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Dear Kababayans, It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Summer 2016 issue of Roots & WIngs! As I am writing this, it struck me that half of the year 2016 is already gone. We have witnessed awesome changes taking place in many parts of the world. Our comfort zones are not so comfy anymore. Some changes will probably alter the course of our lives forever. Yet there are things that almost never change at all. Namely, our devotion to God, our love for our family, our reverence to our country. Come what may, we Filipinos remain steadfast and faithful wherever we may be. Thanks goodness! In this issue, we are proud and happy to present to you Anita Söderberg our artist in focus who lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Anita has successfully turned herself into an award winning visual artist just by spending her time watching how other artists work and by practicing, practicing, practicing! Then there’s the inspiring story of the dynamic couple from Norway - Abelene and Reverdy Pineda, who after failing and losing everything some ten years earlier while running a restaurant business, decided to give it another try. Nowadays, their restaurant Bread n Butter in Oslo is attracting customers from near and far. These couple are now enjoying the fruits of their labor, thanks to their resilience and lots of hard work. Our kababayans in Iceland, were the main attraction at the recently concluded 8th Annual Multicultural festivities in the capital city of Reykjavik . Parading proudly their filipiniana costumes, coupled with folk dance presentations, handicraft and food exhibitions it was a most a colorful show in the one world celebration.

We appreciate the travelogue of our Associate/Layout Editor, Marthy Angue who was in Europe last summer, and is vividly sharing with us an exciting story of his experiences. Thinking about going diving but are hesitant to try? Desiree Munoz has some great encouraging tips for you on pages 10-15. Desiree makes diving sound fun and easy. We look forward to seeing you in Prague on September 16-18, 2016. This loveliest city in Europe is the venue for the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFiD) Annual General Assembly. We encourage you to come and join other kababayans coming from at least 20 European countries. There are plans to hold a dinner cruise, a concert with Stephanie Reese, an art exhibition and lots of opportunities to make friends and exchange of good practices. A registration form is attached on the next page. Let us raise the Filipino flag higher in Europe! It’s time for us to shine brighter! Mabuhay!

Rachel Hansen, Editor in Chief & Founder 2


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THE

TEAM

RACHEL HANSEN Editor & Founder

DONNA MANIO Lifestyle Editor, Philippines

AINA BAUER Copy Editor

MARTHY ARGUELLES ANGUE Associate Editor & Designer Philippines

LIZA DE VERA-PREICZER Bureau Editor, Vienna, Austria

ISABEL LERMA Bureau Editor, Paris, France

LYNDY BAGARES Web Editor, Fornebu, Norway

MILES VIERNES Bureau Editor, Oslo, Norway

ARIANNE FAYE CALVERO Web Support

MA VICTORIA MADARIETA Bureau Editor, Barcelona, Spain

LUZ BERGERSEN Associate Editor, Oslo, Norway

MCKLEIN ONOYA Web Master, Oslo, Norway

MAYRA PANGANIBAN Bureau Editor, Prague, Czech Republic

SATHIEL RAMOS Travel Editor, Philippines

ELIZABETH “BETSY” VON ATZIGEN Bureau Editor, Switzerland

JONATHAN AREVALO COO Culture Editor, Philippines

Roots & Wings is published by Rachel Publishing Co from its head office in Stockholm, Sweden. Email: rachel.hansen@ugatpakpak.com ©2009-2015 | Roots&Wings Filipino Magazine in Europe

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Anita SÜderberg is a very flexible and spontaneous artist. She does landscape, still life and portraits. This humble and multitalented lady likes to test her creativity and ability by not limiting herself to just paintings. Already, at the tender age of 16, she worked as an upper shoemaker in her family’s small shoe factory in Marikina. Anita remembers how pleasurable it was to work with her parents and siblings, each and every one having their own special duties. But sometimes when the demand for shoes were low, Anita would sew dresses and evening gowns. Now living contentedly in Stockholm, Sweden, it turns out to be a great advantage to have all these practical talents and skills on hand. as Interviewed by RACHEL HANSEN

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Anita Sรถderberg, THE SELF-MADE ARTIST INSPIRED B Y L O V E O F FA M I LY

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Tell us, how did you become an artist? As far as I can remember, I have always been very fond of drawing. When I was small, we used to live in a ranch in Southern Philippines. My father was a cowboy. In the ranch, there were huge water tanks for gathering rain water. Using burnt wood or coal I would make drawings on the tanks. I remember feeling proud and happy to show my drawings to my father. My family could not afford to send me to art school so I decided to make friends with some artists in our town. For instance, in a shopping mall, there was a portrait artist doing on the spot paintings. Every weekend, I would just hang around the artist and observe everything that he did. The artist was kind to me, he would share some of his painting tips with me, and he would even encourage me to come as often as I can. So I started doing portraits under his guidance and

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Every weekend, I would just hang around the artist and observe everything that he did. 7


I really hope this event will encourage more aspiring artists to join so that their artworks will also be exposed to the public. sometimes passers-by would ask me how much I charge for a portrait. Which made me feel that I was already an artist myself! Ha ha ha. Indeed, I am very thankful for those kind people who were generous and patient to share their talents and skills with me.

