A celebration of culture and friendship with a music and dance buffet — that’s what you missed at the 2018 Philippines-Korea Cultural Exchange Festival held at the Aliw Theater on October 27. With the theme “Hand and Hand,” the event served its purpose of showcasing the best of Filipino and Korean culture and strengthening further the bond between both countries.
The festivity opened with special performances of several Filipino and Korean acts to entertain culture enthusiasts and supporters. Visitors were treated with more surprises such as wearing Korean traditional clothing hanbok, various K-street food, and K-pop related activities. Attendees also took home freebies from booths of participating sponsors and organizations in the theater’s lobby.
Divided into two parts, the 27th Phil-Kor Cultural Exchange Festival showcased the brimming talents of five dance groups and 14 power vocals at the Annual Talent Competition. Filipino participants sang and grooved to Korean songs as Korean contestants did to OPM hits. They went through a series of elimination which took place months before the finals.
Hosted by MYX VJ Sunny Kim, the talent competition is judged by Korean Cultural Center (KCC) Director Lee Jin-Cheol, United Korea Community Association in the Philippines (UKCA) Chairman Kang Chang-Ik, Korean Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Director Lee Ho-Ik, ShowBT Philippines CEO Charles Kim, soprano Park Min-Jung, and tenor Dondi Ong.
For the vocal category, Michelle Danielle Marfil bagged third prize with So Chan Hwee’s “Tears.” Yoon Dong Hyun took the second prize with his version of Sharon Cuneta’s “Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas,” and Sandra Faith Dela Cruz, who performed “Arirang,” won first prize.
For the dance category, Chaos gave a fan dance twist to their VIXX cover and won the third prize. Wanna One cover group Wanna Man won second prize, and Legion took home the first prize with their electrifying BTS medley performance.
Finally, Joy Lorenze Locsin emerged as the grand prize winner for her soaring rendition of “Arirang.”
The prize for the slogan and poster making contest was also awarded to Yena Lee.
To make the day even more special, the Phil-Kor Concert began with welcoming remarks from UKCA chairman Chang Ik-Kang, NCAA Program Monitoring, and Evaluation Division chief Adel Suemith, and Ambassador Han Dong-Man of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines. The show also highlighted the long-running diplomatic bond between Korea and the Philippines through video presentations.
The Korean National Gugak Team enticed the audience by playing their country’s traditional instruments and singing of “Arirang.” The Bayanihan National Folk Dance Company graced the stage with various traditional Filipino folk songs and dances to represent the Philippines. Korean duo tenor Jung Jin-Sung and baritone Bae Sung-Choul (BLESS) stunned the crowd with their powerful collaboration with Bora Kim and Philippine tenors Sherwin Sozon and Dondi Ong.
This year’s grand champion Joy Lorenze Locsin returned to the stage to perform her winning piece. The third prize winner of last year’s dance competition Cainta Sejong School rocks the stage with the rhythm of their drums. Millennial audiences enjoyed boy group SB19’s debut performance, then K-pop boy group BNF brought the house down with their captivating charms and performances.
The concert wrapped up with a collaborative performance of “Awitin Mo,” sang in both Filipino and Korean to symbolize the camaraderie between Koreans and Filipinos.
Lastly, Ambassador HAN Dong-Man delivered his congratulatory message where he promised to host bigger and more cultural events and activities as both nations will celebrate its 70th anniversary of bilateral relations in 2019.
The 27th Philippines-Korea Cultural Exchange Festival was organized by the United Korea Community Association in the Philippines, Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines.
Written by KREW Member June Olivar
Photos from Thea Lusterio and Clyde Antes