The 9th World FMA Festival in Bohol, Philippines
The 9th World FMA festival is over and one can say, that it was a big success. Almost 110 participants from 14 nations, about 70 coming from Canada, USA, Brasil, France, England, Scotland, Finnland, Germany, Rumania, Australia, Japan, Pakistan and Hong Kong. the other 40 participants came from the Philippines.
But let me start at the beginning:
GM Bambit Dulay organized the first MATTI gathering Friday and Saturday before the FMA festival in the japanese garden in Luneta park. About 70 participants came to train with the different instructors. The mood was good, the training intense and besides the filipino instructors, many foreign Arnis instructors, Masters and Grandmasters taught, like Ed Kwan from the USA, Jason Bassels from Canada, Micael d‘Arcy from Australia, Brian Zawilinski from the USA and others. From Germany, Jörg Karpa and myself taught.
Final words and demonstration of my Tapi-Tapi lesson in Luneta.
This event was especially for filipinos, who could not attend the FMA festival in Bohol.
In the afternoon ther was a large MATTI grading, supervised by GM Bambit Dulay and some others. 30-35 participants wenf for a new degree. The insight into the MATTI program and the execution was very interesting, so that we watched the grading the whole time. Afer the results were told, all the examenees got strikes with the belt (or a stick) on their bottom, the traditional way to do it.
During the gatheing, all attending black belts were honored by giving them the „Lakan Dula“ Medaille verliehen.
(find here more informatikon about it): https://descendantsoflakandula.blogspot.nl/2018/03/the-lakan-bunao-dula-medallion-of.html?m=1.
From Germany, Sebastian Wales, Jörg Karpa and myself as well as Laurent Hit from Frankreich, who also is a DAV member, received the honor.
Even the President of the Philippines, Rody Duterte, has published this on his facebook site with a picture and some of the names.
GM Bambit wants to organize this gathering in the future always before the FMA festival. This is a great opportunity for participants of the FMA festival, to get even more training in the Philippines.
On Sunday mornig, GM Brian Zawilinski and I wanted to go to Luneta park, to viisit GM Rodel Dagooc and his training.
We had breakfast in the hotel, asked something at the receptipon and took the elevator up to 9th level to our room 923. 5 minutes later we took the elevator to go nback down to the lobby. When the door opened, the lobby was full of smoke tür and nobody in the lobby or at the receprion More smoke came from the left side, where the casino was situated. Our hotel was on fire!
Brian and I crossed the lobby quickly to exit the hotel and saw the smoke and flames coming out of the hotel casino.
When we were in front of the hotel, there was no firetruck yet.After a few mionutes, the first firetruck arrived, the driver in flip flops and t-shirt. We thought if this is the level of fire fighting in the philippines, then goodbye hotel. But more and more fire trucks and ambulances came with professional equipment.
We went to GM Rodels training to Luneta and to his book presentation.
When we came back to the hotel about 1 1/2 hours later, we saw about 20-25 fire trucks and about as many ambulances.
Ths was on a differnt level now. It was annoying, that we left all our gear in the roomand I mean ALL our gear: Passports, money,tickets, Brians mobile phone, most of my camera equipmentand all of our clothes.
And next morning at 6:00 am we had booked a flight to Bohol to get the the FMA festival, that shoud start Monday at noon. Well, not for Brian and myself.
We were brought in another hotel to register get some food and to rebook the flights. But rebook to when?
There were very few reliable official information. So it was good, that Wilma Dulay, the wife of GM Bambit Dulay, helped us and introduced us to Tek Victoria and his friend. They were working at the fire department and at the security of the presidential palace. From then on, we had more reliable information. Officially we were told, that we could get our gear on Sunday night still. Tek said: “ no way, the fire is still burning.” He was right. So we were brought to Manila Hotel, which we did not resist to. Because Manila Hotel is the best five star hotel in Manila.
On Monday morning, the participants flew to Boho. Here are some parts from the blog of my student Sebastian Wales:
„In Bohol we landed on a very small and cozy airport. They are really only two rooms, one for the arrival and one for the departure. With several vans we were brought to the resort. After the check in at the hotel, we still had to register for the 9th FMA world festival. And like last time, the reception was like coming back to your own family that you have not seen for a while. It is hard to describe how great it is, when people from 14 nations come together. Some of them you already know from one of the previous festivals. So there were lots of hellos, hugs and great conversations. After that, I had to look at the great resort.
