We welcome the revival of the Tanabata Festival or “Star Festival” now on its 11th year at the Baguio Museum.
Today’s opening is at 11 a.m. Happy Tanabata Day!
Earlier, there was a Philippine-Japan friendship ceremony at the Botanical Garden. There is also an ongoing exhibit at Porta Vaga Mall until the end of the month.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Tabanata Festival Forever! Kanazawa Creative City in Japan,” which is a fitting celebration of love and friendship of the City of Baguio and Kanazawa City.
Tanabata is the story of celestial deity lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by stars Vega and Altair) who were separated by the Sky King across the Milky Way as they neglected their duties because of love. It originated from the Chinese Qixi Festival.
Tanabata, also known as the “evening of the seventh”, is usually celebrated every seventh day of the seventh lunar month annually in Japan, but the date now varies. To mark this occasion, people write their wishes on colorful strips of paper and hang them on bamboo branches. It symbolizes the power of hope, wishes and dreams, and the belief that they can and will come true.
Kanazawa, similar to Baguio City, was also designated by Unesco as a creative city, highlighting its commitment to artistic endeavors. The distinction fosters a spirit of creativity and innovation, inviting and harnessing talents of artists, designers, cultural enthusiasts, craft and folk art creators to engage in collaborative initiatives promoting local talents, ideas, and industries in the spirit of global friendship and cultural interlocking.
Oguni-san or Hidenobo Oguni bids farewell to the celebrations of Tanabata that he first chaired in 2009 until 2019 when it stopped during the pandemic at the peak of its 10th celebration. It is being restaged this year for the last time under the Japan Association of Northern Luzon (JANL).
Oguni himself was stranded in Japan during the pandemic. In fact, many festivals had to be put on hold as the world prepared to face a new normal. Yes, this revival is a symbol of our resilience, unity, and indomitable spirit. It reminds us all to come together to appreciate and embrace our cultural differences.
The first “Matsuri Festival” in Baguio was organized by Annabella Teraoka Dacones in 2004. It brought Japan’s grand cultural celebration to the doorstep of Baguio and was staged at the Baguio Convention Center. It highlighted big drums, the doll exhibit, and Japanese cuisine. It was staged again at the Baguio Museum with a grandiose floor exhibit, typical of Japan art and gardens.
“Yes, this 11th Tanabata Festival by JANL will be the last one, because the number of JANL members have decreased to less than one-third in three years due to the pandemic,” says Oguni-san who is due to return to Japan after the opening.
Japan is known as the land of sakuras or cherry blossoms. Millions of people go to Japan to witness the sakura blossoming.
“I would like to acknowledge the people, institutions, and organizations who sponsored, supported, and cooperated with us for the last 10 years like the City of Baguio, the Embassy of Japan, the Japan Foundation in Manila, Abong or the Filipino-Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Chaya Japanese Cuisine, the Bag-iw Art Society, the Cordillera Green Network, the CurTEAnah Cosplay Events, the Baguio JIC Academy, the three universities in Baguio and Benguet, Globe Telecom, and the Baguio Museum.
For this 11th Tanabata Festival: Kanazawa City, the University of the Cordilleras, Porta Vaga Mall, Mihiro Kensetsu Kogyo, Pasakalye Group of Artists, the Blue Files Language and Training Center, the Sugawara Budo Philippines, Sayaw Hapon Sakura, Arielle and co., A & J e-EduDC English Academy, and the Widest Asian Learners English School.
For guest and visitors who like to visit the exhibit at the Baguio Museum, you are encouraged to write your wishes on the strips of colored paper provided and tie or hang them in the bamboo branches. Feel your wishes soar to the heavens guided by the stars.
As we bid adieu to this annual and institutional event, let us embrace our diverse cultural heritage and look towards our future partnerships with wishes of harmony, prosperity and compassion for one another.
I would like to extend my praise and gratitude to the people I met during my interactions the last two weeks who I found have given their best service: Shiela, Glydel and Chris of Our Home; Ron Datuin, store manager of Mary Grace Café, and the cashiers of Watson’s across the supermarket at the lower ground of SM. Mabuhay kayo!
Ipagpatuloy n’yo ang inyong magandang serbisyo! Nabibilang ang mga taong katulad n’yo.