June 23, 2024

■  Text & photos: Harley Palangchao

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu was joined by Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik in initially unveiling the Philippines Australia friendship mural along Kennon Road on May 19.

The mural is not only a celebration of the enduring friendship between two nations, but also a testament to the collaboration and creativity of peoples in the two countries.

It also depicts deepening ties between two countries, evoking the strength of their bilateral relations.

The mural spanning 4.5 x 30 meters features the Australian wedge-tail and Philippine lawin, including the lands and people of the Cordillera, and iconography from Australia’s First Nations people.

The mural is a collaborative effort of Filipino and Australian artists with Ifugao artist Silvino Dulnuan leading the conceptualization of the design, capturing key elements of both Cordilleran and Wiradjuri cultures.

Collaborating with the Cordilleran artists is Australian Josh Inman, who co-founded the Sampaguita Collective.

Artists Eli Ituriaga, Chrysler Cabalo, Santos Oyan, and Ronald de Leon worked tirelessly alongside Silvino, while the Ub-Ubbo team led by Sean Cassidy and Lope Bosaing helped facilitated discussions with Wiradjuri elders and artists from the Parkes Wiradjuri Language Group in New South Wales, Australia.

“The Philippines Australia Friendship Day is an annual celebration that we take to different parts of the country,” said Yu.

“It is important for us to bring the celebration beyond Manila. Just as Australia is more than its capital Canberra, the Philippines is much more than its biggest city and Australia’s engagement with the Philippines is spread far and wide,” she added.

“It is a great honor that this year’s Friendship Day is being held here in Baguio. I sincerely thank Mayor Benjamin Magalong and the City Government of Baguio for welcoming us here, and for his Executive Order declaring May 16 to 22 as Philippines-Australia Friendship Week in Baguio.”

She likewise thanked Baguio Rep. Mark Go for sponsoring House Resolution 1696 congratulating the Embassy and the City of Baguio on this year’s Friendship Day celebration.