This year marks 70 years of diplomatic relations between Philippines and Australia.
Formal relations between the two countries were established when Australia opened a Consulate General in Manila on 22 May 1946.
More than a celebration, the 70th Anniversary is also a reflection on the journey that the Philippines and Australia have shared over the past 70 years.
“The Philippines and Australia enjoy a deep and wide-ranging relationship which is based on shared values and common interests,” said Ambassador Amanda Gorely, who arrived in Manila on January 2016 in time for Australia Day celebrations.
“This is not a relationship that has been built overnight, but rather one that has evolved, over the decades, to fit the changing needs and circumstances of both countries.”
Philippine Presidential Proclamation No 1282, Series 2016 declared 22 May 2016 and each year after as Philippines-Australia Friendship Day.
The anniversary is being commemorated in both Philippines and Australia throughout 2016.
70 YEARS IN PHOTOGRAPHS
The opening of the The ‘Philippines and Australia: The First 70 Years’ exhibition in November 2015 also launched the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Philippines, which will run to the end of 2016.
Australian Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb and Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis launched the photographic exhibition, ‘Philippines and Australia: The First 70 Years’ during Manila's hosting of the APEC Leaders' Summit. Undersecreatry Seguis is an Australian Global Alumni.
The photographic exhibition features significant moments in the shared history between Australia and the Philippines: from the involvement of over 4,000 Australian service personnel who fought beside Filipino and allied forces in World War II, to Australian medical mission teams working alongside other Filipino and international humanitarian communities in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda.
Through photographs, the exhibition captures the story of the relationship – like the people-to-people links, which continue to grow at an exciting pace. Over 250,000 Filipinos now call Australia home, making up the sixth largest migrant community in Australia, and who continue to make a positive contribution to Australian society.
“The photograph exhibition highlights some of the significant moments in our long legacy of cooperation. It highlights our political and trade ties, diplomatic ties and also the extent of our people-to-people links, which are extensive,” said Ambassador Gorely.
CELEBRATE AUSTRALIA 2016
'Celebrate Australia' is the Embassy's annual festival to celebrate all the best from Australia.
As Australia and the Philippines commemorate 70 years of their diplomatic relations, the Embassy takes the celebration on the road.
Australian lifestyle, foodand fashion and culture of innovation will be on display at 'Celebrate Australia 2016: Say G'day at SM'. The roadshow also features the ‘Philippines and Australia: The First 70 Years’ photographic exhibition.
Celebrate Australia kicked off its tour at SM Aura Premier from Feb. 18 to 25 and travelled to other parts of the Philippines: SM City Cebu from March 14 to 20; SM City Davao (April 13-19); and SM City North EDSA in Quezon City (May 12-19).
Celebrate Australia 2016 was presented by the Australian Embassy in partnership with SM Supermalls and ANZ, Aurecon, Austal, Australian International School, Cardno, Crone Architects, Greenstone Resources Corp., IDP, Macquarie, Meat & Livestock Australia, OceanaGold, Qantas, QBE, SMEC and Telstra.
COMMEMORATIVE LIGHTING OF THE ANNIVERSARY LOGO
On the eve of the anniversary, Ambassador Gorely and National Historical Commission of the Philippines Executive Director Vic Badoy witnessed the commemorative light up of the SM Mall of Asia (MoA) Globe with the 70th Anniversary Philippines-Australia Friendship logo. The globe, an iconic feature of the Manila skyline, also projected images of partnership between the two countries.
Our social media community also joined the celebration through the official #First70Years campaign.
The anniversary celebration received support online with messages from Australia and the Philippines flooding the Australian Ambassador’s Twitter account.
Hundreds of friends also adopted the #First70Years Twibbon to show their support to the anniversary celebration.
#First70Years helped unite Filipinos and Australians on social media in celebrating our deep links, our strong friendship, and our hopes for a prosperous future.
CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS IN AUSTRALIA
In June 2016, DFAT hosted a reception to mark seven decades of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Philippines.
The Philippine Embassy hosted the Bayanihan National Folk Dance Company of the Philippines for a series of performances in Canberra to mark the 118th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence and 70th Anniversary of Philippine-Australia relations.
