Twitter users have been marking the 70th Philippine-Australian Friendship anniversary celebration using the hashtag #First70Years which culminated with a commemorative light up of the SM Mall of Asia Globe to feature the Philippines-Australian 70th Anniversary logo and images highlighting the breadth and depth of cooperation over the years.
Even though our diplomatic relations may have only started in May 22, 1946 at an office in Manila Hotel, the relationship between our nations goes back even further. At the 2011 Census, 225,000 Australians identified as having Filipino ancestry, up from 129,000 in 2001. Filipinos also remain to be one of the fastest growing immigrant communities in Australia.
Sunday, 22 May, Australia marked its 70 years of diplomatic relations with the Philippines when its first Consulate-General opened in Manila in 1946. The light up was led by Ambassador Amanda Gorely together with National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Executive Director Vic Badoy.
The focus of Australia's development program in the Philippines is to support inclusive economic growth and political stability. Australia has been side by side with the Philippines even way back during the post-war era. Geographically, Australia was one of the Philippines’ most important neighbors and one which the people of the Philippines especially wished to cultivate. Australia has been a natural ally of the Philippines and this alliance has definitely become even stronger throughout the years.
"As I have travelled around the country touring our 70th anniversary photographic exhibition it is the links between our people that have stood out. These abiding personal relationships are the beating heart to the sinews and bones of the formal government to government agreements. Filipinos are now the 6th largest migrant group in Australia and many Australians have made their homes in the Philippines." - Amanda Gorely, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines.
The Australian embassy has partnered with SM Malls to showcase exhibitions at selected SM Malls nationwide like SM Aura, SM Cebu and with the last leg held at the SM North EDSA.
The ambassador has also admired how resilient Filipinos are when she stated for one publication: "I am always struck by the positive outlook of the Filipino people I meet from all walks of life. They have a tendency to look on the bright side."
Yes, we Filipinos are mostly optimistic regardless of the struggles and hardships we regularly experience in our daily lives. It is with the help of countries like Australia and with their special programs, like those at ARMM, that has kept our hopes up.
Follow Ambassador Amanda Gorely on Twitter @AusAmbPH and send your #First70Years message of friendship.
References: Huffington Post and Philippine Star