Philippine history on stage

We need to remember where we came from. Filipinos fight against invaders – a scene from Philippine Historama 2019. (Photos: Patricia Chan)

Vancouver, B.C.

Philippine Historama educates younger generation

By Patricia Chan

This past weekend, in advance of Filipino Heritage Month this coming June, and as part of this year’s explorASIAN festival, the history and culture of the Philippines was showcased and celebrated through storytelling, short plays, music, and dance in the 2019 Philippine Historama. 

The event was held at the University of British Columbia at the Frederic Wood Theatre, and was co-presented by the Pacific Canada Heritage Center – Museum of Migration (PCHC-MoM) and the KABABAYAN UBC Filipino Students Association, with support from the Philippines Studies Series, the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Program, and St. John’s College at the University of British Columbia. It is produced by the Philippines Historama Society of BC, Bibak of BC, and Philcas of BC. 

Filipinos triump over their colonizers. (Photo: Patricia Chan)

It was an afternoon to remember, with over 100 local Filipino artists and performers involved in the production. Philippine Historama 2019 showcased the history of the Philippines and the Filipino people – from their indigenous beginnings, to their colonization by foreign invaders (and the influence that these other countries had on the Filipino culture), to their triumphant resistance and claiming of independence as a nation, to their struggles against tyrannical government leaders, and finally to their building of a democratic nation forged by the people themselves. 

Philippine Historama was a wonderful mixture of education, history, and entertainment, featuring beautiful traditional Filipino costumes, songs, and dances. The performers and artists did a terrific job in their execution and it is obvious that much thought and effort has been made into putting together an enjoyable event that brings history to life and reconnects Filipinos to our roots and to those that went before us. 

It is important for us, as Filipinos who have immigrated or live abroad, to take the time to remember where we came from as it is easy to forget, and even more so for the younger generation growing up outside of the Philippines. This need for educating the younger generation on their historical roots was not overlooked, as school age children and their teachers were invited to watch the production for free. This was made possible by the generous sponsorship of the Laurier Institution, a Vancouver-based champion of cultural diversity, as well as other sponsors of the event.

Philippine Historama was co-written by historian Atty. Bernie Julve and community leader Carmelita Salonga Tapia, with input from the Philippine Consulate General in Vancouver, it was first presented on June 9th, 2012 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre as part of a series of events commemorating the 114th anniversary of Philippine Independence from Spanish Rule. 

 The Catholic Church’s influence on the Philippines. (Photo: Patricia Chan)

We are very grateful for events like Philippine Historama that celebrate the Filipino heritage and connect us to our cultural roots. There will be many more celebrations, festivals, and events to come across Canada in this coming Filipino Heritage Month, so if you missed this event, keep your eyes out for Filipino events near you and stay tuned for the next time Philippine Historama returns to the stage again!

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