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RP's 110th Independence Day Marked in Seoul
Amb. Luis T. Cruz Hosts Reception at Hyatt Hotel
Philippine Ambassador to Seoul Luis T. Cruz is giving a speech during RP's 100th Independence Day celebration held at Hyatt Hotel in Seoul on June 12, 2008.

The Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul, South Korea celebrated the 110th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence at the Hyatt Hotel in Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu on June 12, 2008.

More than 200 well-wishers from Korea and foreign community here including members of diplomatic corps accredited to Seoul joined the function.

The event was set to remember that on June 12, 1898, the Philippines won victory in the Philippine revolution of 1896 against 333 years of Spanish colonialism and oppression.

The Filipino revolutionary forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed the sovereignty and independence of the Philippine Islands from the colonial rule of Spain after the latter was defeated at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

Ms. Mindy Cruz (right), wife of Philippine Amb. Luis T. Cruz, poses for the camera with Ms. Maricon Basco-Ebron, tourism director and attaché at the Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul.

Philippine Ambassador to Seoul Luis T. Cruz was in attendance along with Filipino performers and officials and officially opened the ceremony with salutation for the national flags of the two countries held up by honor guards of the Philippine against the backdrop of the national anthems of Korea and the Philippines.

"Bilateral relations between Korea and the Philippines have been favorable since our participation in the Korean War" said Ambassador Cruz. He stressed that the best way to further enhance understanding between the Korea and the Philippines is by encouraging people-to-people exchanges and interactions. The Ambassador had three ways to describe the Korean-Filipino relationship: "vibrant, dynamic, and mutually beneficial."

Mutually beneficial is exactly how Tourism Director and Attaché Maricon Basco-Ebron would describe tourism between the two nations.

"With the slow economy and rising oil prices, the Philippines are quickly becoming a top vacation destination for Koreans," Basco-Ebron said.

Amb. Luis T. Cruz (fifth from right) and other envoys join for the cake cutting during RP's Independence Day celebration.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) of the Philippines is currently conducting a campus road show to target South Korean college students looking for a beautiful beach getaway.

The performances and cuisine at the independence celebration at Hyatt hotel were impressive. Ambassador Cruz entertained guests with a wide selection of Filipino delicacies and live musical and dance performances. Filipino-American children, known as "Mestizas," performed a traditional dance followed by Filipino women performing the "Dance of Flight" which included scented oil candles and traditional attire worn by the dancers.

In Manila, for the Independence Day celebration on June 12, the Arroyo administration brought the government "closer to the people" by offering its services, and even freebies, to provide relief for the masses in these difficult times.

At the Rizal Park in Metro Manila and other similar places across the country, Filipinos were able to avail themselves government services like medical and dental care, job placements, micro-financing, housing, and livelihood opportunities.

Filipino officials opened the ceremony with salutation for the national flags of the two countries during RP's Independence Day celebration held at Hyatt Hotel on June 12, 2008.

And to make government's presence even more palpable, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has sent out her Cabinet officials all over the country to offer on Independence Day the services of their respective departments and agencies.

From treating children with a day at the mall and feeding programs to offering people free eye surgery, free haircuts, and free MRT and LRT rides for one day, these Cabinet officials went to areas "with historical significance" to deliver the government to them.

"The President has ordered us to go down to the people and reach the masses and help improve the delivery of basic services, especially on our programs to mitigate hunger and poverty," said Presidential Management Staff Secretary Cerge Remonde.

The objective in this year's celebration was to "bring the government closer to the people," according to Remonde, who said that Arroyo actually wanted to sustain these efforts even after Independence Day.

For the first time since Arroyo came to power in 2001, the government skipped its usual Independence Day Parade to focus on providing services to the people.

To learn more of the events of the Philippine Embassy in Seoul please visit www.philembassy-seoul.com or www.wowphilippines.or.kr




 

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