Mar 10, 2011 by

The song “Stella by Starlight” is song featured in a 1944 film THE UNINVITED. But I didn’t sing that yesterday when the President of my beloved Philippines visited the Republic of Indonesia, because I was invited.

When I got the invite to attend the meeting with Pnoy, I got excited!! I got even more excited when my bosses allowed me to take a half-day off to be at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The next thing that I stressed upon was what to wear. I even made a call to Bombette Marin to send me something (panic mode), that even Inday Dabi would do. Fortunately, Federico Mercado of PT Barong Batik, through Tita Thelma Victorio (and Tita ng Jakarta) of PT Sentul City delivered my beautiful top Saturday before the event.

What can I possibly write about Pnoy’s visit that you wouldn’t be reading about in the local, national or internet news? You already know that he came with a 53-man entourage and how much he spent for it. You already know that he came with his cabinet secretaries; Sec. Almendras, Sec. Coloma, Sec. del Rosario, Sec. Purisima, Sec. Domingo and PAGCOR Chief. Did you know that Mar Roxas was with him too? No, I didn’t see any lady with him so I don’t know if his lady love was around.

The Filipino Community in Indonesia (FILCOMIN) started to arrive at the Grand Ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Hotel at around 2 in the afternoon. Two of those who helped in the registration were Ilonggas, Ruby Sicorsicon and Asela Labaro, who are both teachers at the Singapore International School.

While waiting for Pnoy to arrive, we were treated to a buffet merienda, not our typical Filipino merienda of bitso bitso, bitchukoy or suman latik and coks but sausage tart, salmon rolls, pastries with coffee or tea. During the merienda, Pinoys mingled. It was great to hear only Filipino spoken in many versions and intonations. The Ilonggos made a good turn out. Our very own Noel Servigon, Consul General of the Philippine Consulate in Manado flew in with his lovely and amiable wife, Chi. Philippine Representative to the ASEAN, Wilfrido Villacorta was also there with his wife.

It is worth noting that Filipinos in Jakarta who are mostly, if not all, professionals followed the schedule like good citizens. When First Secretary and Consul GERMINIA “Germie”AGUILAR-USUDAN of the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta announced the start of the rehearsals for the picture-taking, people went inside the ballroom. They listened and during the picture -taking everything went smoothly She also reminded us to turn off our cellphones, most of us did :/ By 5pm everybody was seated and was waiting for Pnoy to arrive. 530pm -Pnoy on time! That’s something we Filipinos abroad always (try) to do – be on time.

For many of us who have not been home for quite some time, hearing the Philippine National being sung by the community gave me goosebumps. After the singing, I saw some people clearing the fog on their glasses. I felt a lump on my throat too while singing, but i had to concentrate on my ALTO so my voice wouldn’t crack.

Pnoy came in with the Charge d’Affaires of the Philippne Embassy in Jakarta, Maria Rosario “Cherry” Aguinaldo, who also introduced the President of the Republic of the Philippines. They were joined on stage by Cesar de la Cruz of PT Agung Podomoro and Rodolfo Balmater (also Rotary PDG of District 3400 Indonesia)of the Indonesia- Philippine Business Council.

Pnoy spoke in both Filipino and English. He acknowledged his cabinet secretaries who were present and he dropped his notes, his teleprompter and delivered a “well-prepared candid speech”. He earned several applauds that interrupted his speech and a few chuckles and laughter in between. He gave us a mini “state of the nation” address, talking about our economy, our environment, our energy, our tourism and good governance. The house roared into laughter when he said he couldn’t properly say the last name of Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, that’s why he is called just SBY. Pnoy made no promises made just an appeal for cooperation and support from us. Pnoy’s speech was short and sweet. He ended with his usual “at the end of the day”.

The man will always suffer a comparison with his parents who were both charismatic and charming. As Josie Cacdac,another Ilongga said, “I will always admire him for being him – a Filipino countryman more than a president. His humility is contagious.”

There were many who were invited but couldn’t come, there were many who wanted to come but were not invited. There were many who were clueless about Pnoy’s visit. There were many who criticized the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta for being remiss in disseminating information about the State Visit. The Embassy did have some press releases, maybe some Pinoys didn’t really understand the language. There were several billboards of Pnoy as he was conferred a Doctor of Law, Honorary Degree by the University of Pelita Harapan (UPH).

It was a well-organized meeting, and if any, the cellphones that sounded during Pnoy’s speech were those of the media. People who came to see Pnoy and hear him speak all came out smiling and happy. For those who traveled quite a bit of distance, like me, it was all worth it!!Taking a leave without pay to see and listen to MY President was all worth it!

Consul General Noel Servigon

Ruby & Asela

with the First Lady of ASEAN Representative Villacorta, Tata Young-Ginting and Chi Torrato Servigon

Some of the Ladies of the Eucharistic Choir

1 Comment

  1. I am planning to go to Indonesia in 2015, I really enjoy reading about it, I want to know more about the people of Indonesia how they live and where they live

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>