Where do you get inspiration? My family, especially my father, are my great inspirations. And of course, nature and all it has to offer.

Have you taken part in some Art Exhibition?

 Yes, in 2014 and 2015 I joined the annual Filipino Art 8

Competition in Stockholm. I won the 2nd and 3rd prizes respectively and I also sold most of my paintings to my own surprise.

What do you think of the annual Art Exibition in Stockholm?

I really hope this event will encourage more aspiring artists to join so that their artworks will also be exposed to the public. For me, it was a great honor to meet other artists and a lot of art lovers. It warms my heart when they show appreciation for my artworks. So I will definitely continue to paint and will try to develop this God-given talent even more.


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written by DESIREE MUNOZ

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LIFESTYLE

Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think to try diving, least become a PADI certified Advanced Openwater diver. My older sister and a cousin almost died from drowning when we were kids in Samar, I am still not a good swimmer at my age (clue: it’s been a while since I was born), and I basically grew up in an island traumatized by the Pacific Ocean no less. Recipe for disaster you say? Yet only after a year of diving with a little over sixty dives, I can’t get enough of diving and the beauty underwater. It is beyond beautiful, it is mesmerizing. SCUBA is Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus employed by divers to be able to breathe underwater. And diving is the sport or activity of swimming or exploring underwater. PADI is Professional Association of Diving Instructors. And having an Advance Openwater certification means I am trained to go as deep as 30 meters below sea level (among other awesome things). Below are five quick questions I answered about diving. These are for people who are generally curious about diving but know nothing more about it, or who worry about being underwater but are still curious about diving,

or who are looking for a new discovery, a different thrill, an activity that is worth one’s money and time. Welcome to the club!

DO I HAVE TO BE CERTIFIED TO BE A DIVER? Answer: YES! People don’t just die because of diving but people can die from careless diving. Yes because diving is as much of a science as it is a sport (think water density and pressure, buoyancy, air and atmospheric pressure, decompression, etc.). Yes because it involves numerous equipment that require proper knowledge for something as basic as breathing. And yes because knowledge is power, even and especially in diving. 11


Who would’ve guessed an island girl who grew up traumatized by the sea will grow up to be a diver? Me at the center, to my right is my best dive buddy and life partner Yoann with our dive master in Balicasag Island, Bohol. Being certified means confidence in your abilities to enjoy diving because certification ensures that you are well-trained to respond to various circumstances underwater. Technically, people can dive without a certification. No one will stop you from risking your life underwater. The good news, however, is that there is such a thing as a “discovery dive.” A dive instructor can accompany a nondiver underwater to experience 12

diving for a few minutes, and from there, you decide if you want to be a serious diver and work on getting licensed.

HOW DO I GET CERTIFIED? Answer: Ask any dive center near you for dive lesson packages, it’s that simple! Or if you want to plan ahead, most dive centers have websites and are reachable via email. A lot are actually run by foreigners who called Philippines


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their home a long, long time ago. I got PADI  certified by a very thorough French instructor myself, but there’s also another certification called SSI or Scuba Schools International. This much I can tell you, the the most common certification in the Philippines is by

LIFESTYLE

training, you are not a burden to your buddy and your fellow divers, you communicate effectively underwater by learning the signs, you at least have an idea which creatures are deadly, thus, should be avoided at all means, and most importantly, you learn how NOT to

A few basic dive equipment from left to right: fins, BCD with regulator, oxygen tank, mask & snorkel set. PADI certified divers/instructors. SO WHAT IF I’M A CERTIFIED AND TRAINED DIVER? Answer: You enjoy dive by being less paranoid and less scared with the knowledge you acquire in

threaten the lives of underwater creatures! Being certified is for everyone’s safety, period. Q4: WHAT’S SO FANTASTIC ABOUT BEING UNDERWATER? Answer: How fantastic does zero 13


gravity sound? Yes ma’am/sir, you experience that in diving. What’s so fantastic about feeling like an astronaut? Boo. There is no gravity underwater and buoyancy is controlled by you. What else? Let’s say nothing compares to the sensation of breathing underwater. It takes a little while getting used – but wait in just a few minutes, you will experience firsthand how easy and fun Scuba diving really is. CAN I DIVE NEAR METRO MANILA? Answer: Absolutely. One good thing about diving in the Philippines is that two hours away from the hustle and bustle of the mega capital city is Sea’s Spring Resort Hotel in Mabini, Batangas. Sea’s Spring is the biggest resort in Mabini and the only resort next to the most popular muck dive point that is Secret Bay. Our dive group keeps coming

back here because of its proximity to a lot of diverse and rich dive spots, but the next best thing is the natural hot spring pools (onsen) plus geothermal sauna exclusive to Sea’s Spring customers. For inquiries, you may contact Tess at +63 917 564 8085 or check out their website at www. seasspringresort.com. Of course there are hundreds of dive resorts around Batangas to choose from, and numerous wonderful dive spots all over the Philippines to visit. But we’ve only just begun! In the coming issues of Roots and Wings, we will guide you through diving around this wonderful archipelago we’re lucky enough to call our home. I’m not worried if you are still not convinced to leave the cold weather of Europe during the winter season, because I will bring the warm underwater world of the tropics to you! RIGHT. Boating out into deeper waters off the shores of Anilao.

