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Filipinos in Bahrain shine in On the Spot Essay Writing Contest

The “On the Spot Essay Writing Contest,” hosted by the Filipino Writers’ Circle in collaboration with the Migrant Workers Office (MWO) and the Philippine Embassy concluded successfully on 5 July 2024.

Held at the Sentro Rizal, Philippine Embassy Manama, the participants of the On the Spot Essay Writing Contest demonstrated their writing prowess and creativity as they explored the theme “Kalayaan, Kinabukasan, Kasaysayan” (Freedom, Future, History), weaving essays sharing Philippine history and culture with Filipinos living and working in the kingdom.

Maria Carmella R. Solido, a nursing graduate, Lornalyn Penuliar, a medical center receptionist, and Melinda Nomananap, teacher, theatre moderator, and Filipino subject coordinator, emerged as first, second and third place winners.

The contest started with a solemn opening ceremony, featuring the singing of the national anthems of Bahrain and the Philippines led by Filwriite Vice President Ruth Mirhan Orense, preceded by a prayer headed by Melinda C. Dangaran.

In her welcome remarks, Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Migrant Workers Office (MWO), Celia V. Cabadonga, highlighted how the activity reached her office and led to the submission of a proposal by Filwrite. The impromptu essay contest serves as a platform for participants, particularly Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), to share their distinctive perspectives and insights.

“Through this creative endeavor, we can advance our mission to build a more connected and supportive community.”

Filwrite President Cecil V. Ancheta emphasized the importance of writing as a cornerstone of Filipino culture, highlighting its role in sharing stories and preserving voices. “Through writing, we have the opportunity to inspire, stimulate thought, and inspire change,” she continued.

The event was attended by Her Excellency (HE) Ambassador Anne Jalando-on Louis. She expressed her gratitude to the group of writers and to all the contestants for their role in making the celebration of the 126th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence a meaningful and memorable event in Bahrain.

In her inspiring message, she stressed the importance of Sentro Rizal in promoting Filipino pride.

Sentro Rizal, named after the Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, is indeed an important institution established by the Philippine government to spread and promote Filipino culture, art, language, history, and values around the world, playing a key role in preserving and promoting our national identity. Various works of art and literature were exhibited at the center.

Phyvvy Harisse C. Mabalot, a student from the Philippine School Bahrain, took the stage with a song number, enriching the event’s atmosphere as an intermission performance. This presentation not only provided entertainment but also seamlessly bridged the segments of the event, showcasing the diverse talents within the community.

According to the 1st place winner, Maria Carmella R. Solido, “Receiving the 1st prize in the on-the-spot essay writing contest during the Philippine Independence Day celebration at the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain was a moment of overwhelming gratefulness and joy.”

“As I accepted the award with trembling hands, I felt deeply honored to contribute to the celebration of our country’s history and to represent the voices of Filipino Overseas Workers. I am sincerely grateful to the Philippine Embassy in Bahrain, the Migrant Workers Association, and the Filipino Writers Circle for giving us the platform to express our passion and support for the endeavors of our fellow Filipinos as well as the opportunity to ‘reconnect’ to our homeland. Above all, I thank God for this would not be possible without His gift of creativity and wit,” she added.

The competition itself was meticulously organized, with a panel of respected judges who are well-regarded within the community. Dr. Amelito S. Adel from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) led the panel, accompanied by Dinah E. Sta. Ana of Pinay Ikaw Na (PIN) president and Joselito C. Sarmiento, vice president of the Filipino American Association of Bahrain (Fil-Am Bahrain). Their roles were crucial in ensuring that the evaluation process was both rigorous and fair, upholding the highest standards of judgment based on the criteria set for the competition.

Winners of this contest were chosen for their exceptional writing skills, which were evaluated on originality, clarity of thought, and relevance to the theme. Such criteria ensured that the entries not only adhered to the technical aspects of writing but also resonated on a deeper emotional level with the audience and judges alike.

They were awarded plaques, certificates, and cash prizes, serving as a recognition of their outstanding writing skills and dedication to promoting Philippine culture and history.

The contest organizers received generous support from various sponsors, including individuals such as Mr. Orlando O. Fontanilla, Dinah E. Sta. Ana, Desiree Pasahol, and Rowena Crisostomo, as well as the Good Cause Bahrain represented by Antonette Guese Avila.

Volunteers who take on roles as facilitators and tabulators play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth operation of events including photographers Sajid Rafiq Butt and Rafiq Adnan were greatly appreciated.

Additionally, several organizations were present to show their including the Knights of Rizal, the Philippine Institute of Certified Accountants (PICPA), and the Northern Bahrain Nobles Eagles Club.

These contributions underscore the community’s support for educational and cultural initiatives, emphasizing a sense of unity and pride among its members including a spirit of collaboration reinforcing the importance of organizational relationships.

Filwrite, a writers’ organization established in 2019, has made significant progress, as evident in a brief video presentation that showcases the group’s journey, highlighting its growth and achievements over the years, which were made possible through the dedication of its volunteer writers.

Filwrite officers and members, including Gina Garro, Scott Saboy, and Rodel Pomperada, expressed their deepest gratitude to the Migrant Workers Office and the Philippine Embassy for the event’s success, with special thanks to Cultural Attache Ms. Jiemarie Mortel Ladrica for her guidance throughout the process.

Sentro Rizal as the venue for the contest added a touch of prestige and cultural significance to the event as it often serves as hubs for promoting art, literature, and exhibits enhancing the overall experience for participants and attendees.

Written with the contributions of Cecil V. Ancheta Ruth Mirhan Orense

Staff Report

The Filipino Times is the chronicler of stories for, of and by Filipinos all over the world, reaching more than 236 countries in readership. Any interesting story to share? Email us at [email protected]

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