Education Secretary Armin Luistro will be the guest of honor at the nationwide celebration of the 9th Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day which will be led by Senator Edgardo J. Angara on June 30 in Baler, Aurora.
“This occasion is a constant reminder of the long-standing friendship, as well as cultural and historical ties, between the Philippines and Spain,” said Angara.
Among the Spanish nationals who will grace the event are: Spain’s Ambassador to the Philippines Jose Manuel Domecq, Defense Attache Pedro Rolan, Education Adviser Javier Menendez, and Instituto Cervantes director Jose Rodriguez. The Spanish private sector will also be represented by Joaquin Estrada and Pedro Palomino, both officials of Cemex, the world’s largest building materials supplier.
Honorary Consul Jose Ignacio Bidon and film writer-director Jesus Valbuena Garcia, two descendants of the Spanish soldiers who survived the Siege of Baler, will also fly in from Spain with their families.
Aurora is the site of the historic Siege of Baler, the last and one of the most significant stories of the Philippine war of independence against Spain. In June 27, 1898, 54 Spanish soldiers holed up at the Church of Baler in their last stand against the revolution. They endured an 11-month siege, unaware that the war had long ended. Only 33 survivors emerged from the church in June 2, 1899. The sympathetic people of Baler gave them food, clothing and medicine. President Emilio Aguinaldo also decreed that they be treated as friends, not prisoners.
In 2003, Senator Edgardo J. Angara and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara authored Republic Act No. 9187, creating the Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day and setting its observance on June 30 of every year. This has paved the way for improving bilateral relations, with the Philippines’ exports to Spain reaching €178 million in 2010. (from the office of Sen. Edgardo J. Angara)