Floral Offering Ceremony at the Grounds of Viennese City Hall In Vienna, Austria

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On the occasion of the 126th Philippine Independence Day Celebration, the Philippine-Austrian Cultural Society (PACES) organized a significant event at the Vienna City Capitol Garden: the Floral Offering Ceremony of the Catalpa Tree. This ceremony symbolizes the deep and enduring bond between the Philippines and Austria, highlighting the strong relationships between the two countries.

The Catalpa Tree, first planted in 1998 during the Philippine Centennial Anniversary of Independence, holds special significance in the Viennese City Hall Garden. Its trumpet-shaped flowers serve as a representation of the promising future of Philippine-Austrian relations. This symbolic gesture of unity and collaboration is a testament to the shared values and cultural heritage of both nations.

Dr. Jane Abaya, President of the Philippine Austria Cultural and Educational Society (PACES), spoke eloquently about the significance of the floral offering. She highlighted the important role that Filipinos play in Austrian society, especially in the healthcare sector.

Her leadership and dedication to strengthening the ties between the Filipino and Austrian communities were commendable, and her efforts were truly appreciated by all attendees. Malou Reininger, a prominent Filipino community leader, eloquently described in her invocation the significance of the Catalpa Tree and its role in fostering friendship and camaraderie between the two countries.

Her Excellency Evangelina Arroyo Bernas, Philippine Ambassador to Austria, delivered an inspiring message during the ceremony. She expressed heartfelt gratitude for the unity and success of the Filipino community in Austria, highlighting their resilience and contributions to the local society. Ambassador Bernas also thanked Viennese Health Minister Mag. Peter Hacker for his collaboration with the Philippine Embassy and the local government, emphasizing the importance of working together towards common goals and objectives.

“I want to pay tribute to the Filipino community here because, because of your expertise and hard work, you uplift the lives and the quality of life of Austrian society. But at the same time, you contribute to the development of the Philippines, and for that, we owe you a great deal. We are ever in your debt and in your service,” the ambassador said.

The ambassador’s words resonated with the audience, underscoring the importance of nurturing diplomatic relations through mutual respect and understanding.

Viennese Health Minister Mag. Peter Hacker also expressed his gratitude to the Filipino community for their dedication and hard work.

The program was filled with meaningful performances, including a rendition of the Philippine National Anthem by Debbie Beltran-Tschirch, conductress of the Koro Sta. Cecilia. Ms. Malou Reininger delivered a heartfelt invocation, setting the tone for a solemn and reflective ceremony.

One of the highlights of the event was the performance by the children of the Aldea-Climaco Family, who sang a touching rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World.” Their powerful voices and heartfelt performance resonated with everyone in attendance, serving as a reminder of the importance of unity and compassion in these challenging times. Overall, the Floral Offering was a celebration of Filipino culture and heritage, a commemoration of the 126th Philippine Independence Day, and a reaffirmation of the strong ties between the Philippines and Austria.

The attendees of the ceremony marveled at how the catalpa trees had continued to grow and thrive over the years. The vibrant flowers that adorned the trees served as a visual representation of the strong and enduring bond between Austria and the Philippines. Through this beautiful gesture of unity and collaboration, both nations reaffirmed their commitment to promoting peace, understanding, and cooperation on the global stage.

  • Hector Pascua
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