This Friday, 23 February, I’ll be launching the Great British Festival: a unique country-wide celebration of the UK and our links with the Philippines. I hope you’ll all find an opportunity to join us at our events in Manila, Baguio, Dumaguete, Iloilo and Cebu over the next two weeks. Or follow the fun online through our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
We’ll be celebrating British culture, innovation and education, showcasing the very best of what Great Britain as a modern and diverse nation has to offer. We are gathering a broad spectrum of British companies that represent not only world-class British culture and creativity but also the core values of the nation.
The launch on 23 February will be a fun-filled day of great British music, fashion, food, and arts at Glorietta 2 Activity Center, Palm Drive, Makati City. There will be interactive exhibits, raffles, trivia challenges, British film screenings, book readings for children, a whisky pavilion, and the much-anticipated Rockaoke Contest: the lucky winner will enjoy two return tickets to London on Etihad Airways. We’ll be there from midday to the late evening. Come and join in the fun!
During the next two weeks, the British Embassy and our partners in the British Council and the British Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a range of activities around Manila, and further afield within the Philippines. These will include activities such as a trade mission to Iloilo, tech and digital talks, urban planning and architecture seminars.
There will be education events, such as education fairs, lectures in universities and fora on transnational education. And there will be cultural events, including a Great British Bake Off, a traditional British pub quiz and a marvellous food and drink promotion in Cebu. Many of our British stores are supporting us in our festival, and we’re ensuring that we’re shouting about all this wonderful activity on our embassy Facebook and Twitter platforms.
What’s great about the Festival is not only the breadth and depth of our activities but also the wide range of partners that are joining us in this great celebration of the UK. We have supporters from a wide range of sectors – all doing their bit to promote the Great in Great Britain.
We are a dynamic, modern and diverse country. Proud of our past and looking confidently to our future. Our links with the Philippines stretch back across the centuries. And I see great potential for our two countries to become even closer in future. Growing numbers of students from the Philippines are coming to the UK. We now have nearly 20 universities in both our countries working together to deliver joint qualifications. The UK benefits from a thriving community of over 200,000 Filipino nationals living and working in our society, making an enormous contribution to our country. More and more Brits are coming here to live and work – nearly 17,000 at the last count. Over 200 British companies are operating here – with many more eager to come. Our governments work together on many of the challenges facing the world, from climate change to tackling the illegal wildlife trade.
I hope the Great British Festival 2018 will help foster still closer links between our countries. By reaching across the Philippines I hope we will give more people than ever before a first hand opportunity to learn more about the UK. I hope it will inspire people to enjoy the creativity, innovation, culture, heritage and knowledge that spell Britain’s success in fashion, music, food, education and design.
I look forward to seeing you there!
(Daniel Pruce is the?British Ambassador to the Philippines.)