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The Philippine Embassy Celebrates ASEAN Month 2023

The Philippine Embassy led by Ambassador Mylene J. Garcia-Albano celebrated the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) Month 2023 by featuring the rich culture of the ASEAN region in a cocktail reception held on 15 August 2023 at a hotel in Chiyoda City, Tokyo.

Ambassadors and officials of the ASEAN Embassies came in full support of the event that included displays of crafts, musical instruments, products, food items, and tourism materials of the different countries. There was also a beautiful and colorful exhibit of traditional clothing from each of the 10-member countries of ASEAN at the main banquet hall. The Philippine “Terno” loaned by Ambassador Garcia-Albano formed part of this exhibition. Popular dishes from the region, including the Philippines’ “Kaldereta,” was served during the event.

The highlight of the reception was the performance of the University of the Philippines Manila Chorale (UPMC). The UPMC is the multi-awarded official performing group for choral music of the University of the Philippines Manila, presently led by its music director, Mr. John Steven Verrosa. In 2019, the UPMC garnered a gold prize diploma in the Mixed Choir category and won in the Contemporary category in the 2nd Tokyo International Choir Competition. Filipino talent was on full display as they sang Philippine songs as well as “The ASEAN Way” and “The ASEAN Song of Unity.” The guests, which were composed of Filipinos, ASEAN diplomats, Japanese Government Officials, and other Japanese stakeholders enjoyed the group’s great serenade that evening.

In her remarks, Ambassador Garcia-Albano stated the commemoration celebrates ASEAN unity which springs from the diversity of Southeast Asian culture. As the year 2023 marks ASEAN’s 56th anniversary and the 50th year of ASEAN-Japan relations, the spotlight is given to the Socio-Cultural Pillar of ASEAN, which is “a dynamic and harmonious community that is aware and proud of its identity, culture, and heritage.” The Ambassador also said that “by promoting a greater awareness of our cultures, we are, in fact, creating more bridges of understanding between ASEAN and Japan.”

Among the special guest speakers during the event included H.E. Mr. Tuy Ry, Ambassador of Cambodia and Chair of the ASEAN Committee in Tokyo (ACT), H.E. Mr. Heri Akhmadi, Ambassador of Indonesia and Representative of the Chair of ASEAN, and Honorable Yutaka Arima, Ambassador and Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This event was done in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). During the Philippine Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017, the Philippine President issued Proclamation No. 282 declaring the month of August as “ASEAN Month” to promote awareness about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the Philippines.