In pictures: Filipinos share independence celebrations in Kurdistan
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Locals and expats shared in celebration with the Filipino community, marking the country's 120th Independence Day with the theme 'Yes, Pinoy can!' while enjoying traditional music and dancing, along with a variety of traditional dishes.
"This day is very important to us because it marks our independence from foreign countries who colonized us for a long time," Christine Chatto Luna, a managing partner at Tango Cafe & Bar where the event was held, told Rudaw English on Tuesday.
Luna, who is from the Philippines and has lived in Kurdistan for four years, said that more than 1,000 Filipinos currently live in the Kurdistan Region and work across various sectors including service industries, oil and gas companies, the medical field, and as baristas.
She said it was a privilege to hold their Independence Day event in Erbil to give encouragement to all of the Filipinos working here as well as giving a tribute to their country.
The Philippines has an embassy in Baghdad, but no consulate in the Kurdistan Region.
"Even with the many ups and downs, the Filipinos are still here and happy with their lives," she added.
Filipino attendee Richard Rama is a sushi chef at Divan Hotel and has lived in Kurdistan for one year.
"This event really made me realize how great our country is and how free we are right now," adding that he enjoys living in Kurdistan and has traveled to many other countries.
Filipino revolutionary Emilion Aguinaldo declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898, during the Spanish-American War.
Later that year, a treaty signed by the United States and Spain in Paris sold the Philippines as a territory to the United States for $20 million.
The United States briefly lost control of the Philippines to the Empire of Japan during World War II. After Japan's surrender, the Philippines obtained full independence in 1946.
Photos: A.C. Robinson | Rudaw