I HAVE always wanted to go to Indonesia. I marvel at the vast, vibrant, and dynamic culture that they have. When the opportunity to be invited to the three-day Indonesian Expo fell on my lap, without a doubt, I went and spend my weekend at the expo held at Ayala Malls Abreeza last November 29 to December 1.
There were cultural performances like the Indonesian traditional dances Tari Merak, Tari Kiprah Glipang, and the most applauded, the Reog Ponorogo Dance. It involves a lion figure known as the Singa Barong. The dancer wears a large mask usually made of a tiger’s or leopard’s head skin. On the mask is a large fan adorned with real peafowl feathers. It is notoriously heavy and the dancer of the Singa Barong has to carry the mask of about 30 – 40 kg and is supported by the strength of their teeth. No wonder it has gained international recognition as the world’s largest mask.
The event also showcased the playing of the Anklung, a musical instrument made of a varying number of bamboo tubes attached to a bamboo frame. This instrument is officially recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Students from the Indonesian School of Davao performed some Indonesian and Philippine songs through the tutelage of Teacher Dede Nugraha Kurniawan.
Indonesian Consul General Dicky Fabrian was probably so proud of the food and trade expo outcome he can’t help but sway along with the Tobelo Line dance alongside all Indonesian Consulate staff, dancers, exhibitors, and the audience. It was a sight to behold. It drew big crowds of guests who danced while cheering.
The expo showcased Indonesia’s export quality manufactured products through the presence of 25 exhibitors that offered various consumer goods and merchandise such as biscuits, chocolate wafers, coffee, herbal supplement, batik garments, children wears, fashion accessories, shoes, leather products, and authentic Indonesian foods and delicacies.
Since some of the finest Batik cloth in the world is still made in Indonesia, I bought one from YYI Batik, named after the owner. She barely understood English, yet she was warm and kind and managed to explain to me in detail the hand-woven products that she designed. I got a good deal by the way. It’s like owning a designer piece at an amazing discount.
I was snaffling free samples and promotional give away that made it more interesting. During the product presentation, Indonesian sellers also gave away gifts and products for the trivia games, everyone was up on their feet, trying to answer the questions. But after three days and lots of food and product samples, I must say my Indonesian experience was worth it. Cheap because I don’t have to book a flight. Productive because I have learned so much in three days and fun because most of the Indonesian members from the Indonesian Consulate were so warm and friendly.
This year’s theme is “Exploring Investment and Trade Opportunities: Indonesia and the Philippines”. This is also to commemorate the 70 years of fruitful diplomatic relations between the two countries.
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