World-Famous Statue in Brussels Dons Camisa De Chino as Belgium Honors Philippine Independence

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Ambassador Eduardo de Vega with Belgian Rizalista Ronny de Blaere unveiling the Philippine flag at the ceremony. (Brussels PE photo)

BRUSSELS 14 June 2018 — The city of Brussels, Belgium—the capital of the European Union—paid special tribute on the 120th anniversary of Philippine Independence Day by having their world-famous Manneken Pis sculpture don a Philippine costume—the Camisa de Chino—for the occasion.

In its report to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Embassy in Brussels said that Philippine Ambassador to Belgium Eduardo José A. de Vega and Brussels city officials led the unveiling of the current look of the Manneken Pis on Wednesday. 

The Manneken Pis has become the best-known symbol of the people of Brussels, who, according to Ambassador de Vega, are known throughout the country and all Europe for their cheeky sense of humor and their rebellious, independent spirit. 

“It may be the statue of a cheeky little boy, but the people of Brussels are equally as proud of this city symbol as other peoples are of theirs.  It is a tribute to the special relations between the Philippines and Belgium, and to the great contributions of the local Filipino community of close to ten thousand strong,” said Ambassador de Vega.

“Belgium was also once under the Spanish Empire when they were part of the Spanish Netherlands, and Belgium also had an important role in the forging of Filipino nationhood leading to the Independence Movement, as it was in the local city of Ghent that Dr. José Rizal published his second novel, ‘El Filibusterismo’, in 1891,” Ambassador de Vega pointed out.  

The envoy said the statute is dressed in various costumes, including national costumes representing various nations around the world, on various occasions. 

According to him, over one thousand different costumes of the Manneken Pis are placed in a permanent exhibition inside the Brussels City Museum near the famous Grand Place square, a few blocks from the statute. 

Ambassador de Vega said the camisa de chino was donated to the Brussels City Council in 1986, and the statue has donned this Philippine costume on a few occasions through the years. He said the last time was in August 2017, when various Knights of Rizal led by Sir Reynato Puno, former Chief Justice and current Supreme Commander of the Order, were in Brussels. END

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Philippine Ambassador Eduardo Jośe de Vega being taught to dress the Manneken Pis at the museum housing the statue's wardrobe of over 1,000 costumes. (Brussels PE photo)

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