Twenty-four Taiwan Youth Ambassadors visited the University of Santo Tomas on August 29, 2019 for a cultural encounter as part of the International Youth Ambassador Exchange (IYAE) Program organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The visit included a campus tour, student interactions, and later that day, cultural performances for the “2019 Taiwan Night” at the UST Paredes Ballroom.
The youth ambassadors were accompanied by Delegation Head Ambassador Chi-ping Chang from the MoFA Department of International Information Services, Deputy Head of Delegation Ms. Chieh Wong, and Delegation Secretary Ms. Chen Yu-Chih.
Gracing the event were Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines Representative Ambassador Michael Peiyung Hsu and his spouse Madame Charlotte Yu. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of China (Taiwan) Non-government Organization International Affairs Department Director General Lai Ming-Chi, Philippine Tariff Commission Chairperson Marilou P. Mendoza, Taiwanese Compatriots in the Philippines Honorary President Mr. Hsieh Shih-Ying, Taiwan Association Inc. President Mr. Chiang Fu-Long, TECO Press Division Director Mr. Jerry Chuang, and TECO Executive Assistant to the Representative Mr. Fernando R.F. Wu were also present for the occasion.
After the welcome remarks delivered by UST Office of Public Affairs Director Assoc. Prof. Giovanna V. Fontanilla, Ph.D., TECO Representative Ambassador Michael Peiyung Hsu, in his message, thanked the many people involved in making the third Taiwan Night in UST possible, especially the UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P. The Delegation Head Ambassador James Chi-ping Chang gave more information on the IYAE Program.
The University of Santo Tomas began its presentations with the performance of the 70-member UST Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Assoc. Prof. Renato B. Lucas, Ph.D., as conductor. The Orchestra performed three songs by National Artists, namely, “Mga Katutubong Awitin” by Lucio San Pedro, “By the Hillside (Tone Poem)” by Antonino Buenaventura, and “Mutya ng Pasig” by Nicanor Abelardo.
Choir of the World Champions The UST Singers, led by Maestro Fidel Gener Calalang, Jr., sang “Cantate Domino” by Josu Elberdin Badiola, “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka”, by Ryan Cayabyab, and “Come Alive (The Greatest Showman)” by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.
The UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe performed “Binasuan” and “Tinikling.”
In turn, the Taiwan Youth Ambassadors staged a 40-minute four-act play titled “Taiwan: An Island of Vitality.” The first act, “Wishes Sent Skyward,” presented the traditional Taiwanese festivals, such as the Lantern, Dragon Boat, Mid-Autumn, and Lunar New Year Festivals, through dances.
The second act, “A Cure for What Ails,” detailed Taiwan’s thriving healthcare industry through a fast-paced diabolo (Chinese yoyo) and hip-hop performance interspersed with images of their medical care, which balances traditional Chinese medicine with Western medical practices.
The third act focused on Taiwan’s farm produce, textile, and technology industry and is named “Quality as an Art Form,” while the fourth and final act, “A Resplendent Island,” introduced Taiwanese folk music, tourist attractions, and cuisine through an energetic dance.
In the morning of the same day, the Youth Ambassadors were given a tour of the University, led by Assoc. Prof. Fontanilla at the historic Arch of the Centuries, assisted by student leaders from the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters Asian Studies Society.
The Asian Studies students facilitated a tour of the University campus, with a UST Museum tour under the guidance of its Assistant Director Ar. Carlo Sayco. After lunch, student leaders from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery interacted with the Youth Ambassadors.
This year, 75 Taiwan Youth Ambassadors were sent to neighboring countries in three groups that visited two countries each, namely, the Philippines and Malaysia; Thailand and India; and Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, as part of the IYAE, with the theme “Youth Diplomacy Brings Taiwan to You.” The University of Santo Tomas has hosted and engaged with the youth ambassadors for the third consecutive year.