MANILA — A native of Marawi, who talked about European cuisine and its similarities with the Filipino dishes, was adjudged as the grand winner in the essay competition hosted by the European Union (EU).
“I’m dedicating this (award) to the people of Marawi who up to this moment, they are shattered, experiencing so much pain. As a way of boosting their morale, this victory is for them,” Salem Rangiris Jr., who hails from Lanao del Sur, said in an interview.
Rangiris, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the Mindanao State University, believed that he could help alleviate the pain felt by the people of Marawi once he posted his award on Facebook.
In his winning essay, he compared Europe’s foods pair of white chocolate and caviar with Philippines’ bagoong (salty small fish) and mango, or soy sauce and cotton fruit (santol).
Rangiris also talked about the cultures and values among the EU and the Philippines.
He joined the “open category” meant for professionals.
Rangiris, last week, started working at the Department of National Defense’s Philippine Veterans Affairs Office in Quezon City as an administrative clerk.
Meanwhile, students Hannah Joy Ibarra from the University of Santo Tomas and Joshua Angelo Paguia from Mabini Colleges were awarded as category winners for college and high school editions.
During the awarding ceremony held Tuesday in Makati, EU Ambassador Franz Jessen congratulated the winners and praised them for their works.
He also encouraged them to read and to write more about the EU so that they can become “ambassadors of goodwill” for both the EU and the Philippines.
“The power of the written words is enormous and you make better use of them and help in strengthening people-to-people links and in connecting peoples,” Jessen said. “The narratives shared by young Filipinos have led to interesting, exciting and colorful narratives”.
The works of 13 finalists would be published in a booklet during the year.
The Philstar.com, the online media partner of the essay writing contest will publish the works of the Grand and Category Winners.
Winners and finalists also received certificates, medals, plaques and tokens.
The What’s EUr story essay writing competition was open to Filipino youth aged 16 to 35 years old to encourage them to share their narratives linked to the EU whether these be about their travels, impressions, insights about the EU or any of the EU member states.