Sixty-two (62) participants proudly received their Certificates of Completion during Foreign Service Institute’s (FSI’s) Foreign Language Program (FLP) Closing Ceremony on 06 December 2019 at the Carlos P. Romulo Library, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

Six levels of these foreign languages were offered by FSI over a two-year cycle: Arabic, Bahasa Indonesia, French, German, Mandarin, and Nihongo.

Ms. Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat, FSI Officer-in-Charge (Director-General), in her Opening Remarks, congratulated the graduates for completing the two-year foreign language program. She also said that the graduates should beam with pride for patiently and consistently attending their foreign language classes over the past two years.

These graduates represent 36% of initial enrollees and have therefore shown their persistence in finishing their language studies despite the competing demands on their time.

OIC Balatbat emphasized the importance of learning and speaking a foreign language in understanding and communicating with other people. She also said that learning a foreign language would empower the learner and it’s like a gift that the graduates gave to themselves.

She further urged the graduates to find ways to practise their language that they have studied in order not to lose it and continue their journey of learning by having the interest to develop their skills in other foreign languages as well.

Finally, OIC Balatbat remarked that their newly-acquired skill will not only help them in their career in the Foreign Service but also give them a sense of personal fulfillment for having successfully completed their language studies.

Officer-in-Charge Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat delivers her opening remarks and congratulates the graduates during the closing ceremony.

Aside from the awarding of certificates, FSI also recognized the outstanding graduates of each language program:

  • Ms. Clara Marinel C. Cruz (DFA) for the Arabic class
  • Ms. Marie Karen O. Rizo (DFA) for Bahasa Indonesia
  • Ms. Charisse Michelin V. Sarion (DFA) for French
  • Ms. Chealsie B. Punzalan (DFA) for the German class
  • Ms. Shihnnie Jean R. Chan for Mandarin and
  • Ms. Rizza Sheila D. Cuartero (DFA) for Nihongo.
Ms. Chealsie B. Punzalan, from the German language class, responds on behalf of FLP 2019 graduates.

One of the highlights of the ceremony was the class presentations, where the participants had the opportunity to showcase their language skills.

The graduates from the French, Mandarin, and Nihongo classes performed song and dance numbers. The Arabic class had a cooking show. The Bahasa Indonesia class demonstrated the traditional batik-making process, while the German class dubbed Filipino films using the German language.

The audience, including several DFA assistant secretaries, FSI officers and staff, and language instructors enjoyed their performances.

The French class sings popular French songs during their presentation.
The Nihongo class showcases the “Then and Now” of the Japanese culture through a dance and song performance with a fashion show featuring the “cosplay” of the Anime “Boku no Hero Academia”.

Each class was guided by the following foreign language instructors: Mr. Luqman Lucman bin Usman Imam (Arabic), Mr. Kristanto (Bahasa Indonesia), Mr. Francis Dürr (French), Ms. Karen Fatima Francisco (German), Ms. Ling Ling Ponce (Mandarin), and Ms. Josephine P. Sato (Nihongo).

Out of the 62 graduates, 59 are DFA personnel, two (2) are from Philippine National Commission for UNESCO (UNACOM), and one (1) is from the Commission on Audit (COA).

FLP 2019 graduates with FSI OIC Celeste Vinzon-Balatbat (center), DFA and FSI officers, FSI-Language Programs Section staff, and FLP instructors

In pursuit of its mandate, the Institute conducts the Foreign Language Program (FLP) for DFA personnel and attachés of other partner agencies who are for foreign assignments. FLP is being conducted in a two-year cycle. The Basic Language Program (Levels I, II, III) is implemented in the first year and an Advanced Program (Levels IV, V, VI) in the second year.