The Philippine Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand commemorated the 117th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal with a flag-raising ceremony at the Embassy Chancery on 30 December 2013.
Embassy officers and staff joined the singing of the Philippine national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” and the recitation of the “Panunumpa sa Watawat ng Pilipinas” (Oath of Allegiance to the Flag), led by Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Obach.
This was followed by the readings on Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s works at the Sentro Rizal of the Embassy. The event proceeded with a reading by Paolo Rafael Obach of a poem written by Dr. Jose P. Rizal when he was eight years old, “Sa Aking Mga Kabata” (To my Fellow Youth) which is about the love of one’s native language.
First Secretary and Consul Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa read Dr. Rizal’s short story, “Ang Gamo Gamo sa Lampara” (The Moth at the Lamp). The story is about young Jose Rizal who wondered why the moth was always attracted to the light of the lamp that often caused its death. Consul Gonzales-Macaisa likened the story to the daily sacrifices of government employees who carry out their work while some succumb to the temptation of money and power. She encouraged her audience to follow Dr.Rizal’s example of fostering a great love for the motherland and its people and to continue to work for love of country, along the straight and righteous path that every Philippine government personnel must follow in accordance with the directive and example of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the calls for sacrificial service and utmost dedication of all Philippine Foreign Service personnel by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario.
To cap the event, Passport Officer Julius Verano read an excerpt from the English version of “Mi Ultimo Adios,” (My Last Farewell) a poem written by Dr. Rizal on the eve of his execution in 1896. In this poem, Dr. Rizal expressed his willingness to offer his life for the motherland and its people as “he bid his last farewell and fervently hoped that the youth after his time will continue what he and all our freedom fighters started”.