MANILA, Philippines – The year 2015 marks Singapore’s Golden Jubilee year. Although Singapore’s independence day was celebrated last August 9, 2015, the festivities in the Philippines were extended to highlight the city-state’s historical milestone.
To cap the series of activities, the Singapore Embassy showcased the country’s offerings through SG50 in Manila at Bonifacio High Street on December 20, 2015.
The power of three
The one-day event featured three Singapore powerhouses: food, retail, and tourism.
It was definitely a feast fit for the gods, as evidenced by the guests indulging in all types of savory Singaporean cuisine.
Singaporean classics such as laksa and chicken rice were the crowd pleasers, in sync with the Filipino palate. One of the booths even offered the Singaporean version of fishballs and squidballs. “Our version is bigger and has more flavor. Also, no preservatives added,” said one of the Singaporean vendors.
The famous shopping district of Orchard Road was brought to the Philippines through the display of Singaporean fashion brands, Heat Wave and G-Star Raw. Also, guests were given access to Singapore’s Changi Airport through the Singapore Airlines (SIA) booth, which highlighted travel destinations in Singapore such as Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Zoo.
Guests were also given a glimpse of what it feels to grow up in Singapore through Five Stones, a traditional Singaporean game, which is similar to jackstones. There were also coloring and face-painting activities for the kids.
Trip down memory lane
Did you know Singapore started as a fishing village? With the guidance of its founding father, the late Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore evolved into the modern and globalized country we know today.
Singapore became a sovereign nation when it declared its independence from Malaysia in 1965. Throughout the 50 years of independence, the people of Singapore embody the “never say die” spirit as they continue to expand their nation’s horizon.
In 1969, bilateral relations between the Philippines and Singapore were established. Today, this relationship continues to deepen as both nations constantly exchange cultural backgrounds.
A couple, who declined to be name for this report, shared a few cultural observations between the two neighboring countries. The husband, a Singaporean, admitted that it was hard to adjust at first due to the culture shock. “Masyado kasi silang formal,” explained the wife, who is a Filipina. However, she was happy to say that her husband has finally adapted to the hospitable nature of Filipinos. The two travel back and forth to the Philippines regularly.
SG50 in Manila was an invitation to the Filipinos to celebrate and commemorate Singapore’s 50th year of independence.
Mr. Scott Loh, Deputy Chief of Mission and Councilor of the Singapore Embassy, attested that the relationship of the Philippines with Singapore is growing stronger than ever. He was happy to report that Jollibee is the best performing operating overseas outlet in Singapore.
The relationship of Singapore and Philippines is an example of how cultural interaction and communication can enrich one’s nation and more importantly, its people. It should not always be what we can show to them, but also, what we can learn from them. In fact, you might be surprised to know that Singaporean children, as young as 8 years old, take the bus to school all by themselves. “The level of security and discipline in Singapore, iba talaga,” said a Filipino living in Singapore.
There is truly much to learn from each other. – Rappler.com
Firas Abboud and Ana Vasquez are Rappler interns from the Mapua Institute of Technology and De La Salle University respectively.