Usec. Arriola, PH Embassy Celebrate Independence Day in The Holy Land

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Guest of Honor Meron Reuben of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Chief of Protocol offers a toast to Philippine Ambassador Neal G. Imperial during the diplomatic reception in celebration of the 120th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence at Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv on 05 June 2018. (photo credit:

TEL AVIV 12 June 2018 — The Philippine Embassy in Israel marked the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence by recognizing key figures who had contributed significantly to the progress of Philippine-Israel relations on 05 June 2018.

At the Embassy's diplomatic reception at the Carlton Tel Aviv, Philippine Ambassador Neal G. Imperial recognized the efforts of Carmel Hacohen, the long-serving Consul General ad honorem of the Philippines to Haifa and Northern Israel.

With Chief of Protocol Meron Reuben witnessing the ceremony, Ambassador Imperial handed Honorary Consul Hacohen a commendation from Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano, which cited his "over 25 years of dedicated and loyal service" that had "brought great honor and respect to the Philippines and its people by building many bridges of friendship and cooperation between Filipinos and Israelis".

Mr. Hacohen has served as the Philippine Honorary Consul to Haifa and Northern Israel since 1993, and was instrumental in launching projects that promote Philippine trade and tourism, such as the biennial Philippine Fair at the Castra Mall in Haifa.

The reception also served as a showcase of prime Filipino talent, with Mr. Howie Danao—one of the youngest finalists for Israel's Next Rising Star—opening the program with an original song, “The Light.”

Mr. Rannie Raymundo, a multi-awarded singer/songwriter from the Philippines, closed the evening with heartfelt renditions of Filipino classic pop songs such as Panalangin (The Prayer) and Friend of Mine.

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Philippine Ambassador Neal G. Imperial confers a commendation from Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano to Mr. Carmel Hacohen, Philippine Honorary Consul General in Haifa and Northern Israel. (photo credit:

On 12 June, the Embassy held a flag-raising ceremony with Filipino community leaders at the chancery in Tel Aviv, which fronts the scenic Hayarkon Park.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Y. Arriola graced the occasion, taking the opportunity to express, on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs, her appreciation for the overseas Filipino community's strong support for the Philippines and the programs being put in place by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Undersecretary Arriola joined Ambassador Imperial in handing out Certificates of Commendation to the volunteer teachers for the Embassy's Filipino Language and Cultural Program, which has been held since January 2017 at the Bialik Rogozin School.

The program, which is funded by the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs through its Assistance to Nationals Fund, is an Embassy initiative that aims to prepare the children of Filipino migrant workers in Israel for their eventual return and reintegration to the Philippines, by teaching them basic Filipino language and cultural practices.

Following the awarding, Mr. Raymundo returned to the stage to serenade the audience with well-known Filipino love songs. Charmed by the Filipino community's warm welcome, Mr. Raymundo thanked them for their support and ended his performance with a duet with a member of the audience. END

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DFA Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola and Philippine Ambassador Neal Imperial lead the Filipino Community in Israel during the flag-raising ceremony. (Tel Aviv PE photo)

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DFA Undersecretary Arriola and Ambassador Imperial with the volunteer teachers of the Embassy’s Filipino Language and Culture Program at Bialik Rogozin School. (Tel Aviv PE photo)

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Consul General Randy Arquiza, DFA Undersecretary Arriola, Ambassador Imperial, Labor Attaché Cynthia Lamban meeting with Filipino community leaders in Israel. (Tel Aviv PE photo)