In 1947, the Philippines and France signed the Treaty of Amity in Paris and established diplomatic relations between the two countries. Since then, the French-Philippine alliance has deepened through their initiatives to uphold international laws for an open Indo-Pacific area, combat climate change, and extensive cultural exchanges between the nations.
This year, France and the Philippines celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations, committing themselves to strengthen and expand their partnership in many areas, including politics and economics.
According to French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz, when she met up with the office of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, they realized that 75 years of the diplomatic partnership was impossible to condense and celebrate in one day, June 26. Eventually, they extended the celebrations to six months, from June to December.
“This year-long celebration is an opportunity for all Filipinos to experience the friendship between our two countries in all aspects. There is so much more to discover and learn from each other as we grow as a community,” Boccoz said during a media conference.
One of the many things that the French and Filipinos share is a love for culture and arts. The celebrations officially started on June 26 with the inauguration of the exhibition “Diamond in the Rough” at the Pinto Art Museum. The exhibit, curated by Sandra Palomar, features pieces by French artists who lived in the Philippines and Filipinos who lived in France. The exhibit is open to the public until August 7.
Meanwhile, one of the most relevant events in the celebration occurred last June 23 in France. After a decade of waiting, the bust of the Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal was finally unveiled in the 9th arrondissement. Rizal spent many years in Paris to learn about its politics, culture, and arts, heavily shaping him into the illustrious scholar Filipinos know today.
Within June, other events include the “Up to the Sky” exhibit and the “Tara, Allez!” Fête de la Musique music festival in the Philippines.
By July, Filipinos can expect a classical music concert and a play titled Bayan Bayanan: Texts from Home at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The celebration continues at the CCP in August as the much-awaited Cinemalaya Film Festival will happen from August 5 to 14. The CCP will also host the musical Mula sa Buwan, a Filipino musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s French classic Cyrano de Bergerac.
In the following months, there are a plethora of cultural events between France and the Philippines, including Wordello Night of Poetry, art exhibitions, the French and Filipino Film Festival, and the QCinema, among others. All the events will feature participants from both France and the Philippines to show how well the countries work together in championing culture and arts from their perspectives.
As France and the Philippines celebrate 75 years of friendship this 2022, the two nations are also in the works to develop new partnership projects that further demonstrate their mutual trust. It’s something worth looking forward to in the next 75 years or more.