PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR CELEBRATES 75 YEARS OF OKTOBERFEST IN MANILA AND 60 YEARS OF PHILIPPINE-GERMAN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS
8 October 2013, Manila – “As Oktoberfest Manila celebrates 75 years filled with bratwurst, sauerkraut, pork knuckles, and liters and liters of German beer, Philippine-German diplomatic relations also celebrates the countdown to its 60th year anniversary this October,” Ambassador Maria Cleofe R. Natividad remarked during the celebration of 75 years of Oktoberfest in the Philippines at the Harbor Garden Tent at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Manila.
The 75th anniversary of the Oktoberfest coincides with the start of the celebration of the 60th year of Philippine-German diplomatic relations. It was in 1954 when then President Ramon Magsaysay appointed Consul General Policronio de Venecia, MD to open the first Philippine consular representation in Hamburg, Germany. Consul General de Venecia is the father of Madame Gretchendel Rosario, the wife of Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
The Oktoberfest festivities, spearheaded by the German Embassy in Manila and the German Club, looked back to the enduring tradition of the German Oktoberfest which continues to be popular in the Philippines and much-anticipated by Filipinos. Also present at the festivities were Mr. Michael Hasper, Charge d’Afaires a.i,, of the German Embassy; Mr. Michael Scheile, the former President of the German Club; and Dr. Günter Matschuck, President of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Ambassador Natividad delivered her remarks on “75 years of Oktoberfest in Manila, 60 years of Philippine-German Diplomatic Relations”. Noting the Filipinos fondness for the Bavarian tradition, Ambassador Natividad remarked on the vast amounts of beer and German food consumed by Filipinos in the previous year’s Oktoberfest and expressed her anticipation for the feast prepared by Master Chef Eric Costille.
On a more serious note, the Ambassador, fresh from the recent Philippine-German political consultations, also shared her outlook on prospects for closer bilateral diplomatic relations with Germany.
“Yesterday, during the senior-level political consultations between the Philippines and Germany, we agreed that we have come a long way in recent years in moving forward Philippine-German relations. There have been several high-level visits between our countries, including the visit of SFA del Rosario to Berlin in 2011. And this year, the visit of Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Minister Ursula von der Leyen to Manila as well as the visit of Vice President Jejomar Binay to Berlin. Several advances also took place in different areas of sectoral cooperation: defense, labor, taxation, social security, to name a few,” she stated.
The Ambassador capped her speech by evoking the history of the Oktoberfest festival, “May the spirit of the wedding feast of Crown Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese live on in tropical Manila. So I join you all in awaiting the twelve gun salute and the tapping of the first keg of Oktoberfest beer!” .END