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Written by MILAGROS F. VIERNES

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SUCCESS

In 2002, Abelene Garcia-Pineda and her family put up La Mesa, the first Filipino fine dining restaurant in Oslo. It offered popular Filipino dishes like adobo, kare kare, dinuguan, among others. Her brotherin -law, Troy Rasay, provided the funds, and her husband, Reverdy Pineda was the chef. At that time, Asian food in general was not known in Norway. So they tried to introduce Filipino cuisine to cater to the distinctive tastes of the Norwegians and other residents. But it did not prosper. So the family decided to close it after three years of operation. “The market was not yet ready at that time,” Abelene said. “It was a big downfall for our family. Na trauma kami, walang bumalik sa capital namin, ( We were traumatized, we did not recover our capital)“she lamented. Abelene said her husband was so devastated that he turned to other pursuits to forget this experience. But being a chef by profession who loves his craft, he did not give up. In 2014, about 10 years from the time the restaurant was closed, they put up Bread n Butter. In just two years Bread n Butter has gained a growing number of

loyal customers in the Filipino community. Their pan de sal, one of its first products, is a bestseller because of its spongy, soft and delicious taste. Other products are ensaymada, Spanish bread, monay, and donuts. Occasionally, they also make various kinds of cakes, such as mocha with butter cream and coffee glazed nuts, 3-way naked mango cake, and moist chocolate cake. Today, Bread n Butter continues to make new products to satisfy its customers. Two of these are Egg’n bacon and cheesedog buns. RENEWED INTEREST The couple’s renewed interest in the food business came about when Abelene was assigned by the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to the Norwegian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Abelene, a holder of a Cand.mag (Master of Arts) in Political and Social Science 17


Bread n Butter fixes up some yuletide treats in a Christmas food market in Oslo. from the University of Oslo, works as an Immigration Case Adviser at the UDI. In Bangkok, she served as a Visa Case Officer from May to August last year. Her husband, Reverdy, joined her. Reverdy is a graduate of a culinary course in Oslo Kokk of Stuart skole. While in Bangkok, he took up Advanced Bread Baking at the UFM Cooking and Baking school. This is where Goldilocks and Red Ribbon send their trainees to study. Having gained additional knowledge on bread making, 18

Reverdy, together with Abelene, decided to try their luck again in the food industry by establishing Bread n Butter. This time around, they are successful. They are gradually making a significant mark in the food business in Norway. Encouraged by this development, they started Cucina Catering early this year. It sells mostly wraps/ soft tacos with a twist. Reverdy has come up with creative ways to make the tacos and wraps Pinoy. For a start, they will sell homemade soft tacos with pork sisig and chicken adobo as fillings.


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SUCCESS

EARLY PINOY IMMIGRANTS

VISION

Abelene and her family were some of the early Filipinos who came to Norway to look for better opportunities. In the ‘70s and early ’80s, it was not difficult to obtain a tourist or work visa. It was also easy to bring the whole family to live and work in Norway.

“Our vision is to be able to make our presence felt and accepted not only by the Filipino community but also the Norwegians and other residents in Norway,” Abelene said. “Towards this end, we have been selling our products at the Mathallen Food Hall in Oslo. And we are inspired by the enthusiastic response of the customers.”

Federico, Abelene’s father and Ofelia, her mother, entered Norway in 1986. Her father was employed as Machine Operator and mechanic at the Tamrock Norge As. He is now retired. Her mother is a BS Education graduate from the Philippine Normal College. She worked as a chambermaid in a hotel for five years. She went to school in her spare time in order to enhance her work situation. She took additional studies at the University of Oslo for Pedagogy of Education. She then taught at Bydel Bjerke, a pre-school. In 1989, Abelene and her two sisters were petitioned by their father. Abelene is the eldest of three girls: Frances finished Accountancy and Management at Akershus Hoyskole and Anne, the youngest, completed Strategical Human Resources and Business Management.

Mathallen is an indoor food market with more than 30 specialty shops, cafes and eateries that offer various products from Norwegian small scale producers. This year, Bread n Butter and Cucina Catering participated in the Fiesta Filipino 2016, the Philippine Independence Day celebration last June 11. The event was hosted by the Philippine Embassy Oslo and the federation of Filipino and Filipino-Norwegian organizations in Norway (FilCom Norway).

