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27 March 2023, Singapore – Twenty-seven (27) Grade 5 students of Filipino, Chinese, Indian and Burmese descent from the Heritage Academy visited the Philippine Embassy in Singapore on 24 March 2023 for an Embassy and Sentro Rizal Familiarization Tour. The students were accompanied by their school principal and other faculty members.  

Hosted by the Philippine Embassy and Sentro Rizal in Singapore, the Familiarization Tour was organized as part of the Academy’s Filipino enrichment program to educate their students of Filipino culture and heritage. The Heritage Academy is an International School with an over 83% Filipino student population. 

Philippine Ambassador Medardo G. Macaraig led the Embassy officers in warmly welcoming the students and teachers of the Academy. It was the first tour at the Philippine Embassy arranged in partnership with a Singapore-run international school. 

In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Macaraig quoted former Philippine Secretary for Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo. “I am a Filipino, inheritor of a glorious past, hostage to the uncertain future. As such, I must prove equal to a two-fold task – the task of meeting my responsibility to the past, and the task of performing my obligation to the future.” The Ambassador expounded that while it is true that we look through the lens of things that came before our time to be able to learn our traditions and culture, our heritage is only as relevant as the spaces we could weave our traditions, food, music, language, and clothing in our daily lives. 

 Embassy officers were also introduced to the students following the Ambassador’s remarks. As a show of their appreciation, the students recited the poem “Ako ay Pilipino.”

The Embassy’s Cultural Section prepared an information session where students learned about the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Singapore, the Embassy’s functions and duties, as well as its ongoing and upcoming projects and activities. The Embassy also introduced Sentro Rizal by showing the videos of Ms. Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Pinoy Pop Band SB19, who are the Arts and Youth Ambassadors of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and Sentro Rizal. The students actively engaged in discussions by answering trivia questions on the Philippines and Singapore and by participating in “hep hep hooray”, a game made popular by a noontime show in the Philippines. 

After the discussions, the students were divided into three (3) groups to visit the three (3) stations and activities, namely, Passport-simulation exercise, Filipino wardrobe experience, and Filipino games and sounds. Following the visits to the stations, the students were treated to a simple merienda of biko, a Filipino dessert made from sticky rice (locally known as malagkit), coconut milk, and brown sugar.

Established in Singapore in 2017 pursuant to the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, Sentro Rizal Singapore aims to promote Philippine arts, culture, and language through its projects, activities, and engagements with Filipinos and Singaporeans alike. (END)

Watch the video highlights here:

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