The British Embassy Manila hosted their annual UK-Philippines Friendship Ball at the Manila Polo Club on Oct. 20, 2016 to mark the 70 years of enduring ties between the two countries.
“The biggest gift we can offer you is our friendship,” said Ambassador Asif Ahmad, who noted that the annual ball is a way of expressing gratitude to the Philippines for remaining one of the UK’s most valued partners and allies. Ambassador Ahmad emphasized that the bond between the two countries remains strong, through good and difficult times. He likened the friendship between the UK and the Philippines to the ties he has formed with many: “In my time here in Manila for the last three years, I’ve made many, many more friends and I’m absolutely certain that many of them, if not all of them, will become lifelong friends of mine.”
The UK-Philippines Friendship Ball is one of the highlights of the embassy's "The GREAT Britain" campaign, now running on its fourth season. It showcased the best of what the UK has to offer, with British fashion brands Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, and The French Sole unveiling their Spring/Summer 2017 collections through a David Bowie-inspired fashion presentation.
Over 300 guests, including leaders from the government and top executives from the private sector such as Pilipinas Shell, Rolls Royce Philippines, GlaxoSmithKlein, BDO, BPI, Cebu Pacific, Dyson, Etihad, KPMG, Manulife, TrainStation, UPC Asia Wind, were given a taste of Britain's great and diverse food tradition. Crimson Hotel whipped up authentic British canapés for guests while they had scotch whisky from JURA and Johnnie Walker, Gin and Tonic from The Bon Bon Club and overflowing beer from San Miguel.
Members of the Chevening Scholarships alumni and business chambers also took part in the Ball. Attendees were treated to world-class performances by The X Factor UK finalist 4th Impact. Joining the all-Filipina girl group, Ambassador Asif wowed audiences as he sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
Prizes from Crimson Hotel Alabang, Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan, Quest Hotel & Conference Center Clark, Rolls Royce, Diageo, JURA, Stores Specialist Inc., The Bon Bon Club were raffled off to lucky guests. The top prize—two business class tickets to the UK courtesy of Etihad Airways—was given to one lucky winner who will get to see, firsthand, how truly great Britain is.
The Ball ended before the clock struck midnight, with guests dancing to renditions by the REO Brothers of classic The Beatles hits.