Filipinos and New Zealanders celebrate the Philippines 116th National Day at Christian Service in Wellington
As part of the month long series of celebrations for the 116th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence, Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez and the officers and staff of the Philippine Embassy joined the Abundant Life Centre (ALC) in its special worship service on 22 June 2014 dedicated to the Philippines and the Filipino people. Mr. Rey Non, Senior Leader of the Filipino group, Ella, his wife and the Filipino members and their families in ALC welcomed all the guests and thanked them for their presence on this significant occasion. Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez highlighted the shared Christian faith which strengthens the bonds of togetherness as friends and partners between Filipinos and New Zealanders. “It is demonstrated in every act of kindness towards fellowmen in the spirit of family and community which we Filipinos call ‘bayanihan’ translated into volunteerism and coming together to help. I take this opportunity to reiterate, on behalf of the Filipino people, our deep gratitude for the outpouring of prayers, empathy, sympathy, generosity and kindness in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan which devastated parts of Central Philippines on 8 November 2013. As the Philippines rises above this terrible tragedy and confront the crucial task of helping our countrymen recover and get back on their feet, we reiterate our endless gratitude to the Government and People of New Zealand and our partner countries, donor agencies, the Filipino communities, non-government and international organizations for the unprecedented groundswell of generosity, support and assistance and continuing partnership in implementing collaborative and innovative programmes to help build back better, safer and more resilient communities.” She also conveyed appreciation for ALC’s involvement in supporting missions in the Philippines and highlighted the vital contributions of Filipinos who continue to animate churches, share the values of faith and family similar to those held dear by New Zealanders, enliven cultural festivities, enrich rural communities and are highly appreciated in every profession, employment level and entrepreneurial sector throughout the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
Ambassador Benavidez shared the positive developments prevailing in the country arising from the Philippines’ continued recognition as one of Asia’s newest economic success stories and fast growing market stars, a winner of several investment grade credit ratings and a favourable destination for thriving trade, tourism, investment and businesses. The sustained affirmation of global and domestic confidence in the Philippines highlights President Benigno S. Aquino III’s dictum of “good governance is good economics” and transformative leadership anchored on the promotion of a culture of integrity, honesty, accountability and transparency and the continuing fight against corruption and poverty instituted across all levels of government and sectors.
ALC’s Senior Pastor Hamish Thomson congratulated the Philippines and the Filipino people, on behalf of ALC, on the auspicious occasion of the 116th national day and spoke on the significance of the Philippines’ declaration of independence and the legacy of freedom that the country’s heroes fought for over the centuries. His message focused on the relevant verses from the Bible on the cost of freedom and redemption from sin paid on the cross by our LORD and SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST and the utmost importance of deriving strength and faithfulness in daily life, roles and work through faith and trust in and obedience to GOD.
The Philippine Baranggay Folk Dance Troupe’s much applauded and greatly appreciated presentation of Filipino dances and songs showcased the richness and vibrancy of Filipino culture.
After the Service, the congregation and guests enjoyed the lively fellowship and feasting around the table featuring Filipino cuisine amidst the Filipiniana ambience of ALC made possible by the contributions and cooperation of the Philippine Embassy Team and the Filipino group in ALC. The Church Pastors, elders, members, families and friends reiterated their deep appreciation to the Philippine Embassy and the Filipino group for allowing them to experience and enjoy a special national day celebratory event.