Arts and Culture

Magnifique! France, Philippines to mark 75 years of diplomatic ties with months-long celebration

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com
Magnifique! France, Philippines to mark 75 years of diplomatic ties with months-long celebration
French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz
French Embassy

MANILA, Philippines – This 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines, and the two countries will celebrate the milestone through a series of cultural events.

At a recent special press conference to officially kick off the celebrations, the French Ambassador to the Philippines Michèle Boccoz reminded that the actual date of France signing a Treaty of Amity with the Philippines was on June 26, and that instead of a single-day celebration, it was decided to scatter a number of events until the end of the year.

For Boccoz, this opens the opportunity to not only remember the two nations’ diplomatic achievements, but also explore what to do next as well: “Let’s together open a new page,” as she said.

Department of Foreign Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Rosario Lemque shared that ties between the countries actually predate the June 26, 1947 treaty, pointing out the several Frenchmen that travelled with Ferdinand Magellan on his expedition and that France was the first country to establish a consulate in the Philippines back in 1824.

Lemque elaborates on what Boccoz said about the cultural events that will be held for the rest of 2022, ranging from film screenings, art exhibitions, music festivals, and more; Lemque even compares them to a “spectacle of lights” that will invigorate mutual interests.

The first major event will be the “Diamond in the Rough” exhibition at the Pinto Art Museum, featuring artworks by Filipino artists that have lived in France and French artists that resided in the Philippines, from June 27 to August 7.

Another will be the inauguration of the France-Philippines Friendship Park in Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland Park, which will act as a symbol of the countries’ commitment to protect the environment and biodiversity.

Related: French team to highlight festivities

Currently ongoing is the 26th edition of the Fête de la Musique where musicians from France and the Philippines will perform original and new collaborations all around the country like Siargao, Cebu, El Nido, and Baguio.

The highlight of Fête de la Musique will be today wherein over 30 pocket stages will be scattered around Poblacion; among those performing are the country's own Barbie Almabis, Lola Amour and the Itchyworms and France's Marc Fiche, Maxime Cozic and DJ Blutch.

Because basketball is basically a religion here in the Philippines, the Araneta Coliseum will host a series of exhibition games involving the Lyon-Villeurbanne basketball team – of which former NBA star Tony Parker is president and majority owner of – from August 24 to September 4 as they play against the Blackwater, several players from the East Asia Super League, and Gilas Pilipinas.

The Philippines will also welcome back French conductor Michael Cousteau on July 10 as he performs once more with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, while French director Frédéric Auburtin will join the jury of the 2022 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival in August.

In a video message, the Philippine Ambassador to France Junever Mahilum-West recounted the events that will be held in France, highlighted by an unveiling of a bust of Jose Rizal at the Plaza Rizal followed by a “Pista sa Paris” on July 3.

Mahilum-West said there were plans to send a possible Senate delegation to France around the year’s third quarter, while French senators may visit the Philippines in November or in the first quarter of 2023; all these and more are being finalized as is the Joint Economic Meeting that will be held in November 2022.

RELATED: Puyat feted with agricultural merit by France



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