DUBAI: The Philippine Consulate General in Dubai (PCGDXB) hosted a diplomatic reception on Tuesday evening in commemoration of the 118th anniversary of the proclamation of the Philippine Independence Day.
Ahead of the formal affair and asked through WhatsApp why the June 12 celebration was held belatedly, Consul General Paul Raymund Cortes said: “The celebration of freedom and our independence is beyond geography, geopolitics and calendar. It goes way and above dates as our freedoms span all encumbrances of modern-day living.”
Considerations that led to the September gala was that June 12 fell on Ramadan this year and that majority of the “consular corps” in Dubai were already in their “annual summer holiday.”
After honouring UAE Minister of State Dr Rashid Bin Ahmed Bin Fahad, Cortes expressed gratitude for the attendance of all his colleagues in the diplomatic circle and the select guests from the Filipino community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.
Ambassador Constancio Vingno Jr. and his wife Yoko also graced the occasion along with Vice Consul Rowena Daquipil and other officers from the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
In his speech, Cortes thanked the host government for allowing the estimated 601,482 Filipinos in the UAE—409,645—of whom are residing in Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah—to be part of the country’s tapestry.
“All of us live in harmony here in the UAE. We thank the UAE for allowing Filipinos to be a part of the country. Thank you UAE for sharing your home and your economic bounty to all of us here,” he said.
As the Filipino men wore the traditional Barong Tagalog either in jusi (combination of silk and pineapple threads), pineapple or banana fibres, the Filipino ladies donned a variety of their native formal wear—some modified or modernised—such as the Terno, the Kimona, Maria Clara, Baro’t Saya and the Patadyong.
Other aspects of the Filipino ingenuity were magnified through the display of a shiny aluminum fender of the popular public transportation jeepney—a product of the Filipino’s creativity as well as inventiveness arising from the bulk of the 1943 US Army Willy’s jeep left in the Philippines after World War II; the haute couture of Michael Cinco, Bandoix Flores, Jimi Buenconsejo and Ezra Santos; the Jewelmer south sea pearls; and Fina leather bags.
The Filipinos’ interest in gastronomic delights were showcased through typical Southeast Asian communal stalls wherein bibingka (rice cake), dumplings, halo-halo, fresh fruits, fresh lumpia, among other fare were for the taking.
On the world-renowned musicality of the Filipinos, the PCGDXB officers and men rendered the love song “Minsan May Minahal” (“Once Loved”) from the musical “Katy.”
The guests who stayed on were given the surprise performance by Vingno on the guitar for the “Stairway to Heaven” with saxophonist Rennie Reyes.
Cortes rendered the vocals for “Misty” and “Imagine.”
From the sidelines, the electronic drop box system announced a few months back that would help connect Filipinos to the PCGDXB for whatever issues and concerns they have were launched on Wednesday evening.
Seven electronic drop boxes combined with the traditional mailbox are now available at bus stops in Dubai. This excludes those inside offices of the LBC courier and cargo services.
While Filipinos may electronically write to Cortes, they are also given access to Atty. Barney Almazar of the Gulf Law for legal inquiries.