Sunday, July 4, 2010

America, The Philippines, and the Fourth of July

July 4 marks not only American Independence Day but also Philippine-American Friendship Day.  By way of a little history, this date was also originally celebrated as Independence Day in the Philippines to commemorate the official end of American colonization in 1946. The holiday was moved to June 12 in 1964.  For the story behind reason for the change, click here.

But back to the present, in honor of this joint holiday the American Association of the Philippines, an organization with which I only recently became familiar,  presented a festival in Taguig City yesterday. Inasmuch as I usually don't attend such events, I decided to spend a few hours there anyway but didn't stay for the finale.

It was a low-key, family oriented celebration that while it had a distinctly American flavor and was held mainly for the benefit of Americans residing in the Philippines, the festival  nevertheless blended U.S.and Philippine cultures. There was a good turnout, and everyone seemed to be at ease with this mix.

The American ambassador, Harry K. Thomas made an appearance and gave a speech that traced the historical ties between the U.S. and the Philippines.  He mingled with the crowd and pressed the flesh; so  I was able to meet  and exchanged pleasantries with him. Ambassador Thomas seems sincerely interested in his assignment, and I wish him success. However, his immediate predecessor, Kristie Kenney, who was immensely popular with the Philippine people is going to be a tough act to follow.

Two glitches in the festival were a shortage of  tables and chairs to accommodate everyone in attendance, and the "infomercials" presented by the sponsors were too long which delayed the rest of the events agenda.

Still I'm glad that I went and that the AAP holds such festivities which enable us expatriates to collectively enjoy the holiday traditions that in relocating abroad, we might not otherwise have the opportunity to celebrate.


No comments: