PGMA arrives in Hainan to warm welcome of Boao Forum hosts
BOAO, China (22 April) -- In the stillness of the early morning hours, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived yesterday in China's’s southernmost island of Hainan Saturday to the warm welcome of Chinese officials who were only too glad to receive the Filipino Chief Executive, one of the speakers in this year’s Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) being held here over the weekend.
The chartered Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight that left Manila a little before Friday midnight touched down at the Haikou Meilan International Airport at 2:20 a.m, just about when everybody in this former fishing village turned tropical paradise was fast asleep.
Beaming despite the ungodly hour of her arrival, the President greeted the reception party composed of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Li Jinjun, Consul Alex Chua of the Philippine Consulate in Huangzhou, and Hainan provincial leaders.
With the President in her entourage were Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza, Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila and Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye, among others that also include the business delegation from the Philippines.
The President and her entourage were immediately whisked to the sprawling Boao Sofitel Hotel where most of the foreign dignitaries are billeted.
Sofitel Hotel general manager Ole Nielsen and Boao Forum Organizing Committee representative Qi Honser received the Chief Executive at the lobby of the posh hotel overlooking the winding Wangquan river which empties into the China Sea.
After only a few hours of rest, the President walked to the nearby International Convention Center (ICC) at around 8 a.m. for the official opening and welcome rites of the Boao Forum for Asia which this year has attracted an elite roster of government and business leaders, including the world’s wealthiest man, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates.
After the plenary session, the chairman of the National People’s Congress standing committee Wu Bangguo called on the President at the Phoenix 1 Function Room of the ICC. It was followed by the bilateral meeting between the Chief Executive and Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz at the Swan Room of the same venue.
Kenneth Toroc, president for Asia-Pacific of delivery giant United Parcel Service, paid a courtesy call on the President shortly before lunch. (OPS) [top]