Ako ay Pilipino: Commemoration of Philippine Independence in Frankfurt, Germany
Consulate General in Frankfurt, Germany June is the month when Filipinos’ sense of patriotism is stirred, as several activities are held to commemorate the anniversary of Philippine independence. On the part of Philippine embassies and consulates, receptions are organized and various festivities with community members are staged. Officers and staff of Frankfurt PCG pose for a group photo prior to the singing of the Philippine national anthem and recitation of the pledge of allegiance during the commemoration of the anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence in June 2019. (Photo courtesy of Frankfurt PCG) As the pandemic lingers in 2021, many Philippine missions have resorted to virtual events. The Consulate General in Frankfurt (Frankfurt PCG) itself is staging an online concert on June 11 in collaboration with MusicArtes, a private music theater production company in the Philippines. The concert aims to highlight outstanding Filipino music from each era since Philippine independence in 1898 as well as the country’s quincentennial commemoration. Moreover, the Consulate will take part in the Department of Foreign Affairs’ release of its audio-visual presentation entitled, “Lessons for a Changed World: The Legacy of the Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines,” which will focus on the values of the Philippine Indigenous heritage and proffers these values as a source of inspiration, especially as the world grapples with the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Consulate hopes to fittingly commemorate this year’s National Day celebration with these activities. Displays of nationalism are evident among Philippine public servants. “Ako ay Pilipino, buong katapatang nanunumpa, sa watawat ng Pilipinas, at sa bansang kanyang sinasagisag, na may dangal, katarungan at kalayaan, na pinakikilos ng sambayanang, maka-Diyos, maka-tao, at makabansa.” This is what you may hear, if you happen to arrive at a Philippine government office at the start of the work week. The recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (or Panunumpa ng Katapatan sa Watawat ng Pilipinas in Tagalog) following the singing of the national anthem during flag ceremonies was mandated following its legalization under Executive Order No. 343 signed by former President Fidel Ramos on 12 June 1996 and subsequently through the passage of Republic Act No. 8491, also known as the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines. The Code states that reverence and respect shall at all times be accorded the flag, the anthem and other national symbols, which embody the national ideals and which express the principles of sovereignty and national solidarity. Officers and staff of Frankfurt PCG pose for a group photo prior to the singing of the Philippine national anthem and recitation of the pledge of allegiance during the commemoration of the anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine independence in June 2019. (Photo courtesy of Frankfurt PCG) The intention and purpose of the pledge may be found in E.O. 343’s preamble – to evoke Filipinos’ sense of history and nationhood and to evince the values that every freedom-loving and nationalistic Filipino ought to possess. Credit for the pledge’s creation go to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Commission on the Filipino Language. This sense of nationhood is not lost among Filipinos abroad. Wherever our kababayans may be, often evident is their longing for things and experiences back home. Through challenging times, such as this pandemic, the Filipino community is blessed to have each other to lean on. To one and all, continued good health and a Happy Philippine Independence Day! As I walk to the pantry and get a sip of hot brewed coffee after two vaginal deliveries, I can’t help but think, what does it really mean to be called a Filipino? I’ve realized that being a Filipino is to show compassion for others. Being selfless and resilient runs in our blood especially in this pandemic crisis. To be a Filipino doctor in Germany means a privilege and opportunity. I am privileged to gain new knowledge and experiences in my residency here which has greatly changed the way I view the world around me. As an only Filipino doctor working in my hospital, I have the opportunity to show to my colleagues of different nationalities the talent of Filipinos in the medicine field. I hold my head up high and take pride in being a Filipino - my color, my accent, my passion and my dreams. Being a Filipino has also taught me important values such as equality, freedom of speech and religion and the importance of acceptance of cultural differences and diversity. These values greatly help me in facing all the challenges in living and working abroad. Wherever I go in the world, I will continue to dedicate myself to perform my duties and will work hard to practice in good faith my Oath as a Filipino Physician. Maria Karen “Karcy” Viola Neurosurgery nurse, Universitätsklinikum in Freiburg, Germany An outstanding characteristic of the Filipino is the spirit of bayanihan, a concept depicted in the picture of men helping lift a bahay-kubo together. It has evolved into a meaningful act of togetherness in modern times. Bayanihan has stayed on since the colonization of the Philippines and is evident in times of calamity and pandemic through donation drives of PPEs and food. As a Filipino nurse in Germany, I have realized that no foreign country could separate me from my Filipino roots. The spirit of bayanihan is alive here through events like “Kumustahan”, where Filipinos from different cities come together, share insights and experiences as overseas Filipino workers. Bayanihan is truly a “TATAK PINOY.” Christian Dean Icalina Overseas Filipino Worker in Frankfurt, Germany I am Christian Dean Icalina an OFW living in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. I was born and raised in San Fabian Pangasinan. My hometown is well-known for its Eco-Tourism, which consists of therapeutic beaches, breath-taking views and the friendliness of our people. There are over 120 languages spoken in the Philippines and in San Fabian, we speak 3 languages: Tagalog, Ilocano and Pangasinense. As an OFW in Europe, we take pride on being recognized as a hardworking and hospitable people. By having the heart of a Filipino and determination for success, these qualities provide us an edge to be at par with other nationalities. It is significant for us Filipinos to celebrate our Independence Day in Europe because this brings us together, and at the same time remember our history. Independence was not given but rather earned through the sacrifices of our people. I am Christian Dean Icalina, a proud PINOY!