Geneva is home to a diverse international community, a melting pot of cultures where everyone is a foreigner but no one is a stranger.
Very few cities are blessed with hosting so many nationalities, where a group lunch from the four corners of the world is not unusual. This year, at the WHO Staff Association Solidarity Fair on 9 December, staff, friends and families were invited to a showcase of Philippine dances and songs.
Last year’s Solidarity Fair saw the Indonesian community share their rich cultural heritage, led by no less than their Ambassador. This year is the turn of the Philippine community. Staff of WHO and UNAIDS outdid themselves in the preparations. Present to open the ceremony was Her Excellency Mrs Erlinda F. Basillo, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva. The dancers, all amateurs and our very own colleagues, had been practicing since summer to share with you some indigenous Philippine dances, such as the Singkil (coronation dance), Tinikling (bamboo dance) and Pandango sa ilaw (candle dance). Philippine celebrations are mixed with joyful singing and no celebration is complete without videoke. On this occasion there was a videoke choir as part of the entertainment.
And of course staff and their families were invited to share a meal of Filipino dishes: adobo, pansit, spring rolls and others and to choose handcrafted articles, jewelry, delicious home baked delicacies from the various stands. As per usual practice, 80% of the proceeds will go to Staff Association pre-approved Philippine charitable organizations (Damayan at Tiyaga Foundation and Ephphetha School for the Deaf, Sant Rosa City Laguna) while the rest of the 20% will go to the Staff Association’s Solidarity Fund.
And next year, it will be the turn of l’Île Maurice to show off its rich culture, dances and exquisite food.