Yes, you heard that right. This year, at the end of February, Manila hosted its third annual Great British Festival, organised by the British Embassy.
Featuring all things British – and some not so – in a three-day extravaganza on Bonifacio High Street, this event aims to promote everything about Britain, from culture to cuisine. A Shakespeare tent dominates the central point, while a big stage plays host to British movies, live entertainment and competition announcements. As you work your way past miniature landmarks, fashion brand exhibits and food tasting stalls, your mission is to complete a ‘passport’ of stamps to be in with a chance of winning return flights to the UK with Etihad Airways.
As luck, or perhaps fate, would have it, the 2016 festival coincided with my last day in the Philippines and, being British born and bred, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reminisce about everything I left behind when I hopped on a flight to Asia seven months ago.
Yep, I’ll give them this one. Doctor Who is quintessentially British and that’s not a bad replica of the Tardis. It’s not a show I’ve spent much time watching since I was five, unless you count the Christmas Day special, which I only half paid attention to, in order to placate the family. But it did remind me of home, which gave me a little pang of nostalgia.
Now you got me. Any guesses what T Rex was doing there? There are tenuous links to British actors in Jurassic Park and a skeleton in the Museum of Natural History in London, but that’s about all I can think of.
The Giant’s Causeway was one of my favourite miniatures because it was so lame. Floating in a fountain, half of the polystyrene columns had fallen over, and Nessie had apparently drifted over from Scotland. I’d still like to visit Northern Ireland, though, so not all hope is lost.
Well, I never knew that Quorn was British – or at least that it’s only available in select countries around the world, including the lucky few that make up the UK. During my teen years, when I was living at home, we’d treat ourselves to a healthy Quorn burger sandwich at the weekends! For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s a meat substitute made from mycoprotein, but, unlike other alternative meat products, it tastes really good – so good, in fact, that apparently more meat eaters than vegetarians now eat it.
GAME OF THRONES
Right, well this is an American fantasy drama set in a fictional land and filmed on location in Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco, Northern Ireland, Spain, Scotland, and the United States…but I guess a lot of the actors are British, and some of the scenery… And I love the throne!
Here we have a spinning wheel brought to you by the men’s clothes retailer T. M. Lewin. It’s a shame that “Cheers Mate” appears four times, while there’s no sign of “Blimey”, “Nowt”, “Eh Up”, “Sod It”, “Do I ‘Eckers Like”, or “That’s the Badger?”, but all is forgiven because they hit the nail on the head with “Oh Bollocks”.
Yeah…I’ve never been to the real thing, but from what I’ve heard this is actually quite accurate. Can anyone comment?
They really did save the best until last. As the sun began to set, we found ourselves a ‘British Pub’, bought some fish ‘n chips and scotch eggs, heaped on the Sarson’s Vinegar and HP Sauce (it’s been sooooo long!) and perched on the steps to watch the evening’s entertainment. One of the acts performed a song that defined the way I feel about dating, and we rounded off the night at the cinema.
You can take the girl out of Britain, but you can’t take Britain out of the girl…
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