01 July 2013 - Wreath-laying ceremonies were held at two landmarks dedicated to Dr. Jose Rizal in New South Wales on June 19. In the morning of that day, a solemn wreath-laying ceremony was held at the bust of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Plaza Ibero-Americana in Sydney. Philippine Consul General to Sydney Anne Jalando-on Louis and several staff members of the Philippine Consulate General joined the officers of the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKOR) - Sydney Chapter, led by its Commander, Mr. Cesar Bartolome, Filipino community leaders, and Philippine media representatives at the ceremony. The ceremony was organized by OKOR- Sydney Chapter in coordination with the Consulate.
In the same venue, Mr. Bartolome spoke on the importance of commemorating Rizal’s birth. This was followed by the reading of one of Rizal’s earliest works, “Sa Aking Mga Kababata,” a reflection on Rizal’s deep patriotism at an early age, by OKOR Australia-New Zealand Area Commander Philip Ranoso.
At noon of the same day, the Rizal Park Movement of Campbelltown (RPMC), in coordination with the Consulate, organized a wreath-laying ceremony at the statue of Dr. Jose Rizal at the Rizal Park in Campbelltown City.
RPMC President Rey Manoto welcomed the participants to the ceremony and thanked them for coming despite the rainy weather. Mr. Bartolome read an excerpt from a letter written by Rizal on 28 January 1889 to the members of the La Solidaridad, which put emphasis on the need for conciliation among Filipinos and for the good of the collective to prevail, instead of self-interest. Mr. Bartolome said that this was true during Rizal’s time and still continues to be relevant today. In addition to the officers and members of OKOR and RPMC, among those who laid wreaths at the statue of Dr. Jose Rizal were Philippine Community Council (PCC) President Elsa Collado, Campbelltown Regional Filipino Community Council (CRFCC) President Lourdes Kaiser, Sedgwick Housing Cooperative Ltd President Jimmy Lopez, and other members of the Filipino community. The wreath-laying ceremony was followed by a fellowship lunch.
In her remarks at both events, Consul General Louis thanked the participants for keeping the memory and ideals of Dr. Jose Rizal alive and encouraged them to continue to hold the ceremony and other activities honoring the legacy of Dr. Rizal.
In commemoration of Rizal’s 152nd birth anniversary, a concert entitled “Himig ng Kalayaan” was also held on June 15 at the Campbelltown Arts Centre and on June 17 at the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney’s central business district by Filipino artists Rudolf Cesar Pelaez Golez, pianist, and Lara Marie Mascardon Maigue, soprano. The concert featured compositions by Dr. Rizal such as Alin Mang Lahi (words and music by Dr. Jose Rizal), Kay Tamis ng Buhay (words by Dr. Jose Rizal and music by Felipe Mendoza), and an aria entitled Awit ng Gabi ni Sisa (words and music by Julian Felipe) based on Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere.
The concerts in New South Wales were made possible through the joint efforts of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney, the Philippine Department of Tourism Office in Sydney, the Campbelltown City Council, and the Campbelltown Regional Filipino Community Council (CRFCC). END