Bayanihan, the Philippine National Folk Dance Company, won the Tempio d’Oro (Gold Temple Award) or the Grand Prize during the 60th International Folklore Festival of the 70th edition of the Sagra del Mandorlo in Fiore on February 22 held in Agrigento, Sicily, Italy.
This is the third time that the Bayanihan won the Golden Temple Award. The first was in 2002 and the second time was in 2005. This year the Bayanihan competed against representatives from Bulgaria, Holland, Spain, Thailand, Ukraine, Hungary, Slovakia, and Croatia.
First, second and third prizes for the best in costume, music and dance categories were also awarded to deserving groups. However, it was the Bayanihan that became the overall champion of the competition. Ms. Suzie Benitez, Executive Director, received the award for the group together with Mr. Ferdinand Jose, Dance Director and Choreographer; and Mr. Melito Vale Cruz, Music Director.
The Philippine Embassy, led by Chargé d’Affaires Leila C. Lora-Santos, expressed its support to the Bayanihan through their presence during the competition. Chargé d’Affaires Lora-Santos, together with Cultural Officer Anginel Padilla, Philippine Honorary Consul Antonino Di Liberto, and Carlo Cannistraro of the Philippine Consulate General in Palermo, traveled to Agrigento and met with the Bayanihan performers.
The Sagra del Mandorlo Festival is an annual week-long event in Agrigento, Sicily, held every February and is one of the oldest festivals in Italy.
*This post was originally published on the Official Gazette. It is the official journal of the Republic of the Philippines.