WASHINGTON, D.C. –“Wherever they may be, Filipinos are the bearers of our nation’s beliefs, values, customs and traditions that make our culture unique. But physical distance and the
passage of time have frayed cultural bonds between people and homeland. The next generation of Filipino Americans yearns to connect with their Filipino heritage. This reality compels the Embassy to provide a special kind of public service – that of re-introducing Philippine culture to those who want to learn what being a ‘kababayan’ means,” Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said as he welcomed guests to an inauguration ceremony on 10 June 2018 at the Philippine Chancery Annex Building.
The ceremony formally launched Sentro Rizal Washington DC and the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino (Textiles of the Filipino People)Traveling Exhibition featuring Pińa-Seda: Pineapple and Silk Cloths from the Tropics.
Ms. Mary Anne Luis, head of the International Affairs Office of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), led the singing of the Philippine National Anthem at the beginning of the program.
Ribbon cutting ceremony of the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Traveling Exhibition led by Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez (extreme right) and Director Jeremy Barns (extreme left) of the National Museum of the Philippines while National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chair Virgilio Almario (second from left) and National Museum of the Philippines Assistant Director Ana Labrador look on. (Philippine Embassy photo)
Sentro Rizal Washington DC is the 30thbranch of the Sentro Rizal, which was recognized by virtue of Section 42 of the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, which specifies a center “whose main purpose is the promotion of Philippine arts, culture and language throughout the world.” The Washington branch will serve as the primary vehicle through which the Embassy will conduct its cultural diplomacy programs.
Ambassador Romualdez and NCCA Chairman and National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario, signed the Memorandum of Understanding establishing Sentro Rizal Washington DC.
“Sentro Rizal embodies the Filipino spirit we want to rekindle in every part of the globe. It is meant to serve the need of Filipinos to remain Filipino at heart,” said Chairman Almario.
The occasion also saw the launch of the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Traveling Exhibition featuring Pińa-Seda: Pineapple and Silk Cloths from the Tropics that will showcase Philippine textiles and weaving traditions at the Chancery Annex building until16 July 2018.
Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez delivers welcome remarks at the inauguration ceremony of Sentro Rizal Washington DC and “Hibla” exhibition on 10 June 2018.
The display includes a week-long series of lecture, weaving demonstrations, and embroidery workshops featuring pineapple and silk (piña-seda) weavers and embroiderers from Kalibo, Aklan and Lumban, Laguna Philippines.
It is a joint project by the National Museum of the Philippines and the Senate of the Philippines, through the Office of Senator Loren Legarda.
“In terms of Philippine textile traditions, we, through this exhibition, seek to present, inform and promote through displays and actual demonstrations and workshops by leading expert practitioners, one of the most prominent and sophisticated of these, and one of great general appeal worldwide, which is that of the piña-seda, the famous pineapple silk of the Philippines that is truly unique to the country, from past centuries until the present day,” said Mr. Jeremy Barns, Director of the National Museum of the Philippines said.
The traveling exhibition is part of the permanent gallery established at the National Museum of Anthropology in Manila. It has travelled to London, Lisbon and Madrid. Washington DC is the exhibition’s first stop in the United States.
Senator Loren Legarda said in a statement, “The Hibla gallery, which has blossomed into many other initiatives, is not only an effort to celebrate indigenous artistry through textiles and provide more Filipinos the opportunity to discover priceless information about our heritage, but an attempt to bring the challenge of nurturing our weaving traditions into the national stage, to a wider audience.”
National Museum of the Philippines Assistant Director Ana Labrador (from left to right), Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts Chairman Virgilio S. Almario, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, and National Museum of the Philippines Director Jeremy Barns pose for a photo at the newly inaugurated Sentro Rizal Washington DC on 10 June 2018. (Philippine Embassy photo)
“As we open the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino Traveling Exhibition here in DC, I invite you to take yourself in a journey, explore the similarity and diversity of our traditional textiles, and be fascinated with the traditional skills that gave fruit to such artistic creations,” she further said.