearty applause from the audience were the all-Filipino  Superstar Singers who sang with equal aplomb Indonesian, English, Filipino and Chinese songs.

The other performers proved to be worthy of having been selected to take part in the event, out of several groups that tried to pass the muster of judges selected by the Philippine Consulate General.

With financial subsidy from the three big corporate sponsors of the event, all the performing groups turned up in uniquely designed and dazzling costumes, which they matched with precise and synchronized steps.

The other performers were The Children of H.O.P.E., which did “Aray” and “Fusion Dance,” Teens Sport and Dance Centre, which did Chinese Folk Dance; Visayas Alliance with “Tiklos”; Sangar Budaya with “Yapong” (Indonesia); Isabela Federation with “La Jota Isabela;” Punjabi Bhangra Hong Kong with “Bhangra” (India); Sri Lanka Association in HK with Fusion Dance;  Thai Migrant Workers Union HK with “Ram Phutai”; South Cotabato Workers Association with “B’laan”; Benguet Federation with “Bendian”; The Luzon Alliance International with “Polka Sa Nayon”; Abante Cagayanos HK with “Ati-Atihan”; and One Visayas with “Sinulog”;

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