The Great British Festival at BGC: A peek at British culture

One of the things I like about Bonifacio High Street ,BGC is that they hold events that can be educational for the kids. So far, they’ve had an event that showcased the Filipino culture, another the Chinese culture and a fellow mommy blogger wrote about the event on Germany recently. I don’t know how I learned about The Great British Festival, I’m sure it was through the internet, but I made a mental note to take the kids to see it.

I’ve been hearing about the richness of the British culture from a couple who’ve been our friends for years. In fact, their son is our godson. The man of the house is Brit so he tries to bring in his heritage into their lifestyle as much as he can to familiarize their children with their roots. Well, since I’m closer to the wife, I hear more about their meals, especially during the holidays.

Anyway, I thought it would be a good mini-field trip so I prepared the kids after my work on Saturday, walked to Jay’s workplace to wait for him get done so we can all go to Bonifacio High Street to see what they had set up for the event.

The Cars and Doctor Who

At the entrance of Bonifacio High Street was a mini-prop of the great London Tower bridge, and because I meant it to be an educational trip, I made everyone go through it.

The Mini Cooper exhibit at The Great British Festival

There were a lot of British-made cars on display. We first saw the Rolls Royce and the Mini-Cooper. We also saw some modern British fashion displayed and the first replica we had the kids take pictures with was the old school phone booth. Now I’m not sure why there was a phone booth there, Wikipedia credits its invention to American William Gray although there was a mention of it being installed for the first time in London in May 1903.

Phone booth at The Great British Festival

Here’s what I think: I think that that phone booth was put there as a representation of the popular British Science Fiction series, Doctor Who.  I’ve only been able to watch one episode so I’m no expert on it, but I do know that the time-travelling doctor enters what seems like a phone booth outside, but a huge space traveling machine he refers to as TARDIS inside. The thing, though,  is that the phone booth in the show is blue not red, hmmmm.

And….a month later, while browsing London on the internet with my son for a home school activity, we noticed that the phone booths they have in England are all red ones. So it’s not a Doctor Who thing after all, but just an attempt to recreate the streets of London. In fact, in the picture, there was a red phone booth a few feet away from Big Ben which is how one of the phone booths were set up.

One Direction and Music

They had a big screen setup in one of the grassy areas which they refer to as ‘Cinema at the Park’ and for Saturday, the featured show was a “One Direction” special. As expected, there were plenty of girls  screaming every time Harry comes out doing some “cute”, scream-worthy thing (rolls eyes) like pose for a photo shoot showing his back (go figure!).

Modern British Fashion at The Great British Fesival

According to Inquirer.net, the festival would also be featuring Harry Potter, Wallace and Gromit, Sherlock Holmes, and Notting Hill.

Jay and I grooved a little to Robbie William’s Rock DJ towards the other end of Boni High and were pretty surprised to find out that Rod Stewart was British. We’ve always thought he was American! Now that’s education for us right there, hah!

Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge and Big Ben

Pablo and I had a little argument about the Buckingham Palace prop. He says it’s a mansion and I said it was some sort of City Hall. Okay, so I don’t know how Buckingham Palace looked like but I did my research when we got home and immediately talked to my son about it.

Replica of the Buckingham Palace at The Great British Festival

Judah and Lukas were so thrilled to see a castle miniature and I don’t know why there’s one, but we also saw a Mickey Mouse statue.

Mickey and Castle at The Great British Festval

It was a bit hard to get a picture by the Stonehenge miniature because the area was dark and there were a lot of women posing around it like they were posing for America’s Next Top Model, but we did get a chance to take a picture of Pablo by one of the boulders. Later on, when we googled, we found out that the Stonehenge was of the prehistoric times and that it may have been used as a graveyard in those days.

Stonehenge replica at The Great British Festival

We also took pictures at the miniature of Big Ben, the world’s third tallest free-standing clock tower. I hope one day, my kids would be able to see the real Big Ben up close.

Big Ben mini standee at The Great British Festival

The Great Loch Ness Monster???

One of the really cool exhibits was the one of the Loch Ness Monster which, to Pablo, looked like a floating Brachiosaurus. They put it in one of the fountain pools and it was made of light mache so it was floating around. The kids were laughing when it neared them.

THE BIG QUESTION, though, is why was it there????  Isn’t that part of Scotland’s history?

The Loch Ness Monster at The Great British Festival

I did a little more research and found out that GREAT BRITAIN is England AND Scotland. So the Loch Ness Monster wasn’t out of place, after all.  Did you know that Great Britain and Britain aren’t the same thing? I think it’s great when you learn things you didn’t know before. Some people are so afraid of being called “stupid” so they just don’t ask. I’m glad I asked or I would’ve stayed ignorant of that detail. That’s the beauty of education, you can seek for answers.

Why they had the Mickey Mouse statue at the event is still a mystery to me. I welcome anyone of you who can enlighten me on it.

Can’t identify Brit food

I wanted to wrap up the evening by taking the kids to try out a British meal but looking around, we couldn’t identify if any of the restaurants around were British. I’m pretty sure “New Orleans” is American. With my limited knowledge of the culture, I was hoping to find one that had the word “Tavern” or “Pub” to its name, but sadly, we saw none.

Well  we had experienced a bit of Brit food at the Abbeys every time they invite us over for dinner and I cooked Cottage Pie once but we didn’t actively inform our kids that it was Brit food. So the plan now is to research on a typical Brit family meal and prepare that soon. But for the evening, we just walked to SM Aura and had our dinner at the food court.

Looking forward to more culture-centered activities at Boni High

I’m not so sure if the people at Bonifacio High Street were aware that they were being introduced to a culture. Bonifacio High Street is always filled with people, many are clueless of the events going on.

Okay, there wasn’t a lot being taught about the British at the event, but for my kids, I thought it was a good introduction.

But I kind of hoped that there would be some people dressed up in historical costumes, passing around flyers, giving out taste tests, people talking about British culture and history at every setup and selling those wacky hats like they did in that one “Friends” episode shot in England. I hoped for a more interactive experience but then again, the event was running for three days and we came in the evening so we may have missed those.

Rolls Royce exhibit at The Great British Festival

So far, we’re okay. There was enough education at The Great British Festival for the kids to absorb. We look forward to more of this. Just one of the perks of living near Bonifacio High Street.

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18 Comments

  1. Wow! I wonder until when will this exhibit be for? I have to go! I was actually born in the UK and lived in London until I was 15. This will surely bring back so many memories for me.

  2. I passed by BGC last Saturday after attending an event and saw the festival. However, I was in a hurry and I didn’t really get to explore closely. Looks like you and your kids had a fun learning experience though. Can’t wait to see what culture BGC will explore next! 🙂

  3. now i really wish I live nearer. I am fascinated with anything Brit + my little man is, too. Am sure he would have enjoyed all these lovely attractions! hopefully this festival is still on when we go to BGC next week for a blogging event!

  4. I’ve heard about this event and did not go even if i wanted too because BCG is too far way from where I live now (we used to live near BGC).This is a great event and yes I agree with you, if there have been people explaining or givng flyers around that would have been better because it looks like its just there for picture taking purposes more than for education sake.

  5. Hi May! Thanks so much for writing about the Great British Festival. The British Embassy is launching the third season of the GREAT campaign, and we would like to invite you to some of our events. May we please ask for your email address? You can also send us an email at [email protected] Thanks!

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