The Pundaquit Virtuosi Performs in Ostend, Belgium, aboard the Museum Ship Amandine in front of a large crowd attending the Ostend Anchor Festival on May 26, 2019. (Brussels PE photo)

Brussels — Zambales-based youth string ensemble Pundaquit Virtuosi completed the first leg of their 2019 European tour in Belgium from May 26-28, 2019.

The Pundaquit Virtuosi participated in the 20th edition of the Ostend Anchor Festival, held once every two years in the north coast of Belgium to celebrate Europe’s maritime heritage by performing a concert aboard the Museum Ship Amandine, a restored 36 meter-long fishing vessel.

A large crowd surrounded the ship and eagerly listened to the Pundaquit Virtuosi’s repertoire of Filipino and Western pieces on May 26, 2019.

The Pundaquit Virtuosi Performs for the Filipino Community in Belgium in the Garden of the Philippine Embassy in Brussels on May 27, 2019. (Brussels PE photo)

Ambassador to Belgium Eduardo José A. de Vega thanked the people in the local Flemish language for giving the string ensemble a warm welcome, and the crowd cheered the performances of the group.

The Pundaquit Virtuosi performed a second concert on May 27, 2019 in the garden of the Philippine Embassy in Brussels before members of the Filipino community, some of whom responded quite emotionally to the group’s performance. The Embassy told the guests that this concert was part of the celebrations for National Heritage Month.

The Embassy of the Philippines hosts a fellowship night for the Pundaquit Virtuosi with students of the Woluwe Saint-Lambert Academy of Music. Seated in front (right to left) are Deputy Chief of Mission Maria Anna Lilia De Vera, Ambassador Eduardo José A. de Vega, Ms. Laurence Renson, Choir Director at the Woluwe Saint-Lambert Academy of Music, and Mr. Alfonso Bolipata, Director of the Pundaquit Virtuosi. (Brussels PE photo)

On May 28, 2019, the Embassy hosted a fellowship night where the group interacted with students of the Woluwe Saint-Lambert Academy of Music. The two groups shared their talents with one another in a friendly exchange.

Brussels-based Filipino Pianist Michael L. Cu was also present during the evening and shared his experiences as a Filipino musician studying in Europe.

“I started with teaching twelve kids under a tree,” said the group’s musical director Alfonso C. Bolipata, as he proudly presented the skills of the Pundaquit today to their European audiences and shared with them his advocacy in using music education as a means of helping communities in Zambales cope with hardship, which began in the aftermath of 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo, and has continued ever since.

The Pundaquit Virtuosi is now en route to Italy for their next set of activities.

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