Parol Lighting, Christmas Concert Featured in Phl Embassy Open House

22 December 2015—The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur spread Christmas cheers in Malaysia, Filipino-style, as it hosted a well-appreciated Christmas Open House and Musical Concert for members of the diplomatic corps, Malaysian government officials and businessmen and women and select members of the Filipino community on December 11 at the Embassy grounds.

The Philippine Embassy turned into a mini-Filipino Christmas village as guests were welcomed by parols (Christmas lanterns) and treated to familiar Filipino Christmas fare provided by Merienda de Eva restaurant and Eurodeli restaurant.

The parols were lit up in a ceremony with Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya, Madame Rena Cristina Koa-Malaya, M.D., Charge d’ Affaires of the Papal Nunciature Msgr. Iount Paul Strejac and World Health Organization Director for Global Health Services Francisco Cardenas.  The City Government of San Fernando, Pampanga generously provided the parols to the Embassy, notably a giant lantern measuring 5 feet by 5 feet.

The event, which was attended by 300 people, also featured a Christmas concert featuring Malaysia-based Filipino talents and Malaysians with Filipino affinity and their take on classic and new Christmas carols.  Will Rebaño and Lipraxedes Jumawan served as musical directors and band members with pianist Gladys Gulapa and singers Maria Angela Rebaño and Rachel Guerzo.

Ms. Guerzo is a highly acclaimed Malaysian jazz singer and a member of the Soliano-Guerzo clan of musicians founded by the legendary Alfonso Soliano, the founder of the Radio Malaya Orchestra in the 1950s and considered the Father of modern Malay music.

Also joining the concert were Embassy Minister and Consul Maria Antonina Mendoza-Oblena and the Embassy Chorale composed of Ryan Estandarte, Lisette Nonato, Glenn Aytona, Majane Olores, Darby de Guzman and John Vincent Hernandez.

“What inspired us to have this event is the fine tradition in this multi-cultural country of Malaysia of having Open Houses in connection with religious and cultural festivities.                   My colleagues and I thought it may also be a great idea to share Philippine Christmas traditions, and what better way to do it than through music which Filipinos are known for and the Christmas lanterns unique to the Philippines called parols. The Embassy staff thus called and pooled together the very best of the Filipino musical talents here in Malaysia and our Malaysian friends, for this event,” said Ambassador Malaya.

Earlier, the Embassy held nine-day masses at the Embassy grounds at 7 p.m. last December 1 to 9. The Embassy’s Simbang Gabi is in anticipation of the novena masses traditionally held at dawn starting on December 16, in preparation for the birth of Jesus Christ.

The first day of Simbang Gabi mass was celebrated by the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Reverend Julian Low Beng Kim and the last day was celebrated by Msgr. Strejac.  Manila-based priests Rev. Fr. Hector Ulysses Cañon and Rev. Fr. Marion Munda celebrated the other masses.

The masses were a joint project of the Embassy and the Federation of Filipino Associations in Malaysia (FFAM), chaired by Ms. Menchie Añonuevo.

The Embassy and the Filipino community also held a Christmas concert entitled Pamaskong Handog last December 6 at the Amphitheatre of the Kompleks Kraft in Kuala Lumpur.  Featured in the concert are Manila-based artists Jay-R and Suy Galvez and talents from the Filipino community. 

Corporate sponsors for the event were PLDT-SME Nation, Smart Pinoy, LBC, Western Union, Cebu Pacific and the Filipino Businessmen and Professionals Caucus (FBPC).   END