A walk from the house to the beach at Dumaluan Beach Resort
The resort is situated directly at the beach with several bungalos and two main house under a lot of palm trees. The superwhite beach with turquoise water immediately caught my attention.
After the first delicious mango shake I went straight into the water. It was pleasantly warm the sun was shining. A place like in the dream. What more can one ask for?
The meals were served in buffet form only 10 m away from the beach. The food was very good to excellent and I can only tell positive things about it. From 2:00 till 6:30 pm, the first training took place directly at the beach underneath the palm trees. The participants were separated in three different groups and the instructors changed to the next group after 90 minutes.”
The teaching was held by a mixture of filipino Masters and Grandmasters like GM Rene Tongson, GM Bambit Dulay, GM Peachie Barong, GM Max Pallen, GM Nestee Luis and others as well as western teachers like GM Brian Zawilinski, GM Bram Frank, Master Michael Bates, Master Tomi Harell, Master Ed Kwan, and myself and some others.
Taught was the whole bandwith of FMA: empty hands, locks, singlestick, double sticks, Espada y Dada, bolo, knife and one can say, that everybody has learned a lot, no matter how long they have already trained in the FMA.
Now again Basti Wales:
„“At night, the welcome dinner was organized. There were welcome talks and some organizational remarks. After that, one could enjoy the evening with very tasty fruit shakes and good live music and not always so good karaoke singers.
On Tuesday morning I got up at 5:30 AM to watch the sunrise at the beach. Google told me, that the precise time was 5:48. The sky was glowing in a tender blue. Except a few clouds far out over the sea, the sight was very clear and the cool breeze was refreshing. Some boats were near the shore in the water and a group of dogs was playing at the beach, enjoying the freedom. As the sun finally rose, the sun was painting the sky with different shades of yellow, orange and red, which was reflected on the water. I could feel immediately the power of the sun on my skin. Everybody should have experienced this at least once in his lifetime.”
While the participants of the camp were sweating during their training, Brian and I were brought into another hotel. Unfortunately not as nice as Manila Hotel. The new information that the morning was, that the fire was extinguished and we would become our gear in the afternoon. Our internal information from Tek was: “It is still burning.” Which was true. The fire was officially extinguished on Monday morning 11 o’clock. In the afternoon they told us, that they started to retrieve the luggage from the hotel. New information from Tek: “they found places that are still smoking.” Everything stopped again.
Again, we didn’t know anything. In the meantime, Wilma Dulay apply pressure’s to the officials, how important it is, that our room 923 was given priority and so on. Monday evening we got new information from Tek. Through the presidential fire birgade he also insisted, that our room would be prioritized. So he told us, that we should be at 7 o’clock in the morning at the firefighters headquarters in front of the hotel and that we could get our luggage at 7 o’clock in the morning.
We were only thinking: Groundhog Day
Of course, we were there at 7 o’clock in the morning, unfortunately the responsible contact person was not.
But Wilma Dulay was there.
So she found an official from the fire department and talked and talked and talked to him and finally we heard him talking into his walkie-talkie: “priority to room 923. You have 15 minutes to bring down the luggage. We thought: “Is that really happening now?” And after 15 minutes, we could hardly believe it, there were three firefighters walking down the street with our luggage. Stinking from the smoke, damp from the sprinklers, but complete with money, passport, tickets, Brian’s mobile phone my camera equipment and everything else. We were very relieved, as you can imagine.
Then we rebooked the flights and after a lot of hassle we finally sat in the plane and at about 4 PM we arrived in Bohol, where we were met at the airport and brought to the camp. We gave our stuff to the laundry because you could smell the smoke badly. We got it back on Friday evening.
And then, the camp started for us too, meeting all our friends.
Wednesday, was again training all day.Brian and I taught in the afternoon. We were really looking forward to teaching at the beach, but due t o heavy rain, we had to teach inside.
Then there was a lot of eating, drinking fruit shakes and great conversations. The meals were really really good and one could always find somebody to talk to from different countries to make new friends or talk to old friends.
Thursday was free for a tourist trip to get to know Bohol more. Most of the participants took part.
