On 12 June 2014, the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, led by Ambassador Belen F. Anota, commemorated the 116th Anniversary of Philippine Independence starting with a flag-raising ceremony, followed by a simple breakfast at the Philippine Embassy Chancery. Filipino military scholars studying at the Australian Defence Forces Academy (ADFA) and Australian Command and Staff College attended the event.
In the afternoon, Ambassador Anota hosted a Vin d'Honneur at the Ambassador’s Residence, which was attended by the diplomatic corps, Australian government officials, the academe and leaders of the Filipino community organizations. Ms. Sally Mansfield, Chief of Protocol of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was the guest of honor on behalf of the Australian Government.
In her speech, Ambassador Anota underscored the sacrifices of the Filipino people to achieve independence, noting that this year marks the 150th birth anniversary of Gat Apolinario Mabini who was the brains of the Philippine Revolution and the first Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines. She also affirmed the long-standing and steadfast relations between the Philippines and Australia, with their shared ideals of peace, freedom and democracy and welcomed the strong people-to-people links between the two countries. There are nearly 300,000 Filipinos around Australia.
The display of Philippine-made accessories, with beautifully-handcrafted jewelry made of pearls, semi-precious stones, and beads from around the country, generated keen interest, along with the tourism brochures and information materials about the Philippines.