Shiawasena Dokuritsukinenbi!

This is how you say ‘Happy Independence Day in Japan

At a glance

  • ‘Today, Filipinos around the world remember the unwavering spirit and sacrifices of our forefathers whose courage and determination won the freedoms we now enjoy.’

CHEERS TO PH-JAPAN RELATIONS. Ambassador Garcia-Albano with notable guests from the Japanese government.jpg
CHEERS TO PH-JAPAN RELATIONS Ambassador Garcia-Albano with notable guests from the Japanese government

This past week, the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo celebrated 126 years of Philippine independence with an elegant affair at the historic Imperial Hotel. This year’s national day reception highlighted the strengthened relationship between the Philippines and Japan and was attended by key figures from Japan’s political and business sector, setting the stage for continued bilateral cooperation and friendship.

“Today, Filipinos around the world remember the unwavering spirit and sacrifices of our forefathers whose courage and determination won the freedoms we now enjoy,” Philippine Ambassador to Japan Mylene Garcia-Albano said on stage. “It is also an occasion to celebrate the enduring and ever-strengthening partnership between the Philippines and Japan, a partnership that has transformed and grown over the years, driven by mutual respect, shared values, and a common vision for the future.”

She also expressed gratitude to the Japanese business community for their continued trust and investment in the Philippines, noting how these ventures have bolstered the country’s economic growth and infrastructural progress.

Beyond economic ties, the ambassador emphasized the collaborative efforts between the two nations in addressing global challenges. “Our nations continue to work hand in hand to ensure stability and development,” she said. Their joint initiatives in disaster resilience, climate change mitigation, and technological innovation demonstrate a shared commitment to creating a sustainable and resilient future. The strategic partnership extends into security cooperation as well, with Japan supporting the modernization of the Philippine Armed Forces and both nations advocating for a rules-based regional order in the Indo-Pacific. “Together, we stand firm in our determination to maintain an environment where the rule of law prevails and international norms are respected,” Ambassador Garcia-Albano added.

Foreign Affairs Minister Yoko Kamikawa, Defense Minister Minoru Kihara, and Education Minister Masahito Moriyama were in attendance. Their presence underscored Japan’s commitment to strengthening its ties with the Philippines and recognized the collaborative efforts in areas such as diplomatic relations, defense, and educational exchange. Minister Kamikawa, in her speech, agreed with the ambassador’s, highlighting the friendship between Japan and the Philippines.

Defense Minister Kihara led the toast, mentioning his meeting with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. in Hawaii last month where they confirmed that the two nations would further deepen defense cooperation and exchanges. The recent delivery of the mobile air surveillance radar system from Japan to Manila proves this statement. According to the Philippine Air Force, the system provides highresolution surveillance of air and surface targets such as aircraft, drones, and maritime vessels.

The evening was further enriched by performances showcasing the Philippines’ vibrant culture through music. Performances by the GC Ensemble and pianist Kate Henry livened up the event while guests enjoyed a delightful selection of Filipino cuisine, blending flavors that represented the diverse heritage of the archipelago.

An exhibit showcasing the barong Tagalog, curated by Tetta Ortiz-Matera and LIT Fashion Consultancy, was one of the evening’s highlights. Featuring the works of top Filipino designers, the display celebrated the intricate craftsmanship and cultural heritage of the iconic garment. Attendees marveled at the diverse interpretations of the barong, ranging from traditional to contemporary styles, each piece reflecting a fusion of historical significance and modern aesthetics.

BARONG TAGALOG. The exhibit, curated by Tetta Ortiz-Matera, drew crowds at the Philippine Independence Day Reception in Tokyo.jpg
BARONG TAGALOG The exhibit, curated by Tetta Ortiz-Matera, drew crowds at the Philippine Independence Day Reception in Tokyo

Filipino food also takes centerstage this month in Tokyo. The Philippine Embassy in Japan, through its Tourism Office and Cultural Section, has continued their collaboration with restaurants Hard Rock Café and Tony Roma’s to celebrate the rich culinary heritage of the Philippines.

Building on the success of past Filipino menu offerings, Hard Rock Café and Tony Roma’s are currently featuring a special menu inspired by traditional Filipino cuisine. This gastronomic celebration includes popular dishes such as chicken and baby back ribs inasal, pork lumpia, and inihaw na hipon over rice.

These specially curated dishes are available for a limited time, offering food enthusiasts and cultural aficionados the opportunity to experience the distinctive flavors of the Philippines. The menu is available until June 30 at Hard Rock Café’s Roppongi branch, as well as all Tony Roma’s branches across Japan.

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Hard Rock Café and Tony Roma’s in showcasing the vibrant flavors of Filipino cuisine here in Tokyo,” said Ambassador GarciaAlbano. “We warmly invite everyone to join us in savoring these Filipino dishes and celebrating the culinary artistry of the Philippines, as well as the enduring friendship between our nations.”

This ongoing collaboration, which began with the “Eats More Fun in the Philippines” campaign in 2021, has seen the chicken inasal plate become a beloved staple on Hard Rock Café Roppongi’s lunch menu.