The Australian Embassy is hosting an online programme of events to celebrate 75 years of friendship between the Philippines and Australia.
Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO said “This year, we are celebrating the depth of the friendship and partnership between Australia and the Philippines which has stood firm throughout good times and bad – including especially the events of the past year. We launched the 75th Anniversary celebration on Australia Day in January through the commemorative website mateshipandbayanihan.com, which contains stories of friendship between our countries.
I am confident the Australian tradition of mateship, which admirably aligns with the Philippine spirit of bayanihan, will continue to form the bedrock of the mutual support we provide to each other.”
The Philippines is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral relationships. While formal relations commenced with the opening of Australia’s first Consulate-General in Manila on 22 May 1946, links between the two countries date back to the 1800s, driven by trade and migration.
Lasting ties were forged in the heat of battle when 4,000 Australian service personnel fought alongside Filipino and allied forces for the liberation of the Philippines in WWII.
Today, Australia and the Philippines cooperate closely across a range of areas, including defence, counter-terrorism, law enforcement, education and development. Australia is the third largest source of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines, with AUD 80 million (PHP 2.8 billion) in 2020-2021 strategically deployed to support the Philippine’s COVID-19 response and recovery plans.
One of the key celebrations for the 75th Anniversary is an online festival on the weekend of 22 and 23 May to celebrate Philippines-Australia Friendship Day.
“We are very pleased to be one of only five countries with an annual friendship day celebration, in our case on 22 May as set out in Presidential Proclamation 1282. This is an opportunity to celebrate our strong links each year,” said the Ambassador.
“Normally we celebrate Friendship Day at different cities around the Philippines. The COVID-19 situation limited our ability to bring the celebration, physically, to other cities this year. Nevertheless, we are putting together an online program which means everyone across the Philippines can be part of the celebration.”
On 22 and 23 May, Friendship Day weekend, the Embassy will host a free online screening of Australian Films.
“We are working with Screen Australia and Flickerfest to provide Filipino film lovers the opportunity to experience Australian filmmaking excellence and learn more about Australian contemporary culture,” said Ambassador Robinson.
The weekend “Stream and Sip” festival will also highlight Australian music on Spotify and Australian films on Netflix, as well as offer a Taste of Australia experience by bringing together online retailers of Australian food and beverage.
Ambassador Robinson said, “Food brings people together, so sharing Australian and Filipino food is a perfect way to celebrate Friendship Day. Australian food and beverages reflect 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.”
Another highlight of the celebration is the commemorative light up of the SM Mall of Asia (MoA) Globe with the 75th Anniversary Philippines-Australia Friendship logo from the 13th to 23rd May. The LED globe will also project images of partnership between the two countries. The Ambassador thanked SM for supporting the anniversary celebration. “We are pleased that SM is sharing our story of friendship on the Mall of Asia globe, which is an iconic part of the city landscape. SM has been supporting not only our cultural activities over the years but has also made available Australian brands to our Filipino friends.”
The Ambassador also launched an online campaign to inspire people across the Philippines to join the celebration by sharing their stories of friendship using the official hashtag #mateshipandbayanihan and FilAussieDay. “I invite everyone to join the celebration on social media by reflecting on our deep relationship and sending messages of friendship,” the Ambassador said.
To this, the Embassy is partnering with Australian company Canva for a design competition. Canva is an online design and publishing tool founded by Filipino-Australian Melanie Perkins. It is considered as one of the fastest growing tech tools of all time. They’re headquartered in Australia but their first global office was set up in the Philippines, employing many Filipino talents.
The 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations is being celebrated in both the Philippines and in Australia. The Philippine Embassy in Canberra is hosting a number of activities for the Filipino-Australian community. “There are well over 300,000 Australians of Filipino descent and in 2019, there were 17,000 Filipinos studying in Australia. They represent the fifth largest diaspora community in Australia. They support our people-to-people links and nurture the deep friendship between our countries,” Ambassador Robinson said.
To get updates on the anniversary, visit mateshipandbayanihan.com, follow @AusAmbPH on Twitter and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.
The 75th Anniversary celebration and Philippines Australia Friendship Day is presented by the Australian Embassy in partnership with SM Retail Inc, Canva, Austal, Crone Architects, Prime BMD, Orica, Qantas, QBE, Telstra and Site Skills.