I always ask my husband any inputs on the current events of the country every time he arrives from his periodic trips to Manila.
He arrived from his latest trip yesterday and I asked him what his friends thought of the lavish dinners the President had while she was in the USA.
He told me the Secretary of Justice had the privilege of joining GMA when she met Pres. Barrack Obama there and was also present in the controversial dinners. During a lunch break in their two – day meeting, the Secretary of Justice related it to them.
The Honorable Secretary said the dinners were indeed paid for by those persons mentioned in the reports. They were just invited and they did not even know they were supposed to be eating at fancy and expensive restaurants. She said when they arrived at the restaurants, the food was already ready and was immediately served. After eating, the President and the rest of them did not bother to ask the costs of the dinners because they were not the ones paying for the tabs. In fact, the Secretary said she did not even find the food served there delicious – according to her, she only ate the salad.
Thinking of it, it’s likely that the dinners were not paid using the funds of our country.
I remember when my mother and I were in the US for almost three weeks and everybody was just happy to invite us for lunch and dinners. They even paid for our Disneyland tickets, Universal Studios tickets, Phantom of the Opera tickets in New York and our tour tickets to Ellis Island. We were really embarrassed with the shower of Filipino hospitality because we ended up not spending much on our short trip there. No matter how much we politely reason that we’ll pay it ourselves, they won’t hear it if we refuse their generous acts. They always claim it’s not everyday that we were there to visit them and it’s only proper that we let them treat us.
If such display of generosity could happen to us ordinary citizens, what more the wealthy and influential people to the President of the Philippines? That’s just how Filipino hospitality works – even beyond Philippine soil.
On another note, I was driving my three aunts a few days ago while those dinners were all over the TV Stations. I thought the three of them would take the obvious side and criticize the President. Surprisingly, they did not. They were in unison saying that GMA is the President of the Philippines. She represents the Filipino people. It is but proper that she eat at exclusive and decent restaurants. For the sake of appearances, the President should dine at presentable establishments. According to them, it would be shameful if the whole world finds our President eating at a “pipichugin” joint. They closed the discussion with “do they want the President to eat at McDonalds?”
That got me thinking. And partially agreeing too.