The Philippine Consulate General and others after the traditional flag raising ceremony to mark the 121st Independence Day in Al Qusais on Wednesday. Kamal Kassim/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
As everyone is made to believe to seek his own place under the sun, Philippine Consul General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates Paul Raymund Cortes on Wednesday defined what a “21st Century Global Filipino” is.
It was on Wednesday when the 750,000 Filipinos across the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates joined their kababayans (countrymen) in their homeland and other parts of the world in commemorating the 121st anniversary of their country’s freedom from Spain on June 12, 1898.
Official ceremonies were held at 7.30am when the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi, led by Ambassador Hjayceelyn Quintana and the Philippine Consulate General in Dubai led by Cortes, along with Filipino Community leaders, hoisted the red-blue-white-yellow Philippine national flag as they sang their national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang” (“Chosen Land).”
Cortes shared what he had texted on Wednesday morning to his fellow Filipino diplomats across Middle East and Africa, when he defined what a “21st Global Filipino” is; which has been raised numerously in Filipino Community official and social functions in the past several years—like what Bayanihan Council (Abu Dhabi) Executive Board chairman Engr. Elmer Casao desired to happen and expressed this as his wish for his motherland in the next six years, and published in Gulf Today on Wednesday.
Cortes’s text message: “May our freedom be always a manifestation of our desire to inspire other people to become the best (they could be), the best Filipinos, as children of our Creator, and as stewards of this beautiful place we call earth.”
Cortes encouraged Filipinos to desist from comparing their individual and group conditions with other nationalities or race, country or government and even with each of them: “Each of us has our own individual sets of experiences and journeys” which makes comparisons unfair and uncalled for.
He encouraged Filipinos to be an inspiring lot even if not in leadership roles in contrast to being dictators or manipulators. He said every Filipino like any other individual is unique and has innate or discovered potential as well as intellect, which only blossom when neither stifled nor shackled.
He encouraged Filipinos to delimit themselves from each day and “look beyond their lifetimes,” citing the devastating effects of ignorance and obliviousness to all and thus, the existence of global issues like climate change and its harrowing consequences.
These as the same issues raised by Filipino students in Abu Dhabi, namely Kirsten Chayne Noble and Kate Danielle Ronquillo of the Philippine Global School. Their wishes on how to tackle these judiciously by their new set of elected national legislators and local government officials were published on Wednesday in Gulf Today.
Cortes expounded: “How difficult it would be if we hear our children and our children’s children, our grandchildren, tell us: ‘Lolo, Lola, sinira niyo ang bahay natin (Grandfather, grandmother, you destroyed our home), now we have no place to live. This is a sad indictment (to each of us) when we could have looked beyond our lifetimes and have become more concerned of not only the existing over seven billion people in this world right now but even to (all our descendants).”
He pointed out that to become the 21st Century Global Filipino, every Filipino especially those in the UAE—whether they have been out of their country for a few years or have lived longer in this country than expected—have the mindset and the discipline to take care of Mother Earth.
The traditional Philippine Independence Day community gathering at the consulate general was brief and simple.
Cortes’s extemporaneous speech and message was followed through with a two-song number performance by Jireh Micah Vargas, a home-schooled Grade 8 pupil.
Vargas said it was a coincidence that Cortes’s speech on “journeys in life” jived with her personal choice of the song “The Journey” by her favourite, internationally-acclaimed Filipino stage actress-singer Lea Salonga: “’The Journey’ is my favourite (too). That as the lyrics ‘dark deserts and deepest snow’ are a part of us, we are going to overcome.”
Visiting Philippine world-renowned/global traveler artist Manuel “Manny” Baldemor is impressed by the deep-rooted creativeness and growing sense of nationalism budding and established Filipino painters possess in the UAE.
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