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22 January 2015 – The year 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), which was established on 14 January 1955.

To start off the celebration of the landmark year, a dinner reception was hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Vientiane at the Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel on January 14. The reception was attended by 55 guests from the Lao government, business sector and Filipino community in Laos. Guest of honor, Deputy Prime Minister and Lao Foreign Minister Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, graced the event.  Also present were Lao Minister of Trade and Industry Khemmani Pholsena, and Vice Ministers for the Foreign Affairs; Education and Sports; Culture, Information and Tourism; Planning and Investment Ministries, as well as the Vice President of the Lao National Assembly.

In her message, Philippine Ambassador to Lao PDR Maria Lumen B. Isleta highlighted the achievements of Philippine-Laos bilateral relations including high-level visits, people-to-people interaction, educational exchanges, tourism, labor, cultural cooperation, management trainings, and technical cooperation, among others.

"Our shared future as bilateral partners and as a regional community is bright. May these past 60 years of cooperation propel us to achieve greater heights as individual nations, as partners, and as a community," Ambassador Isleta stated.

Lao Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Alounkeo Kittikhoun, in his speech, thanked the Government of the Philippines and the Filipino people for their kind assistance and support to the Lao people in the development of the Lao PDR over the past six decades.  "Over the past years the Philippines has funded many projects such as capacity building for diplomats and officials, health disaster response management training, and water management. The two governments have also supported each other in times of various disasters in the Philippines and in Laos," said Vice Minister Kittikhoun.

Ambassador Isleta was joined by Foreign Minister Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith for the ceremonial toast and for the cutting of the cake.

The guests were serenaded by Filipino talents based in Laos, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Orate.  The couple sang Lao and Filipino songs as well as popular broadway and standard songs to the delight of the guests.

Guests were treated to a sampling of Philippine cuisine that included ukoy (fried shrimp fritters), lumpiang sariwa (fresh spring roll), sinigang na salmon, kare-kare (Filipino beef stew in peanut sauce), pork adobo, and popular Filipino dessert halo-halo (mixed fruits on shaved ice). END

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