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The lobby of the Orpheum Theater is shown packed with those attending the performance of the Bayanihan Dance Company. Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez and Chef Claude Tayag are shown posing for pictures with members of the audience.

11 MAY 2012, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE. The world-renowned Bayanihan Dance Company of the Philippines impressed its audience last night at the Orpheum Theater of Memphis, Tennessee.  Its performance forms part of the festivities during the month-long Memphis in May Festival.  The theater was nearly filled to capacity as both Filipino Americans and Americans living in Tennessee and nearby states trouped to watch the multi-awarded cultural dance group.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez was present during the occasion and provided opening remarks. He cited the Memphisians’ warmth and hospitality as well as their love of food and music, which are also traits and passions of Filipinos.  He urged the people of the U.S. Mid-South to experience firsthand Philippine culture and assured that “it will be more fun in the Philippines.”

Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. also graced the affair, along with his wife, Vicky, Philippine Consuls General Marciano Paynor, Jr. and Mario de Leon, and representatives from the Philippine private sector, Mr. Guillermo Luz, Mr. Aurelio Montinola III, and Architect Augusto Villalon.

Performances were also made by the Bayanihan for some 4,000 local schoolchildren of Memphis in elementary and high school free of charge.  Schools registered with the Memphis in May Festival organizers on a first come, first serve basis.  According to testimonies from the students, they were awed at the colorful costumes and fascinating dances of Filipinos and were grateful at the opportunity to witness an aspect of Philippine culture that they otherwise would never have seen. (END)