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18/06/2010: Full Slate of Activities Mark Washington DC Commemoration of RP’s 112th Anniversary

18 JUNE 2010 WASHINGTON DC - A full slate of events marked the Embassy of the Philippines’ commemoration of the 112th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence in the United States capital, covering formal diplomatic events, acclaimed cultural presentations and exhibits.

The month-long commemoration kicked off with the launching on June 1st of “Brown Strokes on a White Canvas,” a visual arts exhibit from 22 artists from the Filipino-American community and the Philippines.  Organized together with the Philippine Festival Committee of the Philippine American Foundation for Charities, Inc. (PAFC), the event highlighted the full diversity of the Philippines and Filipino-American community.

Simbuyo 2010 brought together some 500 guests to the Grand Theater of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ Visitors Center in a celebration of Filipino culture and heritage on June 5th.

Now on its second year, Simbuyo carried the theme of Kasarinlan, Kamalayan at Kasuotan and featured traditional, folk and popular performances by award-winning talents from the Greater Metro DC including 2009 Mayor’s Arts Award recipient for Outstanding Emerging Artist and 2009 MetroDC Dance Award for the “Outstanding Individual Performance," Jason Ignacio, tenor Allan Palacios Chan, World Doctors’ Orchestra First Violinist Joel Ang, Adelphi University Associate Professor in Music Sidney Boquiren, former Smokey Mountain member and now PhD candidate Tony Lambino, Johns Hopkins SAIS Associate Professor Butch Arroyo, the Fil-Am Christian Church of Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Angklung Ensemble, the Fil-Am Ministry of All Saints Church of Manassas, VA, the Young Adults Choir of St. Columba and the Singing Diplomats from the Embassy of the Philippines.

Also featured were the works of Mindanao’s fashion czar Alfonso “Boy” Guinoo during a fashion review of traditional, modern and ethnic wear from the Philippines.  Mr. Guinoo’s participation was sponsored by Philippine Airlines.

On June 9th, the premiere of the film “Make No Little Plans” was held at the National Mall.

A documentary on the life of architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham, the film featured a segment on Burnham’s influences in the planning of Manila and Baguio City and showed the link that continues to join the Philippines and the United States in shared history and values.

Ambassador Willy C. Gaa was among the featured speakers that included Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, Jim Leach, Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities, Caroline Cunningham, President, Trust for the National Mall, John R. Ettelson, President and CEO, William Blair & Company and Marcel Acosta, Executive Director, National Capital Planning Commission.

Among the special guests was “Make No Little Plans” voice over talent and Oscar-nominated actress Joan Allen.

On June 10th, the Embassy launched “Lupang Hinirang,” an exhibit of pen and ink works of Chicago-based multi-awarded artist Paul C. Balan.  Taking his inspiration from the lyrics of Philippine National Anthem, Balan used iconic images that resounded with meaning and significance to the audience.

On June 11th, Ambassador Gaa led the officers and staff of the Embassy of the Philippines in a meaningful flag raising ceremony which was followed by the reading of the messages of H.E. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo.  Ambassador Gaa likewise delivered his own message.

On the same day, the Embassy of the Philippines hosted the traditional Vin d’Honneur for the diplomatic community with the United States Ambassador to ASEAN Scot Marciel as Guest of Honor.

On June 12th, the Philippine Festival Committee held its annual Independence Day Gala Ball.  Ambassador Gaa addressed the audience and gave a recapitulation of the accomplishments of the Arroyo administration, particularly economic achievements and the successful holding of the first automated elections in the country.  Guest of Honor for the event was DC Deputy Mayor and Filipino-American Valerie Santos.

On June 18th, the Embassy of the Philippines launched an exhibit of ceramic pottery by acclaimed artist Hadrian Mendoza entitled “Carabao.”  Mendoza received the prestigious Anne and Arnold Abramson award for Excellence in Ceramics in 1997 from the Corcoran School of Art in DC and is the recipient of the Toyota Foundation Grant Award in 2007.

In all the events, Ambassador Gaa underscored the importance of the bayanihan spirit in building a stronger Republic and a vibrant Filipino community in the US.   “We thank the community for all their contributions to our diplomatic efforts on all fronts here in the United States.  They are truly are partners,” said Ambassador Gaa. END