*First appeared in x.rappler.com June 2016

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Up-close and Personal by LIZA DE VERA-PREICZER

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POETRY

H

ow many roses must we smell to know the true meaning and beauty of life? How many thorns must we endure to see that in life there is tragedy and sorrow? How many roads must we travel before we can learn life’s righteous path? How many hands must we shake before we are faced with a friend for life? How far should we bend over backwards for the benefit of another? How deep must one’s patience be, to tolerate the flaws of the other? How high must one hold on to his pride in order to protect his dignity? How wide must our understanding be, to forgive those who brought us misery? In this life we are faced with success and defeats, with losses and gains… We learn how to love, just as much as we learn how to hate… We learn the importance of truthfulness, for we detest dishonesty and deceit… We learn how to give, yet it is just but human to also expect to receive… But when do we begin discerning if the rope is nearing its bitter end? When do we start to recognize that the well of empathy has run dry? When do we finally see the reality and not be consumed with self-pity? When is the time to lay down our crosses and end our lingering agony? Many of us are idealists and we look at tomorrow the way we see fit But reality teaches us the contrary, there is no permanence, there is no infinity… And despite our longing for genuine happiness and intimacy Never ever forget lest we regret, we are only capable of giving love… When we value ourselves first and foremost above all the rest…

WE LOVE, WE LAUGH AND WE SOAR THEN AT TIMES WE HATE, WE CRY AND WE FALL BUT LIFE MUST GO ON... SIMPLY TURN TO THE NEXT PAGE AND CONTINUE TO CARRY ON… “LIFE IS LIKE ROSES… IT IS BEAUTIFUL YET FILLED WITH THORNS”

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NEWS

ENFiD to holdGeneral Assembly in Prague this September. The European Network of Filipino Diaspora is inviting the Filipino Community in Europe to participate in its annual general assembly to be held this year in gue this September. Official details of the event are presented below. Theme: The Filipino community in Europe: Facing the challenges while maximizing the potential in the spirit of inclusiveness.   General Objective:  To jointly reexamine the challenges of the past year, look on to the opportunities ahead and ultimately reinforce the ties of cooperation among Filipinos throughout Europe. Specific objectives: • To review the current migration crisis and the rise of nationalist movements across Europe and the changes in the Philippine government and reflect on the implications of

these to the lives of Europebased Filipinos; For ENFiD to review and assess its organizational structure, its Constitution and By-Laws and its programs (Two- Year Action Plan, etc.) and introduce improvements where applicable; For ENFiD members and officers to meet and share best practices and updates and strengthen synergies of initiatives and activities;

Rationale:   In 2015 alone, over one million migrants and asylum seekers reached Europe via the Mediterranean. Over 80 percent of those taking the dangerous journey originate from countries beset by war, generalized violence, or with repressive governments, such as Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq (https://www.hrw.org/tag/ europes-migration-crisis). The rise of migrants and refugees coming to Europe is coupled with the 23


growing popularity of nationalist political parties and with it the growing nationalist sentiments of Europeans. Many of these nationalist parties are promoting exit from the European Union. The continuity and sustainability of EU is at stake. In the meantime, the recent election in the Philippines led to the new administration which posed many promises one of which is the improvement of services to the Overseas Filipino Workers. With the new administration, new policies and regulations but also new government officials come in. How would these European and Home Country changes and challenges affect the estimated 800,000 Filipinos living, working and studying in Europe? What areas of concern do the EuroPinoys have and how do they see their roles both here in Europe and for the Home Country? Like all Filipinos Overseas, the EuroPinoys are engaged in promoting developments of their families as well as the Home Country in general. While combining their 24

work and family life, most are also active within Filipino organizations that initiates various activities that promote the Filipino Culture and Art as well as camaraderie among fellow kababayans. What are the best practices in these areas and how can synergies be developed? Many Euro-Pinoys are also keen to engage in projects and activities that promotes the gender equity and projects which are environment-responsive. What are these projects? Other Euro-Pinoys are searching for plausible investment opportunities in the Philippines. But what are these and how could the EuroPinoys avail of these. These questions and more will be discussed at the ENFiD General Assembly. The Assembly will be held in Prague, where we are warmly welcomed with patronage from the Philippine Embassy.   Participants:  There are close to 900.000 Filipinos in Europe, 200.000 of them are from Italy, 300.000 from UK, 60.000 from Spain, 60.000 from Germany. The event is open to all


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ENFiD members, relations, friends and observers. Expected are more than 100 Filipino community leaders and members representing Filipino organisations/federations: • Filipinos in Europe (Italy, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.K.), and delegates from the Philippines, Middle East and North America. • Public and Private Agencies and Non-Filipino NGO’s involved in Migration Issues • Business establishments with Overseas Filipinos clientele A milestone was achieved when the ENFiD was created after a European Conference in Rome in 2012. ENFiD is a networking association of Filipino groups in Europe, registered in Malta and the EU Transparency Registry, with 20-country members of federated Filipino organizations, and an institutional partner of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and the PhilAm Life Foundation.

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EVENT DETAILS IN FOCUS Friday, 16 September Philippine Embassy Prague Senovazne namesti 8, Prague 1 Joint Comprehensive Assessment Meeting of Board and Country Representatives Saturday and Sunday, 17 and 18 September Hall 417 of Czech Association of Scientific and Technical Novotneho Lavka 5, Prague 1 General Assembly, Parallel Workshops (Saturday) Country Reports, Forward-Looking (Sunday) 25


The Art of Lolita Valderrama Savage: Nature of Tuscany, Stamford and Beyond If you happen to be in the United States this coming September 16 to October 30, you may as well stop over the Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Connecticut to view the first Filipino one-woman art exhibition by our very own internationally acclaimed artist and Presidential Awardee Lolita Valderrama Savage. 26

This exhibition will artistically and culturally link the Filipino, Italian and American culture. It has received an official recognition “Patrocinio della Comune di Firenze� from the Mayor of Florence City, Dario Nardella. Support for the exhibition has also been expressed by the Florentine Councillor for International


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Relations and Cooperation, Nicoletta Mantovani, widow of Maestro Luciano Pavarotti as well as by Connecticut State Senator Carlo Leone and Stamford Mayor David R. Martin.

