THE GUEST OF HONOUR WAS ALSO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AND YES, I KNOW ALL YOU READERS THINK IT MUST BE ME BUT ACTUALLY IT WAS ANGELI, THE CURRENT MISS PHILIPPINES TOURISM 2013 WHO FLEW IN THE DAY BEFORE TO TAKE PART IN THE 2013 MISS TOURISM INTERNATIONAL PAGEANT.
LILLIAN TAN AND PRINCESS DR BECKY LEOGARD0
Miss Tourism International is the first and ONLY internationally recognised beauty pageant founded by a Malaysian Dato Danny Ooi who continues to own the worldwide, patented franchise.
The world finals is on 31 December 2013 and the new Miss Tourism 2013/14 will be announced around 11.45 pm so the new Miss Tourism and her runners-up can usher in 2014 as midnight strikes! Miss Tourism International is also the only international pageant held on 31 December, perfect timing as guests can celebrate the new year with beauty queens and this year will see some 70 beauty queens.
Miss Philippines Tourism 2013 was chaperoned by Irene Liong from D'Touch the company founded by Dato Danny Ooi which produces this annual pageant which will be held this year for the first time at Marriott Putrajaya.
The Philippines ambassador His Excellency J. Eduardo Malaya welcomed his guests in the large marquee. He thanked the Malaysian Government and all Malaysians as we donated US$ 1 million (RM 3.2 million) to the terrible Hai Yan typhoon disaster.
Then Most Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Nicholas Xavier Pakiam, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur took the mike and gave a short, sweet speech about the importance of charity.
Datuk Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Secretary-General of Ministry of International Trade and Industry, also spoke. She commented, "When I visited my husband's family in Kerala, south India, I noted they too have a lantern lighting tradition. Now I discover the Filipinos too have this marvellous tradition."
The ambassador and his VIP guests then gathered around a glowing sphere as the lights dimmed and within seconds, the 6 Parol lanterns lit up as everyone clapped.
Carollers sang Christmas songs in English and Tagalog as the Filipino ambassador played the organ! What a sensational performance! Few ambassadors have this talent. Anyway it is always said baby Filipinos dance before they can walk and sing before they can speak!
Indeed His Excellency J.Eduardo Malaya announced after his piano playing, "Our talents are not imported. They are the staff of the embassy and the singer you heard just now is our receptionist!"
The ambassador then presented plaques to donors, sponsors, benefactors and friends of the Philippines. For some unfathomable reason, I was not given any! Strange as the Royal Thai Government presented me the coveted 'Friend of Thailand' award in 2010 in Bangkok. It was supposed to be given to me by then Prime Minister HE Abhisit Vejjajiva but at the last minute it was presented by the Minister of Tourism.
Then came the Christmas feast! Cheers and merriment were the order of the day or night rather as everyone enjoyed the food which was catered by a Filipino. So it was all very authentic though I thought the dishes were very familiar to us Malaysians.
LILLIAN TAN AND PRINCESS DR BECKY LEOGARDO