Philippines Australia Friendship Day celebration
The Australian Embassy is marking this year’s Philippines Australia Friendship Day on May 22 with an online celebration.
“Each year we celebrate Philippines Australia Friendship Day by holding festivals in different parts of the country – with events in Manila, Cebu and Davao in recent years. We’re adapting to the current situation around COVID-19 this year by inviting everyone to celebrate with us online by using and following the hashtag #FilAussieDay. I am very pleased that we can still celebrate our deep ties and enduring friendship from the safety of our homes,” said Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO.
“Australia and the Philippines are close friends. We enjoy broad cooperation in trade, development, defence and security. I would like to thank our friends in government who are sharing their message of friendship as part of this celebration,” Ambassador Robinson said. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra as well as Senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Pia Cayetano and Manny Pacquiao are among the political leaders who are taking part in the online Friendship Day celebration.
“This online celebration is also an opportunity for us to thank frontliners who have been delivering assistance to the COVID-19 response. As well as those from national and local government units who have provided assistance to Australian tourists who have been stranded in the Philippines,” said the Ambassador.
“Beyond our bilateral relationship, our people-to-people links are broad and deep,” Ambassador Robinson said. One of the first waves of Filipino migration to Australia occurred in the late 1800s when young men, mostly from the Visayas and parts of Mindanao settled in northern Australia to work in the pearling industry. Today, over 300,000 Filipinos call Australia home.
“A number of Filipino-Australian celebrities have been very supportive of our celebration over the years including Ms Universe 2018 Catriona Gray, siblings Anne and Jasmin Curtis, and James and Lauren Reid, as well as young talents Ylona Garcia and Leila Alcasid. They embrace their ties with both countries and represent our ongoing links,” said the Ambassador.
Education exchanges have deepened our people-to-people links strong. Each year, close to 20,000 Filipinos undertake training and studies in Australia. To keep the education exchanges strong at a time when we can’t travel, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) has collaborated with social learning platform, FutureLearn.com to provide free online courses from leading Australian universities to help international students stay ahead of the learning curve. The ‘Study with Australia’ initiative is opening up access to high quality online resources across business, digital technologies, STEM, healthcare and teaching courses, to name a few. These will be available for free until the end of June 2020. All Australian universities’ online learning showcases are included in the Australian partner directory on FutureLearn.com.
Each year the Australian Government supports prestigious Australia Award Scholarships for Filipinos to study in top Australian universities. On their return, the scholars become part of the global Australia Global Alumni network and serve as citizen ambassadors for both countries. These alumni are sharing their experience and success stories online during the celebration using the hashtag #AustraliaGlobalAlumni. Applications for the 2021 intake of Australia Awards Scholarships have been extended until 30 June 2020 in response to the impact of COVID-19 on potential Filipino scholars.
On 21 and 22 May, Australia will host a free online screening from Flickerfest, Australia's only Academy® Award accredited and BAFTA recognised Short Film festival. “I am pleased that we can continue our tradition of providing Filipino film lovers the opportunity to experience Australian filmmaking excellence and learn more about Australian contemporary culture,” the Ambassador said.
The Embassy is also offering a ‘Taste of Australia’ experience by bringing together online retailers of Australian food and beverage. Ambassador Robinson said, “Food brings people together, so sharing Australians and Filipino food is a perfect way to celebrate Friendship Day. Australian fine food reflects the pristine environment and high standards of food safety in Australia. It’s a pleasure to be able to share Australian- made and grown products that Filipinos can enjoy at home to create delicious meals for their families.”
To join the celebration, follow the Australian Embassy on social media: On Facebook @Australia in the Philippines, Twitter @AusAmbPH and Instagram @AusEmbPH, and #FilAussieDay.
Philippines-Australia Friendship Day 2020 is presented by the Australian Embassy in partnership with Australian companies Austal, Crone Architects, Orica, Prime Metro BMD, Qantas, QBE, Site Skills and Telstra.