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30/04/2012: Memphis in May International Festival 2012 Honoring the Philippines

Memphis in May International Festival 2012

Honoring the Philippines




On August 9, 2011, officials of the Memphis in May International Festival (MIMIF) announced that the Philippines will be the honored country in the 2012 festival. The Philippines was one of the four finalists from the 19 countries initially considered by the International Selection Committee.


“The Philippine Government and the Filipino people are truly humbled by the privilege bestowed upon the Philippines as the honored country for the 2012 MIMIF – showcasing the best of Philippine culture, cuisine, performances, business practices, and Filipino hospitality. This Festival will clearly demonstrate that “It’s more fun in the Philippines!,” Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said.


For 2012, MIMIF wanted to focus on an Asian country. The selection criteria included historical significance and cultural depth and importance; potential for active support and participation representing the honored country; potential for strengthening existing and developing new commercial trade opportunities; and, positive political and diplomatic relations with the US.


MIMIF is a series of award-winning events and programs that are held in Memphis during the month of May, and a year-round educational focus on an honored country. The festival has been held annually for the past 35 years and has honored at least 30 countries. MIMIF organizes the famous Beale Street Music Festival and the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. The festival attracts at least 300,000 people from all over the US and other countries.


In honoring the Philippines, MIMIF distributed a curriculum guide on the Philippines to schools in Memphis City, administered student exchange program between the Philippines and Memphis, led a tourist delegation to the Philippines, will host exhibits about the Philippines in several museums in Memphis City, feature Philippine cuisine, showcase Filipino performers in different venues including the Orpheum Theater and organize economic and business fora with focus on the Philippines.


Philippine Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. is confirmed to speak at key MIM events to promote the national tourism campaign, “It’s more fun in the Philippines!”  Captains of industry and experts in the fields of business logistics, architecture, life sciences and Philippine commerce will speak before business chambers in Memphis. The Ambassador will also be in Memphis to speak on the special relations between the Philippines and the US and meet with the Filipino-American community at a town hall meeting.


Among the artists scheduled to perform in Memphis are the world renowned Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company, Worldwide Family of Arnis, and Filipino rock band Spongecola. Filipino chef Claude Tayag of the restaurant Bale Dutung in Pampanga, who was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, will also be in Memphis to prepare dinner menu at the historic Peabody Hotel. The famous Cebu lechon (roasted pig), courtesy of Marco Polo Plaza Cebu, will compete in the World Championship Barbecue Contest. And, critically-acclaimed films from the Philippines will also be shown at the Memphis Film Series.


The following exhibits are scheduled to run at the following museums from May 1-31, 2012:


  1. Memphis Brooks Museum of Art - Floating Warps and Guiding Heddles: Philippine Textiles from the Museo Ilocos Norte
  2. Memphis Botanic Gardens – Flora de Filipinas
  3. Memphis Central Library Gallery – Art Collection of the Philippine Center in New York
  4. National Civil Rights Museum – Revolution Revisited (Collection of EDSA People Power photos by photojournalist Kim Komenich)
  5. Mississippi River Museum – Corregidor Island Story  (Corregidor was a World War II battleground)


A 33-member MIM delegation, led by Councilman Myron Lowery of the City of Memphis and representing the honorable AC Wharton, Mayor of the City of Memphis, and MIMIF President & CEO James Holt, visited Manila and Cebu last 17-25 March to “explore opportunities and showcase Memphis heritage.”


Memphis in May International Festival is a non-profit, community-based organization that contributes to the economic growth of the community, fosters civic pride, promotes awareness of Memphis heritage, and builds international relationships and understanding. END