27 June 2022, Berne – The Mayor of the City of Berne, Mr. Alec von Graffenreid joined Chargé d’ Affaires, a.i. Josephine M. Reynante of the Embassy of the Philippines in laying a wreath for Dr. Jose Riyal at Hotel Schweizerhof Bern in commemoration of the national hero’s 161st birth anniversary.
The simple rites were held in front of the marker at the entrance of Hotel Schweizerhof, where Dr. Rizal stayed for two days in June 1887 with friend and fellow doctor Maximo Viola. The marker was unveiled in December 2011 by then Ambassador Leslie Baja and the hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Michael Thomann.
Mayor von Graffenreid and CDA Reynante were assisted by the Embassy’s Minister Senen T. Mangalile, who represented the Knights of Rizal, Foreign Service Chapter.
Also present at the commemoration were officials from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, representatives from the management of Hotel Schweizerhof Bern, and Embassy personnel and family members.
In her remarks, Chargé d’ Affaires Reynante recounted Dr. Rizal’s visit to Switzerland 135 years ago where he saw parallelisms between the Swiss struggle for independence and Filipino people’s yearning for the same. CDA Reynante also highlighted that it was at the lobby of this very hotel where Dr. Rizal found a book on Wilhelm Tell written by Mr. Friedrich Schiller, which the Filipino linguist then translated into Tagalog for the Filipino people to understand and take inspiration from.
She also added that, as the commemoration of the national hero’s 161st birth anniversary falls on the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Philippine-Swiss diplomatic relations, it is the Embassy’s hope that the partnership between the two countries would continue to move from strength to strength.
For his part, Mayor von Graffenreid expressed his appreciation to the Embassy for inviting him to grace the occasion. He mentioned having passed by the commemorative marker numerous times without understanding its significance and said that preparing for the event provided him with the opportunity to read more about Dr. Rizal and his central role in Philippine history, which he hopes more residents of Berne would know about.
The commemoration ended with the presentation of a certificate of appreciation to Mayor von Graffenreid and the management of Hotel Schweizerhof Bern. (END)