Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cordillera Days

One of my favorite things about Hong Kong is the diversity of cultures which coexist together. In the past month (as well as the past year) I’ve had the opportunity to attend various cultural events.

The Cordillera Days began in the Philippines to celebrate the Cordillera Region, which is made up of six provinces in the Northern Philippines (and current home to YASCer Margaret). It tells the story of the Cordillera people from their own perspectives, including a rich agricultural tradition and the history of colonization and exploitation from mining companies. Today, the Cordillera Days are celebrated throughout the world.

The objectives of the Cordillera Days in Hong Kong are to teach migrants from both Cordillera and all over the Philippines the history of Cordillera, to invite people from other nationalities to hear their stories, and to share the issues that affect the peoples from the region.

There were many cultural presentations throughout the day, particularly dances that expressed the history of each area. The cultural group that I hang out with performed a dance to share their experiences with mining companies coming to the Abra Province. We also won first place in the competition!
Post-victory smiles
Another Sunday, I had the opportunity to attend an event celebrating Sri Lankans in Hong Kong. While there are Sri Lankan migrant workers here, the population is much smaller (~1-2%) than other nationalities. This annual event was put on by an organization of all of the Sri Lankans in Hong Kong, and also included various cultural performances and food. They were gracious enough to treat me to some delicious Sri Lankan food as well.

Sri Lankan children dancing
Coconut sticky rice and fried things, delicious!
Sharing cultures is an important part of life in Hong Kong. In about a square mile around my apartment, there’s everything from Mexican to Japanese to Moroccan restaurants (and of course Chinese), and I’ve made acquaintances with people from Estonia to Finland to South Africa in addition to my migrant friends from the Philippines and Indonesia. Each of these perspectives has taught me something new about the world and challenged me to broaden my horizons about global engagement. I am certain that I will carry these multicultural experiences with me as I prepare to return home! 

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