PHILFEJA Receives MOFA Award for 4 Decades of Significant Contributions to Phil-Japan Relations

The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) awarded The Foreign Minister’s Commendation to PHILFEJA during a conferment ceremony last September 19, 2018 at Ambassador’s Residence in Makati City. The award recognizes PHILFEJA’s more than 4 decades of significant contributions to the promotion of friendship between the Philippines and Japan through its role as the umbrella organization connecting all Filipino Japan alumni and promoting the values of Japanese education in the Philippines.

PHILFEJA President, Atty. Powel del Rosario, accepted the award and expressed his gratitude for the recognition, which he said would not have been possible if it were not for the efforts of PHILFEJA’s founders 42 years ago.

“Our deepest appreciation to our dear Dai-Sempai, the late Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III and his late son Benjie, whose initiatives and dedications will always be part of PHILFEJA memories,” said Atty. Del Rosario in his acceptance speech. “We are more than 20,000 (members) all over the country. PHILFEJA’s members come from various backgrounds who have benefited from not only education in Japanese universities, but we also have members who received long and short-term trainings, research and similar activities in Japan. I can say that Japan has friends in all the provinces in the Philippines,” he added.


H.E. Mr. Koji Haneda, Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines, presented the award in behalf of Foreign Minister, Mr. Taro Kano. The Ambassador recalled the many accomplishments of PHILFEJA including the special meeting of PHILFEJA members with Their Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan in 2016, and the establishment of the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA) in 1977, which was made possible by the initiative of the founders of PHILFEJA.


“PHILFEJA’s growth and the extent of its work and accomplishments throughout its 42-year history are testaments to the enduring value of cooperation, hard work, and persistence. I trust that PHILFEJA will remain steadfast in its legacy. These are feats worthy of being emulated, and worthy of the high distinction we now bestow,” said Mr. Haneda.



Embassy of Japan in the Philippines Press Release


PHILFEJA held 2018 Shinnenkai

The Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA) held its Annual Shinnenkai at the AIM Conference Center on the 3 rd of February 2018 from 2:00-5:30 PM. This is an annual undertaking of PHILFEJA to gather officers, active members and Japanese friends of the Federation for a get-together at the start of the year to renew ties and rekindle friendship with one another.

After the special introduction of Mrs. Cecilia Tolentino, Secretary-General of PHILFEJA, the guests including the many distinguished alumni present, the Presidents of the affiliate Associations gave their respective Welcome Greetings: Dr. Danilo Tuazon for PHILAJAMES, Mr. Domingo Go for APPAJU, Mr. Brando Barrantes for PHILCULTAROS and Mr. Philip Sanvictores for SAPILNIP. In the absence of JAAP President, Atty. Powell del Rosario, Ms. Maria Dionne Cruz gave the greetings for the Association. Special Greetings were also given by Mr. Ken Nakamura, Director of the Japan Information and Cultural Center of the Embassy of Japan and Mr. Hiroaki Uesugi, Director of The Japan Foundation, Manila. Before the Merienda and Fellowship, Ms. Lavi Peñaverde reported on the TYCA 2017 (Toshiba Youth Club Asia) while Ms. Zony Yoshii reported and showed videos of the 2017 NIYE (National Institute for Youth Education) Program.

The presence of Mr. Takashi Ishihara, Director of JETRO, and Mr. Toshiyuki Taguchi, Special Asst. on Scholarships of JICC, were also acknowledged by the Master of Ceremonies, Ms. Lavi Peñaverde.


Photo Album

NCF President Philip B. Sanvictores, Conferred Imperial Decoration “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette”

The Government of Japan conferred upon NCF President, Mr. Philip B. Sanvictores, the Imperial Decoration, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in fitting ceremonies held last February 9, 2018 at the official residence of H.E. Koji Haneda, Ambassador of Japan in the Philippines. The prestigious decoration recognizes Mr. Sanvictores’ decades-long efforts in furthering good relations between Japan and the Philippines through his work for the Nihongo Center Foundation (NCF), the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language & Culture (PIJLC) and the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA).

Following the footsteps of his father – Ambassador Benjamin F. Sanvictores who was also conferred The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in 1985 – Mr. Sanvictores dedicated his decoration to the faculty and staff of NCF and
PIJLC and to the members of PHILFEJA.

“This Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, truly belongs to the loyal and hardworking Nihongo sensei of PIJLC and the Nihongo Center. It also belongs to many fellow-former Filipino ryugakusei who actively support and participate in the activities of PHILFEJA, established 41 years ago to help promote Philippines-Japan and ASEAN-Japan relations,” said Mr. Sanvictores in his acceptance speech.

He also honored people who helped and guided him throughout his days as a ryugakusei in Japan and expressed his gratitude to those who continue to support him in his endeavors as a businessman and leader of various associations affiliated with the Philippines-Japan Society.

