Philippine Embassy officials, university and school officials pose with the students of the Escuela Republic de las Filipinas at the Planetarium of the Universidad de Santiago de Chile

(Santiago, 19 August 2022) As part of its public diplomacy and community-based programs to bring the Philippines closer to the Chilean public, the Philippine Embassy in Chile, in partnership with Professor Raul Thoms of the Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH), organized a visit to the USACH Planetarium for the grade 8 students of the Escuela Republica de las Filipinas.  The USACH Planetarium is one of largest and most advanced in South America.  The students were treated with a 360° video and surround sound audio presentation of Nuestro Sistema Solar (Our Solar System) and an educational feature on Economico Circular (the Circular Economy)—a shared Chilean and Philippine advocacy in line with their efforts to combat climate change.

To open the official program following the planetarium viewing, Philippine Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., Jim Tito B. San Agustin spoke on the value and importance of science as a universal language which transcends cultures. He also reiterated the Embassy’s commitment to continue supporting and partnering with the Escuela Republica de las Filipinas in various social and educational activities, especially now as Chile gradually relaxes health protocols to almost pre-pandemic levels.

CDA San Agustin’s remarks was immediately followed by a brief lecture on Philippine history and its commonalities with Chile by Professor Thoms, and, as part of the celebration of Buwan ng Wika, a light and fun crash course on the Filipino language by Cultural Officer Jeffry D. Aranda and Finance Officer Vanessa I. Arevalo. The Filipino language crash course was a big hit with the kids as they lightheartedly and playfully attempted to pronounce common Filipino greetings like: Magandang umaga!, Magandang hapon!, and Magandang gabi!, as well as tongue twisters such as: Ang kwarta ko sa kwarto, kwatro.  Prizes were given away to students with the best and most Filipino-sounding attempts.

The Philippine Embassy capped the half-day activity by distributing snacks and goodies to the students, and giving tokens of appreciation to Professor Thoms, Escuela Filipinas Director Ivan Meza Devia, and USACH Planetarium officials. A special diploma bearing the image of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was also awarded to the school’s best grade 8 student, Guiliano Aguayo Montecinos.

The Philippine Embassy has traditionally maintained close partnership with the Escuela Republica de las Filipinas as it carries the name of the Republic of the Philippines and thus serves as a unique and effective platform for promoting Filipino culture, values and other advocacies in Chile. END