Inside Queen Elizabeth's birthday party in Manila

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2019 06:16 PM

UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce gives remarks at the celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday party in Manila. Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - How to celebrate the Queen’s birthday? With a British party of course! 

British Ambassador Daniel Pruce gave ABS-CBN News an exclusive sneak peek into Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday party in Manila before doors opened at the Manila Polo Club Tuesday night. 

The event was held more than a month since the British monarch's actual birthday on April 21, when she turned 93. 

“She’s a fantastic and astonishing lady and a great servant of the country,” Ambassador Pruce told ABS-CBN News. 

The British Embassy made sure to offer authentic British food and drinks with some showcasing the strength of UK-Philippine trade relations. 

Welcome appetizers included Cumberland sausage rolls, haggis balls, Welsh rarebit on soda bread, and mini leek and potato quiche. There were live carving stations of Fresian Holstein beef from Suffolk, dry-aged for 28 to 35 days and had marbling with a deep and slightly nutty flavor. There were 130 kilos of the great British beef for the night and it came with Yorkshire pudding. 

Food stalls also offered fish and chips by Cargo Fish, cottage pie and Quorn tikka masala. 

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

“Quorn, a vegetarian meat substitute made of protein, combine it with traditional British menu tikka masala, which is a delicious curry dish. The great thing about Quorn is it is owned by Monde Nissin, a Filipino company. So it’s a great Filipino investment in the UK producing this fantastic healthy product,” Pruce said. 

For dessert, there were English trifle, cupcakes by Kenwood, ice cream by Magnum, and a birthday cake depicting so-called “Beefeaters” that guard the Tower of London. 

For refreshments, there’s British coffee by Costa Coffee, hot and cold tea by Twinings, Johnnie Walker highball, Pimm’s cup, Taquery No. Ten & Tonic, and Shackleton blended malt Scotch whisky that has an interesting story. 

Schackleton is based on the whisky supplied to the 1907 British and Antarctic expedition, 11 bottles of which were found frozen and perfectly preserved when it was discovered in 2007. The whisky is named after Sir Ernest Schackleton who took 25 cases of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highlight Malt on his record-setting Antarctic expedition. 

“So this is as close as you can possibly get to the flavor of the whiskey from all those years ago from the original Shackleton expedition,” Pruce said. 

Queen Elizabeth II’s actual birthday is in April but the occasion is marked with an official birthday when there is greater likelihood of a good weather for the birthday parade. 

“We’re celebrating now to coincide with her official birthday which is a moment of great celebration in the UK, processions and marching and bands playing,” Pruce said. 

Displayed for the evening was the mosaic image of the Queen called “People’s Monarch” by British visual artist Helen Marshall shortly before she was crowned and her more recent photo made up of thousands of small photographs of British people. 

The "People's Monarch," a mosaic by British visual artist Helen Marshall, was displayed at the event. ABS-CBN News

“It’s a representation of the Queen but through images of her subjects, of her people, wonderful image,” Pruce said. 

There was also a Bentley on display as an added touch to give visitors an authentic British experience and celebrate the growing trade ties between the UK and the Philippines. 

“I think they are going from strength to strength. Our commercial relationship has always been strong and bilateral trade is bigger than it’s ever been,” Pruce said, citing the quarter of a million Filipinos living, working and studying in the UK, including nearly 17,000 nurses in the national health service. 

“We enjoy the benefits of having the enormous contribution of the Filipino community which is dynamic, which is so extensive,” he said. 

Symbolizing the United Kingdom’s campaign for media freedom was a bench made by Junk Not! that came with a quote by the late Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “A free press is the unsleeping guardian of every other right that free men prize; it is the most dangerous foe of tyranny.”

A quote of the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on press freedom was engraved on this bench. Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

In remarks at the event, Pruce spoke of the close ties between the Philippines and the UK. Aside from the growing bilateral trade, proof are educational exchanges through scholarships and research grants, cooperation on defense, security, and countering terrorism and organized crime, and the fight against illegal wildlife trade. 

As a contribution to efforts to protect the oceans and fight climate change, the Queen’s birthday party was made single-use plastics free. 

“Tonight I think will be a great launch pad for building relationships and partnerships, making even greater progress in all of those areas where we are working together,” Pruce said. 

As he welcomed the guests for the evening’s party, Ambassador Pruce impressed the audience by practicing his Filipino during his remarks, seemingly a fitting way to start and mark the evening’s reasons for the celebration: “Maligayang pagdating sa inyong lahat sa ating pagdiriwang ng kaarawan ng kaniyang kamahalan, Reyna Elizabeth!”

(Welcome to everyone to our celebration of the birthday of Her Highness, Queen Elizabeth!)