Pamphlet: Groundbreaking

Cover: Architect Otilio Arellano's rendering of the Philippine Pavilion, showing its proximity to the Unisphere.

SOURCE: Groundbreaking Brochure, The Pavilion of the Philippines

Excerpts from transcription of remarks by Philippine and World's Fair officials at Philippine Pavilion groundbreaking ceremonies, New York World's Fair, Wednesday, April 24, 1963.

RICHARD C. PATTERSON, JR. [Chief of Protocol]: Distinguished guest, ladies and gentlemen. The bond of friendship that has existed between our country and the Philippines is a strong one, and no event of such magnitude as this World's Fair would be complete without the participation of this staunch and devoted friend and ally. Our first speaker is the dynamic vice president of the New York World's Fair, in charge of International Affairs, Governor Charles Poletti.

GOVERNOR CHARLES POLETTI: Thank you Ambassador Patterson. Mr. Vice President, Ambassador Mutuc, Mr. Consul General, ladies and gentlemen. Of all the countries that Mrs. Poletti and I have visited, nowhere did we encounter more cordiality than in the Philippines.

This is a moment of joy and jubilation and we are delighted that we will have not only Philippine participation, but a demonstration of its dynamic growth. I am sure that the millions of people who will come to this Fair will profit by learning all about the people of the Philippines, and about the tremendous future that lies ahead for the sturdy people of those islands. Thank you.

RICHARD PATTERSON:. Thank you Governor Poletti. Our next speaker is the distinguished Commissioner General of the Philippines to the New York World's Fair, Mr. Domingo Arcega.

MR. DOMINGO ARCEGA: Ambassador Patterson, Mr. Moses, Governor Poletti, Vice President Pelaez, Ambassador Mutuc, Consul General Umayam, fellow countrymen, ladies and gentlemen. On this historic occasion allow me first the privilege of reading to you the message of our Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Industry, "I join the Filipino people in celebrating the groundbreaking ceremony for the Philippine Pavilion in the New York World's Fair 1964-1965. Philippine participation in this international Fair is designed not only to promote social and economic interest, it is a manifestation of a burning desire to make common cause with other nations of the world in bring about lasting peace for all mankind.

"The Philippine Pavilion will not merely be a structure of wood and concrete. Above all, it will symbolize the efforts of a courageous people to face the mighty challenge of a great age. It will stand as a repository of the nation's work and culture, for all the world to see, and use in the cause of peace.

"On this occasion I hope that all segments of our population will contribute their share in making Philippine participation in this World's Fair a great success. -- signed, Rufino G. Hechanova."

Giving the official signal to break ground for the Philippine Pavilion: (left to right) Robert Moses, Fair president, Amelito Mutuc, Philippines Ambassador, Emanuel Pelaez, Vice President of the Philippines, Governor Charles Poletti, vice president of the Fair's International Affairs and Exhibits, Bartolome Umayam, Minister and Consul General of the Philippines and Domingo Arcega, Commissioner General of Philippine Participation at the Fair.

Breaking Ground for Philippine Pavilion

Seventeen years ago several thousands of my countrymen and I watched with misty eyes as the Philippine flag was raised to replace the American flag in proclamation of our independence and the emergence of the Philippines as a separate nation. After the bitterness of that last global conflict, after losing lives and shedding blood in the lonely bastions of Bataan and Corregidor, we acknowledged the resounding ovation of the democratic world. The world took notice of our country and our people as defenders of democracy and lovers of peace.

When peace was restored, victorious and defeated nations alike moved with ambition and determination to gain what they had lost. In the rush of rehabilitation and progress, a young nation such as ours was lost again in the turmoil of industrial and ideological warfare. But over and above this cold war, we have a strong conviction that God has given us our beloved land to preserve and to love, that we as a people deserve a rightful place under the sun, and that young as we are, we are competent and capable of staying among the brotherhood of nations.

As we break ground to begin construction of the Philippine Pavilion, we convey to all of you who are here, and to the rest of the world, that on this site will rise a true symbol of democracy, an image of a God-loving people who will fight and die for freedom and universal peace.

In conclusion, permit me to have the honor and distinct privilege to read the message of our beloved President of the Republic of the Philippines: "The New York World's Fair will serve as an effective instrument in forging closer ties of friendship among the peoples of the world. This can be gathered from the theme of this Fair, Peace through Understanding. Those who participate in this Fair will enable others to learn about the ways of life and the basic ideas of the peoples of these countries. I thus consider it an honor to take part in this World's Fair and to be able to make a contribution to peace, by enabling others to learn about the Filipino way of life, Signed Diosadado Macapagal, President of the Philippines."

RICHARD PATTERSON:. Thank you Mr. Commissioner General. I'd like to read to you a telegram addressed to the Honorable Robert Moses: "I regret that previous commitments with American state universities prevent my participating in the groundbreaking for our Philippine Pavilion. The president of the Philippines deserves the highest praise for his decision to have our country adequately represented in this World's Fair. New York City, very properly, is holding an event that will be a valuable contribution to world peace. For us in the Philippines, it will give us an opportunity to project to the world our maturing democracy and our achievements. As a people dedicated to the democratic way of life, please accept my best wishes for the success of the Fair, which under your leadership, Mr. Moses, I have no doubt will be another milestone in the history of this incomparable city. Signed: Carlos P. Romulo, president of the University of the Philippines."

