Issue of July 7, 2019
Mt. Province
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PHL-Japan Friendship Month opens with Tanabata Festival
by Press release

The 2019 Philippine-Japan Friendship Month or Baguio Tanabata Festival 10 opens in Baguio on July 13, with the theme “Silence for 250 years, the Hidden Christians of Japan.”

Now on its 10th year, Tanabata is also known as the “Star Festival” and means night of the seventh. It is inspired by an old Chinese star legend of Orihime (a weaving princess) and Prince Hikoboshi (a cow herder). Legend says that the lovers were separated by Tentei(the sky king) across the Milky Way (Amanogawa) because they failed to meet their responsibilities after marriage. The origin of the legend dates back 2,000 years ago.

Tanabata is a Japanese tradition where people write their wishes on tanzaku papers (colorful, small strips of paper) and hang them on bamboo branches outside their houses. This will also be done during the opening of the exhibits at the Baguio Museum.

This year’s celebration will come with a special gift to the people of Baguio from Amakusa City, Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan, considered a world heritage hidden Christian site, which inspired the theme.

The gift of Tensho Embassy is a 15 to 16th century European renaissance music concert where the Friends of Collegio Ensemble will be using the restored musical instruments of the medieval period.

Two free concerts will be held on July 21 at 1 p.m. at the Saint Louis University Center of Culture and Arts and July 23 at 6 p.m. at the San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila.

The three-month long activities include free workshops on July 13 and 20 at the Abong Hall in Bukaneg Street. The day starts at 9 a.m. with the Tanabata Seven Ornaments making workshop and continues at 1 p.m. with the Nagasaki Ohura Church paper craft making workshop.

On July 21 at 9 a.m., the Philippines-Japan Friendship Day ceremony will be held at the Japanese Garden along Governor Pack Road.

On Aug. 4 at the Baguio Museum at Gov. Pack Road, three exhibits will be opened simultaneously at 2 p.m., namely the poster exhibit of World Heritage of Nagasaki and Amakusa; History of Philippines and Japan in the 17th century; and the Hidden Christians and Tanabata Festival 10.

On Aug. 17 and 18, the Cosplay Tanabata 7 – Harajuku parade will be held at the Newtown Plaza Event Center.

From the middle of September to the middle of October, the Japanese Film Festival will be held at the different participating universities: SLU, University of the Cordilleras, University of Baguio, University of the Philippines, and Benguet State University.

From Oct. 18 to 20, Cosplay SAISHŨ: Shogun Renaissance by Maila Alog of Wilvy Shows Entertainment Productions and Carolina's Dress Shop featuring Cosplay Academia by Robin Balisi will be held full of exciting surprises and entertainment.

The Tanabata Festival in Baguio was institutionalized by Ordinance 66 on July 23, 2012 sponsored by Councilor Lourdes Tabanda. It is organized annually by the Japanese Association in Northern Luzon (JANL), the city government of Baguio, the Filipino-Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon (Abong), and the Baguio Museum.

It is sponsored by the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, the JEC Fund Osaka, the Japan Foundation Manila, Nagasaki Prefectural Government, Sasebo City, Minami Shimabara City, and Amakusa City of Kumamoto Prefecture.

The Tanabata Festival 10 is also supported by the Bag-iw Art Society, UP Baguio Society of Visual Arts, CurTEAnah Events, Lubong Baguio Inc, Amida Software Asia, Mihiro Kensetsu Kogyo Corporation, Friendship Tours and Resorts Corporation, Chaya Japanese Cuisine, Sakura Terrace Japanese Restaurant, Porta International Education Consulting Inc, the Blue Files Language and Training Center, Cosplay SAISHŨ, and the Baguio cosplay community.

For more information, contact Hidenobu  Oguni, JANL president and overall coordinator of the Tanabata 10 at 0910-411-3306; Arnel Cabanisas, Abong president  at 0917-824-6307; and Gemma Estolas, Baguio Museum assistant curator at (074) 444-7451 and 248-1147.

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