Vibrant Lami-Lamihan Festival of Basilan Wows at Online Fiesta Finale

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The finale episode of Fiesta Filipinas featured the Lami-Lamihan Festival of Lamitan City, Basilan in the Mindanao islands of the Philippines. Hosts Paolo Abrera and Chal Lontoc-Del Rosario welcomed about 300 live participants to the event. 

About 300 live participants and thousands of viewers from all over the globe marveled at the vibrant Lami-Lamihan Festival of Basilan at the recently concluded season finale of the online event, "Fiesta Filipinas: An Online Celebration of Philippine Festivals." 

The finale to the six-part online event, which coincided with the actual celebration in Lamitan City on 26 June 2021, mesmerized participants with the rich cultural heritage of the Yakan people of Mindanao. From Yakan weaving to sumptuous food and delicacies, to show-stopping street dances and performances of indigenous music, the Lami-Lamihan Festival featured the harmony among the indigenous peoples of Basilan. 

Participants were given a virtual tour of Basilan and Zamboanga through local wanderer Chal Lontoc-Del Rosario. The participants visited cultural sites such as the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GaMaBa) Cultural Center in Basilan where they met National Living Treasures such as Yakan weaver Ambalang Ausalin and Yakan musician Uwang Ahadas. Participants also marvelled at the colorful vintas and the Rainbow Mosque in Zamboanga.

As part of the multi-sensory experience of the online festival, participants savored the flavors of the various Filipino snacks included in the Fiesta Filipinas kit which they opened together. The participants also enjoyed making their own Yakan-inspired embroidery with art expert Ebony Paguia-Hermogenes and host Paolo Abrera and transported themselves to Mindanao by means of sound through the auditory experience. 

"I had an amazing time! Everything was so colorful and vibrant, and I literally got so hungry just seeing the food," said participant Fabiya Prova from Bangladesh. Participant Azry Masri from Brunei agreed, "I felt I was there at the festival!" 

The Fiesta Filipinas project, which began in December 2020, is a pioneering project that brings Philippine festivals to the world via a virtual multi-sensory format. Organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the online event engaged foreigners and overseas Filipinos in the 94 Foreign Service Posts around the world. Watch the post-event video of the finale episode of Fiesta Filipinas here: . END

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Fabiya Prova from Bangladesh (left) proudly shows off her hand-made Yakan-inspired embroidery while Jay from New Zealand (right) enjoys the shing-a-ling snack from the Fiesta Filipinas kit.

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Local wanderer Chal Lontoc-Del Rosario brought the participants to Basilan and Zamboanga during the virtual tour. The participants were able to visit cultural sites such as the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GaMaBa) Cultural Center in Basilan and the Rainbow Mosque in Zamboanga, among others.