Thursday, September 29, 2022

Philippine Independence Day Piano recital marks new beginning of Philippines’ Embassy in The Hague

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2022 commemorates the 127th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence, to celebrate this happy occasion H.E. Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya treated the more than hundred guests to a piano recital at the first public event in the embassy after it had undergone extensive renovation. Under the guidance and leadership of the ambassador the embassy has been restored to its original 19th century esplendor.

Ambassador Malaya noted that “Filipinos are a most musically inclined people. We have in particular a strong choir tradition, perhaps on account of much singing in churches.

Highly notable Filipino musicians include Freddie Aguilar whose song “Anak” has been translated to many languages, including Dutch; Leah Salonga of Broadway; and the hyphenated ones among us, like Bruno Mars, the singer known as H.E.R. and the sensation in the recent Grammy Awards Night, the 19-year-old Olivia Rodrigo who stole everyone’s heart with her song “Driver’s License.”

Ambassador J. Eduardo Malaya and Ms Mary Ann Morales.

The distinguished Filipino pianist, Dr. Victor Asuncion played six variations on ‘Mein Junges Leben hat ein End’ by the Dutch composer Jan Pietersz Sweelinck, pieces from Chopin and modern music. More importantly Asuncion treated the public to Filipino music, which in many aspects reflects the various traditions that have enriched Southeast Asian culture, notably Muslim, Spanish and American.

Before the recital Ambassador Malaya gave the attendees a rendering of the Filipino anthem but hugely impressed everyone by faultlessly playing the Wilhelmus van Nassouwe behind the grand piano.

Sir Anton Lutter,

Chapter commander of the Order of Knights of Rizal in The Hague, Sir Anton Lutter, KCR noted that “The Filippino-Dutch relations are as old as the United East India Company (VOC), thus since the early sixteen hundreds when the ships Mauritius and the Eendracht anchored at the Bay of Albay in October 1600. More then 250 years later Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal read the Max Havelaar written by Multatuli in 1860”.

In relation to The Philippines embassy becoming chair of the ASEAN Committee in The Hague, Lutter mentioned that “Jose Rizal’s influence is also considered part of ASEAN tradition up until now. Many of ASEAN independency leaders have mentioned being influenced by his writings. This is not surprising since the central theme of Dr. Rizal’s books is his aspiration for the freedom of the person and his concern for human dignity. His message is a universal message which still rings true in the 21st century”.

Among the many guests were representatives from the diplomatic corps, Dutch government officials and Filipino-Dutch community leaders. Amongst them Saskia de Lang who until recently was Ambassadors Malaya counterpart in Manila, as the Netherlands Ambassador to The Philippines and her successor Marielle Geraedts, Director General Fernando Arias of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and Secretary-General Marcin Czepelak of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

All photos courtesy Embassy of Th Philippines in The Hague.

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