Get ready for a wonderful experience as Viva Europa showcases the best of European culture in a month-long online event filled with fun activities.
In normal circumstances, summer would be the best time to travel—from beach trips with friends to out-of-town road trips or even visiting different countries with family. Like Europe, for example. A hotspot for good food, exquisite artwork, and breathtaking scenery, taking in European culture is definitely a dream for many.
However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put a brake on all these plans. Being denied the chance to explore and enjoy the sights and sounds of a different country just hits hard. But again, safety—especially in these extraordinary times—is more important. So take comfort that in the near future, we too will be able to travel again.
A Virtual Tour of Europe
But what if I told you that you can enjoy and explore European culture, even while at home? To chase away those travel blues, the European Union (EU) launched Viva Europa—a virtual experience that lets you in on what Europe has to offer. Expect (in their words), an “exciting cacophony and tapestry of European culture and arts”. And this will take place from April to June 2021.
Viva Europa 2021 is organized in partnership with the EU Delegation to the Philippines, along with the Embassies of Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Denmark, Germany, Spain, France, and Italy. In addition, local institutions like the Philippine-Italian Association, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Ateneo de Zamboanga University, De La Salle University, and the Far Eastern University play a role in these festivities.
According to European Union Ambassador Luc Véron, it “aims at highlighting the partnership, friendship and the shared cultural values between EU and the Philippines”. Plus, the cultural festival will also commemorate Europe Day, which takes place on May 9.
Poetry Readings and Song Performances
1. Bersong Euro-Pinoy
This segment of the program aims to highlight the passion, romance, and fire of European and Filipino poetry. For this year, expect appearances from these esteemed guests:
- Carl Norac: Belgium’s fourth National Poet and a prize-winning poet and author. In fact, he received the Grand Prix de la Société des Gens De Lettres award last 2009. He wrote many widely acclaimed and best-selling children’s books, which have been translated into 47 languages. Here, he will be reciting 2 of his original works: “Pour Marcel Moreau” and “Pour Mustafa, pour Mustafa Kör” (For Mustafa, for Mustafa Kör). The former is dedicated to his Belgian friend and writer Marcel Moreau, who unfortunately recently passed away, while the latter is a poem dedicated to Mustafa Kör—his successor as National Poet come January 2022.
- Luis Garcia Montero: a famous poet and director of Instituto Cervantes in Madrid. He too will be reciting his original work.
- Luisa Katharina Davids: a German artist and actress who will recite the German translation of Jose Rizal’s work “Mi Ultimo Adios” for the first time. This goes hand in hand with the German Embassy’s plan to unveil Jose Rizal’s old furniture from Heidelberg, Germany this year, along with an official marker with the German translation of “Mi Ultimo Adios“ at the Museo ni José Rizal in Intramuros. For more details about the artist, you may visit their website.
This will take place on May 21 and 28 at 6 PM.
2. La Punta della Lingua Poetry Festival
The La Punta della Lingua poetry festival from Italy will also join the virtual activities. Some highlights include local and international poetry readings by:
- De La Salle University: Filipino poets from the Department of Literature will be reading original works in Filipino, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, and Waray. These include: Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles’ “Kasama” (“Comrade”); John Iremil Teodoro’s “Sa Hardin sang Ginuo: Isa Ka Pangamuyo sa Tiempo sang Pandemya” (“In the Garden of the Lord: A Prayer During the Time of the Pandemic”); Carmie Ortego’s “Paglakát mo nag-lipstick ako hin pula” (When you left I put on red lipstick); and Genevieve L. Asenjo’s “Sa Gihapon, Palangga, ang Uran” (“Always, Beloved, the Rain”).
- Ateneo de Zamboanga University and Mindanao: Filipino poets will be reading works by M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac, a poet in Hiligaynon, Southern Mindanao who is an awardee of Makata ng Taon 2019. Also, Sigrid Gayangos, who is a poet in Chabacano, Zamboanga City (and a Palanca awardee last 2018), will also be making an appearance.
- Dora Šedivá and Marika Štěpková: the daughter of Ambassador Jana Šedivá of the Czech Embassy, Dora is back with her friend Marika—the daughter of Deputy Ambassador Jana Peterková of the Czech Embassy. Here, they will both be reciting “Fortune” (Štěstí) by Adolf Heyduk in Czech and in English.
- Grette Siallasen: the Danish Ambassador who will be reading “Det er Liv et Reise” (“To Travel is to Live”) by Hans Christian Andersen.
- Jaroslaw Roman Szczepankiewicz: the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Poland will be reading “Labirynt” (“Labyrinth”) by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wisława Szymborska.
- And many more poetry recitals
These poems, along with the Bersong Euro-Pinoy, will take place on May 21 and 28 at 6 PM.
3. Euro-Pinoy Concert
Enjoy a concert right at home with performances prepared by the Embassies of the Czech Republic, Germany Spain, France, Italy, Austria, and Poland. This will take place on June 4 at 6 PM.
