A taste of Europe: Distinct food, diverse cultures delight Filipinos in ‘Euro Village’

Have you ever wanted to eat authentic Belgian waffles, wander around Copenhagen, or learn the romance languages like French and Italian? The European Union (EU) Delegation to the Philippines brought these experiences to Filipinos through the “Euro Village” cultural festival.

The Euro Village, held from June 3 to 4 at the Pasig City Capitol Commons, was a one-stop shop for citizens to have a taste of Europe by eating each of the countries’ staple snacks, meals, and drinks; discovering learning opportunities through educational institutions; and exploring other cultural aspects of countries within the EU.

(Photo by Khriscielle Yalao / MANILA BULLETIN)

The weekend-long event, organized by the EU Delegation to the Philippines, led by EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron, in partnership with EU member states, embassies, and organizations, opened its doors to the public for free on Saturday, June 3.

Ambassadors Michel Parys of Belgium, Jana Sediva of Czech Republic, Titanilla Toth of Hungary, Marielle Geraedts, Chargé d'Affaires, ad interim and Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz of Poland, along with other representatives from the EU embassies and consuls, graced the village's opening ceremony.

Lone City Representative Roman Romulo and City Administrator Atty. Geronimo Manzanero attended the event on behalf of the Pasig City local government.

This is the first ever Euro Village festival in the Philippines.

Flavors of Europe

Booths offered food and beverages, clothing items, and souvenirs, highlighting each country's signature products.

Upon entering the village, visitors were greeted with the sweet smell of freshly cooked, authentic waffles from Belgium. Belgian ice cream and savory fries were also sold at their booth.

Aside from selling bottles of Danish Cocio chocolate milk drinks and other snacks, the Denmark booth also offered visitors a chance to simulate the experience of biking on the roads of Copenhagen through virtual reality (VR). A stationary bicycle was also used by participants for a more immersive VR experience.

The Czech Republic booth offered individual or group deals as it sold the country’s famous Pilsner Urquell beer.

The Netherlands booth presented its unique pastries, namely stroopwafel (flat waffle-like cookies), and the poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes).

Poland showcased two of its well-known beverage brands — Royal Apple, selling organic and fresh apple juices; and Mlekovita, with variants of cow’s milk and other dairy products.

Visitors wander through the booths at the Euro Village in Pasig City on June 3, 2023. (Photo by Khriscielle Yalao / MANILA BULLETIN)

Romania gave free samples of two of their popular pastries, including the cozonac (Romanian raisin bread or walnut roll), and covrigi (Romanian pretzels).

The Germany booth presented its aromatic German coffee, an assortment of wheat breads and rye, along with the flammekueche (flatbread or pizza).

French pastries such as croissants, cinnamon or raisin swirls, crepes, and torsades (custard or chocolate twists) were also sold.

Amid the abundance of sweet options, the Hungary booth offered more savory delicacies with its authentic smokey Hungarian sausages. The Italy booth served customers signature Italian pastas and wines.

A special booth was also installed for Ukraine by the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Manila. The inclusion of the country in the Euro Village “signified the EU’s solidarity during these challenging times of Russian aggression and occupation.”

“We are honored to showcase Ukrainian products and culture, standing alongside them in their struggle,” said Amb. Veron.

Another booth was also dedicated to acquiring information about the EU as a socio-political and economic institution.

Language, sports

Along with the food, each country also gave country guides, booklets and pamphlets, detailing their tourism programs and brief primers on their history and culture.

The village also featured a language center where visitors could inquire about the services offered by language institutions. Booths for the Philippine Italian Association, Goethe-Institut Philippinen, Alliance française, and Instituto Cervantes were open to those wishing to learn Italian, German, French, and Spanish, respectively.

More athletic visitors were also given the chance to try teqball, a sport invented in Hungary that combines elements of sepak takraw and table tennis. Demonstrations were made by members of the Teqball Federation of the Philippines.

Teqball demonstrations at the Euro Village in Pasig City on June 3, 2023. (Photo by Khriscielle Yalao / MANILA BULLETIN)

In keeping with the event’s motif, visitors were encouraged to sign up for a “digital passport,”  where they could collect stamps by participating in activities or purchasing items available at each country's booth. A prize was given to those who collected all 20 stamps.


Fulfilling the EU’s commitments to sustainability and the green economy, the village also partnered with many environmental companies to “minimize waste and plastic usage, setting an example for responsible event management,” said Veron.

Among their affiliated partners were SACHI-Group Inc., EcoNest PH, Sentinel Upcycling Technologies, SoilMate by the SoilMate Collective and World Wide Fund (WWF) Philippines, SOS Philippines, Green Space, and Food Rescue.

Trash bins for recyclables like pet bottles, beer or glass bottles, and beer or metal cans were utilized for proper waste segregation. All purchased items were also placed in paper bags or ecobags.

EU-PH cultural exchange

Euro Village served as an introduction to the wider public of the diversity that exists within European countries, as a way of strengthening the cultural exchange and ties between the EU and the Philippines.

“This event truly represents a melting pot of European cultures, highlighting cultural connectivity and shared values that have nurtured our relationship with the Philippines,” Veron remarked.

EU and other European embassy officials, along with Pasig City government officers, at the welcome arc, formally opening the Euro Village on June 3, 2023 in Pasig City. (Photo by Khriscielle Yalao / MANILA BULLETIN)

Euro Village was part of the EU’s celebration of Europe Day last May 9, which marked the anniversary of the declaration establishing the EU itself.

“We extend this celebration to the Filipino public, embracing the opportunity to share the richness of European cultures,” he added.

The ambassador also announced that the Euro Village is one of the activities included in the EU’s countdown to the 60th anniversary of EU-Philippines diplomatic relations that will begin in early 2024.

Filipinos can expect “wide-ranging programs and activities that we plan to ignite the spirit of camaraderie and deepen the bonds between our nations. This milestone signifies the enduring partnership and shared values that shaped and will continue to shape our relationships over the years,” said the ambassador.

Rep. Romulo and Atty. Manzanero urged their Pasig City constituents to take the opportunity to immerse and revel in the activities in the festival.

“This is a perfect opportunity for us Filipinos and the various nations in the EU to have a good people-to-people relationship. We all know that when we talk about the EU, it’s always government and politics. We have an opportunity to see how our friends in Europe live – their food, culture, the sports that they have,” said Rep. Romulo.

“The Euro Village represents the true meaning of unity and diversity, showcasing distinct heritage and rich flavors of each EU nation,” Atty. Manzanero added.