In a fascinating and culturally enriching performance, Bayanihan, the National Folk Dance Company of the Philippines, captivated a packed auditorium at the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. After her 1968 world tour, which included Thessaloniki, and a visit to the city in 2006, Bayanihan returned to Greece, impressing and enamoring the Greek public again with a repertoire of traditional and folk dances presented in beautiful and colorful costumes during a gala for one night at Thessaloniki Concert Hall on September 22, 2023.
The event, spearheaded by the Philippine Embassy in Athens in collaboration with the Philippine Consulate in Thessaloniki, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Thessaloniki Concert Hall, marked a milestone important in cultural cooperation between the Philippines and Greece.
The Bayanihan’s captivating performance in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, was the inaugural implementation of the Executive Cultural Cooperation Program 2021-2025. It also highlights the long-standing friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and Greece, which celebrate 73 years of diplomatic relations this year.
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Around 400 people filled the room, made up of local officials, members of the consular corps, the Filipino community and the general public.
They attended a spectacular display of Filipino dances, costumes and popular traditions.
The audience was captivated by the Bayanihan’s repertoire, which spanned the Philippine islands from north to south. It included the rhythmic tribal dances of the mountainous region of northern Luzon, which reflected the rituals, beliefs and way of life of the pre-colonial Philippines, the lively and festive dances that emerged in the regions as a result of the four centuries of Spanish influence , and the mesmerizing dances of Mindanao, which represented both the indigenous and those of Muslim influence.
One of the highlights of the evening was the performance of a popular Greek song that resonated deeply with the audience.
The event highlights the long-standing friendship and cooperation between the Philippines and Greece, which celebrate 73 years of diplomatic relations this year.
In his speech, Philippine Ambassador to Greece Giovanni E. Palec welcomed guests to this momentous occasion that celebrated not only Filipino culture but also the 73rd anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Greece . The ambassador stated that the arts play a subtle but powerful role in promoting, expanding and fostering relations between both countries. He then invited guests and the public to experience a unique experience of the Philippines and its vibrant and varied tapestry of culture and heritage through the Bayanihan.
Bayanihan’s tour of Greece meant many things. For the gala audience, it was a unique and special opportunity to learn about the rich Filipino culture and heritage from the country’s leading and most esteemed folk dance group. As for the members of Bayanihan, it meant returning to their roots and reliving the memories of their founder and pioneers, who once visited Thessaloniki and graced the Greek stage with world-renowned performances.
For the Philippines and Greece, this goes beyond the implementation of a cultural agreement and is a testament to their goodwill and enduring friendship. It was a night of unity and shared appreciation for the arts. The event was a testament to the power of dance and culture to unite people and foster understanding between nations.