Art, historical events mark Tanabata Festival in Baguio

>> Monday, July 25, 2016

By Gemma Estolas    

BAGUIO CITY – The “-7th Baguio Tanabata Festival 2016”  is on here  with the theme “Dream of Date Masumane: Galleon San Juan Bautista to the Sea of Tanabata.”
Tanabata,  now on its  7th year,  is sponsored by the City of Baguio, the  Embassy of Japan, the Japan Foundation, Manila, the  JICA Philippines Office,  the Japanese Association in Northern Luzon (JANL), the Filipino-Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon (Abong), the FDCP-Baguio Cinematheque, the Baguio City National High School, Tourism Division  Miyagi Prefecture Government , the Miyagi San Juan Bautista Museum, the Sendai Tanabata Festival Support Association, All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd.,  the universities in  Baguio City and La Trinidad: Saint Louis University, University of the Cordilleras, University of Baguio, University of the Philippines, Benguet State University  and  the Baguio Museum Inc.
The two and a half month  event started with a poster design contest by the Bag-iw Art Society. Happening for the first time in Baguio this year is the “EIGASAI – Japanese Film Festival.”  
A press conference and  special screening of “Crossroads” at the FDCP Cinematheque Baguio at Vallejo Hotel  was held July 21, ahead of the EIGASAI Opening Night on August 11at SM City Baguio Cinema. 
The film screenings at SM City Baguio Cinema continue until August 14(Sunday),  screening eight contemporary Japanese films.  EIGASAI then moves to FDCP Cinematheque where two films are screened on August 15(Monday).
On July 23, there will be a celebration of  “Philippine- Japan Friendship Day” at the Japanese Garden by Abong.  July 23 to 24 (Saturday-Sunday) will be devoted to Tanabata Decoration Workshops 1 to 3 at the Abong Hall. All workshop sessions are “free and open to the public.”
At the Baguio Museum, three exhibits will be opened on August 6, 2016 (Saturday): 1.) the 7th Baguio Tanabata Festival 2016 with theme: “Dream of Date Masumane:Galleon San Juan Bautista to the Sea of Tanabata”, 2.) “Building  Tomorrow” and 3.) “Sendai Tanabata, Date’s Keicho Envoy Mission, Four Seasons in Miyagi” Poster Exhibit.
The 5th year event of “CosplayTanabata 5”  will be held at the Baguio City National High School by the Cosplay Community. It’s a “fun filled day” so be sure to go and attend.
This year’s” 7th Tanabata Festival” is to commemorate the 60th year of Philippines-Japan Friendship,  the 400 years since Date Masumane’s envoy Keicho Mission by Galleon San Juan Bautista to the Vatican  and Spain,  and five (5) years of CosplayTanabata Festival.  Baguio Tanabata  is patterned after the biggest and most famous Sendai Tanabata Festival in the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan,  inspired by the warrior Date Masamune..  According to history, MasamuneDate(1567-1636) was one of the most strong daimyo, feudal lord, in Tohoku region and the founder of the modern-day city of Sendai.
It is also said that he was a patron of culture and Christianity, and even today Date  is one of the most be-loved samurai in Japan. The theme is inspired by the Keicho Mission. 400 years ago, Date Masumane sent HasekuraTsunenaga on a mission to the Vatican and Spain, accompanied by Franciscan Missionary Luis Sotelo,  to negotiate direct trade with Spain, in exchange for allowing Christian missionaries into the Sendai feudal domain.
San Juan Bautista was a wooden European style sailing ship built in Sendai and the mission was called ‘Keicho Mission’.
This great San  Juan Bautista sailing ship  transported 180 people from the Japanese diplomatic  mission. It was later bought by the Spanish government in Manila, where Hasekura stayed about two years..
The Sendai Tanabata Festival attracts 2 million tourists a year during the three-day festival in August. Visitors and communities come from different parts of Japan to participate  in various  activities like parades, lantern and streamer decorations.
“Tanabata”  means evening of the seventh. The celebrations in Japan happen during the 7th day of the 7th month, which according to the Gregorian calendar falls in August. Streets are decorated with  bamboo installations consisting  of  small and big bamboos where one is able to hang their wishes and origami decorations.The hanging of wishes is inspired by the love story of Orihime (a weaving princess) and Hikoboshi ( a cow herder). Legend says that the lovers were separated by Tentei (the Sky King) across the milky way (Amanogawa) when they failed to meet their responsibilities after marriage. 
According to Hidenobu  Oguni, president of the JANL and  the overall coordinator of the Tanabata Festivals in Baguio,  which  started in  2010. 
Tanabata  is now on its 7th year, Tanabata also the celebrates Philippines-Japan Friendship month and continuous to be supported by other organizations in Baguio City like:   the Bag-iw Art Society, the UP Anime_HQ,  the UP SVA, the Cordillera Green Network , the NPO Salubong-Tokyo, R.K.Shimizu(Nagasaki) Foundation, Shimizi and Co Ltd, Pro Tech Machinery Corporation, Amida Software Asia, Inc, Tokyo Rinkai Rotary Club, Sakura Terras Japanese Restaurant, the Blue Files Language and Training Center, the Baguio Pines Lions Club,  Globe Telecom and Chaya Contemporary Japanese Cuisine.

For more information, please contact Hidenobu Oguni, president of  JANL -  coordinator of Tanabata Festival 2016 at 0910 411 3306 and Ms. Gemma Estolas, Museum assistant curator,  Baguio Museum at 074-444-7451.


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