Philippine Embassy and the Filipino community celebrate the 117th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine independence
In the morning of 12 June 2015, Philippine Ambassador to New Zealand Virginia H. Benavidez led the Flag-Hoisting Ceremony at the Embassy Chancery in Wellington, New Zealand. A traditional ceremony held on the Philippines’ Independence Day, the Philippine Embassy joined all Filipinos in commemorating the Proclamation of Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite 117 years ago.
Ambassador Benavidez read the Independence Day Message of President Benigno S. Aquino III, while Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa read the message of Vice President Jejomar C. Binay. Third Secretary and Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Q. Obach shared the message of Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario.
In the evening of 12 June 2015, Ambassador Benavidez and the Philippine Embassy Team and families attended the gala performance of the nationally and internationally famous and award winning Loboc Children’s Choir (LCC) of the Philippines at the Pipitea Marae in Wellington. The event drew more than 600 guests from the Filipino, New Zealand and other communities who were enthralled and enchanted by the angelic voices of the LCC.
The Wellington Filipino Community Choir (WFCC) started the evening as they led in the singing of the Philippine and New Zealand National Anthems. Ambassador Benavidez gave her message of appreciation to the Filipino community and the guests who supported the concert of the LCC and highlighted the significance of the 117th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence. She thanked the guest-of-honour, Her Worship Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington, who addressed the guests on this momentous event. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown congratulated the Philippines on its national day and spoke on the importance of New Zealand’s relations with the Philippines and the contributions of the Filipino community in Wellington. She expressed her admiration for the internationally acclaimed Loboc Children’s Choir.
The LCC mesmerized the audience with its wide-varying repertoire, with songs such as “Salve Regina,” “When You Believe,” “Imagine,” and the medley version of “Sound of Music.” The LCC also sang Filipino and Visayan songs such as “Inday Pamutus Na,” “Larong Pinoy,” and “Sa Ugoy ng Duyan,” much to the delight and excitement of the members of the Filipino community present in the audience.
The LCC was joined by the Wellington Young Voices (WYV), headed by its Music Director, Ms. Christine Argyle, for a couple of songs during the concert. The two groups sang “The Prayer,” “Look at the World,” the traditional New Zealand love song “Pokarekare Ana” and “Thank you for the Music.” The WYV was also given the opportunity to have the stage by themselves, as they sang “Can You Hear Me,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and “I’m Hooked.”
The kids of the NZ Filifest Cultural Dance Group and Ms. Gabrielle Cabauatan also performed during the evening. Ms. Cabauatan showcased her tap-dancing skills as she interpreted the song “Ako Ay Pilipino” while the NZ Filifest Cultural Dance Group demonstrated the Philippine indigenous dances of “Maglalatik” and “Tinolang Manok.”
As the LCC sang the finale “Sister Act Medley,” the Pipitea Marae was filled with never ending rounds of applause and encore for the truly captivating and meaningful evening of music, culture, and world-class Filipino talents. Many of the Filipinos in the audience were moved to tears as they felt proud to be Filipinos and inspired by the impressive cultural performances of the Philippines’ most loved and much treasured Loboc Children’s Choir.