AT the recent Great British Festival, life was good—especially to a hardcore fan of all things British, or one who is simply fascinated by them.
One could only easily get lost amid good music, fine wine, as well as great food, sprawling on the breadth and length of the peopled Bonifacio Global City High Street toward the end of February.
British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad made the announcement over what was rather a relatively huge tête-à-tête with the media at his Forbes Park home: To bring together the ingenuity of the his embassy’s staff and some partners to deliver a shared ambition. That was first realized three years ago, when the first festival of the same name took shape to take the same cudgels for British culture.
Ahmad said the merry three-day weekend was one that has managed to truly resonate with the people. This year’s festival, which unfurled from February 24 to 26, was to be the last one under his watch as ambassador to the Philippines.
Roughly half-a-million visitors flocked to see over 100 businesses, education providers and lifestyle features that pervaded the outdoor event. They transformed the setting into a virtual bustling street market of London, complete with hawkers of clothes, gadgets, cheese and drinks, cars and previews of cities of the future—thanks to local companies with British links.
There was also a showcase of local and brit talents singing and painting and sashaying. Not to mention, the novelty Game of Thrones chair, as well as street art and a wonderful one-of-a-kind mural finished live at the venue.
“With the British investment in the Philippines being the largest in the European Union, the UK has enjoyed great commercial success in the Philippines. British brands of apparel, such as fashionable clothes and shoes are among items that Filipinos love. Noteworthy is their appreciation for British-style music and theater,” Ahmad said in an interview. “The festival is something reflective of our trade relationship with the Philippines.”
Britain is the second-fastest growing market in the world, with sales of the country’s products rising by 38 percent in 2015. This was evident in the gamut of items on showcase at the festival, all made up of the British offerings that make the country tick.
Think of Scottish whiskey brand Whyte & Mackay, and the British meat substitute business of Quorn. These companies are now owned by Filipino entities, which means, “that there is a new phenomena of investors from the Philippines, whose products are exhibited at the event,” Ahmad said.
The Great British Festival clearly affirms that Filipino consumers have embraced the UK’s products, and even culture, to heart.