Texts and photos by Marinel Peroy
Recently, Iloilo City became the first city in the Philippines to garner the distinction of being part of creative cities for gastronomy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Aside from the sumptuous hotpots like the iconic La Paz batchoy or culinary delights like the crunchy biscocho, there is more to appreciate with Iloilo’s pulchritude culture.
Romanian Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Răduţa Dana Matache, proudly shared on the night of November 29th that the Philippines and Romania are celebrating 51 years of diplomatic relations. During her remarks at Fairmont Hotel, Makati City, Ambassador Matache also highlighted the momentous occasion, saying “aming ginugunita ngayong araw ang ika-isang daan at limang anibersaryo ng pagkakatatag ng makabagong Romania.”
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As the spotlight is shared between Romanian-Philippine relations, and not the reel of everything about Romania, the Ambassador has highlighted the “amazing, authentic [and] masterpiece” take of Dinagyang Festival — which showcases the vibrant and colorful culture of Iloilo through a parade accompanied by a dramatization honoring the patron saint of Sto. Niño.
What’s captivating are the charming cloths draping and gracefully dancing atop the ceiling down to the wall with the colors of the Romanian flag blue, yellow and red, which I recently found the meaning of each color. The blue represents liberty, while the yellow color represents justice, and the red is said to stand for fraternity, or perhaps solidarity which is the buzzword nowadays.
When I turned around my eyes were glued on the video being played that showed the photos of peasant men and women wearing centuries-old Romanian folk traditional clothing with colorful embroideries of geometric, floral, zoomorphic and anthropomorphic patterns. This made me so curious and my bubble thought popped out with some questions, “Will I ever see these kinds of traditional clothes in Romania? Are there some Romanians who still wear these clothes, which are quite similar to the clothes of some of our Filipino indigenous people?” Regardless of whether they’re still being worn there or not, I find them not only interesting but also amazing!
My Romania gastrodiplomacy adventure
In hindsight, I realized that I wasn’t only attracted to the Romanian Traditional Folk Costumes, but also to my Epecurian curiosity as I was amazed at the sprinkle of Romania’s gastrodiplomacy side for me to feast on. While the old cliché says, “Curiosity kills the cat”. But in my case, my curiosity satisfied my gourmandism and discovered a refined culinary experience as the appetizer, bacon wrapped chicken liver skewer, mouthwatering homemade sarmale (pork cabbage rolls), and the remarkable state of white wine was among my favorites from the curated selection of food served during the Romanian National Day.
Truly, the celebration deserves great appreciation and a grand toast for giving me enlightenment with a subtle and fresh perspective on my palate, discovering an exquisite exploration of flavors complementing all together. Try some Romanian food and drinks yourself, and may you savor the extraordinary!
From the graceful dance performances to the rich tapestry of traditions, the immersive cultural experience was graced by attendees composed of members of the diplomatic corps, government officials, business leaders, and representatives. Among them include Honorary Consulate General of Romania Consul Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr., DFA Usec. for Civilian Security and Consular Affairs Jesus Domingo, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles John Brown, and Romania Honorary Consul in Cebu Grand T. Benedicto.
As this successful event comes to a close, we hope to celebrate the future editions of Romanian-Philippine intertwining cultures — featuring even more traditions through food or festivals, and forging stronger connections between nations.
Long live, Romania & the Philippines!
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