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NEWS

Peace” auction at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In Manila, her paintings were exhibited at the Ayala Museum in 2011. Her most recent solo exhibition at the Palazzo MediciRiccardi Museum, December 2013 - January 2014, was sponsored by the Province of Florence, the City of Florence, the Philippine Embassy in Rome, the Consulate General of the USA in Florence, and Bloomberg. Savage Celebratin g 80

rt, Education s of A &N ear

onder ral W atu

Y

Lolita earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and a Diploma from the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy under the supervision The Art of of Professor Silvio A errama LOLITVald cany, nature of &tus Loffredo. For many stamford beyond years in Sweden, she was mentored by the late famous artist, Staffan Hallstrom.

In December 2014, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III awarded Lolita the Presidential Pamana Ng Pilipino Award “for exemplifying the talent and industry of the Filipino and bringing the country honor and recognition through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of her work”.

ber 30, 2016 September 17 – OctoMuseum & Nature Center Stamford

Road 39 Scofieldtown ut 06903 USA Stamford, Connectic 1.203.322.1646

Lolita has exhibited her artworks in Asia, Europe and the USA. Lolita was one of the internationally acclaimed artists presented at the 1999 World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland. Her solo art exhibit at “Casa di Dante (Alighieri)” in Florence was sponsored jointly by the Comune di Firenze and by the Philippine Embassy in Italy. After a 2006 exhibition at UNESCO Paris, she participated in the “Art for David Martin, Mayor

STATE OF CONNECTICUT

Porta Allegria, Vigna

REGIONE TOSCANA

Con il patrocinio

Nuova, Chianti, 2010

di

Consiglio Regionale

ai sensi dell’art. Marchio concesso 15/2010 6 comma 4 della L.R.

You are warmly welcome at the Exhibition Opening on Friday, September 16, 2016 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 PM. The Stamford Museum and Nature Center is 50 minutes away by train from the Grand Central Station in New York City. 27


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NEWS

Fjölmenningardagur Reykjavíkurborgar Reykjavik City celebrated its eighth annual Multicultural festivities on May 28, 2016 at the Harpa Concert hall. This popular event is participated by the members of the multicultural foreign residents in Iceland.  It started with a vibrant parade of nations traversing along the major thorough fares of the city followed by the showcasing of Arts, handicrafts and products from the participating countries from Northern and Southern European countries, the Africa’s, the Middle Eastern, the exotic Asian nations of Vietnam, China, Nepal, Mongolia,Thailand and the Philippines, the down under Australia and New Zealand and the Americas.

Simultaneously a food festival was presented at the ground area of the concert Hall in two big tents where a big variety of delicious diverse food and desserts were presented by most of the participants. It was a day of celebrating the diversity of culture of more than 54 nations residing in the island nation of the Vikings. A day of one world in Iceland. Project Pearl International / ENFiD Iceland is once again participating in the annual Multicultural day celebration. PPi and ENFiD members donated Filipino dishes and Philippine handicrafts to sell and all proceeds goes to Maríukirkja (St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church). From ENFiD - Iceland

Opposite Page, Clockwise from Top left : Jóhanna Ruth Luna Jose 14 year old - Iceland Got Talent 2016 winner; Hannah Lyka S. Guinocor and Robert Angobong; ENFiD Photographer Vanessa and ENFiD Event Coordinator Theresa Bernardino with Reykjavík Mayor, Dagur Eggertsson. 29


A Capella Manila charms audiences across Europe on the 2016 –Layag Himig Concerts “A CAPPELLA MANILA” a vocal ensemble of young professionals and students who aim to promote peace and goodwill through their brand of music, are on European tour this summer, with the series of LAYAG-HIMIG concerts. The group hopes to promote a positive image of our country whenever they visit our Filipino Communities overseas. ACM started their Europe tour in Lisbon, Portugal, where they were hosted by the Filipino-Portuguese 30

Community and the Filipino Catholic Community with Fr. Jovito Osalvo, SVD, FCC Chaplain.. In Stockholm, Sweden, ACM was hosted by FilComlas Sweden, the Filipino Community Leaders Association. In Norway, the choral group was hosted by Mekeni Norway, an organization of Kapampangans in Norway headed by Ms Nene Puyat; the Hiligaynon Association of Norway, with membership from the Western Visayas region; and the Drammen Filipino Dance


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Group; Other proud and happy hosts in Prague, Belgium and Vienna are::The Knights of Rizal Prague, Knights of Rizal Belgium, Euro-Asian Dance Group. The Filipino communities in Europe had the greatest pleasure in May 2013, to have the group for the first time, and are thrilled that they are with us again. To support their commitment, ACM continuously hones the talents of its members by exposing them to many types of singing. The group leans towards “a cappella� singing, which explains their name. The group is equally at home with classical choral arrangements but the members give their most soulful renditions of pop music, touching the hearts of their listeners. In all their local and international concert tours and performances, their most applauded and encore numbers are their interpretation of pop songs. The group has brought its music to the different regions of the Philippines, and has performed several times outside the country, bringing with them their gift of music, friendship and goodwill. A Cappella Manila has visited key cities in the USA, Asia, and Europe.

