Cuba's acting President Raul Castro, right, welcomed Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the inauguration ceremony of the 14h Nonaligned Summit in Havana, Cuba, yesterday. Arroyo is scheduled to attend several events around Oahu today.
Arroyo arrives in isles after meet in Cuba
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrived in Honolulu last night on a one-day visit to help celebrate the centennial of Filipino immigration to Hawaii.
This is the only U.S. stop on Arroyo's five-nation, nine-day trip. She flew to Hawaii from Cuba, where she attended the 14th Summit of the Nonaligned Movement yesterday.
Arroyo has meetings scheduled at the Kahala Hotel and Resort this morning, according to the Philippine consulate.
She has three scheduled events this afternoon and this evening, and is expected to return to Manila either tonight or tomorrow morning.
The highlight of the visit is likely to be at 2 p.m. at the Filipino Community Center, where Arroyo will meet with invited guests and dedicate a marker and statue of a Filipino plantation worker, or sakada. She is also scheduled to speak at the center.
On display during Arroyo's visit will be winning entries in the Hawaii centennial commemorative stamp design competition sponsored by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Commission on Filipinos Overseas.
Geminiano "Toy" Arre, president of the Filcom Center, said the guests include sakadas, elected officials, members of the Filcom center board, centennial celebration commissioners and other community leaders.
"It (the visit) is important for us," Arre said. "I think every time you have a president visit, the community has to take pride in it."
Arroyo will then travel to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl for a 4 p.m. ceremony honoring Filipino and American World War II veterans.
The ceremony is open to the public, but the cemetery will be closed to graveside visitors at 10 a.m. today because of security measures.
Shuttle buses will take people who want to attend the ceremony from the Honolulu municipal building parking lot to Punchbowl starting at noon.
The ceremony will include a 21-gun salute with cannon, a military flyover, the Honolulu Youth Opera Chorus, hula and Filipino folk songs, said cemetery director Gene Castagnetti.
The Philippine government donated a memorial monument made from a boulder from the Malinta Tunnel on Corregidor, which will be dedicated this afternoon. The tunnel is where U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Philippine President Manuel Quezon led the defense of the Philippines at the start of World War II.
The last event of the day is a reception at Washington Place at 7:30 p.m. hosted by Gov. Linda Lingle with more than 300 invited guests.
Belinda Aquino, director of the Center for Philippine Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, noted that Hawaii is a logical stopping point for Philippine presidential visits because of the large Filipino population here. Ferdinand Marcos, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada all visited Hawaii during their terms, Aquino said.
Arroyo "has good aloha in Hawaii," Aquino said.