Vienna, Austria. 123 years ago Philippines has been freed from the clout of Western power. Filipinos, wherever they may be never forget to look for different ways to celebrate the country’s independence.
Filipinos all over the world usually hold grand celebrations of the Philippine Independence prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Since people’s movement remains restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many opted to celebrate Independence Day through online platforms.
In Vienna, Austria, a Floral Offering Ceremony at the garden of the Vienna City Capitol has been initiated by the Philippine Austrian Cultural Society (PACES) under the leadership of Ms. Marizel Rojas, President of PACES.
In 1998, on the celebration of the Philippine Centennial Annivesary of the Philippine Independence, a Catalpa Tree was planted in the eastern part of the Viennese City Hall Garden. Rojas explained that the trumpet shaped flowers of the tree herald the next hundred years of Philippine-Austrian relations.
„As we celebrate the 123rd Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Philippine Indendence with the theme: Kalayaan 2021: Diwa ng Kalayaan sa Pagkakaisa at Paghilom ng Bayan (Spirit of Freedom in Unity and National Healing) now, more than ever, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is a timely reminder that as individuals, as families, as organizations, as a nation we are stronger together,“ Marizel Rojas said in her Opening Remarks.
H.E. Deene Joy D. Amatong , Charge d Affaires a.i. Philippine Embassy Vienna likewise delivered an inspirational message. Amatong expressed her gratitude for witnessing on this special day a thriving and united Filipino community.
„I am glad to note that PACES‘ initiative to promote science and culture bolster our countries shared ethos bound by history enriched by science and culture. The Philippine Embassy thanks PACES and its members for advancing our shared goal of deepening Philippine-Austrian partnership,“ Amatong said.
Mr. Ernst Woller, President of the Vienna Regional Parliament and designated representative of Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig expressed his gratitude for the services rendered by the Filipinos here.
„Filipino community is small but you are playing a very important role in the Viennese society. I would like to thank you for your contribution to make Vienna livable, to make Vienna a secure, safe and good place to live. Thank you to the thousand of Filipinos working in the health care. In the last fifteen months, the city had lot of problems about the corona pandemic. We know that a number of Filipinos are working in this field and I want ot thank all of your for your contributions and support,“ Mr. Erst Woller said.
Vincent Bueno, Austro-Pinoy pride likewise joined the celebration. He expressed his utmost gratitude to his parents for imparting him the Filipino tradition and culture.
PACES awarded Vincent Bueno a medal of honor as Goodwill Ambassador of Philippine Austrian Cultural Society.
During the short programme, special performances were presented by the descendants of the famous Austrian Strauss family, Robin and Annabelle Roda. „Bayan Ko“ was performed by the the Agbon Family.
The Floral Offering was not just a celebration to commemorate the 123rd Philippine Independence Day but also to give importance to the strong bilateral ties betwenn the Philippines and Austria. This is specially important this year since the Philippines celebrates 75 years of relations with Austria on 17 October 2021.
- Hector Pascua
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