Last June 26 at the Pinto Art Museum, French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. officially launched the year-long program celebrating the 75th year of history, friendship, and partnership between France and the Philippines.

Diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines were formalized with the signing of the Treaty of Amity by Philippine Vice-President and Foreign Affairs Secretary Elpidio Quirino and French Minister for Foreign Affairs Georges Bidault in Paris on June 26, 1947. For more than seven decades, France and the Philippines have deepened and broadened their ties in several areas such as economic cooperation, climate action, and cultural action. This 75th anniversary of Philippine-French ties is therefore an occasion to celebrate the many facets of their long-standing relationship through a rich and diverse program of activities organized throughout 2022.

“The Philippines and France have had meaningful exchanges throughout the years, most notably in culture, trade, development, education, and defense. Indeed, there is still much to discover and learn from each other, which is why this 75th anniversary celebration is an occasion to look back on our shared history and envision a closer partnership between our two countries over the next 75 years,” French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz said during the opening ceremonies.

Secretary Locsin said that “The Philippines and France aim to strengthen our bilateral relations as we jointly face global and regional challenges that call for deeper cooperation and partnership.”

Philippine Ambassador to France Junever Mahilum-West, who joined the program via livestream from Paris, announced the simultaneous program led by the Philippine Embassy and presented the unveiling of the Jose Rizal Bust in the 9th arrondissement in Paris held last June 23 to honor the life and legacy of the Philippine national hero and his connection to France in time for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of French-Philippine ties.

“This year promises to be a banner for the bilateral relations between France and the Philippines as we honor our historic past and look forward to the future together,” Ambassador Mahilum-West said in her live video message.

A toast to the 75th anniversary was led by Ambassador Boccoz and Secretary Locsin, joined by distinguished guests including French Senator Samantha Cazebonne, Special Envoy of the French Ministry of Finance François Corbin, Dr. Joven Cuanang of the Pinto Art Museum, Pinto Art Museum Guest Curator Sandra Palomar, and Mr. Philippe Augier, owner of the Gauguin art pieces.

Also present during the opening ceremonies were representatives from organizers and partners of the year-long program such as the Embassy of France to the Philippines, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Embassy in France, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines, and Alliance Française de Manille. The French Men’s National Volleyball Team, gold medalists at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, was also in attendance. Coinciding with the 75th anniversary, the French team is currently competing at the Volleyball Nations League being held in Quezon City.

Ambassador Boccoz and Secretary Locsin also led the inauguration of the art exhibit “Diamond in the Rough” which showcases a collection of over 80 art pieces by Filipino artists who have lived in France and by French artists living in the Philippines. A project of the French Embassy and the El Refugio Arts and Sciences Foundation Inc., initiated by Dr. Joven Cuanang of the Pintô Art Museum and curated by Sandra Palomar, the exhibition features numerous genres from painting to sculpture, film, and fashion. 

The highlights of the exhibit are sculptures by Frenchman Paul Gauguin loaned from the Museum Pasifika in Indonesia shown alongside modernist Filipino painters such as Nena Saguil and Macario Vitalis who were expatriates in France. Likewise, there is a strong presence of French artists whose works are quite well known in Manila and these are Henri Eteve and photographers Pierre de Vallombreuse and Charles Freger. There is equally a good representation of women artists.

There are more gems in “Diamond in the Rough” to discover all throughout July. Film and video screenings will be scheduled on weekends until the end of the show on August 7. Pintô Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10:00AM to 6:00PM.

“We thank our sponsors and partners for helping us put together a grand celebration for our 75th anniversary,” Ambassador Boccoz added. “We invite everyone to join our activities and partake in cultural exchanges so you can further appreciate and support the enduring relations between France and the Philippines.” 

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration, the public can also look forward to these upcoming events:

    • Fête de la Musique: “Tara, Allez !” – organized by the Alliance française de Manille and B-Side Productions, with support from the French Embassy and the Department of Tourism, this 26th edition of the Fête de la Musique in the Philippines is a showcase of French and Philippine musical talent as French musical artists Marc Fichel, DJ Blutch, and Maxime Cozic collaborate with Filipino artists to produce original co-creations and perform in several stages in Siargao, Cebu, El Nido, and Baguio from June 21 to 28, 2022.
    • On July 10, French conductor Michael Cousteau returns to Manila to perform with the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert to pay tribute to the works of the great French composers César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, and Claude Debussy.
    • In August, French director Frédéric Auburtin joins the jury of the 2022 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival
  • To highlight a shared love for sports in view of the 2024 Paris Olympics, members of the Lyon-Villeurbanne Basketball Team will fly to the Philippines to participate in exhibition games organized in partnership with the Philippine Basketball Association in August and September 2022
  • A series of meetings and events to promote economic and trade relations between France and the Philippines, such as a French-Filipino Gala Dinner organized by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines and the Joint Economic Committee meeting and other related meetings between the Philippine business community and France’s MEDEF International

Highly anticipated events, including the French Film Festival and the Goût de France culinary festival, as well as other events in the field of the visual arts, music, poetry, and theater, will also take place as part of this 75th anniversary.

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