12 June 2013—The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said today that it commemorated the 115th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence with a well-attended National Day reception on June 10, as well as a festive Philippine-Malaysia Independence Day Parade along Kuala Lumpur's major business district on June 9.

During Monday evening's National Day Reception at the newly renovated embassy chancery, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya urged closer ties between the two countries. "Let us continue to enhance our bilateral cooperation, particularly in trade, investments, culture and people-to-people engagements, and intensify our partnership in the ASEAN. The challenges we face at times should serve as a reminder that we have more work to do," Ambassador Malaya said.

"In celebrating his momentous occasion, Malaysia looks forward to furthering its already prosperous ties with the Philippines, be it economically, politically or culturally," stated Malaysian Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Dato' Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who represented the Malaysian Government and was as the event's guest of honor.

Some 300 people attended the reception, including Malaysian Senate President Tan Sri Abu Zahar bin Ujang, Senator Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud, members of the diplomatic corps, other senior Malaysian government officials, business leaders and members of the Filipino community. Senate President Abu Zahar visited Manila for an international conference last January, while Senator Syed Shahir led a 21-person business delegation to Cotabato City in November 2012.

The vin d'honneur's musical presentation featured Manila-based soprano Camille Lopez-Molina and pianist Najib Ismail who performed Filipino kundimans and operatic arias, to the delight of the audience.

A surprise musical presentation was made by First Secretary and Consul Maria Antonina Mendoza-Oblena who played Ryan Cayabyab's "Nais Ko" on flute, accompanied on the piano by Ambassador Malaya.

Foods and drinks was catered by Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral Hotel, while ZestAir also provided generous assistance to the event.

The previous day, rains did not dampen the spirit of the Filipino community in Malaysia as it took over major streets of Kuala Lumpur in a colorful parade and program.

Traversing major Kuala Lumpur streets, including major shopping and tourism district Jalan Bukit Bintang, around 2,000 Filipinos and Malaysian showed up in full force and in costumes representing the Philippines' ethnic groups. Twelve floats from Malaysian companies and Filipino community organizations also joined the parade.

It was also a celebration of color and music, as the groups sang and danced as they proudly marched the streets of Kuala Lumpur, stopping passersby in their tracks as they whipped out their camera phones to take photos and videos of the parade.

Kuala Lumpur joined cities such as New York and San Francisco which have Filipino community parades to commemorate the anniversary of Philippine Independence. This is the second year that Filipinos in Malaysia have conducted an Independence Day parade.

"We are pleased that many more people have participated in this year's parade than last year. We certainly added color and splendor, with a Filipino touch, to the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Many community members brought along their children. These festive events are manifestations of the strengthened unity of the Filipino communities in Malaysia, as well as of the vibrant partnership between Malaysia and the Philippines," Ambassador Malaya said.

A contest for best float was won with the float by Filipino association BIBAK winning top honors, followed by the floats by the Philippine Ladies of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysian company Sri Nadin.

According to BIBAK member Annie Rose Batuyog, it took them two to three weeks to make the float, utilizing recycled bamboos used during the recent Malaysian general elections to make the flag poles, and dap-ay house (village house) and other structures which depicted their ancestors' way of life in the mountains of Northern Luzon.

The "Fiesta sa Embahada" (Feast at the Embassy) program followed after the parade, where a festive atmosphere pervaded the Chancery grounds, featuring Filipino food, games, music and a program showcasing the talents of Filipino community members, with a performance by Manila-based singer and artist Mark Bautista.

The events on June 9 and 10 were part of a series of activities commemorating Philippine independence, which included an art exhibit featuring Mindanao-based artists at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center last May 6, a full-length performance of the highly acclaimed University of the Philippines Concert Chorus at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Kota Kinabalu last June 4, which was graced by the presence of Toh Puan Norlida RM Jasni, the consort of the Governor of Sabah.

Embassy's Labor Attaché Dr. Alicia Santos, together with the Federation of Filipino Associations in Malaysia, headed by Johor Overseas Filipino Association chairperson Ricardo Limson, spearheaded the preparations for the Independence Day community parade and program.

Corporate sponsors for the parade and the Fiesta sa Embahada included Pag-ibig Fund, BDO Bank, Cebuana Lhullier remittance center, LBC Cargo, MoneyGram, UAE Exchange and Western Union. END