The Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day Steering Committee has partnered with the Philippine Embassy in Spain, and cultural agencies National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts to make the much-awaited 10th year celebration memorable.
“The Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day is a national holiday that commemorates and preserves centuries-old friendship, and strong historical and cultural links between our countries,” said Angara, Chairman of the Philippines-Spain Parliamentary Friendship Group.
“The Ora de la Amistad Hispano-Filipina’s commemoration will be more exciting and more memorable as we celebrate its first decade. We will showcase how our relations with Spain have become better and stronger,” he added.
The Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day Act (Republic Act 9187), authored by Angara in the Senate and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara in the House, was enacted into law in 2003.
It marks that act of benevolence in June 30, 1899 when President Emilio Aguinaldo issued a decree stating that the 33 Spanish soldiers who survived the legendary Siege of Baler be treated not as prisoners but as friends.
Since 2003, Philippine-Spanish relations are celebrated through a series of activities in the Philippines, especially in Baler, and in Spain.
The climax of the celebration is the cultural night and commemorative program held in Baler, Aurora on June 29 to 30, which is regularly attended by many foreign dignitaries.
The celebration this month also includes the exhibits “Three Hundred Years of Philippine Maps from 1598 to 1898” at the Metropolitan Museum and “Landmarks of Liberty: from Cadiz to the Freedom Constitutio” at the UP Vargas Museum.
Meanwhile, the following exhibitions will be opened at the Museo de Baler: “Franciscano 1609-1899”, the photo-poetry exhibit “Meridian World” and “44 Filipino Filmmakers: Portraits by Óscar F. Orengo”.
Dr. Virgilio Almario will also launch his newest book, Komedya de Baler.
In Spain, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Singers will hold a series of concerts throughout the month of June. The Philippine Embassy has also organized a Philippine Food Festival, a film showing of the movie “Baler”, and the unveiling of a bust of national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
Earlier this year, Ambassador Jorge Domecq presented the book Entre España y Filipinas: Jose Rizal, Escritor to the Friendship Committee technical working group.
Angara concluded, “The first decade of the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day commemoration has paved the way for cultural and economic agreements, billions worth of investments and grants and numerous educational opportunities. We should all take pride in this 10-year milestone.” (30)
Office of Sen. Edgardo J. Angara
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