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‘SENISKWELA’ spurs collaboration between Malaysian and Phl in arts and culture

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In conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the bilateral relations between Malaysia and the Philippines, the Embassy of Malaysia in Manila, in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia, Artdialogo Asia Founding Artist & CEO Ms. Anna Karina Jardin and the Department of Education’s Schools Division of Malabon, organized a cross-cultural art program named SENISKWELA held on February 26, 2024 at the Tinajeros National Highschool in Malabon City. 

SENISKWELA, derived from Bahasa Melayu term for Art, “Seni” combined with a Tagalog term for school, “SKWELA” which is short for “eskwelahan,” was designed for artists, youth and educators to discover new cultures and traditions. SENISKWELA featured a drawing/painting competition, art workshop, panel discussion and breakout sessions that served as platforms for collaboration, talent and leadership development, youth empowerment, and promotion of inclusive public/cultural diplomacy through an artistic and cultural education lens.  

Gracing the event were His Excellency Dato’ Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Republic of the Philippines, Honourable Jeannie N Sandoval, Mayor, City of Malabon, Dr Ceceila G. Carandang CESO V Schools Division Superintendent and Ms Joan A. Lagunda, Charter Club President. There were also specially recorded video messages from Her Excellency Maria Angela Ponce, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Malaysia, and Tunku Zain ‘Al-Abidin Tuanku Muhriz of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

Among the speakers during the programme were Malaysia’s top multiculturalism expert Dr. Asma Abdullah, Embassy of Malaysia Tourism Attaché Mrs. Yazlina Yahya, arts professors Ms. Helena Sharon Malins of De La Salle – College of St. Benilde and Mr. Martin Jerome G. Gli-Cruz of the University of the Philippines-Diliman, Paper Cutters Guild Philippines founder Mr. Alberto Magsumbol, and visual artists Ms. Micah Hilotin and Mr. Ethan David Dailo. 

Tourism Malaysia also had a booth showcasing traditional Malaysian costumes for the students to try on and pose for pictures as well as an explanation of Malaysian ornaments and crafts that were on display.

In Malabon, H.E Ambassador Malik also took the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on Mayor Sandoval at City Hall, visit the Department of Education’s district office, learn about the City of Malabon’s disaster management system, marvel in the architecture of the San Bartolome church and Martinez house as well as learn about the mangrove conservation programme at the La Princesa Tabacalera elementary school.

Through SENISKWELA, the Embassy of Malaysia in Manila hopes the participants were able to gain exposure to help develop a better understanding of the world around them, including self and cultural awareness, as well as to learn to appreciate the similarities and differences of Malaysia and the Philippines’ shared heritage.

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