“We Rise Together” was a very timely theme for the 2020 Philippines-Korea Cultural Exchange Festival, as both countries face the challenges of today’s pandemic. It was with the unrelenting efforts of the United Korean Community Association together with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Philippines, the Korean Cultural Center (KCC), and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) that the first digital concert of Phil-Kor was made possible last October 31, 2020, via YouTube and Facebook Live.
CULTURE CAN SPREAD FASTER THAN THE VIRUS
The celebration of both cultures was taken online to reach a wider audience and continue the annual tradition. Words of appreciation and encouragement were shared by the UKCA president and vice president, Mr. Byun Jae Heung and Hyun Jun Jang respectively; Head judge, Mr. Charles Kim; NCCA Chairman, MR. Arsenio ‘Nick’ Lizaso; and the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines, H.E. Han Dong-Man.
In Mr. Lizaso’s congratulatory speech, he mentioned that the staging of the event online attest that culture can spread faster than the virus. We rise above the adversity and navigate through the challenges of this new normal by making sure that the streaming of cultural and creative expression remains uninterrupted not only for entertainment but also for inspiration and messages of love and hope.
Hosted by Sam Oh and Pao Ocampo, the digital concert would also have not been realized without the participation of the guest performers, online contest participants, and the audiences.
Korean band, World Music ID, started the main concert with their distinctive sound in Korean traditional music mixed with different countries sound, just like with their performances of ‘Man-Sun’ (Minyo and Irish tune) and ‘Sun Is Setting’ (Seo-do Minyo and American film score).
The Philippine Rondalla ensemble, Celso Espejo Rondalla, gave a traditional classic set with their string arrangements of Pasadoble 4, Lupang Tinubuan, and Seranata.
One of the main highlights of the event was the awarding of the online talent contest winners who performed their winning pieces and share warm messages. Bagging P30,000 each was Mariz Mitra and Neverglow who won the Vocal and Dance categories respectively, while Iskollas took home P50,000 as the Grand winner.
The much-awaited back to back modern performances were started by the K-pop Dance Diva, Dasuri Choi with her vibrant moves to a medley of Black Pink songs.
Moreover, the Star Hunt Academy Trainees gave an all-out powerful dance performance of NCT’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ and BTS’s Mic Drop, and serving a soulful rendition of ‘Sing for You’ by EXO.
NCCA’s Ambassador and ‘Asia’s Soul Supreme’, KZ Tandingan graced the audience with her performances of ‘Imposible’ and ‘Nag-iisa Na Naman’.
In fact, SB19 gave an epic ending in their ‘Batik’ costume, performing their hits ‘Go Up’ and ‘Alab’ at famous Manila landmarks: Rizal Shrine and National Museum.
The event officially closed with a special collaboration performance of ‘Ikako’ by SB19 with participation of SB19, Mona Gonzales, Ann Sandig, Wave Lee, Dasuri Choi, Celso Espejo Rondalla, and also World Music Band ID.
The performances may serve as inspirations and a source of energy through the trying times, especially for the brave frontliners of both countries. Through the good, the bad, and everything in between, the Philippines and Korea will further their beautiful friendship and will rise together through any adversities.