Attendance at the Manila regional conference pushed past 1,000 people as Baha’is from eight countries, territories, and islands met at a two-day conference in the capital of the Philippines. Nearly 700 people from the Philippines itself were joined by friends from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Caroline Islands, Mariana Islands, and Marshall Islands.
Such diverse gatherings of people who don’t all speak English apparently are not that common in Manila, as organizers struggled to find enough rental headsets to provide translation for everyone desiring it. The conference was held in the 1,000-seat theater of Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, named after the first president of the Philippine Republic.
A few days ago I returned from a wonderful regional Baha’i conference in the city of Manila - the capital of the Philippines. There were over 1,000 Baha’is attending from 8 different countries in Asia to celebrate achievements that have been made and to consult about how to be more effective in our service to humanity. The conference was a short and intense 2 days, yet very inspiring as there were talks and workshops to enable the participants to plan and set goals for the upcoming months.
I had the bounty of being asked to sing at the conference so I chose a piece from my CD, Fire and Gold which I sang in English and Arabic. I was informed the day before the conference began that I would have that blessing and realized how important it is for a musician to be prepared to perform at any given time. I had a couple of hours to think about which piece I wanted to sing and managed to practice it several times. Luckily I brought a CD of backtracks for the pieces just in case I needed them. The performance went very well and I felt extremely blessed to be able to sing at the conference.
On the way to the conference there were about 50 Baha'is from Macau all on the same plane! Walking down the aisle say hello to about half the plane is a very interesting experience. It gives you the feeling that half the world is already Baha'i! When we arrived we were greeted by smiling friends with signs saying: “Baha’i Regional Conference”! Seeing that and realizing that the expression and excitement that was arising in myself was showing forth in everyone else around me!