Head of the embassy in Rome comes with a background in the fishing industry.
The new Philippine ambassador to the Holy See, Myla Grace Ragenia Catalbas Macahilig, presented her credentials to Pope Francis on November 20 at the Vatican. This is her first post at the head of an embassy.
The diplomat from the Pacific archipelago was born in 1967 in Tagum, in the south. After studying fisheries science, management, economics and diplomacy, she worked for aquaculture projects and within the Land Bank, a state financial structure dedicated to the world of fishing.
She presented the Pope with a sculpture of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, the first martyr of the Philippines.
From 1999, Macahilig continued her career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where she assumed various responsibilities in tax management. She was Vice-Consul at the Philippine Embassy in New Zealand from 2002 to 2008, then Consul and Deputy Consul General in the United Kingdom from 2012 to 2018, and Director of the Southern Europe Division at the MFA.
Christians – a majority of whom are Catholics – make up almost 90% of the population of the Philippines. The country has a 5% Muslim minority.
Pope Francis visited the country in 2015 during his trip to Asia. On March 14, he celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the archipelago .