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2 May 2015

Washington, DC - Proving once again that “it is really more fun in the Philippines,” throngs of people flocked to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. during the Passport DC Open House on 02 May 2015.

Over 7,000 visitors, who were mostly Americans and with their families, enjoyed the day relaxing at Philippine Embassy grounds along Massachusetts Avenue. The total number of visitors surpassed that of last year by at thousand.

Filipinos are known for their hospitality, and while you are guests at the Embassy, we hope that you will feel at home. I invite you to sample our food, sing and dance along with our performers, and learn more about Philippine culture from Embassy personnel who you will see dressed in our national attire. 2015 is Visit the Philippines year and we look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful islands in the coming months,” said Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. in his welcome remarks.

At 10:00 a.m., the gates of the Embassy officially opened to the public. Upon arrival, visitors, including US Peace Corps Volunteers, were invited to register for a raffle of two roundtrip tickets to the Philippines courtesy of Philippine Airlines. They were then given the opportunity to view and marvel at the cutting-edge pieces by world-renowned Filipino furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue, whose work is being exhibited at the Romulo Hall of the Embassy.

In a true spirit of bayanihan, the Filipino community in Metro DC and surrounding areas came together to regale visitors with a steady stream of performances, which included a wide range of musical and dance numbers as well as Filipino martial arts demonstrations. Groups such as Mabuhay Inc., Philippine Cultural Society of George Washington University, George Mason University Filipino Students Association, Northern Virginia Rondalla, Filipino-American Coalition of American University, and DC Lightning Scientific Arnis enthralled audiences in the morning.

By noontime, the number of arrivals was breaching the 3,000-mark.

The fiesta continued in the afternoon with electrifying numbers from Tanghalang Pilipino, Migrant Heritage Commission's Fil-Am Dance Ensemble, Bimak, Club Filipino of Georgetown University, Ultimate Escrima, Kultura Pilipino, Eric Macalma, Wandering Lies, Tutubi Evolution, and Tandang Sora.

Throughout the day, the guests sampled lechon, pancit, lumpia, chicharon and turon provided by 2A Marketing center, Filipino restaurant Bistro 7107, and caterers Filipino Global; Northstar; Lumpia Pancit Atbp; and Luming's. The Filipino community provided six (6) lechons for the event. Kids and adults alike lined up for Magnolia popsicles and calamansi juice.

Photo walls and props, such as the Ati-atihan costumes, the Bahay Kubo, Philippine Carabao papier mache and Bamboo Bike, made multiple rounds on the guests' social media accounts.

Many of the visitors said that Embassy's offering this year made them seriously consider spending their holidays in the Philippines. “The food is wonderful. I am really having fun with everything here,” enthused one American visitor.

Philippine tourism is on the upswing and we wish to sustain this momentum. Our hope is that by giving our American and other foreign friends a taste of what the Philippines has to offer, they would be more interested in getting the full experience by traveling to our country,” Ambassador Cuisia remarked.

Visitors went away with It's More Fun in the Philippines bags, brochures and other cool giveaways from the Department of Tourism and Clark Development Corporation. The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPOST) and the Philippine Association of Metropolitan Washington Engineers (PAMWE) likewise served as sponsors of the Embassy Open House.

Ambassador Cuisia also personally invited the guests to take part in the Philippine Independence Day celebration on 11 June 2015.

The Open House was undertaken as part of the Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour that is organized yearly by the District of Columbia Cultural Tourism Office. Forty (40) embassies joined this year's Passport DC, which is a much-anticipated cultural event in the US capital. This is the second time that the Philippine Embassy participated in the event. ###

2 May 2015

Sayaw sa Bangko. Students from the George Mason Filipino Studens Association performs their rendition of Sayaw sa Bangko at the Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour on 2 May 2015.

2 May 2015

Balancing act. Bimak DC wows the crowd with Banga, a dance which involves balancing clay pots on one's head, at the Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour on 2 May 2015.

2 May 2015

Family fun. A mother and child have their photo taken by the Philippines tourism backdrop during the Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour on 2 May 2015.

2 May 2015

Bambike. A child checks out the Bambike, a bamboo bicycle handmade in the Philippines, on display at the Passport DC Around the World Embassy Tour on 2 May 2015.

2 May 2015

Taste of the Philippines. Visitors get a taste of the Philippines as they sample lumpia (fried spring roll), pancit (noodles), turon (fried banana roll), chicharon (crispy pork rind), ice cream, and calamansi juice during the Embassy Open House on 2 May 2015.

2 May 2015

Musikahan. Tutubi Evolution band plays during the Musikahan portion of the Embassy Open House on 2 May 2015.