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A Cappella Manila prides itself with having sung for two Popes while at the Vatican during Special Papal Audience: Saint Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Another source of pride for ACM are its three copyrighted flagship programs, the LAKBAY-HANDOGAWIT (LHA), the INTERACTION PROGRAM (IP), and the CONTINUING MUSIC EDUCATION PROGRAM (CMEP). A Cappella Manila has made 4 CD recordings, available now during their 6th European Goodwill Concert Tour in 2016.

THE MEMBERS SOPRANOS: -Roscel Templo; Aileah Rose Jacob; Chinky Madrona; Candice Madrona; Wines Gabo. ALTOS: -Leslie Anne Jacob; -Maureen Torres; -Rhyzza Rachel Sol TENORS: -Jordan Brigala; -Rex Panelo; Alvin Jay Paguntalan BASSES: -John Michael Soriano; -Bernard Payuyo; Angelo Isidro Artistic Director: Rodel Bugarin

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A SUMMER IN STOCKHOLM WORDS AND IMAGES BY MARTHY ANGUE

It was, by most accounts, an unusual proposal, strangest still that I had made it. It was not an unusual project brief - graphics would be needed for an international conference to be held in Malta six months hence- and we were discussing costs over coffee at an SM Starbucks. Of course, the discussion came down to the question of “how much?” and, given the kind of math I’d need to run through for such a major project, the obvious answer would’ve been “I’ll run the numbers at home and email you a cost plan first thing, morning.” It had been a pleasant afternoon discussing details with Ms. Hansen and Ms. Reyes though and I had been of the humour to jest that perhaps they could just take me along in lieu of the usual fees - not the wittiest way of waffling out of complex calculations, certainly. I must admit that it was a tad surprising finding myself alone at Schipol four months later, waiting for the next flight into Stockholm. 32


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TRAVELOGUE

PART ONE IN A SERIES OF RECOLLECTIONS

I

skyped my mother moments into finding WiFi at Amsterdam, ducking into an empty stairwell behind the carts of tulip knick-knacks. There are few experiences so quintessentially Filipino than flying halfway around the world from home; modern technology has completed that journey full circle to make it seem like we hardly even parted. Come to think of it, between one piece of carryon luggage and another stowed

somewhere between planes, I very nearly managed to bring my entire life with me: all my friends and family as well as my entire livelihood was held securely across my small bevy of gadgets, padded under several wads of clothing. AT HOME IN STOCKHOLM It was unreal, stepping out into Arlanda’s Arrivals hall and not suddenly wake up in Cavite City under especially intense air 33


conditioning. Instead, I found Ms. Rachel Hansen waiting to pick me up and take me into her home, ready with a jacket and some fruit for the drive into Stockholm. Even then, I was wondering when I was going to wake up but Stockholm does have a dream-like quality to it that only intensifies in the remembering.

Above: The iconic tower of the Stadhuset, Stockholm’s City hall. 34

The apartment was on the North end of Stockholm, past the red brick towers of the old Olympic Stadium, in a neighborhood that reflected the Swedish passions for design and nature to breathtaking perfection. I must admit that writing this floods me with emotion - the memory of Ms. Rachel showing me around the rooms for the first time is one of the fondest memories I have of anything. I have similar fond memories of Ms. Hansen’s fridge which, compared to Cavite City’s rather limited fare, now appears in mythical colors in my mind. Along with her daughter Aina, who was a similarly deft chef, and the house cat Kitty, they provided me with a place that I would always remember as home. Of course, there had been


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Above: A concert congregates around a food fair at Kungstradgarden. much work to do: Ms. Hansen invited me over on behalf of the European Network of Filipino Diaspora and we had two months to help prepare their largest event to date. I had set my workstation in the room, mainly finishing up designs for the event’s Souvenir Magazine. Articles and ads gradually came in from all corners of Europe and I’d incorporate everything while I helped myself to shrimp cocktail from the fridge. I had been used to working nights

but I needed to adjust: it was around Midsummer in the Arctic and “nights” consisted only two hours of actual dark. In a similar way, Ms. Hansen introduced me to a Swedish way of doing things, notably the rule that I should take at least six hours a day to walk around town. As rules go, this was not a difficult one to comply with. WALKS TO REMEMBER Stockholm, much like and perhaps more so than any other 35


capital city in Europe, is a city for walking. For one thing, Stockholm was very nearly uniformly flat save for a few extra-credit hills and slopes. I had arrived early in June and the weather was crossing over between a cool spring and a mild summer. Norra Djurgarden, the neighborhood surrounding the apartment, had once been a lushly forested royal hunting ground and my first walks with Ms. Hansen were a primer on wildflower identification. Elderflowers for tea, lilies of the valley for aroma, lilacs frothing in streams down trees and vast yellow beds of cowslips blanketing the green grass: color seemed to burst out of every corner that would yield and I was agog to take it all in.

