27 Octoer 2014 - As the Philippine Embassy continues to reach out to Filipinos in New Zealand, foster greater friendship and fellowship between the Filipino community and the Embassy team, and in grateful recognition of the Filipino community’s continued support and cooperation, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and the Philippine Embassy in Wellington together with their families and private staff attended the Peñafrancia Fiesta in Wellington on September 20. Ambassador Benavidez and Philippine Honorary Consul General Paulo Garcia joined the Peñafrancia Fiesta in Auckland on September 21.
In both occasions, Ambassador Benavidez highlighted the Peñafrancia Festival, which celebrated the 303rd year of Devotion to Our Lady of Peñafrancia, as deeply rooted in Philippine history and a valuable part of the Filipino’s spiritual heritage.
“Our yearly celebrations in New Zealand, alongside with similar festivities in Bicol and other countries highlight the Filipino’s unshakeable faith and provide a wonderful opportunity to share the strength and the richness of our culture and traditions with people from New Zealand and other communities and contribute to the multicultural enrichment that makes New Zealand a hospitable haven for migrants,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.
With the 138% increase in the number of Filipinos in New Zealand from 2006 to 2013, the devotions and merrymaking unique to the Peñafrancia Festival were really a celebration of the time-honored Filipino values and beliefs such as deep spirituality, family centeredness, peace, compassion and concern for fellowmen.
Ambassador Benavidez commended the Organizing Committees of the Peñafrancia celebrations in Wellington and Auckland, the devotees and all those who worked tirelessly to udnerscore the importance of the Christian faith and the roles of the churches and observance of religious festivities in the spiritual lives of Filipinos wherever they may be, the demonstration of the Filipino culture especially in the performing arts and the manifestation of the Filipino’s compassion, care and concern. Their united community effort make the Peñafrancia celebrations shone in New Zealand. END