As the holiday season envelops the country in a festive spirit, the last two national day events before the Christmas break were marked with camaraderie and cultural richness. Government officials, the diplomatic corps, business leaders, and friends gathered to celebrate Thailand and Finlands national days two nights in a row, braving the infamous December traffic jams in Manila.
On Dec. 5, the Thai Embassy, headed by Ambassador Tull Traisorat, celebrated their National Day and Father’s Day in the Dusit Thani. The event commemorated the life of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) who reigned from 1946 until his death in 2016.
“His Majesty the King has been internationally recognized by the UN with the first few human development lifetime achievement awards since 2006,” shared Ambassador Traisorat during his speech. “The UN General Assembly also declared the fifth of December as World Soil Day, in acknowledgment of his lifelong work to improve soil conditions ensuring food culture productivity, food security, and sustainable development.”
The atmosphere was a perfect blend of diplomatic elegance and Thai hospitality. The venue came alive with the vibrant colors of traditional Thai costumes, the aroma of spices wafting through the air, and the enchanting melodies of Thai music and dance. It was an immersive experience, allowing guests to glimpse the beauty and diversity of Thai culture.
Ambassador Traisorat also announced something of note during the evening. “We are carrying out proactive economic diplomacy in pushing ahead Thailand’s plan for new growth starting next year,” he shared. “The Thai government has envisioned Thailand to become a regional hub for commerce and logistics within this decade. We are developing a land bridge project, connecting the Andaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand to reduce commute time between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This is an important project not only for Thailand, but for the world.”
DFA Undersecretrary Jesus “Gary” Domingo spoke highly of the relationship between the Philippines and Thailand. “While it was only after the Second World War that our two countries firmly established diplomatic relations, nearly two decades later, our two countries became founding members of the ASEAN, which signaled the relations between the two states as we aim to promote amity and development in the region.” Since then, relations have reached new heights, with bilateral trade in 2022 surpassing pre-pandemic numbers.
The evening progressed to showcasing some of Thailand’s most colorful cultural dances and enjoying their world-renowned cuisine.
The following evening, the celebration continued with Finland’s National Day on Dec. 6 at the ballroom of the Ascott BGC. Finnish Ambassador Juha Pyykkö and the embassy team hosted a memorable event, bringing a touch of Finnish winter magic to the Philippines. The occasion marked the 106th Independence Day of Finland, and the festivities echoed the warm and collaborative spirit between the two nations. But before the celebration, Ambassador Pyykkö started his speech on a more somber note.
“Independence and sovereignty cannot be taken for granted. But sovereignty and independence. they necessitate and deserve to be cultivated everyday,” he said, adding that while life in most societies are not directly challenged, there are still threats to freedom. “Finland decided to apply for NATO membership and became a NATO member on April 4 this year to produce not only for security—internal and external unity matters.”
A welcomed development is also coming up next year as shared by DFA Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro: “I am pleased to announce that we are now in the final preparations for the reopening of the Philippine Embassy Helsinki next year, paving the way for more efficient cooperation in engagement between our two countries.”
The event showcased Finland’s cultural distinctiveness. They even had a portion of the evening dedicated to tango. The dance is popular in Finland! Guests were treated to a taste of Finnish cuisine, including traditional holiday delicacies, creating a gastronomic journey through the Finnish winter.
Both National Day events provided another opportunity for the diplomatic corps to come together, transcending borders and celebrating the cultural diversity that enriches the diplomatic landscape in Manila. The back-to-back festivities not only showcased the beauty of Thai and Finnish cultures but also highlighted the importance of building bridges of understanding and friendship.
As the diplomatic community bids farewell to another eventful year, the National Day celebrations of Thailand and Finland served as a reminder of the enduring bonds that unite nations. The gatherings were a testament to the shared commitment to fostering mutual respect, cooperation, and goodwill, setting a heartwarming tone for the holiday season and paving the way for more diplomatic milestones in the coming year.
Credit belongs to : www.mb.com.ph