ASEAN leaders are often joined in by their spouses during their official trips. Every host country of the ASEAN Meeting usually prepares and warmly welcomes the leaders and their loved ones as well.
This year, the Philippines hosted the 11th ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and 4th ADMM-Plus on October 23-24, 2017 in Clark Freeport Zone, Angeles, City, Pampanga. The meeting focuses on terrorism and violent extremism.
The defense ministers from different participating countries came to the country with their spouses. The 10 ASEAN members are the following: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam; while from the ADMM-Plus, are countries, namely: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and Unites States.
During the entire two-day event, spouses of ASEAN defense chiefs got a delightful taste of Kapampangan’s hospitality. Their spouses, joined by some of the wives of Cabinet secretaries, explored the cities of Pampanga. They were toured in horse-drawn carts, watched cockfighting, enjoyed a relaxing massage and other activities.
The tour for the distinguished guests ran from morning till afternoon. The spouses visited several scenic historical places such as Clark Museum and San Guillermo Church in Bacolor town, which was buried by Mt. Pinatubo’s volcanic debris. They also visited industrial places like the factory in Guagua town and Betis Crafts’ showroom.
Aside from the treats for the eyes, the guests also got a taste of some delectable Filipino treats in Kapampangan Village where it showcases a private garden in the Betis district of Guagua that serves local delicacies like the very popular streetfood balut (duck embryo) and “taho” (soya).
They were also served snacks and desserts like ice cream with “gabi” (taro), “ale ubi” (purple yam cake), “barquillos,” “patco,” “panara,” “suman pasku,” tamales and “turrones de casoy.” The Kapampangan hosts also showed the guests how these Filipino popular delicacies are prepared.
The spouses had a day filled with activities that give them a glimpse of the Filipino culture and tradition specifically that of the Kapampangan’s.
From touring around to dining in to partying with the local Artista Rita theater group, the ASEAN distinguished guests certainly had no dull moments. The cooperation of everyone in the events marks a true coming together of communities, according to Hizon.
The guests’ tour did not encounter any problem with safety since the local police secured the venue.
The event organizer that prepared the tour for the spouses of the ASEAN Leaders also gave each of them special souvenir gift bags made by Fernandina Waterlily Handicrafts Association, which contains Cafe Lugud premium Arabica coffee beans, Harvest peanut butter that uses coco sugar, Saucesyal salad dressing by Therese Tayag-Laxamana, Probinsyano Spanish sardines, Atching Lilian Borromeo’s San Nicolas cookies and chopping boards made of acacia by Yandoc Woodcraft.
This special treat for the wives of ASEAN defense chiefs was organized by Poch Jorolan.
The tour was described as a memorable event that showcases the true beauty, hospitality and warmth of Kapampangans.