28 June 2023, Singapore – The Philippine Embassy in Singapore hosted a National Day Diplomatic Reception at the Orchard Hotel in Singapore on 19 June 2023. Singapore Minister for Manpower Dr. Tan See Leng served as the Guest of Honor, together with two Members of Parliament (MP), Mr. Eduard Chia Bing Hui (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) and Ms. Rachel Ong Sin Yen (West Coast GRC).
The event drew a big crowd of more than 400 attendees from the diplomatic corps, international organizations, Singapore government agencies, business community, academe, and partners of the Philippine Embassy.
The Embassy’s National Day Diplomatic Reception this year is special as the Philippines commemorates the 125th milestone anniversary of independence and nationhood. It was also the first diplomatic reception hosted by Ambassador Medardo G. Macaraig since his arrival in Singapore in February 2023.
In his welcome speech, Ambassador Macaraig remarked that “Every Independence Day, we look back to the past, our history, and remember our national heroes who fought for our independence to secure the future of the Filipino people.” He also thanked the Singapore Government for warmly welcoming President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte during their State Visit and Official Visit to Singapore, and looked forward to strengthening the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and Singapore, which spans 54 years.
In response, Minister Tan conveyed his warmest congratulations on this very joyous occasion. He said that Singapore and the Philippines are close neighbors and that their strong and multifaceted relationship is anchored on regular high-level exchanges of visits, high economic and people-to-people links. He added that during the State Visit of President Marcos Jr. in September 2022, the Philippines and Singapore have committed to advancing bilateral relations in various areas. He noted that economic cooperation has been a key pillar of Philippines-Singapore multifaceted relationship and Singapore has been the Philippines largest foreign investor since 2021. Minister Tan also expressed that he looks forward to continuing partnership with the Philippines in key areas including healthcare, trade and investment.
Ambassador Macaraig and Minister Tan toasted to the excellent bilateral relationship between the Philippines and Singapore, and to the continued health and well-being of President Marcos Jr. and President Halimah Yacob and the peoples of both countries.
This year’s National Day Reception also coincided with the 162nd birth anniversary of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal, who visited Singapore in 1882 for a two-day stopover on his way to Spain. Singapore was the first foreign country that he had set foot in.
One of the many highlights of the reception was the national anthem video prepared by the Philippine Embassy featuring iconic places in Singapore with cultural and historical significance for Filipinos – from the places that Dr. Jose Rizal visited, as well as the video entitled “Home” referring to Singapore which has been the second home to an estimated 200,000 Filipinos.
To the delight of the reception guests and to demonstrate the Filipinos’ love for singing and dancing, Ambassador Macaraig rendered three Filipino song numbers, “Anak”, “Dahil Sa ‘Yo” and “Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika”. Embassy personnel wowed the crowd with an eye-catching dance routine while Ambassador Macaraig sang the second and third songs.
The reception likewise provided an avenue for the Embassy in highlighting “Food Trek” which showcases and promotes Filipino culture through various cuisines and food products available in Singapore; as well as the skills and professionalism of Filipinos within the F&B and HoReCA (Food and Beverage and Hotels, Restaurants and Cafes) industries. The following businesses set up booths and provided food and drinks for the guests to sample on: The Chocolate Chamber; Emperador featuring Pilares 1960, the official cocktail for the 125th Philippine Independence Day celebration; Max’s Singapore; Jollibee; and Lechon Republic. Other Food Trek partner includes Filipino restaurants, owners and chefs in Singapore, namely, Kubo Wood-fired Kitchen, Chez Suzette, Alegria, My Little Spanish Place, Konyo and Iskina Cebu; and Philippine products – S&W Premium’s pineapple juice, Prime Food Marketing, Orient Pearl, and Universal Robina Corporation.
The multi-year Philippine Independence Day commemoration (2023-2026), with the theme Kalayaan (Freedom), Kinabukasan (Future), Kasaysayan (History), highlights the birth of the Filipino nation from the proclamation of Philippine independence on 12 June 1898 in Kawit, Cavite until the end of the first Filipino government that lasted until the capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela on 23 March 1901. The theme aims to raise awareness among the Filipino people of our place in history as the earliest modern democracy and republic in Asia (END).