24 August 2012, Sarona Village, Israel – the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv, in coordination with and with the cooperation of the Filipino Community in Israel, the Philippine Contingent to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), the Regional Council of the Lower Galilee and Sarona Village, organized and brought a festive cultural activity dubbed Fiesta sa Nayon in Sarona Village located in the Lower Galilee.
The project was conceptualized between Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge and Former Israeli Ambassador Yitzak Oren during the former's visit to the Lower Galilee a few months ago.
To complement the Fiesta sa Nayon and to bring a semblance or ambiance of a town fiesta in the Philippines, the Embassy also presented native Filipino cultural dances and songs performed by the Filipino Community and elements of the Philippine Contingent to the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights. The Filipino Community also brought and sold Filipino food such as rice cakes, pancit, ice buko, gulaman at sago, puto and maruya to the delight of Israelis residing in Sarona.
An entire stretch of a street in Sarona Village was closed to give way to the festivities. Small tables, serving as booths, were set up on both sides of the street. The tables were used to sell and showcase Filipino food and other products.
The short parade signaled the start of the program. The hoisting of the Philippine flag coupled with the exhibition of floral arches and traditional costumes at the start of the parade received warm greetings and applause from the Israeli crowd. Joining the parade were Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge, Ambassador Donald Perera of Sri Lanka, Mr. Simi Salpeter, Philippine Honorary Consul in Ashdod Mr. Boaz Wakman, Philippine Honorary Consul General in Haifa Mr. Carmel Hacohen, the Filipino Community and other Israeli friends.
Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge noted in his speech that it is a tradition in the Philippines that once a year a town fiesta is celebrated for at least two days.
"The Philippine Embassy is proud to have brought a piece of its culture in Israel and introduced it in Sarona Village," the Ambassador added. He acknowledged the presence of the Ambassadors of Australia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand who travelled to the village to join the celebration.
He also thanked and expressed appreciation to the Filipino Community and to the Philippine Contingent to UNDOF for the support and cooperation extended to the project.
Ambassador Calonge also expressed appreciation to Mr. Moti Dotan, Mayor of the Regional Council of the Lower Galilee and acknowledged the assistance of retired Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Oren and his wife, Madlen who worked with the Embassy in bringing the celebration to Sarona. —END—