DISPATCHES FROM THE PHILIPPINES
Philippine friends ‘Wowowee’ visitors from Hawaii
Day 3 -- Jan. 6
Before I begin to describe our third day in Manila, I thought I would share some highlights of last night's fabulous outdoor concert on Roxas Boulevard, across the street from Manila Bay. Our delegation mingled and danced with an estimated 4,000 Filipinos who were treated to performances by the Tihati entertainers and Jasmine Trias. While she will always be Hawaii's own "American Idol," it was clear from the audience's reaction that Jasmine has captured the hearts of the people of the Philippines. She even sang a couple of songs in Tagalog. I am proud of how her career has blossomed, and how well she is representing our state and young Filipinos everywhere.
Editor's note: Gov. Linda Lingle is touring the Philippines in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Filipino immigration to Hawaii. She is writing a daily journal of her trip for the Star-Bulletin.
Yesterday also was highlighted by the unveiling of the commemorative centennial stamp with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, which I touched on in my column yesterday. As part of the year-long centennial celebration, the Commission on Filipinos Overseas conducted a design contest. The winning designers, a professional artist and a student, interpreted the centennial from different perspectives.
The student's design depicted the life of "sakadas" on Hawaii's plantations. The artist's interpretation went one step further and traced the contributions Filipinos have made to Hawaii during the past century, from plantation workers to scientists to community leaders. I was particularly moved by how the artist incorporated the Hawaiian Island chain and the Hawaii and Philippine flags into the design. I hope both commemorative stamps serve to raise more awareness of the centennial celebration in both Hawaii and the Philippines.
Today started with a business symposium with the Mandaluyong Chamber of Commerce and the Filipino Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.
I discussed with the members the importance of good governance and how decisions made by government should be fair and transparent. Organizations like the Chambers of Commerce have an important part to play in ensuring that businesses are treated fairly and that government fosters a good atmosphere for businesses to succeed. Whether in Hawaii or the Philippines, business drives the economy, while government can create a positive business climate.
Following the symposium, I was honored to be the first governor to be a guest on "Wowowee," one of the most popular television shows in the Philippines, where I took the opportunity to promote our state and our strong bonds of friendship with the Philippines. Popular, however, does not begin to describe the powerful connection host Willie Revilliame has with Filipinos locally, in Hawaii and around the world. Watch the show in Hawaii at 5 p.m. today on the Filipino Channel.
A member of our delegation, Joey Alcantara of Group Builders, Inc., a Honolulu general contacting firm, presented a $6,000 donation to "Wowowee" to help Filipino children in need. The donation underscores the caring nature of Hawaii's Filipinos who continue to share their prosperity with the people of the Philippines.
The past two-and-a-half days in Manila provided an interesting introduction to the culture, lifestyle, challenges and opportunities of the Philippines.
Late this afternoon, we boarded flights to Laoag City in Ilocos Norte province, where many of Hawaii's Filipinos trace their roots. Upon our arrival, it was apparent that the warm hospitality we received in Manila would be rivaled by our hosts in Ilocos Norte.
Governor Ferdinand "Bong Bong" Marcos Jr. hosted a dinner that featured Filipino cultural performances. The event was a celebration of the centennial, as well as the sister-state province agreement I signed with Governor Marcos when he visited Honolulu last February.
Tomorrow I will highlight how Hawaii and the Philippines are acting as partners to advance our agricultural sectors, as well as cooperative efforts to promote education initiatives in nursing and health care.