MANILA—Brussels' famed statue Manneken Pis was dressed in a traditional Filipino shirt camisa de chino to commemorate the Philippines' 121st year of independence from the Spanish rule.
"The people of Brussels are known for their cheeky, rebellious nature, and thus the symbol of the city is appropriately that of a cheeky, rebellious boy. We Filipinos share these same qualities, and should be glad that this famous Belgian boy honored us on our National Day," Philippine Ambassador to Belgium Eduardo Jose de Vega said.
"And you can say that like a true Bruxellois, he made sure to ‘aim high’ when he joined in commemorating our Independence Day and our special ties with Belgium,” he added.
In his speech, De Vega said Dr. Jose Rizal used to live in the Belgian capital where the country's national hero wrote a novel that would inspire the armed rebellion against the Spaniards.
"As I stand before the Manneken Pis, I can only wonder what our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, would have thought as he passed by this statue, since he lived here in this neighborhood, just over in Rue Philippe de Champagne, from 1890 to 1891, as he wrote 1 of 2 novels that would inspire the revolt against Spain and lead to the very occasion that we are celebrating," he said.
The camisa de chino, a loose cotton shirt with long sleeves, was donated in 1986 during the visit of then-Vice President Salvador Laurel to Brussels.
The celebrated bronze statue, depicting a naked boy urinating into a fountain, symbolizes the good humor and independent spirit of Brussels.