At the close of his message, Mr. Sanvictores spoke about his wish for the future of Philippines-Japan relations:

“Today, I invoke the same prayer – that generations after us would catch the fire that drives this advocacy for close, friendly, mutually beneficial Philippines-Japan relations, and to keep that fire burning well into and beyond their times. I hope that we in the various organizations of the Philippines-Japan Society will live up and be equal to the honor your Government has conferred upon us. And most importantly, may our shared advocacy of closer, friendlier, more mutually beneficial relations between our two peoples always bring honor and glory to God.”

To read the full acceptance speech of Mr. Sanvictores, please refer to “Resources” below.

Promoting Japanese Language & Culture in the Philippines

Mr. Sanvictores went to Japan in 1981 to study Nihongo under the 10-month Intensive Japanese Language course of Kokusai Gakuyu Kai, now known as the Tokyo Japanese Language Education Center.

In 1990, upon the instructions of Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III, Mr. Sanvictores submitted an application with the Japan Foundation for a grant to dispatch a Japanese Language Teacher, who then sent Prof. Kenjiro Ogata. Even after the expiry of the said grant, Prof. Ogata remained in the Philippines and continue his work as Academic Advisor to both NCF and PIJLC, inspired by the noble and lofty ideals of Amb. Laurel for better understanding and closer friendship between Filipinos and Japanese through Nihongo.

The Japan Foundation grant underpinned the establishment of the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language & Culture (PIJLC) in 1991 under the patronage of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation (PJFF). In 1997, in response to an appeal by the Government of Japan, PJFF founded the Nihongo Center Foundation (NCF) to continue the work and practice of the erstwhile “Nihongo Gakko” of the Japan Information & Cultural Center.

In 2014-2016, Mr. Sanvictores served as President of PHILFEJA, the umbrella organization of the different groups of former Filipino students in Japan. In 2015, under his leadership, PHILFEJA hosted the 21st Conference of the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA).  In January 2016, during the state visit to the Philippines of Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, Mr. Sanvictores played a key role in organizing the meeting of Filipino former students and Japanese government scholars with Their Majesties, which was an integral part of the visit.

To read about Mr. Sanvictores’ personal account of Their Majesties State Visit, click here: An Imperial Encounter


About The Order of the Rising Sun

Established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji, The Order of the Rising Sun is the third highest order bestowed by the Japanese Government to people who have made distinguished achievements in the fields of International Relations, Promotion of Japanese Culture, advancement in their field, development in welfare, and preservation of the environment.




Speech of Ambassador Koji Haneda
Acceptance Speech by Mr. Philip B. Sanvictores
Conferment Ceremony Photos

Meet the PH Delegates to the NIYE Junior Program 2017

Six promising Filipino youths were chosen as delegates to this year’s National Institution for Youth Education (NIYE) program from October 16 – 24, 2017 at the National Chuo Youth Friendship Center in Shizuoka Prefecture. Supported in the Philippines by PHILFEJA, the program promotes youth education and independence through experiential activities.

The delegates are Marie Frances Preza Espejo, 14; Luis Rivaldo Toral Ferma, 15; Kyle Andrei Lagarit Irig, 15; Ryu Ichiro Ramos Malaque, 16; Felicia Christina Dela Paz, 16; and Victoria Kathryn Faeldonea Tanco, 15 years old. These young and bright individuals come from different regions of the country and social backgrounds, but all have excellent records to show when it comes to their academic standing and community engagement.  

Know more about their interests and talents in music, dance, and sports, and how they were introduced to Japanese arts and culture by downloading the 2017 NIYE PH Delegation Brochure.

NIYE Junior Program 2017 PH Delegation Brochure (pdf download)


Past Delegates

For many years, PHILFEJA has worked with NIYE to give opportunities for young Filipinos to visit Japan not just for cultural exchange, but also for helping them expand their personal experiences involving nature and real life. For the list of past delegates, please refer to our Related Resources section below (year 2014, 2015, and 2016).

Learn more about NIYE through their official website.



Related Resources:

NIYE 2014
NIYE 2015
NIYE 2016


Annual Ambassador’s Dinner for Former Filipino Students in Japan:
PHILFEJA President Sanvictores Expresses Gratitude; Assures Stronger Phil-Japan Relations

Speaking in behalf of PHILFEJA, President Philip B. Sanvictores expressed his sincerest gratitude to His Excellency Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa for hosting the Annual Dinner for Former Filipino Students in Japan and for recognizing the value, achievements, and work of former Filipino ryugakusei. The dinner was held at the Ambassador’s residence last April 14, 2016.

Below is the transcription of President Sanvictores’ extemporaneous speech:

“… like Min. Ueno, I also took a little wine already, so I can speak even without my notes. (laughter)
Min. Ueno, the DCM of the Embassy of Japan in the PH
Dir. Kitagawa of the Japan Information and Culture Center
Our friends from the Embassy of Japan
Fellow former Filipino ryugakusei

On behalf of the PHLFEJA I would like to express our sincere gratitude and thanks to the Embassy of Japan led by His Excellency Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, and his dynamic and friendly team at the Embassy, for hosting this annual dinner for former Filipino students in Japan.

