Australian Embassy
The Philippines

Australia celebrates history and culture with Iloilo City for Philippines-Australia Friendship Day

As part of the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day celebration, the Australian Embassy joins Iloilo City in commemorating Philippines’ National Heritage Month with activities that bring together history, culture, and sustainability for the future.

“We know that Iloilo City values cultural heritage and is one of the most liveable cities in the Philippines. We have taken our annual festival to ‘the Heart of the Philippines’ not only to celebrate Australia's deep historical ties with Panay and the whole of Western Visayas, but also to share Australia’s common advocacies on sustainability and liveability,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu PSM said. “We are grateful to Mayor Jerry Treñas and the people of Iloilo for welcoming us to this wonderful city for this joint celebration.”

Ilonggos will be in for a treat with a series of activities that celebrate the old and the new.

On Friday, 19 May, Australia-educated Filipinos in Western Visayas are gathering Iloilo government and business leaders as well as the academe for a series of knowledge sessions on heritage conservation, sustainability and creating liveable cities.

Headlined by Paulo Alcazaren, the award-winning architect and urban planner who designed Iloilo City’s famous Esplanade, the Creating Liveable and Resilient Cities forum and Reconnect and Regenerate summit will highlight best practices in urban development and sustainability in Australia and the Philippines.

An unveiling of an exhibit showcasing Alcazaren’s sketches of Australia’s famous landmarks that inspired his designs in Iloilo will follow. The exhibit, which also features the photos and architectural plans behind Iloilo’s heritage atractions, will be on display during the week-long Friendship Day Festival at SM Iloilo City on 21-28 of May.

In keeping with Iloilo City’s annual tradition, the Philippines-Australia Friendship Run will take over Iloilo’s Esplanade on Saturday, 20 May. A heritage run with three categories – the 3k, 5k, and 10k routes – will start at the Freedom Grandstand and take runners along Iloilo’s famous heritage sites – Casa Real de Iloilo (formerly Iloilo’s Provincial Capitol), Museum of Philippine Maritime History (formerly Iloilo’s Customs House), and Museum of Philippine Economic History (formerly Ynchausti y Compania). Runners and walkers of all ages are invited to register and join the heritage run.

The Manila Men: Retracing the journey of the First Filipinos in Australia Exhibition, will be launched at the National Museum Western Visayas and will be open to the public from 22 May to 24 June.

“The photographic exhibit is drawn from the work of Filipino-Australian Dr Deborah Ruiz-Walls, who has family links in Iloilo. It tells the story of the ‘Manila Men”, the first wave of Filipinos migrants to Australia in the late 1800s, many of whom were from the Western Visayas. It’s a remarkable and touching tribute to the early Filipino diaspora in Australia, and the contribution that they made to our communities,” shared the Ambassador.

“As we move towards elevating our relationship to a Strategic Partnership this year, it is fantastic to trace the early roots of our relationship,” added Ambassador Yu.

A highlight of the celebration is the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day Festival in partnership with SM Supermalls, which will be open to Ilonggos at SM Iloilo City on Sunday, 21st of May. Ilonggos can experience Australia’s vibrant lifestyle and landscapes through a pop-up ‘Come and Say G’Day’ exhibit, which will feature information booths about education and travel opportunities in Australia; a mini football clinic that will showcase Australia’s sports for development projects for the Iloilo youth; as well as live entertainment that celebrates Iloilo’s vibrant culture.

“I invite everyone to join us for an a􀅌ernoon of information and entertainment. Be sure to join our free information session on how to Study in Australia, as well as on visa and migration options. Follow our Facebook page ‘Australia in the Philippines’ and our Instagram page ‘ausembph’ to get the full schedule of activities,” invited the Australian Ambassador.