The Indonesian Embassy in Manila hosted a diplomatic reception to celebrate the 78th anniversary of Indonesia’s independence, held on Sept. 8. at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati.
A celebration that highlighted the success of bilateral relations between Indonesia and the Philippines, it was attended by over 300 guests from various diplomatic corps and representatives of the Indonesian community in the country, who were all welcomed by Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines H. E. Agus Widjojo.
Chief among these guests were Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Administration Antonio A. Morales, Papal Nuncio Most. Rev. Charles John Brown, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Secretary of Finance Benjamin Diokno, Presidential Advisorfor the Peace Process Carlito Galvez Jr., Sec. Chair of the Commission on Filipino Overseas Romulo V. Arugay, and former Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson.
“Celebrating Independence Day has always reminded us of the spirit of patriotism, democracy, and unity, fundamental values that Indonesia and the Philippines have in common,” Amb. Widjojo said in his speech, where he also underscored the achievements of bilateral relations between Indonesia and the Philippines particularly in defense and security, trade and investment, and culture. “Indonesia and the Philippines have a strong commitment to further strengthen relations and cooperation in the context of both bilateral and ASEAN.”
He added: “Tonight is my second year celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day as ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines. I could not be more grateful to see the progress of our bilateral relations during the last 74 years.”
This was acknowledged by Usec. Morales in his speech, which focused on how the Philippines consider Indonesia to be one of “our closest friends” that share not only borders but also a common maritime heritage, tradition, and outlook.
“Our mutual understanding as maritime nations provides plenty of opportunities to deepen our maritime cooperation and contribute to regional peace and security,” he said.
As a showcase of the richness of Indonesian culture and arts, the reception was full of symbolic gestures including the ceremonial cutting of the tumpeng, an Indonesian cone-shaped rice dish originating from Java, which serves as a symbol of gratitude. It was handed to Usec. Morales and former President Macapagal-arroyo. Guests were also treated to the music of the sasando, a harp-like instrument native to Indonesia, played by Indonesian priest Fr. Yohanes Don Bosko Bakok who is currently studying in Manila.
Various cultural performances, such as the Jaipong Sulenjana dance, Margapati dance, and the playing of the angklung, also added to the festivities. Since its government made it a national holiday in 1946, Indonesia has been celebrating its Independence Day every Aug. 17.