- Guide: a highly acclaimed contemporary dance performed by Věra Ondrašíková and Co. from the Czech Republic. This performance was chosen for Aerowaves Twenty 17 (presented at Spring Forward Festival in Aarhus), One Dance Week festival in Plovdiv, SIDance Festival in Soul, V4 Dance Festival in New York and New Orleans, Israel Festival in Jerusalem, among others. To get a glimpse of what to expect, you may view their trailer here.
- Lisa Kossen: a German visual artist who will bring to life a musical number through her visual art—showcased via powerful brush strokes.
- Eric Soulard: a jazz artist from France
- Tullio Vidmar: a violinist from Italy
- “Trio Artio”: a piano trio from Austria
- Artur Dutkiewicz: a jazz artist from Poland
4. Musica FEUropa Choral Festival
The EU Delegation of the Philippines and the Far Eastern University, will be performing choir music every Saturday of May from 8:00 to 9:30 PM. Watch and listen to famous music—from folk to classical songs all month long. This is perfect for fans of choral music or even for those who used to be in their school choir.
Visual Activities and More
1. Children on Spotlight
“Lakbayin Natin ang EU” or Journey to the EU, shines the spotlight of this year’s program on children and their families. Expect the best of European stories and tales, along with games, languages, film, music, and arts and crafts. These activities cater to Filipino children with the goal of teaching them the values of friendship and partnership.
Expect this to take place on May 16 at 10 AM.
2. EU Whiz Competition
Unleash your competitive side as student colleges and universities across the Philippines will be competing in the “EU Whiz: Filipino Youth of the FEUture”. This inter-collegiate competition was spearheaded by the Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines and is endorsed by the Commission on Higher Education. It allows students to showcase their knowledge of EU and EU-Philippine relations in a series of quizzes.
Also, a digital art competition called “Green ECO I See” and a video competition—“My Space, My Rights” will be making their debut this year.
For more details on the mechanics, you may visit https://www.eeas.europa.eu/philippines or https://www.euwhizfyf2021.engage.eu/.
The EU Film Festival and EuroPelikula are important components of the Viva Europa festival. Expect a curated list of films that will be accessible from May 5 to June 5. These include:
- ACASA MY HOME by Radu Ciorniciuc (2020): Romania, Finland, Germany
- AURORA by Miia Tervo (2019): Finland
- FIRE WILL COME (O QUE ARDE) by Oliver Laxe (2019): Spain, France, Luxembourg
- HER JOB (I DOULIA TIS) by Nikos Labôt (2018): Greece, France, Serbia
- OUR STRUGGLES (NOS BATAILLES) by Guillaume Senez (2018): Belgium, France
- PERFUMES (LES PARFUMS) by Gregory Magne (2019): France
- THE AUDITION (DAS VORSPIEL) by Ina Weisse (2019): Germany, France
Webinars and Learning Programs
1. “Beyond the Stars, Reach out to the Skies” Webinar
This webinar on Copernicus and Galileo will be held on June 25 from 3 to 5 PM. Moreover, it’ll feature space programs and explore how these are used during the pandemic and in disaster preparedness.
This webinar will be launched together with the EU-Philippines Copernicus Cooperation National Programme. Space scientists from the European Commission and Hungary will be joining local speakers and participants for this.
2. Bicycle Tourism, Road Safety/Etiquette, Bike-Friendliness and People-Centered Architecture
In light of eco-friendly practices and the move to lessen pollution, bicycles have become an alternative means of transportation.
Given this, you can learn more about etiquette and road safety, through a presentation by the Danish Embassy and Intramuros Administration. This webinar will take place on May 21 at 9:30 AM.
3. Starter Sessions: Your Guide To Be A Bike Friendly Business
On May 21 from 3 to 4:30 PM, the Royal Netherlands Embassy and Makati Business Club will be conducting this webinar with Chris Bruntlett, the Marketing & Communications Manager of the Dutch Cycling Embassy. Here, Philippine businesses can learn more about the benefits of biking, along with examples of bike-friendly services and facilities provided by businesses in the Netherlands.
Conversely, they can get tips, advice, and best practices when it comes to biking.
4. Dante in the Philippines: Teaching and Translating Dante Today
This webinar by the Philippine-Italian Association aims to commemorate the 700th death anniversary of Dante Alighieri—popularly known for his work “Divine Comedy”. Resource persons Professor Paul Dumol (University of Asia and Pacific) and Professors Michael Coroza and Jonathan Chua (Ateneo de Manila University) will discuss how this work relates to contemporary Filipinos. Plus, it will seek to investigate two important aspects of cultural transmission: teaching and translating.
This free webinar will take place on May 7 at 2 PM.
To showcase the fascinating side of European culture, you can expect these exciting activities lined up all month long. What fun!
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In view of the ongoing pandemic, these will be made available on the Facebook page of the EU Delegation to the Philippines.