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(21 March 2023, Singapore)  Who would have thought that one could feel an instant connection to his/her Filipino roots with a quick visit to Robertson Quay in Singapore?

Ambassador Medardo G. Macaraig had this realization when he visited Robertson Quay one Friday afternoon after work. At the heart of Robertson Quay are sites, such as the STPI Gallery; Alkaff Bridge; and Kubô, a Filipino-inspired Woodfired Kitchen; where a Filipino living in Singapore could instantly feel a connection to the motherland and ignite a sense of belonging and pride.

Named after Municipal Counsellor Dr. J. Murray Robertson, Robertson Quay is a tourist attraction transformed into a historical wharf along the Singapore River. The area, widely popular among tourists, locals and expatriates in Singapore, is now dotted  with alfresco dining spots and is considered one of the centers of art and culture.

Together with the Embassy’s Cultural and Public Diplomacy Sections, Ambassador started the tour with a visit to the STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery (formerly known as Singapore Tyler Print Institute), a dynamic creative workshop and contemporary art gallery based in Singapore that specializes in artistic experimentation in the medium of print and paper. Established in 2009, STPI  has since collaborated with over 90 artists from all over the world including well-known Filipino artists such as Ben Cabrera (a.k.a. BenCab), Pacita Abad, Anita Magsaysay-Ho, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Lyra Garcellano, and Manuel Ocampo.

Just across the gallery is the colorful Alkaff Bridge. Considered as Singapore’s first Art Bridge, it  features the artwork of the late Filipina artist Pacita Abad. The bridge has since then become a landmark in Singapore’s tourism and arts scene. Originally painted in 2004, Alkaff Bridge was repainted in June 2019 as part of a series of commemorative events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Singapore. The Alkaff Bridge stands colorful and bright, a nod to the vibrant, close cooperation, and friendship between the  two countries. 

Pacita Abad was a resident artist at STPI in 2003 when she, along with a team of rope specialists, painted the 55-meter long Alkaff Bridge with 2,350 multicolored circles. “The painted bridge is my gift to the people of Singapore”, Abad commented. She succumbed to lung cancer a few months after completing the work. 

To cap the day, Ambassador Macaraig, or Amba Dary, as he is fondly called by many, visited Kubô, a Filipino-inspired kitchen-restaurant that showcases traditional Filipino barbecuing techniques, Filipino culture and Filipino hospitality. Co-owned and run by a Filipino Chef, Mr. Kurt Sombero, Kubô aims to introduce to the international palate dishes with Filipino flare and favors.

“This is a tour that brings any Filipino closer to home. I hope our Kababayans find time to also find ways to reconnect with their culture and heritage while in Singapore, amid their work or studies and personal affairs”, Ambassador Macaraig  commented. (END).

Watch the video highlights here:

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