Philippine embassy opens arts and culture centre

 21 Sep 2016 - 2:45

Philippine Ambassador Wilfredo C Santos and NCCA Chairman Felipe M De Leon Jr. jointly cut the ribbon to mark the opening of Sentro Rizal at the Philippine Embassy yesterday. Also seen are Labour Attaché David Des T Dicang, Consul Gonaranao Musor, Vice Consul Kristine F. Bautista and UFOQ Chairman Ressie S. Fos. Pic: Kammutty VP / The Peninsula

By Raynald C Rivera

DOHA: The Philippine Embassy in Doha marked a milestone in the field of cultural diplomacy with yesterday’s official opening of Sentro Rizal - a learning centre for Philippine arts and culture which is the second to be opened in the MENA region.
Felipe M. De Leon, Jr. , Chairman of the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), officially inaugurated the centre whose main purpose is to promote Philippine arts, cultures and languages. “This is a project of the NCCA together with the Department of Foreign Affairs to make sure Philippine culture is promoted in all countries especially where there are Filipinos,” De Leon told local media after the opening ceremony.
Since the project was launched in 2009, a total of 19 centres have opened around the world with the 20th to launch in Cairo on Sunday in the presence of the NCCA Chairman.
Although the centre is named after Jose Rizal, the national hero of the Philippines, it will not just contain materials about Rizal but serve as a repository of Philippine cultural materials and resources in multimedia format available for the Filipino and the larger community who wish to learn Philippine culture.
“We will have a programme on Philippine culture but primarily this will be a training centre for Filipinos abroad especially children of Filipinos working abroad to learn Filipino language. We would like Filipinos not to forget their own native tongue. Aside from language we are hoping to teach those iconic symbols of being a Filipino such as the rondalla, an iconic Filipino musical ensemble of native Filipino musical instruments and the Philippine Arnis which is now one of the most recognized martial arts in the world,” explained De Leon.
Hundreds of students from two Philippine schools in Qatar are set to benefit from the newly opened centre.
“We are very lucky that we have a Sentro Rizal which will serve as centre for Filipinos especially the students of two Philippine schools here to learn more about Philippine culture and heritage. It underscores the importance of cultural diplomacy in our function as an embassy to promote the Philippines,” said Philippine Ambassador Wilfredo C. Santos.
Ambassador Santos said the centre will be expanded once the Embassy relocates to a larger area in the future. “The Philippine embassy is moving to a bigger building, where we will have specially dedicated area, a sort of library for Sentro Rizal where Filipino students can come and do research. We will also be undertaking activities that promote our heritage here in collaboration with Qatari government,” added the Ambassador.
Yesterday’s event also saw the signing of an agreement between NCCA and the Philippine Embassy, a feature of which is that NCCA will provide more resource materials to the centre.
“This is a learning centre for anything Filipino so the NCCA will be providing books, audio visual materials and other learning tools which would be done regularly,” said De Leon, adding the possibility for the NCCA to send performers here during important events upon invitation.
De Leon is also meeting with officials from the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Museums and Katara for possible collaborations. He will be delivering a lecture at Philippine School Doha today.The Peninsula