Philippine Embassy in Japan Celebrates the 125th Anniversary of Philippine Independence

12 June 2023 – The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo celebrated the 125th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence with a reception held at the prestigious Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. His Excellency Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, was the Guest of Honor at the event attended by almost 400 Japanese government officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps and representatives of the business sector, the academe, and the media.

In support of the theme of this year’s celebration, “Kalayaan 2023: Kalayaan. Kinabukasan. Kasaysayan” or “Freedom. Future. History”, Philippine Ambassador to Japan H.E. Mylene J. Garcia-Albano stressed the importance of nurturing relations with Japan toward “a future-ready Philippines, a country that is responsive to the needs of our people, resilient to the shocks in our dynamic international environment, and ready to face the challenges of the future.”

In his remarks, Minister Hayashi spoke highly of the strengthened cooperation between the two nations in the fields of security and economy over the years. He hoped for more exchanges and interactions between the countries’ peoples as Japan celebrates the 120th Anniversary of the first Japanese immigration to the Philippines in 1903. He ended his speech with a special prayer for the “Philippines’ continued peace and prosperity as well as further deepening of the Japan-Philippines relations.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister H.E. Fumio Kishida’s message, which was read by Honorable Yutaka Arima, Director General of the Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, emphasized the Prime Minister’s commitment to “heart-to-heart dialogue to enhance the Japan–Philippines relations in all aspects of security, economy, and cultural exchange, toward the realization of our shared aspirations for a “Free and Open Indo Pacific.”

Among the prominent Japanese Officials present at the event were Mr. Hiroshi Moriyama, Chairman of the Japan-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship League (JPPFL) together with other JPPFL Officials and Mr. Yamakawa Hiroshi, President of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Several members of the Diplomatic Corps were also in attendance, including Ambassadors of ASEAN Member States, San Marino Ambassador Manlio Cadelo, who is the current Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, and US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, among others.

The well-attended event provided an opportunity for guests to experience the best of the Philippine history, heritage, culture, cuisine, products, and tourist destinations. Through the colorful performances of the Sindaw Philippines Performing Arts Guild, who came all the way from the Philippines, guests were treated to a glimpse of the country’s many colorful festivals. Guests were also serenaded by the Jay’s Band, a four-man Jazz band based in Japan led by Filipino vocalist Mr. Jelord Jesus Jay Vergara. They serenaded the guests with some of the most iconic Philippine music including Freddie Aguilar’s “Anak” in a Japanese rendition. A fashion show featuring creations by high fashion contemporary designers was presented by STYLEM Takisada Osaka, and with the support of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry.

An exhibit featuring a total of fourteen (14) Philippine Terno of famous Filipino designers namely, Dennis Lustico, Ivarluski Aseron, JC Buendia, Joey Samson, Jojie Lloren, Kaayo.PH, Len Cabili, Lesly Mobo, Patis Tesoro, Paul Cabral, Puey Quinones, and Randy Ortiz, were on display at the Imperial Hotel, highlighting Philippine weaves, textiles, ingenuity, and superb craftsmanship. The exhibit was curated by Ms. Len Cabili and Ms. Tetta Matera and featured a guest weaver from Sulu, Ms. Padirna Jarad.

The Terno and Weaves exhibit as well as the performance of Sindaw Philippines Performing Arts Guild were organized in cooperation with the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA).

Other highlights of the reception include the exhibit area prepared by the various Philippine government agencies represented in Japan such as the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Trade and Industry with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center, and the Department of Tourism. Some of the products showcased include Barako coffee made of Liberica Beans and highland bananas, handcrafted chocolate bonbons Victoria Amores featuring the Philippine flavors of “latik”, “turon”, “puto maya”, “ube halaya”, and “chili calamansi.”

Guests enjoyed a varied offering of Filipino classics, including “adobo”, beef stew “kaldereta”, “pancit canton”, “lumpia”, “inasal na manok” and “turon.”

This reception marks the first diplomatic reception hosted by Ambassador Garcia-Albano, the Philippines’ first woman Ambassador to Japan.