The Republic of The Philippines has one order of knighthood, founded in 1911to commemorate the martyrdom of Philippine national hero, Dr. José Rizal.The order is internationally organized and has about 200 chapters all over the world including Europe.
Once in every two years an assembly of knights from Europe is held, this time in London 30 August – 1 September 2019. Delegates who attended the 17th European Regional Assembly came amongst others from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy The Netherlands and of course the United Kingdom.
The assembly was honored by the attendance of the international leadership from Manila, including the supreme commander of the order Sir Elihu Ybanez , KGCR a judge and candidate for the Philippines supreme court, Sir Frisco San Juan , KGOR Undersecretary in the current government of The Philippines and former vice-governor of Rizal Province, Sir Francis Sison , KGOR from the USA and former supreme commander Sir Virgilio Esguerra , KGCR. Futhermore the attendants included – among many – former New Jersey judge Sir Victor Sison , KCGR, Sir Gilbert San Diego , KCR, the regional commander National Capital Region and former Europe Regional Commanders Sir Antonio Guansing , KGCR and Sir Rudy Nollas , KGOR.
The first day included a visit to The Philippines embassy not far from the famous Trafalgar Square, where knights and ladies were received at the Sentro Rizal by the deputy chief of mission and consul-general Senen Mangalile , hosting an exquisite reception afterwards.
The actual conference – at Baden Powell House in Kensington – was organized under the leadership of the regional commander of the UK Sir Alfonso Taguiang , KGOR and Lady Aurea Taguiang and their team, with their hospitality and kindness they made everyone feel welcome. The first message was delivered by Sir Albert Arevalo, KGOR the regional commander for Europe, followed by highly interesting keynote speeches by Ybanez, San Juan and Esguerra, about the different aspects of Rizal and his relevance for the world we now live in.
After the ceremonies which are typical for an order of knighthood, it was of great joy that the overall adviser for Europe and master of ceremony at the conference Sir Felino Paras , KGCR – from Brussels – had been awarded the Pro Patria Award for his decades of service to order and Filipino community. The Pro Patria Award is not only the highest award within the Order of Knights of Rizal, it has never been awarded -save 2 others – to non-supreme council members.
The commander of The Hague chapter from The Netherlands Sir Anton Lutter, KCR, was given the honor to present the recent new Dutch translation of Jose Rizal’s first book the Noli Me Tangere written in 1887, to the supreme commander. The Dutch Noli will be part of the extensive collection at international headquarters in Manila. The day ended with a magnificent gala dinner and ball at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, which included a Philippines cultural program. The next day started by mass celebrated by Fr. Jorgedy Bago , catholic priest of Filipino community in Antwerp which was followed up by a fraternal message from the supreme commander Sir Elihu Ybanez , KGCR which concluded the 3 day assembly in London.