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The Embassy of the Philippines in Israel held an historic celebration on Thursday night–the 125th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine  Independence . To mark the occasion, diplomats, community leaders and friends of the Philippines met at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv for a joyous celebration. 


H.E. Ambassador Pedro Laylo Jr., Ambassador of the Philippines in Israel, welcomed the guests. The ambassador recalled the courage of President Manuel Quezon, who during the dark days of the Holocaust, opened the doors of the Philippines to Jewish refugees from Europe, saving thousands of lives. Ambassador Laylo explained that this powerful history paved the way for the strong ties between Israel and the Philippines. 


Ambassador Laylo noted that this vibrant connection between the two countries extended to warm interpersonal relationships, witnessed daily in the thousands of Israelis lovingly tended to by caregivers from the Philippines, who refer to their charges as “Imma”, “Saba”, as beloved members of the family. The Ambassador stated that there are approximately 20,000 caregivers and 2,000 hotel workers in Israel from the Philippines. 


Looking to the more recent past, Ambassador Laylo pointed out that the goals post-Covid 19 had been to “rebuild”, and that the facts bore out the achievements in this regard, with record highs in bilateral trade and commercial activities. The ambassador listed defense cooperation and tourism as key areas for cooperation between the two countries, while also emphasizing the private sector opportunities such as innovation, research and development. Ambassador Laylo said that in the Philippines, Israel is seen as an incubator for new ideas to boost productivity, while for Israel the Philippines is an ideal opportunity to grow its presence in the region.


Ambassador Gil Haskel, chief of protocol at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took the stage next. Draped in a celebratory sash, Ambassador Haskel noted the vibrant and growing bilateral ties, which include the recent visit to the Philippines by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and participation in the Israel-Philippines Business Forum 2023: Building Bridges of Innovation. Ambassador Haskel said that Israel, founded half a century later, sees itself as a “younger” brother of the Philippines. 


A video greeting was then played with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issuing  a greeting to the guests and congratulations to the people of the Philippines, and calling for the special friendship between the people to grow ever stronger. A second video of foreign minister Cohen emphasized that the Philippines was the only country in Asia to support Israeli independence at the UN, and the warm welcome of Jews by the Philippines during World War II.


Following the speeches, Ambassador Rafael Harpaz, Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific at the Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs and former ambassador to the Philippines, joined Ambassador Laylo and Ambassador Haskel on stage for a toast to the welfare of both countries. Guests then enjoyed a lavish dinner, including special dishes and cocktails prepared using recipes from the Philippines. A band then took the stage, and guests danced to lively music with the theme “music from the ‘80s”, for a truly festive celebration.



And on Saturday, also Hayarkon Park in Tel Aviv provided a spectacular setting for the celebration of the Philippines' 125th anniversary of independence, meticulously arranged by the Philippine Embassy in Tel Aviv.

The festivities were a vibrant affair, showcasing Filipino dances, melodic tunes, and a booth offering a delectable array of traditional Filipino cuisine.

This remarkable occasion was graced by the esteemed presence of Philippine Ambassador Pedro Laylo, who fervently emphasized the unbreakable tie between the Philippines and Israel.

Furthermore, he shed light on the ongoing collaborative endeavors aimed at advancing the direct flight initiative.


Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the embassy and people of the Philippines on their 125th anniversary and offers best wishes for success.


 Steven Aiello Founder--DebateforPeace https://debateforpeace.org

 Photos by Golan Yossifon, PDOT