Germans Join Musical Celebration of Philippine-Spanish Friendship

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Filipino soprano, Andion Fernandez and Spanish pianist, Alberto Urroz.

21 December 2017 BERLIN — Germans braved a chilly and rainy winter evening in Berlin to join a musical celebration of Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day and the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Spain at the Instituto Cervantes Berlin on December 13.

The event, which was jointly organized by the Philippine and Spanish embassies, and Instituto Cervantes, was also attended by members of the local Filipino and Spanish communities. It featured distinguished Filipino soprano, Andion Fernandez; accomplished Filipino pianist-composer, Jeffrey Ching; and acclaimed Spanish pianist, Alberto Urroz.

Ms. Fernandez regaled the audience with her soulful renditions of classic Filipino love songs called “kundiman,” including Nicanor Abelardo’s “Nasaan ka irog” (Where are you my love) and Mike Velarde’s “Dahil sa iyo” (Because of you).

The event also served as a tribute to renowned Spanish pianist and classical music composer, Enrique Granados, with the performance of some of his original compositions, including the Goyescas and the Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, a set of poems by Spanish writer, Fernando Periquet.

Mr. Ching, meanwhile, fascinated the audience with his avant-garde musical arrangement. 

In her speech during the event, Philippine Ambassador Melita Sta.Maria-Thomeczek shared that the bonds of friendship between the Philippines and Spain were forged by a shared history and common cultural heritage.

The Ambassador recounted the bravery of a small garrison of Spanish soldiers who were unaware that their country had given up its Asian colony, and who stood their ground for 377 days in the church of Baler town. The siege ended on June 2, 1899 with the surrender of the remaining Spanish soldiers to Filipino revolutionary forces.

The Spanish soldiers’ loyalty and gallantry earned them the respect of Philippine President Emilio Aguinaldo who decreed that they be treated as friends and given safe passage to Spain. The 30th of June, the date on which the decree was issued, is being celebrated annually as Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day. END

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From left: Mr. Ching; Spanish Embassy Cultural Attaché, Dr. Rosa Velasquez Alvarez; Amb. Thomeczek; and Instituto Cervantes Director, Mr. Diego Valverde Villena