Cultures bridged 'by the belly'

Ambassador speaks about food's value

EMMA GOODWIN
Last updated 15:51 16/04/2012
Philippines ambassador Virginia Benavidez
Philippines ambassador Virginia Benavidez enjoyed a taste of home at Palmerston North's Te Manawa Museum.

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Getting a taste of a new culture was never so delicious as when 200 people packed together to experience a taste of the Philippines at the Te Manawa Museum in Palmerston North.

The museum's latest interactive display, Migrating Kitchen, continued its schedule of international experiences with an array of cultural food, music and dance at the weekend.

The Philippines ambassador Virginia Benavidez visited and told the large crowd that while holding a lofty position now, as a child she grew up in the kitchen learning how important food was to bring people together.

''It's close to my heart and differences between cultures are best bridged by the belly," she said.

Relaxed and informal, Ms Benavidez was keen to offer her own advice on dishes.

She also told the audience Filipino people were an ''eclectic race''.

''We are not a global power but we are a global population, as more than 10 per cent of our people live overseas.''

She said she always got excellent feedback about her countrymen during her travels.

''I think it's because we speak fluent English, we integrate well and like to join in the community we live in. We also speak from our hearts.''

The Migrating Kitchen is a range of free events celebrating different cultures in the community. France will take the stage on April 21, followed by Russia on April 28 and Cook Islands on May 5.

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- Manawatu Standard

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