It is with unending thankfulness that we bring another year to a close. All that has happened in 2014 is an occasion for gratitude and celebration.
In June this year, we helped initiate agribusiness forums in Barcelona and Madrid to enjoin our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) to invest in the sector. In September, the first-ever Congress of Filipino Organizations in Spain was held here in Madrid. Also in the same month, the Spanish private sector met with Philippine business delegation to discuss prospective business engagements—a momentous occasion graced by President Benigno Aquino III, as the first stop of his European and US tour.
We have likewise achieved much in strengthening cultural relations between Spain and the Philippines. For one, the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) reception for Spanish tour operators held in March significantly impacted the Philippines’ annual visitor count. The Mes Filipino and annual Barrio Fiesta in June were a triumph in gastronomy and the arts. The Vic Asian Summer Film Festival (ASFF) in July successfully showcased Asian culture by way of popular cinema. The 7th Tribuna, hosted by Spain this year, resulted in action points centered on tourism and the creative industries, private public partnership (PPP), good governance, and education.
That in August we sent off from Seville the Gilas Pilipinas team on an historic journey in the FIBA Basketball World Cup is proof apparent that the Philippines and Spain continue to enter into mutually beneficial agreements aimed at boosting sports and education. As was the signing in October of the treaty between Spain’s Fundación Real Madrid and the Roxas Foundation of the Philippines to establish socio-sports schools in Batangas and Negros.
Finally, the recent appointments of Ms. Susana Palomino Bilbao and Ms. Rosa Aguera as Honorary Consuls of Bilbao and Malaga, respectively, are a significant step in building on the relations between our two peoples, and an affirmation of our strong linkages.
We have chosen to report these milestones because these are your achievements, my fellow Filipinos. As we express our heartfelt gratitude for standing by the Philippine Embassy in Madrid to make possible these projects, we likewise hope to further motivate you toward engaging in activities to uplift the Filipino welfare, way of life, and sense of national pride. The more we are involved, the more we inspire others to do the same. Let us continue to be beacons of light for the greater good. This is our message of hope; we are family and together, we are all ambassadors in this changing world full of possibilities and opportunities.
On behalf of your Philippine Embassy in Madrid, I wish you a blessed Christmas and pray with you for a fruitful New Year. Maligayang Pasko at manigong Bagong Taon sa lahat!