Baja with Schaffhausen Mayor Thomas Feurer, Schaffhausen City Council Officials
and Officials of the Philippine Embassy)
as the Cultural Bridge between the Philippines and Switzerland
Ambassador Leslie Baja and
Schaffhausen Mayor Thomas Feurer led the wreath-laying ceremony held in
Schaffhausen on 19 June to mark the 151st-birth anniversary of
Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
The annual wreath-laying ceremony,
which has become a tradition between the Philippine Embassy in Berne and
Schaffhausen, was also attended by officials of the Embassy and the
Schaffhausen City Council and the Canton of Schaffhausen. Local broadcast and
print media as well as members of the local community were also present during
In his speech, Mayor Feurer extolled
Rizal and his contribution to the birth of the Philippine nation. He took pride
in the fact that the Swiss legendary hero, Wilhelm Tell, became Rizal’s
political inspiration. “Rizal was strongly inspired by the novel Wilhelm Tell,
which was translated into Tagalog in the hope to also kindle the same independent
spirit in his countrymen,” added Mayor Feurer.
Ambassador Baja, in his remarks thanked
the Schaffhausen officials for its gracious hospitality. He said that the
Philippines and Switzerland share a long history, going back to 150 years ago
when Switzerland established in Manila its first consulate in Asia.
“The Philippines and Switzerland are
natural partners because we share the same values—democracy, human rights, and rule
of law,” added Ambassador Baja. He said that Rizal has served as a cultural
bridge between the Philippines and Switzerland.
The wreath-laying ceremony was
followed by a short presentation on the City of Schaffhausen, including its
industries and tourism sites. Mayor Feurer then hosted a luncheon for the
Embassy officials during which possible areas for cooperation in cultural
exchanges and activities were discussed.
Schaffhausen was the first city in
Switzerland that Dr. Rizal visited when he went there in June 1887. He,
together with his friend Maximo Viola, stayed at the former Hotel Müller where
Rizal’s marker is presently erected. There are also Rizal markers in Berne and
Geneva where Rizal also stayed. END