Philippine Day at the Hamamatsu International Mosaiculture 2009


Tokyo, 20 October 2009 – The Philippines Embassy in Tokyo, with the support of the ASEAN-Japan Centre, is a participant in the “Hamamatsu International Mosaiculture 2009”, an international horticultural exposition and competition featuring mosaiculture, which are two-dimensional or three-dimensional artwork created from living flowers and plants.

The Hamamatsu International Mosaiculture 2009 showcases a total of 91 entries representing 25 countries and 97 cities and organizations.  The Philippine entry is entitled “Serena, the Dugong”.  The dugong is a sea mammal that lives in tropical seas.  Said to be the model of the story “A Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen because of its shape, it is now an endangered species.

Baby Serena was found near Palawan after a big typhoon in 1986.  She was in danger of dying of hunger as people had no idea how to feed a baby dugong.  Then President Corazon C. Aquino offered Serena to Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture, Japan to take care of her.  It was President Aquino who named the baby dugong “Serena”, and she was flown to Toba by special plane.  Serena, now a symbol of Philippine-Japan friendship, just celebrated her 23rd birthday.

Philippine participation in the Hamamatsu International Mosaiculture 2009 included a one-hour Philippine Day show at the exposition’s Mosai Stage on 18 October 2009.  The show began with a welcome greeting by Philippine Ambassador to Japan Domingo L. Siazon, Jr., who noted that several thousand Filipinos reside in Hamamatsu City.

The show featured an appearance of the Serena mascot from Toba Aquarium, a medley of Philippine songs by the members of the Hamamatsu Filipino Community’s “Nagkaisa Group”, and a Philippine folk dance number by the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Philippine Dance Troupe, whose members are mainly students studying the Filipino language at the University.

One of the highlights of the show was the rendition of two songs with lyrics written by Madame Kay Siazon, wife of Ambassador Siazon.  The songs – entitled “Mosaiculture Polka” and “Serena is a Mermaid” – were sung in a lively and charming manner by Ms. Noa Mizuki, a popular Japanese singer.

Around 400 people watched the Philippine Day show, while some 25,000 visitors who went to the exposition on 18 October had the opportunity to see the “Serena, the Dugong” mosaiculture exhibit.