SONGSOPTOK: Festivals have always existed in human society. We all agree that festivity plays an important role in our lives. What would be your personal definition of festival and festivity in the context of today’s society?

ARMELI QUEZON:  Festivals nowadays are events showcasing  a place’s products, a district’s history, a school’s winnings or parents’ day, a community’s cultural presentations, a church’s patron saint’s birthday, a  group’s  reunion, artists’ recognition or a schedule of  series of movies …

SONGSOPTOK: Throughout the ages, one of the underlying objectives of festivals was to bring people closer together and create a link. In the context of today’s competitive and egocentric society, do you think that this objective is actually achieved by festivals?

ARMELI QUEZON:  In a way, yes. The festivals make people group together for a certain purpose as defined by the organizers. Different agenda, different conglomeration, different achievements mark each festival. The group in the society select the festival’s what , why and how of each and attend their own Ideology patterns with.

SONGSOPTOK: Do you think that the form and content of festivals have evolved over time? What is you own experience? In what way would you qualify the evolution?

ARMELI QUEZON:  In the ancient time, festivals were done to celebrate a clan’s winning battles, their head’s birthday/wedding/birth of heir; religious sects’ rituals/holy days and/or  good harvests. Today’s reveal almost the same kind of Contents, plus the schools’ own festival. Having been a Cultural Folk Dancer, choreographer, scriptwriter and director,  plus my 6 year-stint as a Cultural chairman of a community group, I planned some cultural presentations based on my country’s history and the influences of the foreigners. The dances were of the old folks and showed foreigners’ tints. The twist is that of adding some artists’ works on display with conferences,  giving importance to themes of PEACE, unity, respect and positive brotherhood. The festival of artists:

poets/painters/sculptors/photographers/designers/martial arts aficionados with book launches, poetry reading and discussions, workshops with  free lessons on the arts make way to the Festivals.

SONGSOPTOK:   Since antiquity, festivals have served to bring people together and hence closer to each other. To what extent are festivals relevant in the context of today’s intensely competitive society?

ARMELI QUEZON:  True, festivals bring people together. Due to our diversified culture, those who accept integration and immersion with other people, converge together…accepting and understanding differences, working for positive relationships and assisting each group for positive bondings. Those who stick to their own limited group, choose to remain aloof from bigger congregation of different cultures.

SONGSOPTOK: Broadly speaking, there are two sides to all types of festivals – preparation which is essentially materialistic and the celebration. Which aspect is more important for you and why?

ARMELI QUEZON:  Both are important to me. Good Preparation makes better Celebration. Good and detailed preparation involves the logistics, the count-down days to see to it that all aspects needed for the grand celebration are covered, reviewed and set for the celebration. The evaluation after the celebration should also be accounted for to see which were the highlights and weaknesses of the celebrationn done, in the light of having the next celebration a better one…the appreciation to those who had a hand inprparation and  the celebration itself  should aptly be made.

SONGSOPTOK: The essence of festivals lies in the connection between the individual and the collective. To what extent do our individual and family oriented lives helps or hinders this connection?

ARMELI QUEZON:  The festival’s aims and  agenda should be planned with the community’s representatives, covering all the stages of life, all the aspects of the community. With the understanding and participation of each sect, the connection will be stronger and encompassing.

SONGSOPTOK: The origin of most of the festivals seems to be religious; to that extent, almost all festivals are essentially communal since it is the built around the religious sentiments and beliefs of specific communities. Would you say then that such festivals are actually detrimental to world peace and unity?

ARMELI QUEZON:  Whatever religious sects there are in the community, there is a tendency of putting efforts together for the sake of the community’s goal. It takes good, effective leaders to have the goals established and accepted by the majority. The actual living of  the adage being used to elicit the cooperation and participation of the members of the community should be observed. Having laid down the fundamentals of family interaction, the beneficial effects of the festivals will result  to the WORLD PEACE and UNITY that we are working for.

SONGSOPTOK: All religious festivals are social but not all social festivals are religious. Do you think that social festivals should be more important today than religious festivals? Why?

ARMELI QUEZON:  Both are essential to people. The religious are good for spirituality that had long been there , that spells the faith, beliefs, mores, morale of  the people which lead to a peaceful life of love, enlightenments and acceptance. The social festivals bring out responsibilities, actualizations of achievements, appreciations of talents and cooperation. The religious festivals have the same effects, though limited to the religious sects celebrating.

SONGSOPTOK: For countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Israel, Palestine and all other countries that share borders with different religious majority, would you say that religious festivals play a negative role for peace and unity? Please let us have your thoughts on this issue which seem very important to us.

ARMELI QUEZON:  In the eyes of positive people, these festivals are looked up to with reverence, understanding and love. For those with negative minds, they divide the believers. If only we can all have the acceptance that though we have differences, if we have the heart and mind that understand, that accept, that make room for wellness for all, we can live in peace..there will be no greediness, no killings, no oppressions, no tyrannies………POSITIVE BROTHERHOOD will survive and bind all.

SONGSOPTOK: Irrespective of the origin of festivals, whether religious or social, the form and content often varies from one region to another. In fact, regional culture has always been an intrinsic quality of festivals in different parts of the world, often in the case of same festivals. Do you think that today’s globalization could actually wipe out these culturally rich regional influences? Do you think that this is a loss for the human society in general?

ARMELI QUEZON: Understanding and accepting our differences will lead to better immersion in the different cultures..not forgetting one’s native culture, but enriching one’s life with the love and respect for other’s beliefs, mores and traditions…there will be no discriminations of race, sex, color,  caste/level in the society, religion and beliefs…

SONGSOPTOK: If we look closely, we can often find a close relationship between different types of festivals and nature. Would you agree? What is your personal experience?

ARMELI QUEZON: Festivals and Nature…each complements the other. Festivals celebrate harvests, products, handicrafts, arts…Once an artist, always an artist. In my involvement with festivals, nature always makes its way to the heart of the celebration. We use nature’s bounty to make the festivity colorful, inviting and remembered. Mostly built around a theme of appreciation  and achievement, the festival focuses on its preparation and celebration.. ..efforts toward its remembrance long after it is done..souvenirs, plaques, awards are made of nature’s products…food and Costumes are derived from nature…We always derive whatever we use in the festival from nature itself, thus appreciating, nurturing and enhancing its beauty and usefulness. WE make sure that the generations to come will do the same, leaving for them our heritage in writings, poems,  songs, dances and games.

SONGSOPTOK:  Do you think that festivals and celebrations in their present forms can play a role for world peace and unity? If not, how should they evolve to become a message of world peace?

ARMELI QUEZON: Yes, the festivals and celebrations of today, when properly prepared and effectively done, will promote world peace and unity, remembering in their actualization the theme for Peace and Positive Brotherhood, woven with respect, love and positiveness.




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