APEC spouses walk through time in Manila's walled city
MANILA, Philippines – Spouses of leaders from member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) were in for a treat Thursday, November 19, as they toured the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila.
Organized by the sisters of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, the concept of the tour was a "walk through time" as Philippine-Spanish culture was recreated right before their eyes.
On Thursday, Jennifer Ann Morel, wife of APEC Executive Director Allan Bollard, joined 8 spouses of APEC leaders in the tour, including:
- Regina Tong Ching-Yi (Hong Kong)
- Mufidah Yusuf Kalla (Indonesia)
- Akie Abe (Japan)
- Rosmah Mansor (Malaysia)
- Ho Ching (Singapore)
- Susan Chu (Chinese Taipei)
- Naraporn Chan-ocha (Thailand)
- Mai Thi Hanh (Vietnam)
During the tour's first stop at Fort Santiago, they witnessed a 5-minute dance that showcased how Filipinos prepare for and celebrate traditional weddings.
Preview of the performance for the spouses later. Dance portrays festive wedding celebrations in rural areas. pic.twitter.com/6V4FbDQGyY— Jee Y. Geronimo (@jeegeronimo) November 19, 2015
"Ang gusto [nating] maalala [nila] ay kung gaano tayo kasaya magdiwang. Katulad sa mga nangyayari sa kasalukuyan, na maraming problema, pero nagagawa pa rin natin bilang Pilipino na ngumiti at magsaya," said choreographer Raul Nepomuceno from the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) Ramon Ubusan Folkloric Group.
(What we want them to remember is how fun we are when we celebrate. Despite what's happening now and the numerous problems we have, we, as Filipinos, still find it in ourselves to smile and be happy.)
From Fort Santiago, the group was divided into two. One group headed to San Agustin Church, where they listened to songs from the Hail Mary the Queen Children's Choir, while the other group went to Casa Manila, where they witnessed the recreation of a traditional Spanish-Filipino family.
The last stop for both groups was the luncheon at Ayuntamiento, where the youngest of the sisters, actress Kris Aquino, hosted a 20-minute program together with actor Derek Ramsey. Singers Ogie Alcasid, Eric Santos, and Angeline Quinto were also part of the program.
When asked what they wanted to show the spouses during Thursday's event, Aquino recalled the words of her mother, the late President Corazon Aquino.
"Alalang-alala namin ang sinabi ng mom namin sa amin. Ang nanay namin sinabi na hindi man tayo mayaman na bansa, sobrang yaman tayo sa ating hospitality, sa warmth. And we really want to make sure that everybody who visits the Philippines will go home with a positive impression of all Filipinos. I think we’ve achieved that."
(We remember what our mom told us. She said we may not be a rich nation, but we're very rich when it comes to hospitality and warmth. And we really want to make sure that everybody who visits the Philippines will go home with a positive impression of all Filipinos. I think we've achieved that.)
Former CCP President Nestor Jardin, who heads APEC's creative team, said he is happy as so far, they have received only very good feedback from delegates and leaders.
"They have been overwhelmed, I think, by Filipino hospitality as well as the talent that the Filipino artists [and] craftsmen have showcased," he told reporters on Thursday.
Delegates from different member-economies will start leaving the country Thursday as the Philippines' chairmanship of the APEC summit draws to a close on Friday, November 20. – Rappler.com