Holi Festival Returns to Bring Brightness to Manila

The annual HOLI FESTIVAL returned to Manila for its 6th year in a row last 18 March 2018 to celebrate the coming of spring, the triumph of good over evil, and the continuing camaraderie between all people of the international community. Asia Society Philippines, SM by the BAY, and the Embassy of India were proud to host some two thousand individuals for a day filled with singing, dancing, and the throwing of brightly colored powder.


Guests from India, the Philippines, and other regions from around the world came to share in the loving tradition of letting go of the past and joining in friendship among people. Everyone was welcomed to the event with colors spread on their faces and the sounds of DJ Ravinder Singh blasting popular Indian music. Festivalgoers had free access to various booths that offered henna tattoos, a photo booth, rangoli making, and a choice of different food stalls serving authentic Indian cuisine.


Executive Director of Asia Society Philippines, Suyin Lee, opened the program by greeting guests talking about the spirit of HOLI FESTIVAL, both as an Indian cultural festival and as a significant event for the international community in the Philippines. She then introduced Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar, from the Embassy of India, who gave his own welcoming remarks, and asked all listening to join in saying “Holi Hai!” The crowd gave the ambassador a warm round of applause for his first HOLI FESTIVAL in the Philippines.


There were also a number of exotic performances from groups like Movement Dance Studios, Desi Matters, and Naachography. Movement Dance Studios displayed all kinds of dance with 3 different performances followed by interactive workshops that had members of the crowd go up stage to learn some of the steps. Desi Matters was a clear crowd pleaser with their award-winning brand of Bhangra (Indian dance originating from the Majha region of Punjab) complete with traditional costumes, while Naachography surely entertained with their unique form of street dance.


The HOLI FESTIVAL wouldn’t be complete without the throwing of colorful powder in the air as well as at others in attendance. Hosts Karla Habaluyas and Roshan Daryani facilitated three separate countdowns at noon, sunset, and the evening. Accompanied by drummers, guests counted down from ten to one, coming together to cheer “Holi Hai!” or “Happy Holi!” while throwing opened packets of colored powder in all any direction they saw fit. It didn’t take long to for the atmosphere to be filled with mists of blue, pink, purple, and green colored powder as people danced, cheered, and howled into the sky.


The day seemed to be enjoyed by all and brought a diverse crowd together. All are invited to attend next year to celebrate the HOLI FESTIVAL as one community once again.


The HOLI FESTIVAL is organized by Asia Society Philippines, SM by the BAY, and the Embassy of India, in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Indian Ladies Club, and Standard Insurance. It was co-presented by JLT Philippines, sponsored by Incredible India and Western Union. Additional support was provided by Jollibee, New India Assurance, Royal Indian Curry House, and Snickers, with special thanks to Ambica, Esquire, Jockey, PLDT Enterprise, and Magnolia Pure Water. GMA, Barangay LS 97.1, ClickTheCity.com, Nolisoli.PH, WhenInManila.com, ZEECinema, ZEESine, and ZEE TV serve as media partners.