The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) held a bilateral meeting on 19 August 2021 to mark the 47th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. The event forged the path for possible collaboration between the space agencies, specifically in satellite research and development, and support to the advancement of the space industry.

In her remarks delivered in-person at the UAESA headquarters, the Philippine Ambassador to the UAE, Her Excellency Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, highlighted the strides that the Philippines and the UAE have been making in space science and technology in recent years, through their respective space agencies.

The PhilSA delegation was led by Director General Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., with Deputy Director General for Space Science and Technology Dr. Gay Jane P. Perez and Director of Space Policy and International Cooperation Bureau Atty. Noelle Riza Castillo. Her Excellency Hjayceelyn M. Quintana was joined by Consul General Marford Angeles.


delivered by


Esteemed Heads and members of the respective UAE and Philippine Delegations,


Sabah al kheyr!

Even in the midst of the pandemic, the last two years have been groundbreaking for both the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as far as space science and technology is concerned.

In 2019, the Philippine Space Agency was born, on 8 August 2019 to be exact. The UAE, on the other hand, made history when its Mars Mission “Al Amal or Hope Probe” was launched on 19 July 2020 and reached Mars on 9 February 2021 making the UAE the first Arab country and the fifth country to reach Mars. Truly a spectacular feat for the UAE Space Agency that is only 7 years old.

The Philippines and the UAE may be new in the field of space exploration but there is no doubting and underestimating their enthusiasm and eagerness to jump-starting science and succeed in exploring the great beyond.  Their efforts, individually, have shown so much promise and future.

On the part of the Philippines, the country has made significant progress in micro and nano satellites with the launching of DIWATA-1 and DIWATA-2.  The DIWATA-2 was launched along with the UAE’s KhalifaSAT from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan on 29 October 2018, even before the formal creation of the PhilSA.  A cube satellite, Maya-2 was also released to space this year, on March 14, which is the Philippines’ fourth successful attempt to send a satellite to space.  Japanese experts cited the Philippines as one of the best examples of a success story saying that none is more serious about developing in-country human resources than the Philippines. As they say, before you can make a spacecraft, you have to train engineers who know how to make them. With these microsatellites for space research, the Philippines can do applications in remote sensing and communications. They can also be used for climate monitoring to disaster response and other applications that can help in economic recovery and national growth.

And there is of course no telling how much UAE’s Mars Hope Probe will be able to contribute to knowledge that would benefit the entire human race when it conducts its two-year survey of the weather on the red planet.  In signing the Artemis Accords, Her Excellency Sarah Al Amiri said that ‘the UAE has always been a proponent of international collaboration and we benefited from many partnerships as we have evolved our own space program. We also make effective contributions to international efforts, to push the boundaries in our shared human knowledge and understanding of our universe.  We are one human race and we are in this together.”

Indeed, as we reflect on the Philippines’ and UAE’s adventures into space, we see two nascent space programs but with one common vision.

What better way then to commemorate the 47th year anniversary of the establishment of Philippine and UAE diplomatic relations than by getting our two space agencies to meet and see what our shared aspirations can achieve together.  As Ambassador, I consider it a huge and distinct honor to witness and be a part of this historic inaugural meeting.

Let us make this 47th year anniversary a milestone in our relations.  By forging this path of space cooperation, the Philippines and the UAE are charting a new frontier in our bilateral relations, which like space, will be of limitless possibilities.

As we mark this occasion, the Philippines stands in solidarity with the UAE on their Jubilee year in making the impossible possible for the next 50 years. 

I’d like to end by quoting Engineer Gregorio Villar, the 33-year old Filipino EDL Systems Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who was the head verification and validation engineer for the entry, descent, and landing phase of NASA’s Perseverance rover:

 I quote:

“Something like Perseverance took hundreds, if not a thousand of engineers, and one thing I learned in life  is that nothing great happens alone, no one was ever alone, we are all a team, in fact it’s really a family.  Things like this provide hope to everyone, we are not alone, people need to realize that great things happen in teams.” End of quote.

Team Philippines-UAE, we are in space exploration together, we are not alone, we are a family!

Mabuhay! Shukran jazeelan!