MANILA, Philippines — Albay Governor Joey Salceda, who earlier said he would not consider Xian Lim’s apology, finally relented and accepted, but on one condition:
“As his penance, he must promote the province of Albay, because his statement hurt our tourism,” Salceda said in a talk show; adding that he decided to accept Lim’s apology since it was in keeping with the spirit of the Lenten season.
“After forgiveness, there should be penance,” he said.
He explained that Bicolanos are known to be a hospitable people, and rudely rejecting their hospitality is disrespectful.
“Bicolanos are a gentle and good-natured people. We will do anything to make sure our guests are comfortable and welcome. When he didn’t accept our gifts, I thought it was not right at all.”
Salceda had earlier fumed over Lim’s reported refusal to accept a souvenir shirt and a coffee book table given to him by the governor’s staff; saying he “was not there to promote Albay.”
Lim was in Albay last February 19 as he was invited by the local government to attend the province’s “Tsinoy Festival.”
Salceda’s chief-of-staff later recounted Lim as being rude and disrespectful during their encounter in an online post.
For his part, Xian Lim said while he was indeed handed a shirt and a book, he respectfully declined as it might have conflicted with his clothing endorsement.
He also denied uttering the inflammatory statement; saying he would never say something like that.
“My parents taught me to be respectful. My father and my grandmother are from Bicol. I’ve already been here several times and my purpose was to make people happy, not to disrespect them,” he said.
Still, Lim said he is sorry to the governor and the people of Albay for the misunderstanding over the incident; adding that he did not mean to offend anyone on purpose.