Independence Day (Filipino: Araw ng Kasarinlán; also known as Araw ng Kalayaan, “Day of Freedom”) is an annual national holiday in the Philippines which consists of more than 7,100 separate islands in the western Pacific, and is observed on June 12,commemorating the declaration of Philippine independence from Spain in 1898.

South Africans, Heads of Mission’s and members of the Diplomatic community as well as honoured guests participated in the occasion that was celebrated at the Attebury Theatre in Pretoria on the 19 June 2023.

The Filipino flag was unfurled for the first time on this day June 12 in 1898 at an inspiring celebration, which also included the first public playing of the Philippines national anthem. The nation has made great strides since gaining its independence.It’s considered to be an emerging market and a newly industrialized country. Tourism also makes a large impact on the country’s economy.

The evening consisted of a welcome remark by H.E. Ambassador Noralyn Jubaira Baja who commented on the 30 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the Philippines , the last few years have seen significant development in bilateral ties which includes the South African government having hosted the 5th bilateral forum in February of this year. This allowed for discussions on ways to further enhance areas of shared interest such as agriculture, trade and investment , consular cooperation , defence, education , science and technology and Innovation among others.

This was followed by a speech made by the Minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, H.E. Ms Angela Thoko Didiza who remarked on the country’s rich heritage and resilient people with their unwavering spirit and their commitment to building a nation that embraces diversity , democracy and progress.

The highlight of the evening was the performance by Filipino pianist Abelardo Galangal ll who started his musical education with his mother, Carmen and later entered the University of the Philippines College of Music where he obtained his bachelors degree in Piano Performance.
Galang has performed in various countries in Asia, Europe and Africa as a soloist chamber artist and Lied piano collaborator.
Guests were able to enjoy numerous pieces performed by Galang including the finale Jerusalema that ended the evening off with a standing ovation.

Happy National Day Philippines!

by Marion Kate