Meeting the President of the Philippines
What a real honour it was to be able to meet the President of the Republic of the Philippines, His Excellency, Benigno S. Aquino III.
I was invited as a representative of the community due to my website, Fil-Event.com. The meeting was at the Intercontinental hotel in London. What a lovely hotel, as we found out later, there are loads of Pinoy's working there which is nice.
I was very pleased that I was also able to bring my wife, Susan with me. My wife has always supported me for many years when I have attended many Filipino Events leaving her at home with the children, so it was brilliant that she was able to join me and I was able to introduce her to the many of the lovely people I had met and had the pleasure of working with over the years.
Before the President arrived, we were treated to some awesome Pinoy Talents including Natalie Chua, Cleo Sagun who used to be one of the cast of Miss Saigon and is now a great leader and ambassador for the Filipino community, West End Mamas, again in many West End Musicals including Miss Saigon where two of the cast played the role of Kim in the show.
Ronnie Barrio and his LK group also danced for us. There were many other great entertainers including the legendary Joanna Ampil who has starred in Miss Saigon as Kim in the original London production as well as performing in Manila.
When we all sat down, we were informed of the protocol by the Embassy which is expected. I expect the President has so many people to see and so little time, that he couldn't meet everyone personally.
When the President arrived, a speech was made by His Excellency, Ambassador Manalo and then the President was introduced by Senator Mar Roxas. In attendance was the British Ambassador to the Philippines, as well as community leaders from around the UK.
We all stood up for the singing of the Philippine National anthem by Joanna Ampil and then the President of the Republic of the Philippines came to the microphone and addressed us.
Although my tagalog is not that good, I understood quite a bit of what he said, firstly he spoke about rice import and export and how the Philippines before his time used to import rice and there was a rice mountain stored away, since coming to office, this has changed and the Philippines will soon be actually exporting rice!
The President also spoke about the PNP and the monthly salary of a police officer which is around 15,000 pesos. This is used to pay rental, feed and support the children as well as daily living allowance. Apparently house rental cost as much as 3-5,000 per month!
The President has built some social housing for them and the rental cost is much less, it is hoped that if all these measures are put into place, the police and all public employees, wouldn't need to rely on other means to supplement their income and this would also help to stamp out any form of corruption in the country.
The whole message of the President will be available online I expect, in the meantime, I just want to say the following to all my website viewers.
I was very impressed by what President Aquino had to say, he spoke for nearly an hour and seemed very passionate about all the good news he had about how improvements were happening in the country in tourism, education, transportation and many other areas.
When it was our turn to get a photo with the President, I said the following 'Mr President, it is such an honour to meet with you' he replied 'its an honour to meet you as well' what a lovely thing to say. He then personally gave me a yellow Pnoy wristband which I shall wear with pride!
I could blog for ages, but its very late haha. So I will finish by saying, I just had one of the most incredible nights of my life, what an honour, I am forever grateful.