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Gala Premiere of “The Forgotten War” Serves as Reminder of Closer Korea-RP Ties
Philippine Ambassador to Seoul Luis T. Cruz (right) shows a pictorial booklet introducing "The Forgetton War" with Joo Hwa Joong, President of KOTFA Co.

The gala premiere of "The Forgotten War" was held at the Dal Hall, National Theater of Korea in downtown Seoul on April 14 with more than 300 invited Korean and Filipino expatriates attending.

The event hosted by Philippine Ambassador to Seoul Luis T. Cruz was part of the projects to celebrate six decades of close partnership between Korea and the Philippines to raise mutual awareness among each other's peoples and toast to the future of the bilateral relations.

The 90-minute feature tackles the exploits of the Filipino soldiers who participated in the Korean War from 1950-1955 under the auspices of the United Nations Command.

Amb. Cruz formally launched the 60th Anniversary of Philippines-Korea relations on March 3, 2009 with a media luncheon at the Westin Chosun Hotel to announce the Embassy's activities for the yearlong celebration.

The film recreates important battle scenes and shares the stories of the soldiers as they faced adversity in a foreign land, finding courage, dedication, strength and love amidst the tragic backdrop of war.

The film offers a compelling account of how close ties developed between the Philippines and South Korea and highlights the valuable role that the Philippines played in safeguarding democracy in the peninsula. It features top actors, including Baron Geisler, Yul Servo and Kyla Lapus.

"The official launching of The Forgotten War tonight is an occasion for looking at past accomplishments, taking stock of our present cooperation, and charting the way forward for deeper and wider collaboration," Amb. Cruz told the audience who joined a reception that followed official launching of the film at the lobby of the National Theate.
Amb.Cruz poses with his wife H.E Mindy Cruz, Philippine Ambassador to Singapore(far right) and Ms Maricon Basco-Ebron(second from left), Tourism Director and Attache at his embassy in Seoul.

"Sixty years is an important milestone. As the fifth country to extend diplomatic recognition to South Korea and the third country to send ground combat troops to South Korea during the Korean War, the Philippines is proud to have South Korea as one of its most enduring and closest partners," Amb. Cruz said.

Official ties between the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea began on March 3, 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to extend diplomatic recognition to South Korea, six months after its inauguration on August 15, 1948.

This bond was cemented a year later at the outbreak of the Korean War, when the Philippines deployed more than 7,000 soldiers to join an international coalition to help South Korea defend itself from the invasion of the communist North.

For sixty years, the two friendly countries have nurtured this special friendship, tended it until it grew and flourished into the wide-ranging partnership that bind two countries have become tighter with the expansion of their alliance in numerous sectors, from political, security, and economic cooperation to socio-cultural and development collaboration.

Philippine envoy said that people-to-people exchange between Seoul and Manila is at an unprecedented high.
Amb. Cruz (center) and Consul General Sylvia Marasigan (third from right) with invited guests.

In the meantime, Ms. Maricon Basco-Ebron, tourism director and attache at the Embassy of the Philippines in Seoul, said that around 100,000 South Koreans have found in the Philippines a second home whereas approximately 60,000 Filipinos are contributing to the development of South Korea's economy and society as students, workers, missionaries or spouses of Korean nationals.

They bring a fresh dimension to South Korea's aim of globalization, of imbibing a truly multicultural society where peoples from different cultures can unite under the banner of progress and openness, she said.

Commemorative activities both in the Philippines and South Korea are aimed at raising awareness about the common history, culture and future shared by the two countries.

Among festive activities scheduled for this year include the "One Philippines" exhibit at the plaza in front of the Seoul City Hall on 29-30 May 2009 and the unveiling of the Philippine marker at the UN Memorial Cemetery in Korea (UNMCK) in Busan on 28 May 2009.

The marker will pay tribute to the more than 7,000 Filipino soldiers who stood side by side with their South Korean brethren during the Korean War in the 1950s.

The "One Philippines" exhibit will showcase the history, culture, tradition, and business environment of the Philippines. The two-day event will feature a number of cultural performances, including professional performers from the Philippines and lively street dances.

Bilateral relations between the Philippines and South Korea began on March 3, 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to extend diplomatic recognition to the Republic of Korea. The friendship was cemented by the Philippine deployment of the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK), under the auspices of the UN Command, during the Korean War in the 1950s to help South Korea defend itself from the invasion of the North.

The first of five battalions arrived in Busan on 19 September 1950, making the Philippines the third country to send ground combat troops to South Korea. Of the more than 7,000 soldiers who were stationed in South Korea over a five-year period, 116 paid the ultimate price of freedom with their lives.

After the Armistice, South Korea sent Mr.. Kim Yong-Ki as its first Ambassador to Manila on 19 January 1954. In May of the same year, the Philippines established a legation in Seoul led by Minister Tomas de Castro, who was appointed as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Philippines in the country. In 1958, the Philippines opened an Embassy in Seoul under Ambassador Eduardo Quintero.

Among those who took part in the Korean War was former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, as well as two later ambassadors to South Korea, the late Col. Nicanor Jimenez and Gen. Ernesto Gidaya.

For 60 years, the friendship that had blossomed between the two countries grew from purposive military collaboration to a more comprehensive partnership that covers the political-security, socio-cultural, economic and development fields.

Today, the Philippines is among South Korea's top trading partners. Top Philippine exports include semiconductor components and fresh produce. South Korea is also a top investor in the Philippines with companies such as Hyundai Engineering, Hanjin Shipbuilding and several resort-builders maintaining a strong presence in the Philippines.

People-to-people exchange is very vibrant. In 2008, South Korea became the top sender of visitors to the Philippines for three years running, ahead of the US and Japan. More than 600,000 South Koreans visited the Philippines last year, contributing to 19.5% of the tourist market share. South Koreans is also the country's top source of foreign students and retirees.






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