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Festival showcases arts and cultures of various islands, countries

AFTER participating in the International Festival of Cultures for the first time, Palauans say they are now more committed to join the annual event.

“This is a big opportunity for us to showcase our arts, crafts and food,” Palau Consul to Saipan Eileen Kintol told Variety.

For the opening ceremony of the festival on Sept. 9, the Palau government sent two delegates to help the Palau community showcase their culture.

Palau’s booth displayed posters and pictures of tourist destinations as well as Palauan dishes “at very affordable prices.”

On Saturday, the Palau association performed cultural dances on the main stage.

Kintol thanked the organizers for recognizing the different ethnic groups on island.

The festival, which is held every Saturday throughout the month at the Garapan Fishing Base, will culminate in a parade of cultures and ethnic costume fashion show on Sept. 30.

Also participating in the festival is the Chinese Association on Saipan which presents ancient exercise techniques and songs.

Rose Chan said they have 45 performers, mostly children, who demonstrated tai chi and qigong, which involves relaxed stretching, visualization and breathing.

Their booth, which displays red lanterns to signify happiness, sells Chinese and other oriental dishes.

Next Saturday, Chan said they will present cultural dances.

She is inviting parents of children who want to learn Chinese to visit the Chinese Education Center in Garapan near the Office on Aging.

Also participating in the festival are Korea, Japan, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Bangladesh, Chuuk, Pohnpei and the Philippines.

The Philippine booth, which was set up by the United Filipino Organization, depicts the traditional hut made of coconut leaves and other native materials.

Also displayed are bracelets and necklaces made out of shells and created by Greg Bacnis, Ryan Hulleza and Cherrie Camigla.

UFO president Marlon Regaton said they also have food and arts exhibit and a dance performance by the Batang Pinoy Choir.

Next Saturday, the Filipino Club at Marianas High School and the Saipan Music and Dance Studio will perform, he added.

The entertainers on Saturday night were the Japanese, Chuukese, Pohnpeian, Palauan, Korean, Bangladeshi, Filipino and Refaluwasch communities.

In a statement, Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Chris Concepcion said he was pleased with the turnout of the crowd in the second Saturday of the festival.

“The crowd was larger than the opening night which is great for the CNMI, great for the cultures with booths at the festival, great for residents and fantastic for our visitors,” he said.

MVA, he added, appreciated and thanked all cultures, sponsors, volunteers and the MVA team for their hard work and support.

“We invite the whole community to check us out every Saturday in September at the Garapan Fishing Base for good food, live entertainment and a family friendly atmosphere for everyone to enjoy,” he said.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/98606-festival-showcases-arts-and-cultures-of-various-islands-countries

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