Domingo Arcega, Commissioner General of Philippine Participation at the World's Fair, presents Robert Moses, Fair president, with a souvenir of Philippine craftsmanship. Between them looking on, from left to right, Emanuel Pelaez, Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines and Dr. George H. Bennett of the Fair. At right, Amelito Mutuc, Philippines Ambassador to the United States.

Moses Presented with a Souvenir

Now ladies and gentlemen, I should like to present for a bow a very distinguished Philippine scholar and diplomat. His knowledge of America, gained through his diplomatic work in this country, justly qualifies him for the important position he now holds. He is the Consul General of the Philippines in New York City, the Honorable Barolome Umayam.

Our next speaker is an eminent layer and brilliant diplomat, who received his law degree at Harvard University. He has held innumerable posts of high distinction and until recently held a cabinet post as Executive Secretary. I have the honor to present to you the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, His Excellence, Amelito Mutuc.

THE HONORABLE AMELITO R. MUTUC:. It is a singular pleasure for me to participate in this groundbreaking ceremony of the Philippine Pavilion at the New York World's Fair.

The concept of world fairs has an international cast because it brings together the nations and peoples of the globe, enabling them to achieve closer contacts and understanding of one another's culture, progress and achievements.

Pavilion Location on the Fairgrounds

This ceremony is much more significant, I feel, because this particular World's fair is the result of the collective endeavor and thinking of private citizens. It discloses what every individual can do to promote the brotherhood of man.

Our participation, in material terms, is both modest and humble. Let me assure you, however, that with it goes the wish of my country and people to show the salient points of their past, their heritage, and their progress. With it goes the desire of our people, under the leadership of President Diosdado Macapagal, to help foster world peace and brotherhood among men.

The Philippines profoundly believes in making its contribution, no matter how small, toward hastening the emergence of peace and understanding in our time.

RICHARD PATTERSON: Thank you Mr. Ambassador. Our next speaker is a renowned scholar and an outstanding diplomat. A former professor of law at various leading universities, he was on the Philippine delegation to the Afro-Asian Conference in Indonesia in 1956. He was acting chairman of his country's delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in 1957. Permit me to introduce the Vice President of the Philippines, and concurrently Secretary for Foreign Affairs, his Excellency Emanuel Pelaez.

HIS EXCELLENCY EMANUEL PELAEZ: Mr. Moses, my fellow Vice President Governor Poletti, Ambassador Patterson, Ambassador Mutuc, Consul Umayam, Mr. Arcega, ladies and gentlemen. Next spring peoples from all over the world will come here to witness the latest achievements of man on a shrinking globe and an expanding universe, to borrow a phrase used in this Fair's brochures. We shall realize once more what we so often forget that it is only man -- with his ideas, his inventions, his discoveries, his achievements, his manipulation of nature -- who can create peace, and thereby bring human development into full and fine flower. But this is a gigantic task in which all nations of the earth must participate. For the variety and range of man's creation is indeed infinite.

As we lay the cornerstone of the Philippine Pavilion this afternoon, we would like to take cognizance of the modest but active growth the Philippines has played and will continue to play in world peace, and of her contributions to world culture. In this pavilion we hope to show the latest achievements and directions of Philippine talent and genius. The present day position of the Philippines is, if I may say so, particularly interesting in terms of world peace. We are a medium-sized country, well on its way to national development. We are an agricultural nation trying to achieve the maximum of industrialization. We are bringing into play our enterprise, our vigor and our imagination. I think we have proven that given the opportunity, a free people can transform their country. However in our desire for greater organization, for technology, specialization and modernization, we hope that we shall not lose those qualities which we have always had, which have always made life gracious for us, such as delicacy, gaiety, charm, spontaneity, hospitality, sincerity.

We are deeply grateful to the authorities of New York City and to the authorities managing this Fair for making it possible for us to project in a modest way the image of our country, not only to the American people but to the peoples of the earth who will participate in this Fair. We would like to say that we realize the tremendous importance of this Fair, not only in terms of commerce, of trade or industry, but even more in terms of international understanding. We shall do our modest bit to help reach that goal.

RICHARD PATTERSON: Thank you Mr. Vice President Pelaez. I now present the president of the New York World's Fair, the Honorable Robert Moses.

ROBERT MOSES: We have a pretty good record, I think, in the Philippines. We are not a colonial nation. I think our friends here will agree that we have sent our very best talent to the Philippines from the very beginning, since the Spanish-American War, to help them establish a free nation of their own. Now that isn't a small thing. I notice that it is in the temper of the times, and you hear it very often in the United Nations and in diplomatic circles, to pretend that it's an easy thing to set up a new republic. It isn't. It's a very difficult thing.

It all depends upon the kind of people who are running the show. In the Philippines, they've had some real statesmen. They've been in existence long enough, as a Republic, to persuade the world that they are there for good. They have succeeded in establishing something which is much more than a dream. They are our firmest and best advocates and friends in the Far East. For that and many other reasons, we are simply delighted to have them here. Thank you.

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