Dubai: Filipino students took the stage to showcase their rich cultural heritage through traditional dance and music at the ongoing 41st Sharjah International Book Fair.
The day-long ‘Kabayan Cultural Fun Day 2022’, celebrated under the theme ‘Filipino Readers of Today, Global Leaders of Tomorrow’, took visitors of the book fair to “a delightful journey of discovering the culture and traditions of the Southeast Asian nation composed of over 7,000 islands”.
The venue at Expo Centre Sharjah ballroom also showcased the cuisine of the Filipino community in the UAE. “It’s been a blessing to come together in Sharjah, a city famed for its cultural activities, to organise an event to promote our heritage. I thank the Sharjah Book Authority and the Philippines Embassy for this opportunity to come together at SIBF, the largest book fair in the world today,” said Dante Delizo, chairman of the Kabayan Volunteers Group.
Vice-consul Paola Ebora from the Philippine Consulate was also in attendance while motivational speaker Lloyd Luna had a session titled ‘From Mess to Messenger: From a Painful Journey to a Joyful Destiny’.
Meanwhile UAE-based poets Amal Al Sahlawi and Lorca Spiti put the spotlight on the wonder and beauty of Arabic poetry.
Amal touched on themes of sorrow and despair, regret, the game of life, luck, and fortune; while Spiti, a Lebanese poetess, told the audience: “Through the medium of poetry, we are more free than in reality.”
Spiti also recited a poem praising the city of Sharjah, its beauty and charms, from its small cafes to its resting places for seagulls and as the meeting place of poetry.
Young visitors also had a chance to learn making flower arrangements in one of the SIBF workshops. Assaad Damen, the workshop instructor, said: “The kids were happy; all the arrangements they made really looked good. They are always attracted to flowers because there is a strong relationship between nature and kids.”
“They learned how green leaves give a glow and volume to the bouquet, and how to arrange flowers symmetrically within a particular shape whether spread out, like a balloon, tall or short,” Damen added.
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Ahmed El Ghandour, Egyptian researcher and content creator, presented an episode of his popular science series at SIBF.
More popularly known as ‘Al Daheeh’, Ghandour covered a broad range of topics including nature, history, economy, and technology. The popular host also discussed how ‘smiles’ are a universal language capable of transcending differences and distances between people.
Al Daheeh also shared fascinating nuggets of information on the functions of the human body and the invention of the guillotine during the French Revolution, before moving on to the history of science and human studies. The session also featured the presentation of fascinating trivia, including how the human brain can memorise the same amount of data found on the internet and how although the brain consumes 20 percent of the body’s energy, it represents a mere two percent of the weight of the human body.
Pinocchio at the fair
The widely popular wooden puppet known as Pinocchio has come to life at SIBF, thanks to Italian artiste Elena Gaffuri, who is going around to entertain visitors of all ages at SIBF.
Gaffuri is also imparting “valuable lessons with the young visitors on the importance of being truthful, obedient and kind”.
More fictional characters have come to life at SIBF, including the Living Lamp Posts, who can always be seen interacting with the young visitors.