Cultural and entertainment performances, and a showcase of Filipino cuisine and artistry marked the 119th Philippine Independence Day celebration in Doha.

Philippine ambassador Alan L Timbayan and officials of the United Filipino Organisations in Qatar (UFOQ) led the opening of the three-day gathering yesterday, which was attended by a large number of Filipino expatriates in the country.
"This year’s theme, 'Pagbabagong Sama-Samang Balikatin (change in the nation, a shared responsibility)', embodies President (Rodrigo) Duterte’s commitment to uplift the life and dignity of Filipinos by implementing reforms that will ensure the safety of the public and improve public services," the envoy said in his message.
He urged Filipinos in Qatar to support the current administration in its efforts to fight corruption and “dispel polarity and misinformation”.
Timbayan stressed that Filipino expatriates in Qatar should take the opportunity to contribute to the Philippine government’s growth and development “by doing well in our respective fields and living up to the best of our abilities”.

A large number of Filipino expatriates in Qatar gathered at the event to mark the three-day Philippine Independence Day celebration in the country.

“I urge all of you to continue to uphold the best standards of professionalism and work ethics so that you may, in your own small way, represent the best of what your country can offer,” he added.
On relations between the Philippine and Qatar, Timbayan said the two countries have friendly and co-operative relations, “which are anchored on the principles of mutual trust, respect and understanding.”
He pointed out that the visit of President Duterte to Qatar further enhanced the relations between the two countries with the signing of key agreements aimed at exploring economic opportunities.
The first day of the celebration showcased several performances by members of the Filipino community, including community singing led by the Maharlikans Vocal Ensemble Philippines.
Attendees also enjoyed an array of authentic Filipino food offered by several Filipino eateries in Doha.
Meanwhile, the celebration today is expected to enthral the crowd with a 'grand parade' at City Centre Rotana, featuring all Filipino organisations in Doha, at 9am. A students' cultural presentation is also set to take place at 10am.
One of the highlights of the celebration is a pageant titled, ‘Lakan at Lakambini Kalayaan 2017’ or ‘The Search for Ambassadors of Goodwill’, which will see the participation of community organisations. The talent competition is scheduled for today.
'Lakan' was known as a 'paramount ruler' in the island of Luzon during the pre-Hispanic time while 'Lakambini' referred to Lakan’s female counterpart.
The 'Lakan' and 'Lakambini' represent the Filipino community in Qatar, seeking to promote unity among Filipino expatriates in the country.
UFOQ chairman Ressie Fos said they decided to hold the Independence Day celebration over three days in order to give a large number of Filipinos in Qatar a chance to witness and take part in the festivity.
He added that the Philippine embassy and its attached agencies, as well as other organisations, have also set up booths to provide various services and assistance for Filipino expatriates, such as free paralegal services, consultations, a medical mission and seminars, for three days.