IT IS NOT EVERYDAY THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF PHILIPPINES COMES TO MALAYSIA SO WHEN HIS EXCELLENCY VICE PRESIDENT CAME TO KUALA LUMPUR FOR A 3 DAY WORKING VISIT, THE ENTIRE FILIPINO COMMUNITY WAS AGOG WITH EXCITEMENT.
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, the successful Filipina businesswoman and founder/owner of BML Skincare, hosted a grand dinner for her Vice President HE Jejomar C Binay and 200 businessmen, investors and friends of the Philippines. It was held at The Raintree Club Ballroom and many pinoy and pinay came as early as 5.30pm though the Vice-President arrived around 8.20pm.
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo, a Filipina businesswoman who has lived and invested in Malaysia for 18 years, garlands her Vice President HE Jejomar C Binay upon arrival at The Raintree Club
Ironically it was much easier to get up close and personal with the Vice-President of Philippines HE Jejomar C. Binay in Kuala Lumpur than in Manila! Many Filipinos working or residing in Kuala Lumpur took this golden opportunity to meet and chat with the second most powerful man in Philippines as back in Manila, their chances are extremely slim!
The Philippines Embassy under new ambassador His Excellency Mr Eduardo Malaya was busy planning the trip which concluded with the Malaysia-Philippines Business Forum held on 29 May at Royal Chulan Hotel.
The night before on Monday 28 May 2012 Filipina entrepreneur and 18 year resident of Malaysia Princess Dr Becky Leogardo hosted a gala dinner for the Vice-President HE Jejomar C. Binay and 200 business guests in the ballroom at Raintree Club in upmarket Jalan U Thant area aka Embassy Row.
The Raintree Club was selected because it was built by the Ayala Group, one of the biggest conglomerates in the Philippines. This explains why The Raintree Club looks exactly like a Filipino resort with wooden beams, dramatic levels, chandeliers made of seashells and airy ambiance. Indeed The Raintree Club is instantly recognisable as a Filipino project!
The Vice-President arrived late as he insisted on visiting the new Resource Centre in Maluri and even had dinner with Filipino workers! What a grand gesture! The Filipinos were thrilled that such a high-ranking and important person would find time to talk and listen to their problems. All vowed to vote for him in the next election!
Naturally everyone mobbed him like a rock star when he arrived at Raintree Club and even more as he was leaving! There was a scrunch like a rugby match as all the Filipina ladies, resplendent in their Maria Clara costumes, threw decorum to the wind and mobbed their Vice-President to be photographed next to him.
After all, the next time we meet him, he will be President Jejomar C. Binay!
Upon arrival, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo was formally introduced to him by the Labour Attache Dr Alicia Santos. Princess Dr Becky Leogardo garlanded the Vice-President with purple orchids which he wore throughout the evening without removing.
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo paid RM 9,400 for food and drinks for the evening and sat next to the Vice President who was also flanked by the Philippines ambassador HE Eduardo Malaya. His name has raised many eyebrows as 'Malaya' is the old name of the Malay peninsula before we became Malaysia! Malaya is now ambassador for the new Malaya aka Malaysia! How appropriate! I am sure His Excellency was chosen to be our Ambassador for this reason, apart from his qualifications of course!
Speaking of names, His Excellency Jejomar Binay also took the opportunity to explain his unusual name 'Jejomar' which is not common.
"Before I was born, my parents and my grandma were chatting about who they would like to meet if given the chance," said HE Jejomar Binay. "My father said he would love to meet Jesus, my mother said she wished she could meet Father Joseph and my grandma said the Blessed Virgin Mother Mary so when I was born, they named me 'Jejomar' after 'Jesus', 'Joseph' and 'Mary'!"
What a fantastic name! I would love to have a name like Jejomar which contains the names of the Holy Family! No wonder Jejomar became such a success in life and rose to become Vice-President of Philippines and soon may be President of the Philippines!
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo was the first to make a welcome speech which was short and sweet. This was followed by the speech by Philippine ambassador HE Eduardo Malaya and finally the stage was given to HE Jejomar Binay who thanked Princess Dr Becky Leogardo by name and spoke at length about the business opportunities in both nations and the situation of the Filipinos in Malaysia and he vowed to do the best he can to ensure they are able to work progressively.
A Malaysian cultural dance troupe performed a 30-minute showtime that featured Malay, Chinese, Indian and Sabahan traditional dances which culminated in the famous Bamboo Dance and Blowpipe demonstration in which Michael Mantz, Dutch husband of Princess Becky Leogardo, succeeded on his first attempt to blow a dart and burst a balloon!
After the show, the Vice-President stood to leave and was besieged from all sides by the entire Filipino community! The Filipinas and Filipinos jostled each other to stand next or behind or close to their political leader and be photographed.
As he walked slowly out, the Vice-President of the Philippines His Excellency Jejomar C. Binay said to me, "You have been photographing all evening. Now come and be photographed with me!"
WHAT AN HONOUR!
I leaped to his side and gave my Leica to his secretary and got my picture with the second most powerful man in the Philippines!
What a grand night. Princess Dr Becky Leogardo and her friends stayed back to enjoy the food and dance till dawn...OK not till dawn but we left late because, unlike the Philippine Vice-President, we did not need to wake by 7am for the Business Forum at Royal Chulan hotel!
The Vice President of the Philippines being welcomed by the Filipino community
Dr Alicia Santos, Labour Attache II of Philippines Embassy, leading Vice President Binay to the Raintree Ballroom
Princess Dr Becky Leogardo leads her Vice-President to their Main Table
HE Eduardo Malaya, Philippines ambassador to Malaysia, Vice-President of the Philippins HE Jejomar C Binay and Princess Dr Becky Leogardo
The terrific three
Led by Michael Mantz, Princess Dr Becky Leogardo is led to the stage to make the first speech of the evening
A big cheer as Princess Dr Becky Leogardo announces she and every Filipino will vote for HE Jejimar Binay to be the next President of the Philippines!
The Philippine ambassador to Malaaysia HE Eduardo Malaya giving his speech