Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo (back row, center) welcomes Olympic Guard of Honor students from Northern Ireland’s Dundonald Primary School (middle row) and Orangefield High School (front row)
(London, 30 July
) – British Students who cheered on the Philippine Olympic Team as part of the Olympic Guard of Honor had a first-hand taste of Philippine culture and hospitality when Ambassador Enrique A. Manalo held a “More Fun” reception for them at the Philippine Embassy in London.
The boys and girls from Dundonald Primary School and Orangefield High School – both located in Belfast, Northern Ireland – were feted with Filipino delicacies and handicrafts and treated to Philippine dance and martial arts performances.
“We congratulate all of you and your schools for having been chosen as part of the prestigious Olympic Guard of Honor”, Ambassador Manalo told the students and their accompanying teachers, “and we truly appreciate all the support you have given to Team Philippines.”
The Olympic Guard of Honour is a group of 2,000 students from 250 schools around the United Kingdom chosen to line the path from the Olympic Park to the Olympic Stadium and cheer for competing countries during the Games’ opening ceremonies on 27 July.
The students and schools were selected through the reward and recognition programme of the Get Set network, the official education programme of London 2012, for having demonstrated a “commitment to living the Olympic and Paralympic values and incorporating them into their school lives and curriculum.”
For their part, Dundonald and Orangefield were chosen to represent the Philippines in the Guard of Honor, and their students hand crafted Philippine flags and signs in preparation for their trip to London. The boys and girls heartily waved their banners and personally greeted the Philippine Olympic Team as the latter made their way to the stadium for the opening ceremonies.
The day after the ceremonies, the students travelled to the Philippine Embassy in London and enjoyed some of the best of Philippine culture. The Filipino Community in Oval performed a medley of Luzviminda dances, happily culminating with Dundonald’s and Orangfield’s teachers taking part in the tinikling.
The London-based Philippine martial arts group Doce Pares then captivated their Northern Ireland audience with a dynamic presentation of eskrima. The height of fun and excitement likewise took place when the students joined in the demonstration.
The schools expressed thanks and appreciation for the fun afternoon at the Embassy. Ms. Judith Herbison of Dundonald Primary said “we all enjoyed our day, and even wore our Philippine buri hats home on the plane.” Ms. Tracey Basset of Orangefield High School remarked “the students really enjoyed themselves and were talking about setting up links with a school in the Philippines, I guess that means they were well impressed.”
The Embassy plans to maintain close ties with the schools, especially during its regular consular outreach missions to Belfast. The Filipino community in Northern Ireland is estimated at 10,000, with many young Filipinos enrolled in Belfast schools such as Dundonald. (END)