Australian Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO joined Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Manila City Administrator Felix Espiritu for a tree-planting activity at the Arroceros Forest Park in Manila to mark Philippines-Australia Friendship Day on Saturday, 22 May.
The Friendship Tree caravan is an initiative of the Australia Global Alumni network to plant 750 trees across the country in celebration of 75 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Philippines.
“I am very pleased to be back here at Arroceros Forest Park, with our outstanding Australia Global Alumni Secretary Andanar, and with Manila City Administrator Espiritu. I visited this park with the Mayor Isko Moreno in 2019 to hear about the City’s plans for its maintenance and the development of the adjacent area. Australia offers our support to the Mayor and his plans for the sustainable use and conservation of the forest park.”
The 2.2 hectare Arroceros Forest Park was declared a permanent forest park in March 2020 by the City of Manila. It is home to about 3,000 species of trees, plants and birds.
Embassy officials alongside prominent Australia-educated Filipinos, including Col. Ariel Querubin (ret), and DepEd Superintendent Dr Magdalena Lim planted 100 endemic seedlings at the forest park.
“Much like the Arroceros Forest Park, which has seen changes since the 16th century, the Philippine-Australian relationship has also evolved and grown over time. Our friendship with the Philippines stands tall and firm, deeply rooted in history and on our shared values. Just like the trees here in what is now a permanent forest park, I am certain that the Philippine-Australian relationship will further flourish and mature,” said Ambassador Robinson.
“It is fitting we hold our Friendship Day activity here in Manila. The Embassy’s ties to the city are rooted in history – the first Australian Consulate-General was opened at the Manila Hotel on 22 May 1946, 75 years ago today. And the Embassy’s chancery was located in Binondo for twenty years, first at the Plaza Cervantes then later at the iconic El Hogar Filipino Building and Ayala Building on Juan Luna Street,” said the Ambassador.
To get updates on the anniversary, visit mateshipandbayanihan.com, follow @AusAmbPH on Twitter and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines on Facebook and Instagram.
Feature image (supplied): In photo: PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar, Mrs Alelee Andanar, Ambassador Steven J. Robinson AO, Australia alumni association president Ret. Col. Ariel Querubin and Manila City Administrator Felix Espiritu at the Arroceros Protected Forest Park on Philippines-Australia Friendship Day. During the tree-planting activity, a dedication ceremony was held in honour of Secretary Andanar’s late father, Australia Global Alumni Wencelito “Wency” Andanar (1947-2021).