Ferdinand Misko wrote:
“We left at 8 AM to visit the impressive chocolate hills, then the park with the Tarsiers, the smallest monkeys in the world and finally we had lunch during a river cruise on the beautiful Loboc river and then some more activities.
Very nice day on the island.”
For I had seen the island before, I did not take part in the trip, but I did some scuba diving from the beach of Panglao, which was beautiful and very relaxing.
Friday was again a day of training training training. The main focus was training with the knife and against a knife attack.
Everybody had a great time.
Friday evening was the time for the gala night. There were talks, demonstrations and some people were honered. I received the Remy A Presas award, which was a great honor for me.
Laurent, my French student, who brought six of his students from France to the festival, had collected money and he donated two computers and laptops and a printer to a school in Bohol. Great efforts Laurent.
Through Michael Bates of the Modern Arnis Hall of Fame Foundation, I had the possibility to induct Laurent Hit from France into the Modern Arnis Hall of Fame. Congratulations Laurent.
The evening continued with demonstrations of different delegations. I made a small Modern Arnis exhibition with my students Jörg Karpa and Sebastian Wales.
Furthermore, Brazil, Finland and Romania were officially accepted it in the WORLDWIDE FAMILY OF MODERN ARNIS, WFMA.
Altogether very memorable evening.
Now some conclusions of some of the participants.
“Altogether, the 9th FMA festival was again great because of the teaching and friendship between the participants.
Thanks to all the organizers who works in the background, invisible to us, to make this festival a great success”
“The week of the ninth FMA festival for me was like a dream. It was a great honor to meet and experience all the grandmasters. The training on that shady training spot as well as the accommodation was very pleasant so that one could have long and relaxed talks in the evening while having a very tasty mango shake.
The gala night was another highlight, being there while people were honored and the presentations that were given. I hope, that I can participate at the next festival as well.”
“The ninth FMA world festival in Panglao, Bohol, on the Philippines was again worthwhile. I have seen many friends from all over the world again and made at least as many new friends. The whole group was like a big family. The training was excellent and when do you have the possibility to come up to train under so many masters and grandmasters? The resort was perfect the food was extremely tasty, the weather was like a dream and the mango shakes were so good, that from Wednesday on, at lunchtime, they were sold out already every day.
I am already looking forward to the jubilee camp 2020 in the Philippines, where the 10th FMA festival will take place, and I can only recommend this to all FMA practitioners.
For me as well, the festival was great success despite all the problems we had at the beginning in Manila. Why?
For one, because through the fire in Manila, we could again experience the unbelievable hospitality and friendship of the Filipinos. Amazing.
And also under another well: Alfred Plath and myself are the founder of the FMA festivals. The first two took place in Germany: Mönchengladbach in 2002 and in Dortmund in 2004.
Then we handed it to the Filipinos. And to see now, that this has evolved to an event, that repeats itself every two years since 16 years and that many participants from all over the world come back again and again, is just great.
So I met old friends from the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines again and again and again, because some of them have already participated up to five times at FMA festival.
But at least as important and nice was the fact, that there were many new countries, that participated the first time at this festival. Especially Finland, Romania and Brazil I found very interesting. To some I had the chance to talk to a lot. This has potential for the next FMA festivals and perhaps we will see some participants from those countries at our DAV summer camp again.
A few words to the security situation.
I know, that’s not a few people from Germany had interest to come to the festival. But they did not come out because they were afraid of the security situation. One has to respect this. During the eight festival we were 36 participants from Germany, this time we were only 10. This is due to that fact.
But I have to say, that all the time, we are absolutely safe and we did not have any feeling of insecurity and there was no securitiy incidents whatshowever.
Everything was very quiet and peaceful.
But the organizers of the festival will take these concens serious and so it is planned, that the 10th festival in 2020 will be held further north, most probably in Luzon.
Also there are thoughts, to extend the festival by one day and together with the gathering of GM Bambit in Manila the weekend before the FMA festival, this would give any visitors from abroad the chance of even more training in the Philippines.
That means, save money and block the dates as soon as they are official, so that we can come back to the Philippines for the 10th FMA World festival in 2020.
Text also from Sebastian Wales, Ferdinand Misko and Alexander Borowski,
Pictures copyright Dieter Knüttel, Sebastian Wales