(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Hundreds of Filipinos thronged the Philippine Consulate on Wednesday to celebrate their 121st Independence Day with fellow Kababayans. The month-long festivities to mark the Philippines Independence Day began with a flag-hoisting at the consulate at 7.30am and the crowd singing their national anthem with pride and joy.
This was followed by a small function where the Philippine Consul-General in Dubai and Northern Emirates, Paul Raymund P. Cortes and deputy consul-general Renato Duenas Jr. addressed the attendees with their short yet motivating speeches.
Cortes said: "I want to wish my fellow countrymen a very happy Independence Day and hope we Filipinos can inspire others also to realise their potential and never forget their culture and roots. All this in the context of a larger multi-cultural community here in the UAE, which we call our second home. We are thrilled and excited about having a beautiful display of the Philippines culture and flag on the iconic Burj Khalifa and at Dubai Festival City's lights and sound laser show called Imagine, for the very first time ever. We are happy to share our pride and joy with the rest of the world and we are all here together on this journey, diverse as we are but united in our spirit and at heart."
The programme then progressed with some melodious songs that people from the community sang to laud their country, followed by a traditional Filipno breakfast comprising Pandesal, a bun with beef or chicken filling; and coffee.
Pamela Enriquez, who was dressed in a traditional attire, said this was her first Independence Day celebrations in the UAE as she came to the country just eight months back. Pamela, who shares her birthday with the nation, said: "It gives me great pride to be part of this gathering of Filipinos here in the UAE where we saw our consul-general raise our flag and sing the national anthem. He also interacted with so many of our community people whom we usually don't get to see regularly.
"It is a memorable Independence Day for me as I got to celebrate my first birthday in the UAE with so many of my fellow Filipinas and also we are excited to witness our flag being displayed at the Burj Khalifa tonight."
Marlene Murphy, director of the education committee at the Philippine Busines Council who has been in the UAE for over 20 years, had not only donned a traditional dress but had also matched it with some jewellery made from shells from the coral reef of the Philippines. "This is one day when we can flaunt and show the world our culture, heritage and traditions. So I made sure I wore everything traditional and express my happiness and joy of being a proud Filipina living in the UAE."
In commemoration of the anniversary of Philippine's independence from the Spanish rule, different areas in the UAE will hold spectacular events.
The community is excited about the record-breaking laser light show, Imagine, that started on Wednesday at 9pm. It will continue till June 15, everyday from 7pm.
There are over 750,000 to a million Filipinos living in the UAE currently.