Kuwait – More than a thousand Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) gathered at the Kuwait Disabled Sports Club Gym on 27 September 2019 to celebrate the Philippines’ rich cultural heritage through the Philippine Embassy’s and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office’s (POLO) first-ever “Fiestang OFW sa Kuwait 2019”.
The Embassy and its attached agencies — Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Social Security System (SSS), and Pag-IBIG Fund — reached out to the attendees of the “Fiestang OFW” by presenting their programs and services for Filipinos in Kuwait.
In a statement, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. Mohd. Noordin Pendosina N. Lomondot expressed his optimism that “Fiestang OFW” showcases not only the best of Philippine culture through dance but also the unity and solidarity of the more than 220,000 Filipinos in Kuwait.
“Filipino community events have the power to rally migrant Filipinos behind a common cause; in the case of ‘Fiestang OFW,’ it is to display the diverse cultural traditions of our people, and to send a message that the Filipino community in Kuwait is united and strong. I thank our colleagues at POLO, led by Labor Attaché Nasser Mustafa and Acting Assistant Labor Attaché Llewelyn Perez, for organizing this event for all OFWs in Kuwait,” Chargé d’Affaires Lomondot said.
Vice Consul and Consular Section Head Charleson C. Hermosura presented the various consular services of the Embassy, such as passport application and civil registration (e.g., Report of Birth, Marriage). Meanwhile, Vice Consul and Assistance-to-Nationals (ATN) Unit Head Adrian Audrey L. Baccay explained the Embassy’s ATN services, including its flagship Embassy Assisted Repatriation Program (EARP).
The most awaited part of “Fiestang OFW” was the cultural dance competition among Filipino community groups in Kuwait. Five teams that comprise various Filipino organizations performed traditional dances from Luzon (Igorot dance from Ifugao), Visayas (Dinagyang Festival dance of Iloilo, and Masskara Festival dance of Negros), and Mindanao (Pangalay dance of Sulu, and Singkil dance of Lanao).
Team Makarit took home the competition’s grand prize for its traditional and modern interpretation of the Maranaos’ Singkil dance.
“Fiestang OFW” culminated with a unity dance among all the attendees.
Acting Assistant Labor Attaché Atty. Llwelyn Perez, in a separate statement, promised to organize more events that will bring government services closer to OFWs in Kuwait and will create camaraderie among the diverse groups within the Filipino community.