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Czech envoy skeds Naga, Legazpi visit

NAGA CITY --- The newly-appointed Ambassador of the Czech Republic, Her Excellency, Jana Šedivá, will be coming to Legazpi and Naga cities on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, to further strengthen the diplomatic and cultural ties obtaining between the Bicol region and the Czech Republic initiated by her predecessor, Jaroslav Olša, Jr.

During her visit, the new envoy is expected to meet with Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal on July 27. On the next day, July 28, she will move to Naga and meet up with Mayor Nelson Legacion and the Archbishop of Caceres, Most Rev. Rolando Tria Tirona.

The ambassador will be accompanied by Benjamin Ziga, who serves as the economic, trade, and defense relations adviser of the ambassador.

Czech Support to Bikol Arts, Culture

Recognizing his active involvement in the arts and culture, the former Ambassador Olša, Jr. was given the Honorary Nagueño Award by the local government of Naga before he was recalled by his superiors in Prague.

Olša, who initiated and collaborated with several publishing houses in the Philippine including the Ateneo de Naga University Press, has created a sort of literary sensation that brought a new dynamism in the local literary practices. He organized exhibitions, film screenings and sought the support of other European embassies to include arts and culture in their respective agenda.

Among the notable projects in Bicol include the Karel Capek anthology entitled Lambang Ika, Kita Gabos edited by Kristian Sendon Cordero and Paz Verdades Santos, Malikmata, a collection of fantastic tales from Czech Republic which include classic and contemporary writers like Jan Neruda, Franz Kafka, Martin Vopenka among others and the three anthology of translations of European stories in Waray, Bikol, and Minasbate.

With all these cultural endeavors that new Czech ambassador plans to intensify and make use of these projects to further the cause of mutual cooperation among the Filipinos and the Czech embassy. Her first stop will be at the Savage Mind Bookshop on July 28, 2019 where she will lead the reading session of Si Aso at si Pusa, a story written and illustrated by Josef Capek, the equally famous brother of the Czech writer Karel Capek. Afterwards, she will be the guest of honor in the Cultural Night sponsored by Naga City Mayor Nelson Legacion at the Peninsula Café. Writers, filmmakers, musicians and visual artists including cultural workers will meet the Ambassador and the newly elected mayor of Naga to further discuss plans and agenda for arts and culture.

Cities of Magic and Literature

On Monday, July 29, at 9: 0 o’clock in the morning, the ambassador will join writers Tito Genova Valiente, Dr. Maryjane Guazon Uy and Kristian Cordero in an arts forum to be held at the Universidad de Santa Isabel Auditorium. The theme will be on how magic and literature enliven one’s place. Expected to attend our senior high school students and the teaching faculty of the said university.

According to film critic and anthropologist Tito Valiente, who authored this collection of fantastic tales from his island of birth, Ticao, “Young people should start looking for our common stories in the islands of our imagination. We have to get a new way of looking at things especially those that were used to scare us as children”, Valiente suggested.

For Dr. Guazon-Uy, who is a dermatologist by profession, writing her first novella “is like an act of mothering a narrative that has long been waiting for a form”. She considers this writing as a magical experience in itself. It is a sort of alchemy that we have to nourish among us. Entitled The Book of Pedro Bautista, Dr. Guazon-Uy’s first young adult novella is a historical fiction that is set in a Spanish-occupied, Nueva Caceres. During the forum, the doctor-writer will share her creative process in the writing of her first book. Both books of Valiente and Guazon-Uy are published by Ateneo de Naga University Press.

Writer and filmmaker Kristian Cordero believes that there is something in Prague that connects to Naga. “Like Prague, Naga is home to all kinds of Bikolanos. Both cities are melting pots that is why they can provide a very good environment for artists and artisans, for businessmen and adventurers. If Prague has the Infant Jesus, Naga has the Ina and both cities are linked to their rivers,” said Cordero.

Business Meetings

Mr. Ziga for his part will be meeting with the business chambers in the region including the Albay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. and the Metro Naga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Hoover Picar, President of the Cmarines Sur Chamber is optimistic that this visit will bear economic and substantial fruits mutually benefitting our people. Metro Naga Chamber President Ferdinand ‘Don’ Sia believes that this occasion makes Naga ready to become a globally competitive city in the coming years.

The Czech Embassy is interested to explore the possible business programs particularly in the following lines of engagement: Glass-Making, Chemical Industry, Environmental Technologies (Water Management, Green Technologies, and Renewable Energy Generation), Energy Efficiency Services, Engineering (Agricultural and Forestry Machinery and Food Processing Technology), Alcoholic Beverage Industry (Beer, Wine, Herb Liqueurs, and Spirits), and Agriculture Industry. A Czech Comic Exhibition

On the same day, (July 29) the ambassador will also open an exhibition of Czech Comics which will be held at the Fr. James O’Brien Library at the Ateneo de Naga University.

In a press release by the embassy, Czech comics is described as “a highly advanced and progressive artistic discipline in the Czech Republic, thanks to its permanent existence in last 100 years and its ability to flexibly and accurately comment on political and socio-economic development of the country. The fate of Czech comics included periods of highly creative freedom, but also times of stagnation and control… and much has changed in both the Czech Republic and its comics since democracy was restored in 1989.”

The exhibit will be available for public viewing and for group and school tours, one may contact the Ateneo de Naga University Press at 881-4112 for inquiries. After the exhibit in Ateneo, it will be transferred to other schools in Naga City and in the region.

The send-off ceremony for the Ambassador will be held on July 30 at the Pili Parochial School. Students, parents and teachers headed by the newly appointed parish priest of San Rafael Parish, Fr. Wilmer Tria and Pili Mayor Tomas Bongalonta have prepared a short cultural program for her and company assuring that this visit may continue to bear fruits among the two countries.


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