Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Trade Fair in Haifa

Trade Fair in Haifa, Israel

Our Embassy in cooperation with the Municipality of Haifa and the Federation of Pilipino Communities in Israel (FFCI) successfully concluded the Philippine Fair 2006 held at Castra Center in Haifa, Israel on 09-10 July 2006.

Hundreds of Israelis trooped to the Castra Center to witness the fair which was launched last year and was made an annual event upon the request of Castra Center owners and the Municipality of Haifa.

An exhibit of ethnic Costumes, textiles and products as well as the history of Israel and Phil relations were set up at the entrance of the mall which attracted the crowd.

The Cultural show highlighted the event with a wonderfully choreographed cultural dance numbers. Dances from the Cordilleras awed the audience as the Embassy and Jerusalem dancers performed traditional dances which animates rituals and ceremonies.

Authentic costumes ranging from the "bahag" or loin cloth to the ladies balancing clay pots and baskets on their heads were enough to keep the audience glued to their seats.

Mrs. Aviva Dankner, owner of Castra Center welcomed the Filipinos on its second year in the Center. She said that “the colorful and vibrant culture of the Pilipinos prompted her to request the embassy to make the event an annual celebration”.

I was my first time to visit Castra Center. It is not just any average mall, but was more like a cultural center where galleries and exhibits are housed. Castra Center's unique architectural design is one of its top draws.

First Time in Haifa

Haifa is 1 to 1 1/2 hours away from Tel Aviv. And you know you are nearing Haifa once the sea is in sight.

In fact, I thought Haifa is such a unique place, being sandwiched by both the seas and the mountains. The length of Mediterranean Coast from Tel Aviv to Haifa would be more or less 98 kilometers.

As I approached the city, the modern buildings become more apparent. One that stands out is that of Intel's. I can see residential neighborhoods crowding Mount Carmel - and perhaps hotels and inns too.

I learned that Haifa is home to many factories, and oil and chemical manufacturing firms and a leading provider of blue collar employment to many Israelis. This would only mean Haifa's importance in Israel's economic growth.

One trivia: Haifa is the only place in Israel where buses run even on Shabbat.

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