DC Community Celebrates 120 Years of PH Independence

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Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez delivers the keynote address at the reception held in commemoration of the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. on 12 June 2018. (Washington PE photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. 10 July 2018 — Over 300 guests from the Washington, D.C. community graced the 120th Philippine Independence Day reception hosted by the Philippine Embassy in the United States, at the Trump International Hotel on 12 June 2018.

 “I have always believed, however, that true independence is not simply the ability of citizens to exercise freedom of speech, assert their political beliefs and opinions, and enjoy the other fruits of freedom and democracy – but for a nation to be self-reliant, for the people to benefit from economic progress and development, and be liberated from the shackles of poverty,” said Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez.

With this year’s theme, “Pagbabagong Ipinaglaban, Alay sa Masaganang Kinabukasan” (“Change that we fought for to safeguard a prosperous future”), Ambassador Romualdez emphasized how the Philippines is continuously undergoing positive changes and transformations in its economic, political, and social landscape through the various results-driven government programs that is focusing on what matters to every Filipino.

“It is about ensuring that the Philippine government provides its citizens access to basic needs. This priority is reflected in this year’s national budget, which prioritizes free education in state universities and colleges, universal healthcare, and infrastructure development,” the Ambassador said.

On Philippines-U.S. relations, Ambassador Romualdez underscored the more than 70 years of strong, extensive, and multi-faceted relations between the two countries that “have evolved through the years into one that is pro-active, reliable, and focused.”

“Our relationship’s best asset is our people-to-people ties. The U.S. is home to the largest number of Filipinos overseas representing the third largest Asian American community in the US. The kinship between Filipinos and Americans is apparent, and I am always gratified to hear comments of appreciation from US Senators and Congressmen for the skills and contributions of the Filipino-American community in their respective areas,” the Ambassador added.

In his brief remarks, guest of honor Undersecretary of the U.S. Navy Thomas Modly stressed the importance of meeting the friends and allies of the U.S. around the world, saying that “relationships like these are critical to safety, to security and to prosperity.”

“We will continue to do whatever we can do, with my role at the United States Navy, to strengthen our relationship,” said Undersecretary Modly.

Ambassador Romualdez then invited everyone in a toast to both the Philippines and United States’ respective government leaders, to the close friendship between the Filipino and American people, and to the continued alliance between the two countries.

Afterwards, Ambassador Romualdez and Undersecretary Modly proceeded to the cutting of the ceremonial cake in celebration of Philippine Independence to close the short program.

The unique Philippine culinary heritage was also showcased at the reception through the serving of various Filipino dishes for the guests to enjoy. These include Chef Abie Sincioco-Mateo’s Embassy Chef Challenge 2018 champion dish, pork “sisig”; bartender Jo-Jo Valenzuela’s special cocktail, Kathang Isip (imagination); Tito Al’s chicharon; and Fisher Farms Inc’s bangus sausage.

Some of the other Filipino dishes served, including desserts, were prepared by the Trump Hotel’s talented team of chefs, some of whom are from the Philippines.

The reception is just one of the series of events spearheaded by the Embassy in a week-long celebration of Kalayaan 2018 in Washington, D.C.

A “Paglilingkod at Pagdiriwang” celebration was held on 10 June 2018, which offered consular services and free seminars to kababayans in Metro D.C., inaugurated the Sentro Rizal Washington, D.C. that will serve as the primary arm of the Embassy’s cultural diplomacy program, and opened the month-long “Hibla ng Lahing Filipino” traveling exhibition featuring piña-seda, pineapple and silk cloths from the tropics.

This year’s Independence Day reception was generously supported by SMIC, ICTSI-Aboitiz Power, Asia Brewery & Philippine Airlines/ Megaworld, the Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Florida, Fisher Farms Inc., Tito Al's Choice Brand, and Bistro 1521. END

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Ambassador Romualdez and Undersecretary Modly toast to Philippines-United States enduring friendship. (Washington PE photo)

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Ceremonial cutting of the cake celebrating Philippine Independence. (Washington PE photo)

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Chef Abie Sincioco-Mateo’s “sisig” station and Bartender extraordinaire Jo-Jo Valenzuela’s featured drink, “Kathang Isip” (imagination). (Washington PE photo)

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Officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. pose for a family photo during the celebration the 120th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence on 12 June 2018. (Washington PE photo)