OpinionSilliman ICE in blue advocacy

Silliman ICE in blue advocacy


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ICE stands for International Cultural Exchange, celebrated every February at Silliman University.

February is also Culture & Arts Month in the Philippines.

The international community of students at Silliman joins the nation which they have learned to love as the home with ICE, an avenue to showcase the colors of their respective cultures.

This annual gathering used to be a variety show; then the members adjusted the concept of their event to be able to attract a big audience  in campus.

In 2006, Iranian student Mahmoud Nezamloo, president of Higala International: Students from around the World (HI: SAW), the official organization of the international students at  Silliman, considered my suggestion of organizing instead a beauty pageant format to attract a big audience. Afterall, Filipinos around the country love watching all sorts of beauty pageants.

And it worked! As the people in Dumaguete actually gathered to witness the search for Mister & Miss Silliman- International as the main feature of ICE.

The celebration also included a global forum on education, and an international food festival in campus, featuring the delicacies of the home-countries of the students.

This year, the ICE pageant had student candidates from China, Korea, Japan, the United States, and France — acting as  cultural ambassadors of their respective home countries.

To keep the show within the considerable running time, “quality selection” had to be implemented, and only country representatives with culture-based talent presentations were considered.

Li Xinyu and Zhen Yiwen from China shared the famous fan dance variations in Chinese cultural tradition. Xinyu performed the Shanzi Wu with the famous Gianzhan music. Yiwen had the Ginghuasi as music celebrating the beauty of the blue and white porcelain. Their performances had them harvesting the Best Cultural Ambassadors honor.

Chloé Martin of France, who danced to the tunes of European hit songs including ABBA’s Dancing Queen, was awarded by OK Photo as Miss Photogenic.

Atsushi Ueno of Japan, who was eventually chosen as Mister Photogenic, had a mini-fashion show of his traditional attire from Nagajuban robe to his setta, the traditional footwear. He then capped his presentation with a serenade titled Himawarino Yakusoku (Sunflower Promise).

Pearly Queen Ash of the USA sang a love song, while Renzo Miguel Almerol of the Filipino-American community played Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1 on othe keyboard, which he segued into dancing to the contemporary music of Doja Cat’s Need to Know.

Saudi Arabia’s Ruby Mae Dunque presented a monologue on Arabian cuisine, music, and the landmarks there, while Korea’s Hongyun Cho presented a Kpop dance.

This year’s event highlighted the color blue to reflect the theme Under One Blue Sky, United to Save the Blue Ocean Connecting Us.

The cultural ambassadors were asked to share their country’s advocacies to save the blue ocean, prior to the question & answer portion by the board of judges.

Finally,  the judges proclaimed the winners of this year’s ICE based on over-all performance particularly on the Save the Ocean theme: Chloé Martin from France was crowned Miss Silliman- International, while Renzo Almerol from the  US was crowned Mister Silliman-International.

Save-the-Ocean advocate and Silver Reef CEO Analynne Sison, who was one of the judges, awarded Renzo Almerol and Pearly Queen from the USA as ICE 2024’s Mister & Miss Silver Reef Dive Resort.

Queen made a good point when she shared that she used to witness children swimming along the Dumaguete coast, and fishers enjoying their daily harvest from along the waterfront of Rizal Boulevard, and which, she said, is becoming a rare occurence these past months. She appealed to government not to sacrifice ocean resources when engaged in modernizing/ developing the City.

Congratulations to the HI: SAW headed by James Dee from Myanmar. Chantal Posey from the USA, and Eliszaveta Usacheva from Russia directed the whole show to ensure the success of ICE 2024.


Author’s email: karlmike@yahoo.com



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