31 December 2022, Singapore – The Philippine Embassy in Singapore, led by Chargé d’Affaires Emmanuel R. Fernandez, held a two-part activity in commemoration of the 126th martyrdom of Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, at the Embassy’s premises on 30 December 2022. The said event was the first official activity of the Embassy in its temporary office at TripleOne Somerset, and its last official event for 2022.
CDA Fernandez led the officers and staff of the Embassy and its attached agencies in a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony before the bust of Dr. Rizal. He also read the message of President Ferdinand R. Marcos for the occasion. A simple Filipino breakfast followed the program.
The simple ceremony was followed by a poetry reading and discussion of the life and works of Dr. Rizal as a poet, novelist, and essayist. In partnership with Penguin Random House Southeast Asia (SEA), a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, four highly-acclaimed and award-winning Filipino authors, based in Singapore and the Philippines, read selected works of Dr. Rizal and held a discussion on his life, literary masterpieces and the national hero’s influence on their works.
In his welcome remarks, CDA Fernandez linked this year’s Rizal Day theme, “Rizal: Alaalang Iningatan, Yaman Ngayon ng Bayan” (Rizal: Preserved Memories Treasured Today by the Nation) with the need to preserve our nation’s collective memories, and the role that writers play in such an undertaking. Writers like Jose Rizal and the authors that Post had invited for the occasion, CDA Fernandez pointed out, are in the best position to preserve our nation’s memories through the works that they write. “Without memories, we are like a group of sailors who do not know where they came from and who have no idea where they are going.”
Following his remarks, CDA Fernandez read Rizal’s El Canto del Viajero in Spanish, followed by a reading of its English translation (Song of the Wanderer) by his wife, Mrs. Alice Kalaw-Fernandez. The invited authors then read other excerpts from Rizal’s work: a section of Noli Me Tangere by Noelle Q. De Jesus, To my Muse by Migs Bravo Dutt, Letter to the Young Women of Malolos by Mookie Katigbak-Lacuesta, Ang Huling Paalam by Angelo “Sarge” Lacuesta, and Kundiman by Victor R. Ocampo. Except for Mr Ocampo, the said writers have been published by Penguin Random House SEA. An engaging and interesting fireside chat, moderated by Mr Ocampo, on the life and works of Dr. Rizal and his influence on present writers, capped the event.
During the program, Post also took the opportunity to inform the audience of its ongoing project – a video retracing the steps of Dr. Rizal in Singapore, the first foreign country that he set foot in on his way to Madrid in 1882.
The invited writers gifted the Embassy with copies of their books, which shall be included in Post’s Sentro Rizal collection. (END)