Philippine Ambassador to Greece Giovanni E. Palec met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, including Ambassador Andreas Ignatiou, Political Director for Bilateral Affairs and FAC Coordination (left photo) and Ambassador Dimitris Hartziargyrou, Director of Schengen, Consular Affairs and Crisis Management (right photo) during the visit of the Philippine Embassy in Cyprus on 02 March 2022 to discuss issues to enhance the Philippines-Cyprus Bilateral Relations. (Athens PE photos

ATHENS 12 April 2022 – The Philippine Embassy in Greece, which has concurrent jurisdiction over the Republic of Cyprus, sent a delegation to Cyprus on 02-07 March 2022, in time for the 42nd Anniversary of the Philippines-Cyprus Diplomatic Relations commemorated on 06 March 2022. The delegation was headed by Philippine Ambassador to Greece Giovanni E. Palec, First Secretary and Consul Therese R. Cantada, and Ms. Rhea Lorraine B. Lorenzo.

The delegation met with several officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus, including Ambassador Dimitris Hartziargyrou, Director of Schengen, Consular Affairs and Crisis Management, Ambassador Andreas Panayiotou, Chief of Protocol, and Ambassador Andreas Ignatiou, Political Director for Bilateral Affairs and Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) Coordination. Furthermore, the delegation also met with Mr. Evagoras Tambouris, Acting Director of the Nursing Services Department, of the Ministry of Health (MOH) of Cyprus.

The meetings discussed various issues that currently affect both the Philippines and Cyprus such as the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates issued by the two countries, and areas of cooperation that the two countries can explore, particularly on culture, labor and employment, science and technology and tourism development.

One of the highlights of the visit to Cyprus is the series of cultural activities organized by the Philippine Honorary Consulate in Larnaca featuring Paris-based Filipina Chef Erica Paredes, where she showcased Filipino dishes in a way that suit the tastes of the locals through incorporating locally-available ingredients.

The first event, “A Night of Philippine Culinary Experience”, was held on 04-05 March 2022. The benefit dinner was attended by government officials and members of the consular corps in Cyprus, as well as guests from Greece, Cyprus and France.

The second part is the “Filipino Street Food Brunch Takeout” event on 06 March 2022. Chef Paredes prepared popular Filipino street food packed in lunch boxes.

The two events were organized for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Odette in the Philippines. The activity raised close to €3000 to be donated through the Negros Artisans particularly to victims in Siargao, Samar and Palawan for their livelihood activities.

The Philippine Embassy delegation also visited the village of Pano Lefkara in Larnaca, Cyprus, which is world-renowned for its traditional handicrafts and filigree silver.

The traditional craft of lace-making in Lefkara was inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009. It is interesting to note that according to the shop owner that the Philippine delegation visited, Dimosthenis Rouvis, the pattern on the linen of the table at the “Last Supper” painted by Leonardo da Vinci was inspired by the linen lace pattern made by the women of Pano Lefkara when he came to the area for holiday.

Finding similarities to the Philippines’ own traditional crafts such as the barong tagalog in Lumban, the visit to Pano Lefkara opens an opportunity to exchange “technology” on the craft as a way to preserve the traditional ways of embroidery in the Philippines and Cyprus.

Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec was also one of the speakers at the 2022 Annual General Assembly of the European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFiD) on 06 March 2022. ENFiD is a volunteer organization registered in Malta with members from the United Kingdom, Italy, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Norway and Cyprus and a duly recognized by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas or CFO.

The Ambassador gave the inspirational message where he underlined the need to pass on Filipino values and culture to the younger generation so as to keep the Filipino identity or heritage in them and promote it among the host countries where they live.

Also in attendance during the event were the Nicosia Police Chief Stelios Papatheodorou, his colleague Ms. Eleni Michael, Head of the Anti-Trafficking Departement of the Police Headquarters, and Mrs. Maria Marcoulli representing the Mayor of Nicosia. The keynote speaker for the event was CFO Commissioner Justice Francisco Acosta (ret.) who delivered his message through a video recording.

A consular outreach in Nicosia was also conducted during the same weekend on 05-07 March 2022 to further provide assistance to Filipino nationals in Cyprus.

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Chef Erica Paredes (center), together with her Cyprus team, were congratulated by guests for the success of the cultural event, “A Night of Philippine Culinary Experience” on 04-05 March 2022, showcasing the Filipino cuisine to the locals in Cyprus. (Athens PE photo)

Chef Erica Paredes (center) with the ladies of the Philippine Embassy in Athens, including (left to right) Ms. Charmagne Garcia-Laconico, Honorary Consul of the Philippines in Larnaca; Ms. Therese R. Cantada, First Secretary and Consul; Ms. Cynthia R. Cruz, Labor Attaché; and Madame Novelyn A. Palec, spouse of Ambassador Giovanni E. Palec. (Athens PE photo)


Mr. Dimosthenis Rouvis, owner of one of the shops in Pano Lefkara that still sells authentic handmade Lefkara lace, explains shows the Philippine Embassy team a photo of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” while pointing the design of the table cloth that was inspired by the linen lace pattern made by the women of Pano Lefkara. (Athens PE photo)


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