Hosting this dinner, this annual dinner is a recognition of the achievements and work of Filipinos whom you have educated and trained in Japan. And by being here, we also express our thanks and gratitude not only for the fact that you spent for us to study in Japan, some as your scholars, others as your trainees, and (still) others as students on their own, but more so because you put value to our being former students (in Japan) in the work and professions that we pursue. And, to us this is very important and much appreciated …”

President Sanvictores also highlighted the continued support of the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation not only to PHILFEJA but also to the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA). He recalled specific instances during the ASCOJA 2015 Conference that demonstrated just how the Embassy of Japan and Japan Foundation have truly been dependable partners of their organizations:

“Min. Ueno made mention of the ASCOJA Conference held last October (2015) and I would like to take this opportunity to express once again, and in this particular occasion, the strong support and hard work that the Embassy of Japan extended to PHILFEJA. There were many side issues around that conference – like for instance the fact that (former) Prime Minister (Yasuo) Fukuda became our guest of honor; my goodness, the Embassy (of Japan) was really involved all the way from preparation up to departure. The program that we to put together – the Embassy was always involved in supporting us and I would say they facilitated it, not only with financial contributions of (the) Japan Foundation which was allocated from Tokyo. All these are concrete evidences or concrete occasions where Japan through its Embassy in the Philippines continued to express the value of former students, former ryugakusei and the trainees, to current Philippines-Japan bilateral relations; not only in the bilateral field, but also in supporting us in our multilateral ASEAN-Japan relations.

I am happy to say that the conference was a huge success and it is all because of everyone’s support – my colleagues at PHILFEJA worked hard; but our support from the Embassy and the Japan Foundation should be mentioned because without their support, we would not have achieved the same level of success.”


“I would like to also take this opportunity to present the Conference Compendium, to the Embassy of Japan, to Ambassador Ishikawa and Minister Ueno. We prepared a close to 200-page Compendium. It is a chronicle, a record of what transpired in those three days. And this is not to just say that this is what we accomplished; (rather,) more so I think this is something that we can look forward to, to prove that there is much to accomplish from now on, especially for future generations of Filipino and ASEAN students and trainees in Japan.

And so, I would like to take this opportunity to present to Min. Ueno, a copy of (the) Compendium, and we will give you more copies because we printed quite a lot.” (Presents the Compendium to everyone’s applause.)

After presenting the ASCOJA 2015 Conference Compendium, President Sanvictores shared his and other former ryugakuseis’ once-in-a-lifetime encounter with Their Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko at the San Diego Gardens in Intramuros, Manila. The historic Imperial Visit was held on January 26, 2016:

“The good Minister also mentioned the visit of Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan last January. And again, we were honored – former students – to be given 30 minutes of an audience in Intramuros with Their Majesties. We can talk all night about our experience; we can talk all day and for many months and I will continue to talk about it to my children and grandchildren, because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to welcome Their Majesties and be able to mingle with them, to experience them mingling with former foreign students (in Japan). I found that experience to be not only extraordinary but very gratifying to know that Their Majesties are truly interested in Filipinos who studied in Japan.

All of us felt honored that they would ask pointed questions – not only where we studied, what we took up. They engage (us) in very specific discussions and conversations with each and every one of us; and there were more than 50 of us. I believe they spoke with each and every one of us.

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko  meet  the representatives of the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA), Thursday, January 28, 2016, at the ancient San Diego Garden, located along  the walls of Intramuros in Manila.(Photo by Benhur Arcayan/Malacañang Photo Bureau)

(Photo by Benhur Arcayan/Malacañang Photo Bureau)

I remember the Imperial Household aide say, “Mou jikan de gozaimasu” (laughter); but then they continued. Then His Excellency Ambassador Ishikawa also whispered into their ears, “Hontou ni, jikan de gozaimasu” (laughter) … oh they continued, so the 30 minutes became 45 minutes. I mean I was really flabbergasted.

And as I was escorting them out to their vehicle, they thanked me for introducing the (Filipino) ryugakusei. It was supposed to be the other way around. We should thank them for the signal honor. But they have honored not only the former Filipino students (in Japan); they honored our country, the Philippines with their visit. And being part of that, even for (just) those precious 45 minutes was really a once in a lifetime experience that we will all cherish.”

Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko  meet  the representatives of the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA), Thursday, January 28, 2016, at the ancient San Diego Garden, located along  the walls of Intramuros in Manila.(Photo by Benhur Arcayan/Malacañang Photo Bureau)

(Photo by Benhur Arcayan/Malacañang Photo Bureau)

Towards the end of his speech, President Sanvictores summed up what it means to be a ryugakusei and assured the audience that the relationship between The Philippines and Japan will continue to strengthen and deepen:

“To me, that is at the heart of Philippines-Japan relations. And we, through the Embassy and our friends in Japan in the Philippines – we really have a strong partnership. And we can look forward with hope that our relationship will only be stronger.

And this is what being a ryugakusei is all about. That from generation to generation, we can be assured that friendship between our countries and our peoples will continue to strengthen and deepen.

Minister Ueno, thank you very much for this evening. We are all so blessed and honored to be invited.

Thank you.”

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