16 June 2015. Singapore. The 117th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence was observed in Singapore with an array of activities organized by the Philippine Embassy under the leadership of Ambassador Antonio A. Morales and volunteers from the Filipino community comprising the “Lupon ng Araw ng Kalayaan 2015” headed by Pastor Rey Solano.
In the morning of Friday, 12 June 2015, Ambassador Morales led the flag-raising ceremony at the grounds of the Philippine chancery along Nassim Road. Ebassy personnel as well as leaders, members and friends of the Filipino community in Singapore participated in the ceremony. Madame Shirlene C. Mananquil, wife of Ambassador Morales, also came to join the activity.
Officers of the Embassy, the attached agencies and representatives of the Filipino community joined Ambassador Morales in raising the Philippine flag, in the recital of the “Panunumpa sa Watawat” and “Panunumpa ng mga Kawani ng Gobyerno” and in the reading of the messages of President Benigno S. Aquino III, Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. del Rosario and Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz. Representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Churches and the Filipino-Muslim community in Singapore led the ecumenical prayer.
Ambassador Morales thanked the Filipino community and their friends for their presence. He reminded the audience of the sacrifices of Philippine heroes who fought for the country’s liberty and to emulate their good deeds. Ambassador Morales encouraged the Filipino community to continue playing their role as “ambassadors”, mirror the good image of the Philippines and to help promote good relations with Singapore.
The ceremony was highlighted by a performance of Philippine songs by visiting Philippine soprano Stefanie Quintin. A salu-salo featuring traditional Philippine favourites such as “suman with tsokolate” soon followed.
In the evening of 12 June 2015, Ambassador Morales hosted a reception at the Tower Ballroom of the Shangri-La Hotel. Singapore was represented by Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan as Guest of Honour and Members of Parliament Dr. Janil Putucheary, MP Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Mr. Alvin Yeo, MP Chua Chu Kang GRC. The crowd comprising more than 300 guests included Singapore officials, Chiefs of Mission, members of the diplomatic corps, captains of the business community, representatives of think-tanks and the academe and leaders of the professional Filipino community graced the event. Also present were PSC officials who were in Singapore for the 28th SEA games.
In their exchange of messages, Ambassador Morales and Minister Khaw recognized the excellent state of bilateral relations in all spheres between the Philippines and Singapore and highlighted their importance not just for the peoples of both countries but also in the wider context of ASEAN. Both officials mentioned the significant presence of Filipinos in Singapore and their contribution to the country’s economy.
The reception was a good occasion to showcase the best of Philippine culture with officials and personnel of the Philippine Embassy and their spouses wearing the best of Philippine barongs and gowns. Philippine soprano Stefanie Quintin’s performance of the “kundiman” and a duet by classical guitarist Manuel Cabrera and tenor Ed Cruz generated a raucous approval by the audience. Philippine favourites including lechon and halu-halo were served to the delight of the guests.
An exhibit featuring a collection of Philippine textiles by Ms. Digna Ryan of the Spirit of Asia and paintings by Philippine artists Pierre Patricio and Larry Calderon contributed to the good ambiance for the evening.
The “Pagdiriwang 2015”, jointly organized by the “Lupon ng Araw ng Kalayaan 2015” and the Philippine Embassy, was held at the Philippine Bayanihan Centre in Pasir Panjang Road. The traditional social/family event for the Filipino community in Singapore, which was not held in 2014, was warmly welcomed by a crowd numbering in the hundreds who braved the rain to have a fellowship with their friends.
Ambassador Morales and Pastor Rey Solano, Chairman of the Lupon ng Araw n Kalayaan, expressed their gratitude to the volunteers, the Filipino community and the sponsors who contributed to the success of the celebration.
Pagdiriwang 2015 was highlighted by a festival of Philippine dances and songs, “Timpalak ng Kundiman”, fiesta games, regional food exhibition, and a photo-taking contest. Talks were also organized on financial literacy as well as on legal issues relevant to Filipinos in Singapore. There were free medical, dental and eye consultations as well. At the same time, Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV) registration was conducted attracting new registrants from the Filipino community. The day was punctuated by performances of invited guests Epey HerHer, Sam Concepcion and the ever popular Philippine rock-in-roll artist Pepe Smith.
In addition to the main events, a “Philippine Fiesta” is also being held at the Mercure Hotel at Roxy. The food festival, which showcases Philippine favourite culinary specialties, will last until 21 June 2015.
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