By Roy Lie Atjam
The Hauge, 7th June 2022. To celebrate the 124th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, H.E. Ambassador Jose Eduardo III Malaya organized a Diplomatic Reception at the Kalayaan Hall Embassy of the Philippines on 7 June 2022. This event follows on the heels of the Philippines Special Independence Day Piano Recital by Dr Victor Santiago Asuncion on 2 June 2022.
The Philippine Independence Day reception in The Hague was extra special this year as not only did Philippine music, food and warm hospitality take centre stage but it was also held at the Philippine Embassy’s newly-renovated chancery building.
The occasion was an opportunity to highlight this year’s Independence theme: “Kalayaan 2022: Pagsuong sa Hamon ng Panibagong Bukas” (Rise Towards the Challenge of a New Beginning) as the renovation of the 150-year old, iconic Chancery signals a new beginning for the Embassy.
The festive reception was attended by more than a hundred guests from the diplomatic corps, officials with The Netherlands’ Government and Filipino-Dutch community leaders. Present were Director General Fernando Arias of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Secretary-General Marcin Czepelak of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, Managing Director Sheikh Mohammed Belal of the Common Fund for Commodities, and Director Marielle Geraedts, the incoming NL Ambassador to the Philippines, to name a few.
Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya highlighted three themes in his address during the event: the Philippines, with its strong economic fundamentals and democratic institutions, having recently held a peaceful and credible elections, warmly welcomes investors and tourists, including Dutch nationals; bilateral relations remains productive and mutually beneficial; and the Philippines is committed to open and inclusive multilateralism in its engagement with the international community. “Strong democracy, sound economic fundamentals, and the Philippines’ unceasing drive to work with its international partners hold the promise of a better Philippines in the years to come,” Ambassador Malaya said.
“As a diplomat-lawyer, I find it fulfilling to learn about the best practices, soft norms, conventions and jurisprudence that are being developed and shaped here in The Hague and have relevance to and adaptable to the Philippines, in the same manner that the Philippines too has much experiences and ideas to share with others. We hope to continue with this learning, sharing and cooperating for peace, justice, and upholding the majesty of the law,” Ambassador Malaya added.
The reception featured musical performances by Filipino artists in The Netherlands, namely the siblings Ms. Shermaine Velasco, who performed on piano the song “Gaano ko ikaw kamahal?” and Mr. Samuel Velasco played “Anak” on guitar. They then had a piano-guitar duet of the Filipino favorite “Ngayon at Kailanman”. Ms. Katreena Alyssa Beron concluded the program with a beautiful rendition of “Bituing Walang Ningning”. Ms. Sheryl Lyn Baas, a Filipino-Dutch who was crowned Miss Netherlands 2006, was the master of ceremonies for the reception.
The event commenced with the singing of the Philippines and The Netherlands’ national anthems led by Ms Mary Ann Morales, and accompanied on piano by Ambassador Malaya.
As the guests enjoyed the sumptuous fare prepared by the Embassy, the Philippine Trade Investment Center-Brussels, led by Trade Attaché Magnolia Misolas-Ashley, offered “StroopwaPHLs,” a creative combination of the Netherlands’ popular waffle “stroopwafel” (provided by Van Schaiks) dipped in Philippine coconut sugar syrup and 80% bean-to-bar chocolate Mike and Becky, a Filipino chocolate brand in Belgium.
Consuls General a.h. Albert Bos and Eppo Horlings in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, respectively, Labor Attaché Delmer Cruz and Tourism Attaché Margarita Valdes were also present at the event.
Sponsors of the event were the Andre Kerstens B.V., distributor of the Philippines’ Don Papa Rum and Santa Ana Gin; the Manila Trading, importer and distributor of PH products; the Nida Philippine Products B.V.; Ms. Sharon Reyes and Mr. Jacques Hoogeveen of La Giostra Del Vino; and the Benbatz Photography.