There was some greenery back home of course but it was hidden behind yard fences or cordonned past city limits. In Stockholm, the forests and the gardens were a public trust and took a lion’s share of public space. Ms. Hansen herself could make dozens of pies out of the blueberries she collects from the forest each year around spring. Which reminds me: the forests were quite certainly clean enough to eat off of despite the fact that everyone was welcome to traipse around these woods at their leisure. Perhaps everyone was more careful with these forests because it belonged to them as much as the next person. There was no reason to go about uprooting flowering bushes you already felt like you owned either (unlike some parks closer to home.)

...there was also this general impression in Stockholm that people are working on solutions and that trust and cooperation will see everyone through in the end.

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Now, six hours a day was quite


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Left: Inthe lobby of the Nordiska Kompaniet, Stockholm’s historic downtown department store. and wide public squares. To put it into comparison, a six hour walk through Cavite City will likely take me two municipalities out of Cavite City before rounding back home with an early case of Miner’s Lung.

a lot of time for walking and I did fancy myself as a fast walker, but Stockholm was a vast, vast city to walk through. From the apartment to the city center and back would take about as long for a moderately brisk walk with intermittent breaks for food, sight-seeing and window shopping. In that time, you’ve alternated between grand neoclassical townhouses, unique moderist gems, futuristic office blocks, striking industrial-age landmarks, gloriously gothic churches, and an incredibly well-preserved medieval city punctuated by parks, gardens

Owing to the towering heights of the average Swede, Stockholm almost feels like it was built at a slightly larger scale than, say, Manila or Hong Kong. It may have been the longer strides, I thought although I did get used to it in time. Then again, it could also be because I stopped getting lost and taking longer routes than I should’ve. I suppose I could have taken the buses or the trains - and Stockholm’s public transportation system is almost mind-bogglingly efficient to the average Manila commuter - but I felt there was so much more to see on foot. Ms. Hansen had also suggested Stockholm’s citiwide bike rental program but... well, actually, there was no excuse not to try it out and I definitely will if I ever get to return. 37


A sunny day in the heart of Historic Gamla Stan. 38


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THE LATEST KIND OF MODERN Between the efficient transportation, the sanitation, and the fact that there wasn’t an ever-present sense of impending danger from standing around in public, Stockholm gave the impression of being a model modern city. Tax rates are notably high but so are literacy levels, standard of living, standard of health care, and civic order. All cities have their problems of course (my first walk with Ms. Hansen featured at least one high-speed police car chase along scenic Strandvagen) but there was also this general impression in Stockholm that people are working on solutions and that trust and cooperation will see everyone through in the end. Watching the courteous give-andtake of traffic during the height of what they called “rush hour” from a burger joint whose “vermin problem” came in the form of majestic sea gulls, I’d believe in that too. I didn’t get to compare Stockholm with the rest of Europe’s major capitals until much later but my first walkthrough of downtown

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Stockholm had been an easy eye opener. Stockholm wasn’t one of those cities you see in every other TV special trying to go somewhere exotic and I quickly realized that the city wasn’t going to be a bustling megalopolis like the Romes or the Parises of pop culture. Stockholm was much more laid back and relaxed, much less interested in spectacle than places to sit down. And yes: most of the finest experiences in Stockholm - people watching over lunch or fika (the celebrated Swedish coffee break), sunbathing in the grass at Humlegarden, just staring at the downtown bustle by from the wide windows at the Kulturhuset or the deck of the AF Chapman - are best enjoyed sitting down and I wish I had sat down more often. A TIME AND A PLACE For a city that experiences half the year in near perpetual darkness, it certainly knows how to enjoy the months it has basking in near perpetual sunlight. I don’t believe I could have come at a better time though even midsummer daylight didn’t preclude the chance of a sudden shower. As Ms. Hansen would say 39


Above: The best sitting spot in all of Norra Djurgarden. Occasionally has swans. though, so long as you have an umbrella, there’s no reason to let the rains damper your trip. Indeed the trip had been eventful from the first week on: there was National Day, Midsummer (a quintessentially Nordic celebration), and even a royal wedding. Royal museums had free entrance, special areas of the palace were opened to the public, stores jacked up the price on Swedish flags: it was an unbelievable welcome. I even 40

managed to get close enough to nudge the King of Sweden; this is at least three times closer than I’ve ever been to the mayor of my hometown if that’s saying something. A CITY OF MILDER PLEASURES One area of the culture shock for me had been with the rarity of malls around Stockholm in contrast to the dense retail labyrinths I was more used to. Stockholm didn’t need large air-


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conditioned spaces though so it made sense; instead, shops and restaurants mostly ran along tight pedestrian streets and formed tight shopping districts of varying levels of fanciness. The few malls Stockholm did have were smaller and more specialized though my one visit to Sweden’s iconic (and properly immense) Ikea was comparable to a thorough romp around Megamall. In the end, my shopping chain of choice ended up being the used goods store Myrorna. Ah, so much cheap stuff, so little baggage allowance.

