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Philippine Embassy Promotes Patriotism and National Identity to Filipino Community in Tokyo

Members of the Filipino community pose with Consul General Robespierre L. Bolivar (fourth from left, front row), Anita A. Sasaki of CASTLE (third from right, front row) and Consul Charmaine A. Serna-Chua (second from right, front row) following the screening of the films.

The Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, in partnership with the Christian Association of Serving Traditional Laymen’s Evangelization (CASTLE), hosted the screening of three short documentaries aimed at fostering a shared sense of patriotism and Philippine national identity.

Dubbed “Reflections on Filipino Identity: the Youth, the Creative Genius, and the Leader”, the event was held on Saturday, July 13, at the Embassy’s multi-purpose hall. Around 30 community and youth leaders participated in the film showing, which featured the documentaries “Role of The Filipino Youth During the 1896 Philippine Revolution”, “Our Intangible Heritage – The Creative Genius of the Filipino”, and “Ang Pangulo ko ay si Jose P. Laurel” (My President is Jose P. Laurel).

Produced by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), “Role of The Filipino Youth During the 1896 Philippine Revolution” highlighted the fact that many of the prominent figures of Philippine history, including Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, and Emilio Aguinaldo, were in their 20s when they fought for the nation’s independence. The documentary also featured interviews with Filipino students, where they were asked about their thoughts on patriotism.

Consul General Robespierre Bolivar challenges the audience to think about how to concretely show their patriotism.

The next film, entitled “Ang Pangulo ko ay si Jose P. Laurel” (My President is Jose P. Laurel), spoke about President Laurel’s achievements and the challenging times through which he steered the country. The documentary shone a spotlight on President Laurel’s efforts to protect the Filipino people. He refused orders to declare war on the United States and to require Filipinos to pledge allegiance to a foreign flag, all the while attempting to maintain good relations with the invading military forces in a precarious balancing act.

The third film “Our Intangible Heritage – The Creative Genius of the Filipino” showed the Philippines as a multiethnic nation with numerous, diverse, and unique examples of intangible cultural heritage. The film presented the music of Samaon Sulaiman, Masino Intaray and Alonzo Sacleg, the indigenous poetry of Ginaw Biloog and the artistry of the Bagobo and the Sama mat weavers. Highlighting the indigenous, the film called attention to the Filipino’s intrinsic creativity.

In his keynote remarks, Consul General Robespierre Bolivar challenged the audience to think about how to concretely show their love of country. He asked participants about the effects of social media on nation-building and called on them to resist the spread of fake news by developing critical thinking.

First Secretary and Consul Charmaine Serna-Chua discusses the uniqueness of Philippine cultural heritage.

He also called on the participants to engage their family and friends in discussions about patriotism, stating that “there may be times when we will be called upon to take drastic action for our country – the way the women and men of our armed forces, police and fire departments put themselves in harm’s way for country and people. But more often it is in the small acts, like keeping our surroundings clean, being responsible and law-abiding citizens, and moving beyond ourselves to think about our nation’s good, where we make the profoundest impact on nation building”.

First Secretary and Consul Charmaine Serna-Chua, for her part, highlighted the Philippines’ proud cultural heritage. She noted that “Filipinos have a set of traditional practices, expressions, knowledge, skills, as well as instruments, even before the Spaniards came…These sets of practices were transmitted from generation to generation and have survived hundreds of years of colonization [and is a] response to our changing environment and evolving history as a people.”

CASTLE was founded by “Nanay” Anita Aquino Sasaki, a recipient of the 2014 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas for her pioneering work in youth development in the Filipino-Japanese community in Tokyo.