By Noreen Jazul
The iconic Manneken-Pis, the best known symbol of the people of Brussels, Belgium, was presented to the public wearing a Camisa de Chino, or the classic undershirt for the barong tagalong, in celebration of Philippine independence last June 12.
A mini Philippine flag was also put in the statue’s hand.
Ambassador to Belgium Eduardo José A. de Vega, in his speech at the commemoration of the 121st Independence day in Brussels, cited the historical ties between the Philippines and Belgium.
“Today, as I stand before the Manneken-Pis, I can only wonder what our national hero, Dr. José Rizal, would have thought as he passed by this statue, since he lived here in this neighborhood, just over in Rue Philippe de Champagne, from 1890 to 1891, as he wrote one of two novels that would inspire the revolt against Spain and lead to the very occasion that we are celebrating,” de Vega said.
The Manneken-Pis is a 24-inch bronze sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It also embodies the sense of humor of the people of Brussels, who de Vega likened to Filipinos.
“The people of Brussels are known for their cheeky, rebellious nature, and thus the symbol of the city is appropriately that of a cheeky, rebellious boy. We Filipinos share these same qualities, and should be glad that this famous Belgian boy honored us on our National Day,” De Vega said.
“You can say that like a true Bruxellois, he made sure to ‘aim high’ when he joined in commemorating our Independence Day and our special ties with Belgium,” he added.
The statue has over 1,000 outfits, including the camisa de chino donated by then-Vice President Salvador H. Laurel to Brussels in 1986.