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museums. Books that catalogued ancient treasures, Renaissance architecture and Impressionist paintings were all I had of my father when he was off working as a commercial artist for Saudi Aramco and I had sustained a deepseated longing to witness these cultural icons up close. Stockholm hadn’t been on the lists of more popular cities with great art treasures the way London, Rome or Paris were but as my first European city, it made for a perfect sampler of what was to come. It was in Stockholm that I finally got to meet a Rembrandt up close - a powerful personal moment - and was where I gazed into an authentic Egyptian mummy for the first time. Statuary from Ancient Rome and Feudal Japan had niches in Stockholm and so did the works of abstract artists like Picasso and Brancusi.

For a city that experiences half the year in near perpetual darkness, it certainly knows how to enjoy the months it has basking in near perpetual sunlight.

What Stockholm lacked in malls, it made up for in museums. Or, at least, it made it up to me. I have always loved museums even as a child and much of the allure of Europe for me had been in the incalculable wealth of history and culture exhibited in its

That being said, I think my general unfamiliarity with Swedish 41


culture actually might have been a boon in my case given how much Swedish history and culture came as a surprise to me. I had heard about the Vasa - that 17th century warship that was so utterly massive it keeled over on its maiden voyage - but having seen in person, dredged up, restored and displayed in one of the World’s finest archeological museums, I’m surprised it isn’t often counted with Tutankhamen’s Mask and the Terra Cotta Army among the world’s greatest historical artefacts. Aside from the Vasa, Stockholm also devotes museums to its viking past, to its financial heritage, to its biodiversity, to everyday items across centuries, to the city’s extensive history before and after it became the nation’s capital, to the winners of the Nobel Prizes (which originated from and are awarded in Stockholm) and to its royalty. The open-air museum Skansen, the first of its kind, even manages to have exhibits of entire buildings uprooted from their original locations and plopped together according to era. Outside the museums, the 42

streets themselves are replete with history and culture. On my first walk into town, Ms. Rachel had shown me the site of the 1956 Olympics, a monument to the great Swedish taxonomist Linnaeus, and even the square where the word “Stockholm Syndrome” was coined. The epicentre of Stockholm’s history however is obviously Gamla Stan, the old city, where houses and churches dating back to the Middle Ages share an island’s worth of space with the lavishly decorated Royal Palace, Sweden’s centre of government, cobblestone streets lined with colourful souvenir shops, and at least two Hurry Curries (my choice of quick Indian Cuisine in Sweden.) FATHER AFIELD AND BACK AGAIN Work progressed much better than I would have imagined given the fact that I was encouraged to explore the city at the same time. It felt a bit like how Stockholm shops close down around six in the afternoon so everyone could go out and roll around in the grass or go fishing on the crystal clean rivers. I’d finish a chapter or


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Above: A day trip to Drottningholm Slott, the Versailles of the North. I’d lay out a poster then I’d step out drink-in this amazing city and burn off more calories than I was taking. And then I’d go home to a home cooked meal, either by Ms. Hansen or Aina and a bottle of Herjunga’s Apple Cider. As idyllic as that place was though (and I have never been one to exaggerate memories, mind), we did have some variety. Once, Ms. Hansen took me out to see her country home up north in

Norrtelje, on an island barricaded by stately pines and oaks. On another occasion, Ms. Hansen, Aina and I took an overnight cruise across the Baltic Sea to Estonia - a sentence that would have made absolutely no sense to me back in 2014. Shortly before our departure for the conference, Ms. Hansen even sent me to meet her sister Ms. Bergersen in Oslo (another story for another time) to explore the Norwegian capital.

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In my three months in Europe, I would leave and return to Stockholm twice more: back and forth from Malta and back and forth for my whirlwind tour of the continent. Each time, it felt more and more like coming home. The central terminal, the bus to Hjorthagen, the neighbourhood with its manicured lawn, the apartment door, the elevator… and finally, that warm place with a wide bed and a fridge full of cold steak, assorted cheeses, and Kalle’s Caviar for hard boiled eggs. Ms. Rachel would say hello. Aina would too. Kitty will approach and say hello in her own way That was how I remember the last time I went home to the apartment. I had walked around Stockholm one last time but I had to come back early to pack my bags. The next day, I would say goodbye to Ms. Hansen, fly back to the Philippines and carry on as I’ve always had. STOCKHOLM SYNDROME Then again, I don’t think I’d ever be the same after that experience. Certainly not after

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the whirlwind tour. Certainly not after Malta or Oslo. But most of all, certainly not after Stockholm. Beyond even the kindness and generosity Ms. Hansen has accorded me, she has also shown me a vision of what could be: of a city suffused by that same kindness and generosity. A city that fostered creativity and efficiency the way Ms. Hansen fostered my services. It was also through her that I was able to meet the rest of the European Network of Filipino Diaspora, an organization that opened my horizons across the breadth of the entire continent. In three months, she has given me more to write about than I can write for the next three years and should I continue these stories on, I dedicate them in gratitude. In the end, I believe she has come to embody the best of her home: the belief that an investment of trust and kindness can bring out the best in people. Perhaps I was given the chance to call a place like that home for a while to help me make my true home a place like that too.


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