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The new Philippine ambassador has commended Kulinarya Qatar and other organisations in strengthening Pinoy solidarity.

“I am happy to observe that, indeed, we are all proud that we are Filipinos. We will show Qatar and the world that Filipinos matter here,” said HE Ambassador Lillibeth V. Pono — the newest and first female Philippine Ambassador to Qatar, as she praised the Filipinos in Qatar for exemplifying a united spirit during the recently concluded Philippine Gala Night organised by the Kulinarya Qatar at the Holiday Villa Hotel’s Majestic Ballroom.

“Despite our different personal and professional work circumstances, we have endeavoured to proudly raise the flag of the Philippines in Qatar,” she said, while delivering her speech in front of more than 500 attendees from 48 organisations in the local Filipino community.

HE Ambassador Pono was overwhelmed with the large gathering of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) on the occasion. “This is my first time speaking before a very big Filipino community abroad. Thank you very much for the warm welcome. Ako’y nagagalak (elated) to be here. I’m proud, happy and humbled to be with you, with this big crowd,” she said.

Kulinarya Qatar organised the special event as the Filipino community leaders’ reunion and a welcome celebration for HE Ambassador Pono who graced the occasion as the event’s Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker. It was the first and largest social gathering of Filipino expats in Qatar ever since the pandemic.

The event, which lasted almost 5 hours, showcased Filipino talents and artistry. It highlighted Philippine cultural song and dance performances. Renowned theatre performers also rendered spectacular presentations.

All attending organisations and Filipinos who have excelled in their respective fields were given due recognition and awarded with certificates.

After introducing the officials and members of the Philippine Embassy, the Ambassador expressed her appreciation to the organisation for being a steadfast partner of the Philippine Embassy in promoting Filipino culture and identity in Qatar for eight years now.

In her speech, she further stressed that Kulinarya Qatar is a movement that aims to promote the vast range and richness of Filipino cuisine in Qatar. She then shared that since the organisation’s inception in 2015, like-minded food entrepreneurs have been fostering the group to emerge as a dynamic community of several restaurants and related businesses that promote not only Pinoy cuisine but also the Philippine culture and identity through culinary arts.

The current core team of Kulinarya Qatar is composed of Chairperson Dahlia Agbanlog, Vice Chairperson Layla Bernal Al Lenjawi, Director Belle Modin, Program Director Joseph Timothy Rivera, Official Photographers: Leo Bautista and Ronnie Castro, Graphics & Design Director Rovic Cruz.

On behalf of their respective organisations, the community leaders vowed their commitment and cooperation with Philippine Embassy’s programs to continue building a harmonious society.

The Ambassador continued sharing her first few days of experience in Qatar, “In the past four weeks, after my arrival last January 28, I have met with high-level Qatari officials and business groups and they all said one thing in common, we are thankful of the Filipinos’ presence in Qatar. The Filipinos have contributed to the building and advancement of Qatar society. They said that Filipinos are trustworthy, hardworking, reliable, honest, and clean.”

“To all of us, the Filipinos in Qatar, the engineers, accountants, household workers, salespersons, businessmen, nurses, doctors, cashiers, managers, educators and teachers, I would say cheers and mabuhay kayong lahat (long live to all of you)!” said H.E. Ambassador Pono as she ended her speech.

Photo credits: Leo Bautista and

Ronnie Castro

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19/03/2023
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