In June 2015 the Philippines held a reception at the Music Hall of the Vanha in Finland to mark the 60th anniversary of the friendly relations between the two countries.
Not even more than 9,000 kilometers in between was a barrier for the Philippines and Finland to reach out and mutually establish diplomatic relations in 1955. Over the past sixty years, political, economic and people-to-people relations have only developed, and this was brought to limelight.
Welcoming guests, Philippine Ambassador to the Nordic region Bayani S. Mercado recalled the mutual fondness of the Filipino and Finnish people for each other, beginning a few years before formal ties were established, with the celebrated marriage in 1953 between then-Miss Finland and the first-ever Miss Universe Armi Kuusela and Filipino businessman Virgilio Hilario.
Mercado also noted strong economic links between the two countries, with the strong presence of telecoms giant Nokia in the Philippines, which had provided employment to many Filipinos. At present, interest by the Finnish business community is at an all- time high, with their continued exploration of commercial and investment opportunities in the booming country in Southeast Asia.
Mercado also lauded the role of the Philippine Honorary Consulate General, led by Consul General Jukka Nyröla and Honorary Consul Teresita Ruutu, in facilitating business and assisting the 3,000 Filipinos living all over Finland.
Peter Stenlund, Finnish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, congratulating the Philippines on its celebration, also in June, of the 117th year of the independence of the Philippine Republic, offered a toast to deepening bilateral relations between the two sides. He then graciously received a book on the “Bajo de Masinloc” presented to him by the Philippine Ambassador.
Highlighting the event was the arrival of newly appointed Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini who took the time to mingle with the Filipinos, despite having assumed office only last week. Soini recognized the positive contributions by the Filipinos in Finnish society and expressed his wish to further strengthen the ties between Finland and the Philippines.
The reception was preceded by a business seminar on Finnish SME investments in the Philippines held at the Finnvera auditorium, as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations.