RIYADH 16 October 2018 – The Philippine Embassy ASEAN Women Circle Ladies (PEAL) hosted the fourth general meeting for the year of the ASEAN Women Circle (AWC) of Riyadh at the Philippine Ambassador’s residence in Riyadh on 17 September 2018.
The AWC general meeting was attended by spouses of ASEAN Ambassadors, the Philippines’ Madame Jo C. Alonto, Indonesia’s Madame Luluk Maftuh, Malaysia’s Madame Datin Hjh Fatimahwati Abdul Rahman, Myanmar’s Madame Daw Mu Mu Cho, and Singapore’s Madame Maureen Anderson, senior lady representatives from Thailand, and the other embassy ladies of their respective countries. The Philippines currently hosts the rotating presidency of the AWC.
As host, the Philippines chose to showcase the Maranao culture as a fitting tribute to its current Ambassador Adnan V. Alonto, a Maranao himself, and to honor the people of Lanao Lake by promoting and preserving their rich heritage.
In connection with the theme for the event, the residence was adorned with Maranao decor. The theme depicted the colorful and rich culture of the Maranaos, a tribe known for their artwork, weaving, wood and metal crafts that bear striking similarities with the culture of neighboring Southeast Asian countries.
In her welcome speech, Madame Alonto expounded on the origins of the colorful Maranao tapestry or mamadyang used to decorate the residence. She gave a heartfelt message as she paid tribute to the determination and resilience of the Maranao people in the aftermath of the siege of the city of Marawi last year.
The meeting proper was presided over by the spouse of Consul General Christopher Patrick Aro and AWC President Bernadette Aro.
The general meeting was highlighted by the approval of a new constitution and by-laws by the AWC Patrons, with the Philippine contingent as lead proponent.
After the meeting, the International Philippine School of Riyadh Dance Troupe, headed by School Principal Mariam Macabangkit and choreographed by Janet Cruz, performed the singkil, a traditional Maranao dance based on the epic legend Darangen, at the atrium of the residence. After the performance, the AWC Patrons and Members gamely danced with the performers.
The AWC members were also invited to view the exhibit which featured Maranao art known as okir, a design etched in Maranao weaving, brass artifacts, Darangen dolls and the legendary Sarimanok. The materials for the exhibit were graciously lent by Maranao staff of the Embassy and the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah.
After the cultural show and exhibit, guests were invited to partake of the traditional Filipino and popular Maranao cuisines.
Established in 1986, the AWC of Riyadh is a group composed of ladies from different ASEAN embassies and diplomatic missions in Riyadh. Among its objectives are to foster closer relationship among the ASEAN women and to celebrate the diversity of Southeast Asian culture and the oneness of the ASEAN identity.