As part of the Philippine Embassy in Santiago’s continued engagement with the Filipino community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Embassy launched a series of painting, poetry and essay writing contests for the 860 Filipino nationals in Chile with the theme: “Ako (Pinoy) sa Panahon ng COVID-19 sa Chile”on 03 October 2020. The Embassy hoped that the contests would serve as a community-based coping mechanism for Filipinos, especially for those residing in communities under quarantine and those bearing the heavy socio-economic toll of the pandemic.
The event culminated in a simple awarding ceremony—with limited guests, full social distancing and wearing of face masks/shields—at the Chancery. The ceremony was followed by lunch for the winners, judges and special guests.
The project exceeded all expectations in terms of the number of entries (six paintings, 13 poems and 12 essays) and Seen and Liked votes for the People’s Choice Awards totaling 1,064 for the paintings and 2,226 for the poems. Aside from allowing the Embassy to engage with its community amidst the lockdown and quarantine, it also served as a timeof self-introspection for the participants on the challenges of the pandemic. The importance of faith, family, and friends to Filipinos as highlighted in all the entries, underscored in different forms of art, made Filipinos resilient during these difficult times.
The winners for the painting category were Mr. George Lumanga Antonio (1st place), Ms. Evangeline Ortiga Solis (2ndplace and also winner of People’s Choice Award) and Ms. Lovelyn Embate Acanto (3rd place). The second People’s Choice Award was given to Ms. Shiela Maglaya.
Winners of the poetry writing contest included Mr. Ariane Joy Bobillo Segubre (1st place), Ms. Kjaryl Angela Yee Lobaton (2nd place and winner of People’s Choice Award) and Ms. Edna Pagayon Sareno (3rd place and also winner of People’s Choice Award).
Filipino community members Ms. Minette Caldito Urmatan (1st place), Ms. Rubie Fernandez Antonino (2nd place) and Ms. Adelfa Arao Pescador (3rd place) were the overall essay writing contest winners.
Poetry and essay writing contest winners were given the opportunity to read the entries. The ceremony was emotional for many who underwent difficulties, with one winner in tears as she read her winning essay in front of all.
The “Ako (Pinoy) sa Panahon ng COVID-19 sa Chile” also served as a preparatory take-off event for celebrations being organized by the Philippine Embassy and the Chilean Embassy in Manila next year as part of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.