India – Philippines Cultural and People-to-People Relations
The presence of numerous words with Sanskrit root in Tagalog (Filipino language) the Laguna Copper Plate inscription - the oldest artifact discovered in the Philippines written in Kavi derived from Pallava script, the golden statue of Agusan Tara and the localized version of Indian epic Ramayana, ‘Maharadia Lawana’ testify to the historical cultural linkages that existed between India and the Philippines.
To further sustain and consolidate their cultural relations both countries have worked together through several cultural agreements since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Currently, a Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) exists between the two countries, which was renewed for the period 2019-2023 during the President of India’s visit to the Philippines in October 2019 with the purpose of opening new avenues for cultural exchange.
Indian cultural events are regularly organised in Manila and other parts of the Philippines in commemoration of Republic Day, Independence Day, Indian Festivals (Holi, Diwali etc.) and other important days such as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, Consitution Day, Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, etc. In the past, to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji several events such as blood donation camps, tree plantation, bicycle rallies we organised in the Philippines. International Day of Yoga, Ayurveda Day are celebrated every year in the Philippines. Since March 2021, the Embassy has been organising several activities to mark Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) – 75 Years of India’s Independence.
The Government of India through the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) offers scholarships for foreign students interested in deeper understanding and appreciation of Indian dance, music, Yoga, Ayurveda and Indian languages.
India and the Philippines have strong people-to-people relations developed through business, trade, investment, tourism, education and cultural exchange. The resident Indian community actively celebrates Indian festivals and organises social and business events. They also undertake social welfare activities and come to the assistance of people in distress during natural calamities. Local Indian Diaspora associations in the Philippines include Bharati Manila, Indian Cultural Association of the Philippines (ICAP), Indian Women in Enterprise – Philippines (I-WE Philippines ), Filipino Indian Commerce & Welfare Society Inc. (FICWSI), Indian Business Forum (IBF) and FICCI Philippines.