Republic of the Philippines

50 Hobson Street, Thorndon, Wellington, New Zealand 6011

The Embassy of the Philippines in New Zealand commemorates the 118th anniversary of the Marytrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal

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Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez led the officers, staff and families of the Embassy of the Philippines in Wellington, New Zealand in commemorating the 118th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal with a flag-raising ceremony at the Embassy Chancery on 30 December 2014.

The ceremony began with the singing of the national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang”, by all Embassy personnel and their families as well as the recitation of the “Panunumpa sa Watawat ng Pilipinas” (Oath of Allegiance to the Flag) led by Third Secretary and Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Obach.

The commemoration of the 118th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal was held at the Sentro Rizal of the Philippine Embassy and began with an opening prayer led by Vice Consul Obach. Welcome remarks were delivered by Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa. Ambassador Benavidez warmly opened the event and in her remarks underscored the achievements of Dr. Rizal, and the ideals that he stood for as the Philippines' foremost nationalist, patriot and advocate for reforms through peaceful means during the Spanish colonial period. She also highlighted the traits and characteristics of Dr. Rizal as a human being, socializing with friends, keeping track of his finances and managing his time, talents and resources in fulfilling his capacity for greatness.

True to the theme of the commemoration, “Rizal 2014: Dunong at Pusong Pilipino”, the children of the officers and staff of the Embassy paid tribute to Dr. Rizal with their readings. Jan Austin Jerard D. Reyes and Miguel Joseph F. Garcia read “A Short Biography of Dr. Rizal” reacquainting everyone with the short but meaningful life of our national hero. This was followed by a reading on “10 Little-known Facts about Dr. Jose Rizal's Life in Spain” by Sabrina Claire B. Cruz emphasizing the fact that Dr. Rizal may have been sentenced to death by the Spaniards on 30 December 1896 but he also lived in the land of the colonizers around the 1880s.

Paolo Rafael Obach read the poem entitled “Sa Kabataang Filipino” (To the Filipino Youth) written by Dr. Rizal in 1879 at eighteen years of age which he won first prize for in a poetry contest organized for Filipino poets by the Manila Lyceum of Art and Literature. Alejandro Joaquin G. Macaisa and Kristan Francis G. Dimaano regaled the audience with “Ten Things Kids Can Learn from Dr. Jose Rizal” reminding children to listen to their elders, be proud of who they are, love their family, believe in themselves, take pride in what they do, and not to be afraid to stand up for what is right. The event culminated with lively fellowship and a hearty Filipino salo-salo. It was a meaningful morning to remember especially for the Philippine Embassy children and youth who learned more about the life and works of the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, and who were encouraged to set him as an example for extraordinary deeds and thoughts.

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