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Ambassador Leslie J. Baja (center) unveils the Rizal plaque with Mr. Michael Thomann, General Manager of Hotel Schweizerhof (left) withMr. Bruno Schöpfer, Director of the QDHP, looking on.

Rizal @ 150 Celebrations in Berne
Highlighted with Unveiling of Marker

Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Leslie Baja led the unveiling of the Rizal marker at the Hotel Schweizerhof Bern on 14 December together with Mr Bruno Schöpfer, Director of the QDHP, owners of the hotel and Mr Michael Thomann, General Manager. Mr Schöpfer used to be the General Manager of the Mandarin Oriental Manila.

The plaque, provided by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines led by its Chair Ma. Serena Diokno, was put at the entrance of the hotel where Jose Rizal stayed in Berne from 4 to 5 June 1887.  While in Switzerland, Rizal visited Schaffhausen, Basel, Berne, Lausanne and Geneva.  Markers have been installed previously in Schaffhausen and Geneva.

Rizal translated Schiller’s novel of William Tell, the legendary Swiss hero into Tagalog, a tale about a Swiss’ struggle against oppression.  It is thus a big coincidence that the sculptor of the Rizal monument in Manila was Swiss artist Richard Kissling who likewise made the statue of William Tell in Altdorf, Switzerland.  Kissling thus designed and constructed monuments to two heroes famous for their defense of the rights and the dignity of their peoples.

In his remarks, Ambassador Baja noted the close relations between the Philippines and Switzerland highlighting the celebrations in 2012 of the 150 years since the establishment of the first Swiss consulate in Asia in Manila.  He also exhorted the Filipinos in Switzerland, especially the second generation Filipinos to remain true to the ideals of Rizal.

The unveiling of the marker highlighted the celebrations in Switzerland of the 150 years of Rizal’s birth.  Earlier in the year, the Embassy organized an exhibited on Rizal and established the Sentro Rizal at the Embassy Chancery.

Berne, 14 December 2011

Ambassador and Mrs. Leslie J. Baja in front of the Rizal plaque are joined by guests namely, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Beat Nobs, Head of Political Division II Asia/Oceania; Federal Department of Police’s Coordinator Cultural Property
Prof.  Jean-Robert Gisler; Former Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Dr. and Mrs. Hansperter Strauch; Consul General a.h. and Mrs. Daniel Andreas Vogel; and Ms. Earth Switzerland 2011 Irina De Giorgi.

(Left) Frontage of the Hotel Schweizerhof Bern; (Right) Ambassador Baja with and members of the Filipino community.

Ambassador Baja delivers his remarks during the Apero at the Hotel Schweizerhof.

Ambassador Baja (center) presents to Mr. Michael Thomann, General Manager of Hotel Schweizerhof Bern (left) and Mr. Bruno Schöpfer, Director of the QDHP(right) a copy of the Noli Mi Tangere in the German language.
Ambassador Baja with Prof. Jean Robert Gisler (center) and  Mr. Jörg De Bernardi, Cantonal Delegate of Ticino (right).

Othe guests include Mr. and Mrs. Fabio Rossi, Judge at the Federal Chancery; Mr. and Mrs. Walter and Ronna Suri, English and French Professors, and Mr. and Mrs. Ferdie and Judith Orden, Coordinators for the Philippine Catholic Mission in Switzerland.

Ambassador Baja with members of the “Atomic Angels” accompanied by their mothers.  The young Filipino singing groupwas among the finalists at the Grosse Entscheidungsshow 2012.
Ambassador Baja with Philippine Embassy personnel in front of the Rizal plaque.
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