One event that Filipinos around the world celebrate with much flourish is the commemoration of the proclamation of the Philippine Independence Day. Several activities such as flag-raising, parades and independence day balls are usually held. Due to the pandemic, this year the protocols do not allow such gathering of individuals. However, the commemoration of this significant day went ahead, albeit in different ways.
Today, June 12, the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney successfully held a virtual flag-raising ceremony at 10am. Individuals and members of the Filipino community joined the flag-raising event from their home, offices or other places where they were, through livestreaming via the Consulate's Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Community organisations have enjoined their members to join the virtual flag raising. These organisations include the Kababaihang Rizalista Inc (Sydney), Adhika Inc. and the Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations (APCO), to name a few. The Philippine Community Council-NSW is also holding its own flagraising ceremony tomorrow, Saturday, June 13 on Facebook at 10am. http://www.facebook.com/Philippine-Community-Council-of-NSW-107147287701633/
At the close of the event, The Australian Filipina spoke to a couple of people who posted on social media of their appreciation of the virtual flag-raising event.
Francisco de los Santos, Past President and incumbent Consultant/Adviser of the Filipino Australian Community Association, Eastern Sydney ( FACAES) and a resident of Maroubra in Sydney's eastern suburbs, commented: "I would like to thank and appreciate ConGen Tago and his staff for organising this 122 years of Philippine Independence Flag Raising ceremony at the Congen's residence. It's a historical event we Filipinos need to remember each year which we can be proud if even during this time of Pandemic."
Emily Rudd who is a member of Kababaihang Rizalista Inc. and a community leader in the Central Coast, said: "My heartfelt thanksgiving for being able to participate virtually the Flag Raising Ceremony in Sydney led by Hon. ConGen Ezzedin Tago and consular staff. I felt very privileged and proud to stand tall singing the Philippine National Anthem with one voice, with my kababayans and freedom loving friends from Australia and other countries around the world. It was also great to hear the ConGen mentioned about enjoying the sunshine towards our road to recovery."
In the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, personnel held a simple flag-raising ceremony inside the premises to comply with the social distancing regulation implemented by the ACT government.
Despite not being physically together to celebrate the event, Filipinos had a greater appreciation of the significance of the occasion. The Filipino-Australian community is inspired in particular by the messages shared by the Philippine Ambassador to Australia, Her Excellency, Ma. Hellen De La Vega and the Consul General, the Hon. EzzedinTago. See below.