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Holi Festival 2015 Manila | Coloring Namaste & Mabuhay

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I hopped, I wiggled. I jumped, I jiggled. I tapped, I squiggled. I screamed, HOLI HEY!

Presented by Asia Society Phils. with the Embassy of India, Federation of Indian Chambers & Commerce, SingIndia, Indian Ladies Club, Bharati.

Presented by Asia Society Phils. with the Embassy of India, Federation of Indian Chambers & Commerce, SingIndia, Indian Ladies Club, Bharati.

Travel Trilogy with the Indian community.

Travel Trilogy with the Indian community.

Yesterday, the vibrant Indian community in Manila with the Asia Society Philippines staged a very colorful cultural event dubbed as the Holi Festival. Now on its 3rd year, this cultural attraction gathered thousands of spectators at the SM by the Bay in Manila.

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The spring season, as it is in India and in many parts of the world is usually adored for its blooming flowers, refreshing greens and pleasant weather. Holi Festival ushers the start of spring with a festival that captures the happy vibe and colors of the season.

Gulal sprinkled the skies of Manila and painted the faces of Holi goers with so much colors.

Gulal sprinkled the skies of Manila and painted the faces of Holi goers with so much colors.

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Gulal or powdered color was the most sought-after element in the party. It’s an organic powder made from rice flour and natural colorants. Gulal were blown up in the air, painted on faces or thrown at each other as wishes of abundance, happiness and fostering good friendships. No one was spared from the colors and getting it or applying it to someone else actually created the fun factor.

Of course, there was belly dancing!

Of course, there was belly dancing!

Bhangra dancing was so much fun!

Bhangra dancing was so much fun!

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Holi goers were treated to an afternoon of Everything Indian from music and dance to food, from arts & crafts to travel fair. Bollywood was the default theme and everyone in the venue couldn’t help but gyrate those hips to the wildly beautiful music. I have to admit, I had over indulgence of Indian food. A parade of vegetable samosa, chana dal, tikka masala, chapatti, naan, kebab, chole and biryani were all to die-for.

Vegetable samosa is an Indian snack perfectly paired with lassi.

Vegetable samosa is an Indian snack perfectly paired with lassi.

Taj Majal Restaurant really kicked my palate with its chicken tikka masala.

Taj Majal Restaurant really kicked my palate with its chicken tikka masala.

I was just too much into it that I forgot the name of this food. Please tell me the name of this food.

I was just too much into it that I forgot the name of this food. Please tell me the name of this food.

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Ladies lined up for exquisitely designed henna tattoos done by real Indian henna artists. Friends gathered around the photo booth for their holi-themed wacky shots. Children were exciting to watch as they did the rongali, a folk art using colored rice, sand & flower petals. The Indian Ladies Club displayed various merchandise from soft scarves, colorful saris and embroidered tapestries. Aside from food, I was stuck in the travel fair side imagining myself dancing the kathakali in Kerala. I did not win the free yoga class by Urban Ashram Manila but it’s already on my bucket list.

Henna tattoo is a 5000-year old art form practiced in India.

Henna tattoo is a 5000-year old art form practiced in India.

Kids filling the patterns with colored sand & rice.

Kids filling the patterns with colored sand & rice.

Exquisite Indian textiles up for sale during Holi Fest.

Exquisite Indian textiles up for sale during Holi Fest.

The Ambassador of India to the Philippines, His Excellency Lalduhthlana Ralte who wished everyone with lasting friendships, graced the event. He stressed on the significance of strong friendship ties between India and the Philippines and how to happily share our cultural values and aspirations.

The author with the Ambassador to India, His Excellency Lalduhthlana Ralte.

The author with the Ambassador to India, His Excellency Lalduhthlana Ralte.

One with the Indians!

One with the Indians!

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1949. The Indian elements in the Filipino culture take its hints from the ancient times of Srivijaya and Majapahit explorations in the East. Traces of its influences can be found in many Filipino words that are Sanskrit in origin, some folk narratives, the excavated Bodhisattva relics and trading relations in Bengal during the 18th century. Today, the Indian populations in the Philippines are mostly Sindhis, Punjabis and Tamils. Many of them can speak in Filipino and are prosperously involved in trading, finance, sales and marketing.

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The recently concluded Holi Festival not only gathered the Indians and the Filipinos alike but also attracted other nationalities that were in Manila. This gathering of international Holi goers brought the goal of the festival to a wonderful achievement as a borderless merry-making.

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