Rome, 2 July 2012 – The Philippine Embassy in Rome organized a month-long celebration of the 114th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence and the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Philippine-Italian diplomatic relations.
The celebration started early in the morning of 12 June with a flag-raising ceremony at the Embassy grounds attended by the Embassy personnel led by H.E. Ambassador Virgilio A. Reyes, Jr. and guest-of-honor, chef Margarita Forés. This was followed by the inauguration of the “Salone d’Onore,” a photo gallery of Philippine Ambassadors previously accredited to the Italian Republic, as well as the unveiling of the bronze marker for the newly reconstructed Consular Section.
In the evening, Ambassador and Mrs. Virgilio A. Reyes, Jr. hosted a Diplomatic Reception at the Hotel Westin Excelsior, which was attended by members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Government offices, as well as partner institutions, and friends of the Embassy. The event was also graced by the presence of Philippine delegations from the Department of Labor and Employment and Pag-IBIG Fund headed by Honorable Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz and Atty. Darlene Berberabe, respectively.
In his Independence Day message, Ambassador Reyes mentioned this year’s theme “Kalayaan: Pananagutan ng Bayan para sa Tuwid na Daan,” which states that Freedom is a national responsibility that must be fought for and achieved before we finally reach the straight path, free from graft and corruption. Ambassador Reyes highlighted the recent events in the Philippines showing the success and determination of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s programme of “Tuwid na Daan,” which will have immediate positive effects on the economic and political life of our nation.
Ambassador Reyes and Secretary Baldoz were joined by Minister Plenipotentiary Marco della Seta from the Protocol Department of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a toast to Philippine Independence and abiding friendship between the Philippines and Italy.
A Rome-based Filipino cultural group, Kayumanggi Dance Company, performed Igorot and Maria Clara dance numbers to the guests’ delight.
An open bar featuring Distileria Limtuaco’s Paradise Mango Rum was one of the highlights of the reception. Mr. Clifford Aw flew all the way from Manila to mix the drinks for the guests.
The reception also inaugurated the activities commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Establishment of Philippine-Italian Diplomatic Relations, including “Kulinarya: Images and Flavors from the Philippines,” a Filipino food promotion featuring Chef Margarita Forés, and “Fiori e Scarpe delle Filippine,” an exhibit of the artworks of Filipino florist Efren Dordas & Filipino sculptor Richard Gabriel. Both activities were hosted by the Hotel Westin Exelcior from 13 to 19 June.
The commemorative magazine on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of Philippine-Italian diplomatic relations which was published by the Philippine Embassy, in collaboration with Western Union was also launched during the event and distributed to guests after the reception.
On 10 June, the Philippine Embassy in Rome joined the Philippine Independence Day Association in the annual Independence Day Fiesta celebration with the Filipino community. As in previous years, the celebration was held at Piazza Ankara and featured local talents from the Filipino community in Rome. The Orbit Showtime Network (GMA7 Pinoy TV & Kapatid TV5) brought in artists from the Philippines, namely Allan K., Jessa Zaragoza and Alex Calleja, who provided entertainment to excited community groups from different parts of Italy. Round trip airline tickets Rome-Manila-Rome were raffled during the celebration. The whole-day event, which remained open to the general public for free, attracted around 5,000 Filipinos from all over Italy. The Misa Para Sa Bayan was also held on 3 June 2012, at the Basilica di Santa Pudenziana where the Sentro Pilipino Chaplaincy is based.
The Embassy likewise attended other Independence Day activities in Milan, Florence and Naples. Ambassador Reyes was the guest of honor of the Independence Day celebration in Milan on 16 June, while Consul General Grace Cruz-Fabella and Vice Consul Jarie Osias were guests of honor in the Independence Day celebrations in Florence and Naples, respectively, on 17 June.
On 18 June, Dr. Raul Sunico, President of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, held his first solo piano recital performance in Rome through the Concerti del Tempietto: Festival Musicale Delle Nazioni.The concert was held at the ruins of Parco Archeologico del Teatro di Marcello.