Philippine Embassy launches first ever book project on the Filipino youth
In one of the several events celebrating the 116th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, the Philippine Embassy in Wellington launched a book project entitled, “New Zealand in the Eyes of the Filipino Migrant Youth: Adjustment and Acceptance,” on 14 June 2014 at “Ang Bahay” (Ambassador’s Residence). Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez welcomed an overwhelming number of guests who are thrilled to be a part of this ground-breaking project, from the prospective participants, the youth aged 10 to 30, including the Philippine Embassy’s Filipino Language and Culture Enrichment Program (FILCEP) graduates and their teachers, to the Core Group composed of a team of project managers for this bold undertaking.
The significant occasion started with the Philippine National Anthem by Ms. Dinna O’ Meara and the Opening Prayer by Ms. Bianca Benavidez. In her Welcome Remarks, Ambassador Benavidez encouraged the Filipino youth in New Zealand to share their stories on growing up in a new environment and culture, and adopting and assimilating in a foreign country, through essays and graphic arts as these can be their legacy to the succeeding generations of Filipinos both in the Philippines and in their second home, New Zealand. How do these children feel about straddling two cultures – the Filipino and the foreign one? What does it mean to be a Kiwi-Pinoy? What does it mean to be a Filipino in New Zealand? “New Zealand in the Eyes of the Filipino Migrant Youth: Adjustment and Acceptance” will explore these questions from the perspective of the youth.
Representing the Core Group, Ms. Meia Lopez discussed the project’s concept paper, copies of which were distributed to the guests earlier that evening. She presented an introduction and the project’s objectives as follows: (1) to obtain insights, impressions and ideas from the Filipino youth aged 10-30 on how they see and what they feel about their second home – New Zealand; (2) to get their reactions, feelings and ambitions as they adjust, accept and adapt themselves in a much different environment; and (3) to write an essay in 400-500 words and illustrate visually their unique stories, experiences and perspectives. Ms. Lopez also announced the project’s timeline that includes two (2) Writing/Cultural Workshops in the next few months, and the submission of essays scheduled in January 2015, in time for the book launching in June 2015.
Ms. Lopez also provided a brief workshop that kick-started the discussions on the subject. She asked the audience, “If you were talking to a foreigner, what would you say about the Philippines?” Expectedly, the Core Group elicited a variety of responses – an inspiring indicator that this book project is taking on the contributors it envisions.
The Core Group is composed of Ms. Meia Lopez, Ms. Dinna O’ Meara, Ms. Carol Parreno, Ms. Alice Lozano, Ms. Shirin Zonoobi, Mr. Rey Cabauatan, Mr. Terrence Ibasco, Ms. Zenaida Savill, Ms. Aurea Weatherall, Ms. Ruth Abenojar-Yee and Ms. Josephine Jowett.
After the program, a delectable dinner and an enjoyable fellowship filled the “Ang Bahay” amidst its Filipiniana ambience and atmosphere. The guests engaged in pleasant conversations, photo-taking and karaoke-singing. It was truly an evening to remember as this is the very first time that the Filipino youth and friends visited “Ang Bahay” and gave their wholehearted support for the project and cooperated with the Philippine Embassy and the Filipino Community Core Group.