The Philippine Embassy in London and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) will inaugurate Sentro Rizal London on 25 May 2019 at the chancery. The establishment of Sentro Rizal London coincides with the 131st year since Jose Rizal visited Great Britain in May 1888 and is the highlight of the Embassy’s celebration of National Heritage Month.
“Through Sentro Rizal London, we hope to achieve two things: First, to inspire generations of Filipino-Britons and Filipino-Irish to reconnect with their roots and to rediscover the Philippines’ rich cultural heritage; and second, to tell the story of Filipino identity and culture to the people of the United Kingdom and Ireland,” said Ambassador Antonio M. Lagdameo.
Sentro Rizal London will be located at 10 Suffolk Street and will occupy the first two floors of the said area in the chancery. The ground floor will be a Filipiniana Library while the first floor will serve as the Exhibition Hall.
“Some of Sentro Rizal London’s initiatives will be co-created with our cultural partners here in London,” said the Embassy’s Cultural Officer, Vice Consul Stacy Danika Alcantara-Garcia, who will also serve as Sentro Rizal London’s programme director. “Sentro Rizal London will be a collective effort to share Philippine arts and culture to everyone.”
As a lead-up towards the opening ceremony, acclaimed Philippine historian and multi-awarded writer and playwright Jose Victor Torres of De La Salle University Manila will deliver a talk on “Annotating Colonial Histories: José Rizal and The Rethinking of Filipino Identity in 19th Century England” at SOAS University of London on 24 May 2019. This activity is jointly organized by the Embassy, NCCA, and SOAS’ Philippine Studies Centre.
The Embassy will also launch on 25 May, an exhibition on Rizal’s ten-month stay in London where the Filipino reformist annotated Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas. The exhibit, “To Retrieve What Has Been Lost: Rizal as a Historian,” is an effort by the Embassy and Project Saysay, which explores Rizal’s role in the Filipinization of Philippine history and the formation of Filipino identity.
Sentro Rizal London is the 32nd Sentro Rizal worldwide and is established in line with Republic Act No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, which aims to promote Philippine culture, arts, and language around the world.