Ah, National Day. Usually the biggest event an Embassy or a Consulate will host for the year. It’s something that a lot of people either enjoy or stress over – depending on your role for that night.
As a diplomatic reporter and later on as a diplomat’s wife, I’ve been attending a whole lot of National Day celebrations and Embassy events from Manila to KL. Too many for me to count at this point – to think I’ve only been in the diplomatic circle for 5 years. (Diplomatic life does mean events left and right)
Such events are usually a good opportunity for a country to share something from home – their food, culture, history, the talent of their people. For us Filipinos, there’s usually a part of the program dedicated to how talented Filipino performers are.
One thing I love about attending diplomatic events is the dressing up that it comes with. I happen to love wearing Filipiniana – all forms of it. From the well-known Terno and Maria Clara down to the clothes worn by the different tribes all over the Philippines. However, one thing about National Dresses/Outfits is that they can cost quite a bit. I’ve had one too many fellow diplowives telling me that dressing up for National means parting with a hefty amount. The fact that it happens annually means you also have a repetitive (big) expense.
Filipino food is seriously underrated. Despite living in Malaysia where food is an actual tourist attraction, I have to admit that there are times when I still miss what we have at home.
From our world-famous mangoes, crab paste (which I tend to mix with everything), and down to my favourite Tinola (chicken soup with ginger and chilli leaves), there’s just something about our food that will make you want more. Ours is the next type of food you should be trying before it even becomes too mainstream. 😉
In fact, if Malaysians have their staple breakfast food called Nasi Lemak, we Filipinos are proud of our -Silog meals! Which I should talk about on a different post so as not to veer off the topic for this one. But if you ever find yourself in Laguna Restaurant in KL or Merienda de Eva in Damansara, order yourself a Tapsilog and thank me later.
If you’re currently in Kuala Lumpur, please do drop by the Food and Hotel Malaysia 2015 expo and visit us! The Philippine Pavilion is located at Hall 1, booth 1111.
We have mangoes, chili sauces and dips (which left my Malaysian friends wanting more and wondering why they are not available here!), sweets like polvoron, and as well as healthy juices and cooking aids – calamansi juice and coconut vinegar, anyone?
Side note: That coconut vinegar makes an awesome chip-dip!
Business owners and food importers are also welcome to ask for details on how you can bring our products here in Malaysia.
Our booth will be in KLCC till this Friday, the 2nd of October. See you there!
A few weeks ago, my husband and I found ourselves with (awesome) seats to a dance showcase that I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. When my good friend Thana mentioned earlier that he’s been studying traditional Indian dance and added that he will be inviting Alvin and I to their showcase – naturally – I was extremely excited. Theirs is one of the most fascinating and colourful cultures I have ever encountered so I definitely had to see this show.
India – the most populous democracy, the land of Ghandi, where the Taj Mahal is located, Bollywood land, Hinduism’s homecourt, and the birthplace of Karma and Kama Sutra. And while I’m sure the last bit totally got your attention, I have to admit that my favourites are actually these two: Indian food and their art! Indian food in Malaysia is one of the reasons (Three words: Chicken Tikka Masala) I have to go to the gym and their art forms – from visuals to performances, to wearables – always leave me in awe.
I have been bugging my friends of Indian heritage to bring me along to any of their celebrations just so I can wear a saree. That’s how eager I am. Haha!
Oh My India, was an event that highlighted 10 of the dances found in the country’s different states. It’s a great way of peeking into the culture, religion, and lore that’s so unique and captivating. The event was held in Black Box in Publika and lasted for about 2 hours which, in my opinion, went by quite fast. I actually wanted to see more! 🙁
A week before December 15, I was informed that I will be hosting the program for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ladies’ Circle Coffee Morning that’s hosted by the Philippine Embassy along with one of my husband’s colleagues. Eeeep!
Though I’ve been doing hosting on the side while I was still in Manila (been doing it since I was 13 as it was a great way to earn extra money), I found myself excited and a bit nervous. Coffee mornings for ASEAN ladies are usually a great venue to promote country as a tourist destination. I’m huge advocate of promoting our islands to people especially since we’ve been getting some bad press. Some have basis while the others were written by travellers who just found themselves in the wrong places at the wrong season. So I really wanted to do well in this gig.
And two – if I mess this up, I won’t be just an embarrassment to myself but to my husband as well! It was even our Ambassador who picked me to host. So if I mumble or call someone by the wrong name or if I trip while hosting – arrrgh. I would end up beating myself up so bad. I hate disappointing people – especially those who have so much faith in me. (Thanks so much sir! :D)
In the end… It went pretty well. Whew! So all my worries disappeared by the end of that event. Thank goodness that the past 6 months that we spent in KL – where I was considered pretty idle – didn’t make me rusty. Most of the ladies even approached me after the event to tell me that I did a good job. That meant a lot to me since just days before the event, I was already having dreams wherein I mess it up because I haven’t been hosting and even reporting in front of a camera/crowd in months! Oh, and since it was my first time to do a hosting gig in Malaysia, this is really an event that I will never forget. 😀
Our first embassy Christmas party at post and we loved every bit of it. Personally, I love the embassy events where we all get together and become one big family – eating together, sharing stories. In fact, I always feel that way whenever I drop by the embassy on a normal work day. Everybody is so welcoming and nice.
I love how in this embassy, ranks don’t really matter too much. You don’t hear officers belittling their staff or making them feel inferior – in person, in social media, and everywhere else. And there are no complaints from the staff about their bosses. Everybody works well with each other and whatever professional differences they encounter on a day-to-day basis, at the end of the day, people chalk it up to work experience and do not take it personally. It really is like a being in a big family where you find comfort despite being far away from home. We have each other to talk to, laugh with, and even share homesickness.
Last October – yes, October! This post is so late! – I attended the Mercedes Benz Stylo Asia Fashion Week here in Kuala Lumpur with some of my husband’s colleagues from the embassy. Our Consul General, my friend Johann who’s a Vice Consul just like my husband, and Ms Gigi who’s the embassy’s trade attache. No, my husband wasn’t with us as the seats allotted for the embassy were limited – and let’s face it. I’m of more use at a fashion show than he is. And he knows that. So he willingly stayed at home for some guy/alone time. Who says the wife is just an accessory to the diplomat? Hmm? 😉
Just to warn you, this is going to be a picture heavy post. I’d keep the text down to a minimum and just share photos of my favourite pieces from each collection that we saw. And a bit of side stories here and there. Cos really – would you want me yapping about cuts and silhouettes and colours and patterns instead of just checking out the photos? 😛
ALBERT ANDRADA (Philippines)
(Related: Albert Andrada wins ‘Most Connected Designer’ award at Asia Fashion Week)
Skipping some of the events I had to write about (I’m so late! Some of them happened weeks and weeks ago!) to write a shortie something about what happened just last Friday. Something very heart warming.
A good percentage of the Filipino population work abroad. Almost everyone in the Philippines has at least one relative who left the country for what they often call as ‘better opportunities’. Admittedly, our people has yet to feel the tangible effects of our growing economy and it makes me hopeful that this would be the start of Filipinos abroad going home without fear whether they will be earning enough for their families if they took a job in their home country.
It might take a couple of years more. But really, I’m looking forward to it. I’ve seen enough families torn apart by the diaspora. Children growing up without their mothers who had to go abroad to take care of the children of other people so she can earn money for her kids’ education back at home. I had a friend whose father never made it to any of her graduations as he was working as an engineer in the Middle East. They had money to send her all the way to college and to finish her Master’s Degree but alas, he was old when he got home and he died a few years later. The times they spent apart was something they can never bring back.