Dagupan City, Pangasinan – “As you exhibit your works- the works of your hands, the works of your minds, the expression of your souls, don’t forget you are Filipinos. Share your songs, share your music, share your works of art, share whatever you have in developing your schools, learn from each other, and tell each other that we are all Filipinos.”

These were the motivations conveyed by Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones to the participants and delegates of the National Festival of Talents (NFOT) during the opening ceremonies held in the Jimmy L. Fernandez CSI Stadia in Dagupan City, Pangasinan on January 29, 2019.

Briones cited that the Filipino soul is expressed in poetry, music, language, and dance; as joy is articulated in dance and in music. “The Filipino soul will go on and don’t forget that even we will dance all the modern dances, at heart we are Filipinos; don’t forget where we came from,” she said.

The Education secretary elucidated that the Department of Education (DepEd) commits itself not only for the development of learners in sciences and the things that makes life wonderful and comfortable but also on those things that appeal to the soul, sense of identity, give beauty, and help individuals to survive in all the challenges that they will be facing.

“Many exciting things are happening, but we must repay our soul; that makes us different from the robots, and from other life forms whether they are already here or under the process of development,” Secretary Briones added.

Briones also underscored that the DepEd would like to produce learners who have the capacity to face the challenges of the 21st century; learners who are into science, technology, genetics, space, robotics, and physics. However, these should be balanced with literature, culture, arts, history, and different services as Filipinos are critical thinkers, creative, and innovative.

Meanwhile, the NFOT which was joined by more than 3,000 participants opened with Bayle sa Kalye, a street dance exhibition which reflects the culture, history, legacy, and products of the 17 regions of the country.

The performances were based on the event’s theme, “Celebrating Diversity through the Performance of Talents and Sustainable Inclusive Education.”