On October 2, SGI-Philippines members from across the country gathered to celebrate the opening of the new SGI-Philippines Manila International Peace Center (MIPC) located near the Binondo area of the city. The five-story building includes public exhibition spaces and will serve as the main meeting place for SGI members in the country.

Hiromasa IkedaSGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda speaking at the opening ceremony

The opening of the MIPC coincides with the 50th anniversary of the start of the SGI Buddhist movement in the Philippines, when, in 1964, then Soka Gakkai president Daisaku Ikeda was in transit at Manila airport and met with members who went on to play pivotal roles in the formation of SGI in the Philippines.

Guests attending the opening ceremony included Francis Tolentino, Chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority; Alfredo Lim, former Mayor of the City of Manila; H.E. Hilario G. Davide Jr., former Chief Justice of the Philippines and former Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the UN in New York; and Dr. José V. Abueva, former President of the University of the Philippines and founding President of Kalayaan College. SGI President Daisaku Ikeda was represented by SGI Vice President Hiromasa Ikeda.

Cebu Island traditional danceA traditional dance from Cebu Island

In his congratulatory message marking the occasion, President Ikeda described the new center as a “vibrant fortress of peace” and “site of cultural exchange.” He also expressed his hopes that, based on respect for the dignity inherent in all people, SGI-Philippines members will continue to generate ever greater circles of trust and friendship in their respective communities and society as a whole.

In her speech at the opening, SGI-Philippines General Director Hisako Alcantara encouraged those present to make fresh determinations toward the 100th anniversary of the start of the SGI movement in the Philippines.

Following the opening ceremony, a mini culture festival took place. Performances included a traditional dance from Cebu Island as well as musical renditions by the SGI-Philippines youth brass band and fife and drum corps, and the men’s and women’s choirs.

The environmental exhibition “Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change,” jointly created by SGI and Earth Charter International, was also held on the fifth floor of the new center.

[Adapted from reports from SGI-Philippines and an article in the October 5, 2014, issue of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan: photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]

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