In October 2016, the Filipino community in Sydney marked the anniversary as part of the 28th Grand Fiesta Kultura celebration. Senator The Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells represented the Prime Minister to the event. In her speech, the Minister for International Development and the Pacific highlighted the significance of the anniversary: "This year we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of formal diplomatic relations between the Governments of Australia and the Philippines. There have been great celebrations, particularly in our embassy in Manila and in Canberra. Our 70th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate contemporary Philippine-Australian relations. "
#FIRST70YEARS AT HISTORY CON
The Embassy participated in the first history entertainment convention held in the Philippines organized by the History Channel. The event was an opportunity to reach a wider audience, especially the youth, offering a scaled down version of 'The First 70 Years' photography exhibition.
“The event is a good way to show that the friendship between Australia and the Philippines has always been deep and strong. We have always stood by each other in good times and in bad,” said Deputy Head of Mission Mat Kimberley.
TIES THAT BIND
A little known fact is the strong links between the Philippines and northern Australia. As part of the anniversary celebration, the Embassy co-hosted with the Cultural Center of the Philippines an exhibit and book launch of “Re-Imagining Australia: Voices of Indigenous Australians of Filipino Descent”, to coincide with the Philippines' Indigenous Peoples’ Month.
The book recounts the story of the “Manila Men”, the first migrant Filipinos to northern Australia in the late 1800s working in the pearling industry. A large number of Indigenous Australians are descendants of these Manila Men. Some of these Australians are narrators of the book and have accompanied by book author Filipino-Australian Dr Deborah Ruiz Wall to the Philippines to trace their Filipino ancestry. This journey to rediscover their roots was the subject of the GMA 7 'I-Witness' documentary by multi-awarded Filipino journalists Mr Howie Severino.
The Embassy also hosted the visit of renowned Australian speaker, artist and didgeridoo player Jeremy Donovan. Jeremy opened the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) 'Dayaw: Philippine International Indigenous Peoples’ Festival', gathering over 200 representatives from 45 indigenous cultural communities of the Philippines and ASEAN member countries.
Jeremy held a Master Class at the University of Santo Tomas Music Conservatory, one of two Centres of Excellence for Music in the Philippines.
CELEBRATING #FIRST70YEARS THROUGH MUSIC
Continuing the #First70Years partnership with SM Malls, the Australian Embassy brought Cyrus Villanueva to SM City Davao for a one-day concert on Friday, 25 November. Cyrus is the grand winner of X Factor Australia 2015 and has since become one of Australia’s most popular rising stars. His self-titled debut album, containing his hit original singles, “Stone,” and “Keep Talking, was released in December 2015 and was certified Gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).
“Davao has a special place in my heart. I have family there and visiting them is my favourite part of coming home,” shared Cyrus, whose father hails from Mindanao. “My dad has been my inspiration in pursuing music, and it’s great to perform for the very first time in Davao,” he said.
JOINT GALA DINNER CELEBRATION
The year-long celebration of the 70th anniversary of Philippines-Australia diplomatic relations came to a close with a gala dinner, held in conjunction with ANZCHAM’s 35th anniversary.
Ambassador Amanda Gorely said, “I am delighted to host high-level visitors from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and from the Australian-ASEAN Council (AAC) representing the cultural and business sectors in Australia. We are also joined by two artists from Australia – Jeremy Donovan and Cyrus Villanueva – to showcase the diversity of Australian culture and society.”
Partners from across government, the diplomatic and international corps, Australian and Philippine business sector, and well-known members of the Filipino-Australian community came to support the joint celebration. The gala dinner featured the performance of Jeremy Donovan and Cyrus Villanueva collaborating with the Manila Symphony Orchestra.
“Our extensive trade and investment links are growing, and I commend ANZCHAM in the role it is playing in the strengthening of our ties,” said the Ambassador.
The Australian Embassy acknowledges its corporate partners for the 70th anniversary gala dinner: ANZ, Aurecon, Australian International School, Cardno, Crone, Greenstone Resources, IDP, Macquarie, Oceana Gold, Orica, Qantas, QBE, Site Skills, and Telstra.
Special thanks to our media partners: ANC, CNN Philippines, Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, Philippine Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, Business World, Rappler, Tiger 22 Corporation, Magic 89.9, Wave 89.1, 99.5 Play FM and Jam 88.3.