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
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
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.