Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Celebrate France! Francophonie in March

Francophonie in Manila celebrates cultural diversity and human rights in March

Manila joins in the celebration of cultural diversity and human rights as the different francophone embassies and cultural institutions come together this March for the Month of the Francophonie.

The celebration takes its name from the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), an area composed of 57 member states and governments that share the French language and engage in cultural, scientific, economic, and judicial cooperation. Of great importance to the OIF are the promotion of cultural diversity and the protection of human rights, values that are inherent in the French language and in the OIF as an organization.

The commitment of the OIF to cultural diversity is proven by its geographically-diverse membership, which includes countries in Asia such as Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, and in Africa, such as Madagascar, Egypt, Tunisia and Mali. The OIF has also been active in promoting peace and engaging in conflict resolution.

Although the Philippines is not a member of this organization, the values to which the OIF stands find relevance in Filipino society.

The month-long Francophonie celebration in Manila patterns its activites on these two values, along with an appreciation for the French language.

The general public is enjoined to experience the finest in French animation through a series of film screenings at the Rizal Park Open Air Auditorium in all weekends of March. Admission is free of charge and authentic French snacks will be available for the audience.

Different public and private Filipino high schools and universities will be testing their knowledge in the French language in a national theater contest on March 8 at the European International School. At present, over 1,500 Filipino public school are learning French as part of their school curriculum.

Critically acclaimed director Lito Casaje presents his interpretation of Jean-Paul Sarte’s Huis-clos (No Exit) onMarch 14, 7:30pm at the Rajah Sulayman Theater in Fort Santiago. The premise lies in three people condemned to spending eternity with each other in a single room in the afterlife, which ultimately leads to the play’s most memorable line, “Hell is other people.”

The Alliance française de Manille will also host the annual Printemps des Poètes, a night to appreciate and share French, English and Filipino poetry.

Finally, the Embassy of France is proud to launch a documentary video contest on the theme Les Droits de l’homme à l’ère du numérique (Human Rights in the Digital Age). Open to 18 to 25 year olds learning the French language, the contest aims to explore the role of social media both as a catalyst in protecting freedom and rights and as a means of putting these values in danger.

The winning participant will be given a 10-day, all expeses paid trip to France in July and will join a delegation representing over 120 countries to visit French institutions and meet with officials specializing in the issue of human rights.

The Month of the Francophonie is organized by the embassies of France, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Laos, Switzerland, and the Consulate of Monaco.

For more information on the Month of Francophonie, visit or

Jericho Rosales Mugshot Revealed


Manila — TV and film star Jericho Rosales is the latest celebrity to join People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia's campaign to transfer the elephant Mali from a concrete enclosure at the Manila Zoo—which is causing her pain from potentially fatal foot ailments every day—to a lush sanctuary where she can finally receive adequate veterinary care and the companionship of other elephants. Rosales is in good company: Charice, Aiza Seguerra, Dingdong Dantes, Kim Chiu, Xian LimSam Milby, Marian RiveraPaul McCartney, and many other stars have posed for "mug shots" in support of Mali's transfer. In addition, the world's most respected elephant experts, including Dr. Dame Daphne Sheldrick, Dr. Philip K. Ensley, and Dr. Vicki Fishlock have stated their support for the transfer. Rosales' photo is attached and can also be viewed on the campaign's Facebook page.

In addition to starring in the new print ad, Rosales also stars in a video public service announcement (available here, with a broadcast-quality version available here), in which he calls for Mali's freedom. "All evidences tells us that Mali is lonely and badly in need of veterinary care," he says. "I don't understand why Mali's transfer has not already happened—she deserves a life that is more than the confines of the Manila Zoo."

Mali has received essentially no veterinary care for more than 36 years, leaving her to endure constant pain from debilitating foot problems. Also, elephants are highly social animals who naturally live in herds and suffer greatly in the absence of other elephants. Mali is all alone, making her transfer even more urgent.

Even if the elephant exhibit at the Manila Zoo were to be doubled or tripled in size, it would still not be adequate to house one elephant, never mind additional ones. While zoos around the world routinely spend 2 billion pesos on attempts at more appropriately sized elephant enclosures, more and more zoos have recognized that the needs of these complex and intelligent animals cannot be met in captivity. The Detroit Zoo, the ZSL London Zoo, the Toronto Zoo, the Greater Vancouver Zoo, and the San Francisco Zoo are just a few of the zoos around the world that are closing their elephant exhibits and transferring the elephants to sanctuaries. If the Manila Zoo were to follow the lead of these zoos, the decision would undoubtedly be met with accolades from around the world and set the Philippines apart as a nation highly concerned with animal welfare.

For more information, please visit PETA Asia's website

The British are Coming!

Press Release:The Great British Festival Comes to Manila

The five-month ‘THIS IS GREAT Britain’ campaign that featured a full spectrum of the best in British business and culture reaches its climax in the forthcoming Great British Festival happening at the Bonifacio High Street on March 7 to 9.

Everyone is invited to the three-day festival, which will highlight the United Kingdom’s world-class contributions in industry, entertainment, fashion, sports, education and the arts and will feature exhibitions and performances that will shine the spotlight on these areas of excellence. 

click photo to enlarge

British Ambassador Asif Ahmad is inviting everyone to join the celebration. “The Great British Festival is the grand finale of our five-month campaign which has built on the affinity Filipinos have with our country. We saw how British creativity in  music, fashion, art, writing, film and design was appreciated by those who came to our events. Shopper came out in large numbers to look at British brands that are now available here. We have reached out to the Philippines and Filipinos in turn  responded to us in a warm and loving way. We began our the campaign by going out to the community when my embassy colleagues and friends from the British Alumni Association went with me to the Philippine General Hospital to cheer up children who were unwell. We amazed and inspired people by showing what Britain does well-  a live cinematic production of Macbeth from the National Theatre, delicious food, trend setting fashion and world class education. British businesses shared their capabilities, innovations and their growing confidence in Asia as a marketplace. Our 3-day festival will bring it all together. I am inviting everyone to walk along Bonifacio High Street and come and see a great display, it is an open event and it is free! There will be something for everyone in the family to enjoy.  

The weekend festivities include a Trade Exhibition featuring British brands that are familiar to many Filipinos, a Car Show of some of the world’s most iconic automobiles, an Education Pavilion where people can interact with alumni of the UK’s Chevening scholarship programme, a Visa Information booth for those interested in visiting the UK and the Britain in Miniature exhibits featuring top tourist attractions where passersby can take photos and take a selfie or two.

Catch the Younghusband brothers and Philippine Volcanoes in the Sports Area where they will coach budding athletes. Don’t miss country’s top para athletes as they demonstrate the sport of Wheelchair Basketball. Followers of British style are invited to the Fashion Show with the UK’s most well-known brands showcasing their Spring /Summer ‘14 collection. Movie buffs can grab their mats and popcorn for a Cinema in the Park and enjoy British movies under the stars. Head to the Main Stage to catch musical acts from Taken by Cars, She’s Only Sixteen, Bleu Rascals, The Bloomfields and many more.

 Admission to the Great British Festival is free.

 ‘This is GREAT Britain’ is organised by the British Embassy and its partners.  It is co-presented by Fox International Channels, Bonifacio Global City and Bonifacio High Street, in cooperation with Lee Cooper, Marks & Spencer, Surface Technology International, GSK, Jaguar/Land Rover, Pru Life UK and Fil-Anglo management & Promotional Consultants.

For more information please contact the GREAT Events team at