06 May 2012, Tel Aviv, Israel – the Philippine Embassy held today the Labor Day Celebration and the traditional Flores de Mayo at the HaYarkon Park in Tel Aviv. Around 500 Filipino workers attended the celebration, including 45 community organizations with their respective escorts and muses wearing traditional, regional and ethnic costumes.
Philippine Battalion Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Henry Doyaoen, Ashdod Philippine Honorary Consul Boaz Waksman, Jerusalem Philippine Honorary Consul Shimon Weinbaum, Police Superintendent Motty Meiry and Western Union Representative Ms. Galit Shrem were among those special guests who attended and witnessed the back-to-back celebration.
Over the years, the two events have become inseparable as both of them recognize the invaluable contributions of the Filipino community to the government and to our culture. The celebration of Labor Day gives our workers the sense and feeling of being remembered and heralded for the difficult choices and sacrifices they made in exchange for more opportunities and better lives for their families in the Philippines.
After the singing of the Philippine National Anthem, Labor Attaché Merriam Cuasay delivered her welcome remarks, marking the formal opening of the celebration. She continued by reading the Labor Day Message of the Honorable Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Baldoz.
For his part, Chargé d'Affaires a.i., (CDA) Ferdinand P. Flores greeted Community and read the Labor Day Message of His Excellency Generoso D.G. Calonge, Ambassador of the Philippines, who is in Manila on an official mission. In his message, Ambassador Calonge congratulated the community for their active involvement and support to the plans and programs of the government.
The Flores de Mayo, on the other hand, is a testament and a gift to our tradition that defines our distinct characteristic. Despite the geographic distance and immersion to a different culture, Filipinos in Israel still remember and relive our distinct heritage. This is an effective way of passing our traditions to children who were born and accustomed to the Israeli way of life.
It is also noteworthy that participating Filipino organizations not only harnessed individual talents and ingenuity but also shelled out personal money to build beautiful floral arches which delighted spectators. This only proves that the indomitable spirit of Bayanihan still exists and remains the driving force and soul of true blooded Filipinos.
Israeli strollers and bikers at the Hayarkon park, amazed by the beautiful and colorful floral arrangements of the arches, took some time to stop and take pictures of the event. Their curiosity even led them to approach participants and organizers to ask about the nature of the celebration. Most notably, there were also wards of Filipino workers who joined the parade despite the intense heat of the sun.
Thanks to good working relations between the Embassy and the Tel Aviv Municipality, the Filipino Community was once again permitted to use the Hayarkon Park for the annual celebration of these two important activities.
The Philippine Embassy gave the participating organizations Plaques of Appreciation recognizing their contribution to the success of the event and their effort which made the celebration meaningful. A special award was posthumously accorded to Mrs. Montie Sison-Salpeter who was the first Filipino community leader in Israel. Mr. Simha Salpeter, her husband and a Kaanib ng Bayan Presidential Awardee in 2010, received the plaque.
Third Secretary and Vice Consul Greg Marie Concha-Mariño led the awarding of the Plaque of Recognition accorded to the best little prince and princess, best king and queen, best Labor Day Slogan and best Floral Arch.
Moreover, the Philippine Embassy also expressed its appreciation for the unwavering support of the Federation of the Filipino Communities in Israel (FFCI) which has recently conducted its election of new officers.
CDA Flores led the induction of these new officers as an added highlight to the celebration. The new FFCI officials are now tasked with the responsibility of steering the Federation towards a more meaningful collaboration with the Embassy and the host country as well. FFCI President Mamerto Malanum, on behalf of the new officers, promised to protect the welfare of Filipino workers in Israel and to work hand-in-hand with the Philippine Embassy.