Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

PHL Embassy joins the Filipino Food Festival of the Iglesia ni Cristo Wellington Congregation

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As the Philippine Embassy in New Zealand continues to embark on its cultural and people diplomacy, and as a manner of fostering greater friendship and fellowship to convey its appreciation for the continued support and kind cooperation of the Filipino community, the Philippine Embassy team led by Engr. Pio J. Benavidez, the spouse of Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez, attended the Filipino Food Festival of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) of the Local Congregation of Wellington held at the Randwick School Multi-purpose Hall in Moera, Lower Hutt on 28 September 2013. Engr. Benavidez was accompanied by the officers and staff of the Embassy, and the “Ang Bahay” (Ambassador’s residence) kitchen staff. The Filipino Food Festival showcased a variety of Filipino culinary delights from the seventeen (17) administrative regions of the Philippines, from all over Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The event was formally opened by Welcome Remarks with a Song-Dance Presentation of “Pinoy Ako,” performed by young Filipino talents. Then the esteemed guests, Engr. Benavidez on behalf of the Ambassador, and Lower Hutt City Mayor His Worship Ray Wallace, gave their inspiring speeches.

Engr. Benavidez, in his message, thanked and congratulated Bro. Gregguil Besa, officers and members of the Iglesia ni Cristo Congregation of Wellington for the “wonderful occasion that demonstrated the vital contributions of the group in Wellington in showcasing the Filipino culture through food, and contributing to deeper understanding and goodwill between the Philippines and New Zealand as friends, neighbours and partners.”

In his speech, His Worship Ray Wallace expressed his appreciation to Filipinos who continue to contribute to the multiculturalism of his city and of New Zealand in general. He encouraged Filipinos to be proud of their heritage and culture, as they live and work together in the local community towards development and prosperity.

While seated at the center of the hall surrounded by table booths of food, the guests enjoyed Filipino song and dance presentations, cooking demonstrations, and a walkthrough of the different kinds of Filipino dishes displayed during the event. As the atmosphere became festive at the start of the food tasting, the guests were encouraged to move around. The afternoon’s experience was truly a delight to the guests’ senses as people nibbled and ate from booth to booth, while enjoying the Filipino cultural presentations performed continuously at the center stage. Filipino dishes were presented according to island groups comprising the Philippines - Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Spearheaded by a team composed of locals from that island group, the “Pride of the Region” featured the table booths where corresponding local dishes were shared, an opportunity as well in sharing the native languages and snapshots of tourist attractions found in their respective regions.

The Luzon Menu included Sisig, Laing, Lechon Paksiw, Adobo, Lumpiang Shanghai, Pinapaitan, Pansit Guisado, Pansit Palabok, Goto, Kaldereta, Sinampalukang Manok, Pork Barbecue, Fish and Squid Balls, Ube Cake, Pichi Pichi, Puto, Leche Flan, Pinoy Breads, Bilo-bilo, and Samalamig. The Visayas Menu included Ulo ng Lechon, Humba, Kinilaw, Skinless Longganisa, Maja, Kutsinta, Biko, Piaya, Otap, Salvaro, Piñato, Dried Mango, Banana Chips, and Fresh Mango. The Mindanao Menu included Sinugbang Isda, Sinugbang Nokos, Balbacua, Sinuglaw, Ginataang Monggos, Kumar, Paklay, Puto Maya, Nilusak, Cassava Cake, Durian Pastillas, Durian Yema, Fresh Pinya, Fresh Saging and Durian Milk Shake. The “Ang Bahay” staff served the hit Taho for everyone.

“I am sure that this Food Festival organized by the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation based in Wellington will undoubtedly be another gastronomically satisfying total experience that will allow everyone to enjoy a multitude of smells, tastes and flavors, and a culturally enriching event that will showcase our island nation’s heritage and identity,” Engr. Benavidez stated in his speech at the opening of the occasion.

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