Saturday, 21 November 2015

APEC 2015 Welcome dinner for Economic Leaders

APEC2015 Chair President Benigno S. Aquino III hosted a welcome dinner for his fellow economic leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), on November 18, 2015 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. The leaders and guests were treated to a feast of the country's delectable cuisine while enjoying performances that showcased Filipino talent and culture.

See the Filipino cuisine served on APEC, please click HERE! Read the toast delivered by President Aquino:

Photos by the MalacaƱang Photo Bureau.

His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III
President of the Philippines
during the welcome dinner, APEC Economic Leaders meeting
[Delivered at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City, on November 18, 2015]
Excellencies, I thank all of you for an extremely productive start to our discussions. However, let me assure you that tonight’s dinner will not feature a menu of policy and statistics. After my remarks, which I will try to keep as brief as possible, I believe we will all be unified by a shared commitment to setting aside formal speeches, in favor of the kind of friendly, open, and informal conversation that I remember so fondly from our past dinners over the years. After all, occasions like this not only allow us to strengthen old friendships, they provide us an opportunity to make new ones. As China under President Xi Jinping did last year with its truly impressive hosting of APEC, tonight, we Filipinos want to share something of our culture through our food, songs, and dance. And it is my hope you will see why so many have said it is more fun in the Philippines.
When a Filipino is about to have a meal, he is always compelled to share what little food he might have with anyone around, even if they are complete strangers. He does this by saying, in our language, “Kain tayo,” or “Let’s eat.” And he will not begin to eat until the offer has been accepted, or kindly refused.
This is an invitation not only to share whatever food is on the plate, but also and more importantly, an invitation to be a friend. Here in the Philippines, a meal is always seen as a joyful occasion, no matter how simple the fare. More than the food, it is about the bond that is formed, the sharing that takes place, and the communication between friends. Is this not the spirit that animates all our discussions? Whether we have large or small economies, all of us sit at the same table and engage in fellowship for the advancement of all our peoples. In this manner, we demonstrate that an inclusive Asia Pacific is doing its part to achieve a more inclusive world.
With that, Excellencies, may I ask you all to join me in a toast before we partake of our meal and bond with each other:
To the stability and progress of the Asia Pacific,
To the friendship and partnerships that are bringing our economies closer as we work to solve our common problems,
And to the future that we are shaping through APEC, one in which opportunities abound; a future in which no one is left behind.
In Filipino, we say: Mabuhay.


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