ANDORRA - Three Andorran-born children--named Veronica, Dylan and Von Mart--wearing traditional Filipino costumes, are featured in a colorful postage stamp which immortalizes the cultural and economic contribution of Filipinos to Andorra.
Ninety thousand copies of this stamp have been printed by the Spanish national postal service Correos.
Each stamp costs 92 cents or approximately P59 and can only be purchased in Andorra.
The children's parents could not contain their happiness and pride upon hearing the good news from the Andorran government.
"Sa daming mga photo na (ipinadala) sa gobyerno, ang anak ko ang napili, yung silang tatlo. Kahit ako ay may photo pero hindi ako napili. Siyempre ako’y napakasaya bilang ina," beamed Brenda Arida, mother of Veronica, the only girl in the stamp.
"Twenty years na ako dito sa Andorra. Proud na proud ako na napili sa isa sa kanila yung anak ko," said Dylan’s mother, Rhoda Evangelista Perez.
Von Mart’s mother, Curita Gega Manalo, hopes that the stamps reach the Philippines. "Natutuwa ako dahil sabi ko makikita ito ng buong mundo kahit sa atin sa Pilipinas."
Andorra, a small neighboring country to France and Spain, has a population of approximately 80,000 and has become a primary shopping, banking and ski destination.
The landlocked country surrounded by the Pyrenees is a principality as it is headed by two princes—the current president of France Francois Hollande and the Spanish Catholic Bishop of Urgell Joan Enric Vives i Sicilia.
It is home to approximately 700 Filipinos. They might be small in numbers but their active involvement in all activities of the country and their efforts to promote Filipino culture caught the attention of the Andorran government according to Bong Canlas, president of Asociacio de Residents Filipins a Andorra.
"Sabi ko nga sa kanila, magiging historya tayo dahil ang komunidad Pilipino ‘tong taon na ‘to, tayo ang napili para magkaroon ng selyo kaya talagang lahat kami rito tuwang-tuwa. I’m very proud as a Filipino,” Canlas added.
In an exclusive interview with Eduard Tarrés Ficapal, a representative of Andorran government’s Department of Cultural Heritage, he said that the stamp reflects the cultural diversity which has been brought by decades of migration to Andorra.
It also recognizes the active participation of the Filipino community and gives more visibility to different migrant communities in the country.
Last year, the Portuguese migrant community was the first to receive its own stamp.
“Personally, I think, a multicultural society is more tolerant because it becomes accustomed to different ways of life and we consider important that Andorra be a multicultural society and remains the same because this is what enriches our society,” said Tarrés in Spanish.