Cebu City witnesses first Korea Festival

Cebu City witnesses first Korea Festival
HIGHLIGHT. The Jeju Special Self-governing Province Dance Company (left), proponents of the Korea Festival (center) and University of Cebu Dance Company pose for a photo.

Tyrashelvy Villamil, Silliman University Intern / Writer

THE “K-Culture Next Door: 2024 Korea Festival” — organized by the Korean Cultural Center (KCC) — marked the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between South Korea and the Philippines. The opening day of the festival was held at SM Seaside City Cebu on June 15.

“We are committed to reach out to as many cities as possible to share the beauty of [the] Korean way of life, while fostering new partnerships and collaborations,” said Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Sang-Hwa during the opening ceremony.

Having already been celebrated in Manila at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall from May 4 to 5, the Korea Festival in Cebu is considered a historic first, according to OIC Undersecretary of the Department of Tourism Verna Buensucesco.

“Today, we are actually making history as we witness the opening of this festival for the very first time in the Queen City of Central Philippines, Cebu,” she said.

In a more romantic take, board member of the fifth district of Cebu and Chairman of Tourism of the Cebu province Red Duterte described the partnership of Jeju and Cebu as a matter of destiny, referring to the parallels shared by the two provinces.

“Because of these seemingly destined events, this is probably a signal to Cebu, to the Philippines, and to the rest of the world, that the relationship between Korea and Cebu is strong and will last for generations to come,” he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost trade and tourism between Cebu and Jeju was signed on June 14 by Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia for Cebu Province and Gov. Oh Young-Hun for Jeju Province.

“To make the hopes of the future generation in Korea into reality, we hope to look forward for cooperation and stronger solidarity between our two regions,” said Oh Young-Hun.

K-Culture Next Door

Staying true to its theme, the festival hosted many free activities for Cebuanos to participate in.

The “K-food Experience” served the audience with free tastes of selected Korean dishes like Sujeonggwa, Maesil-cha and Kimbap. The booth also served to promote Korean buffet, Somac.

On another note, what better way to immerse in another culture than to wear their traditional clothes. The “Hanbok experience” allowed visitors to wear Hanboks for free.

In another booth, “Copyright, Right Now” is a cause aimed at promoting copyright in the Philippines, especially of all Korean context. Irish, the administrative staff of the Korea Copyright Protective Agency, said that as Filipinos consume much Korean content, it is only right to teach them the essence of copyright.

Taking a break from all things Korean, “Love the Philippines,” a booth by the Palm Grass Hotel, sought to promote Filipino culture and arts. By creating an exchange between cultures, it ensured that Koreans, non-Koreans, and even other foreigners had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Filipino culture as well.

Other festivities included traditional Korean games, performances from Korea’s pop taekwondo group, “K-Tigers,” modern dance performances and “Everyone’s K-Pop: Cebu,” a K-Pop dance cover contest for Filipino talents. S

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