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Swaziland King's Visit
« on: May 25, 2008, 09:32:51 PM »
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Royal couple gets lessons in Cebu history

IT may be the first time for a Swaziland royalty to visit the Philippines, but King Mswati III is already making plans for a second trip.

This he shared to reporters after Governor Gwen Garcia invited him to return to Cebu in August.

Garcia and Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz (Cebu, 6th district) paid a courtesy call to Mswati in Shangri-la’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa.

Yesterday, his second day here, Mswati visited the Magellan’s Cross and learned not only of its story but Cebu City’s history as well.

Mswati’s delegation, composed of eight officials and fourteen staffs, visited the cross at 3 p.m.

Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña received and shared with him the significance of the cross, and in so doing explained why the Philippines the only Christian country in a Muslim-dominated Southeast Asia.

Osmeña also shared that Cebu is actually the oldest city of the country, and sales-pitched that it is doing very good in terms of its diverse industries.

In return, Mswati told the mayor what kind of place they have. He said Swaziland is a mountainous country, that industries are focused more on what they can get out of the mountains and hills.

“We hope to have more activities with your country,” said Mayor Osmeña upon ending their conversation.

Though she was not with the king in his Cebu sojourn, President Gloria Arroyo sent the car that Mswati was using, considering that he is a head of state and therefore deserving of the best treatment the country can offer.

At the king’s luncheon hosted by Garcia in Shangri-la’s Ocean Pavilion, Mswati shared that he already felt “at home” in Cebu.

Dedicated people

“I’m sure it’s because of the dedicated people of this area who make sure that those (who) come here will return,” he said.

His wife, Queen Lank-hambule, and their two daughters, were with him.

Fully-decked in traditional Swazi garb, Princess Msindrose, the king’s sister, also attended the luncheon.

Mswati’s brother, Prince Lonkhonkela, along with other Swazi officials, also joined the trip.

They were greeted by troupes presenting different Visayan folk dances that included the Tinikling, which made Lankhambule laugh in delight and was received with much applause from the visitors.

Garcia also gave the Mswati and Langhambule a copy of the “Cebu: Pride of Place” book.

Luncheon

“I can see that the people in this area are very much geared toward promoting its history,” the king said in his opening speech during the luncheon, which followed a private discussion with Garcia and Ruiz.

Cebu is only the first stop in the king’s six-day visit to the Philippines.

On Sunday, he will meet with Arroyo, who invited him to come to the Philippines.

Garcia said the king had expressed interest in Cebu’s tourism industry.

Swaziland Ambassador to the Philippines Mpumelelo J. N. Hilophe said their king hopes for “more concrete relations” between the two countries.

Phiwayinkosi Ginindza, Chief Executive Officer of the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority, said their country is looking for prospective investments in the Philippines, particularly in Cebu.

With workers in the garments and textile industry, and the fields of education and medicine, a small Filipino community has already established itself in Swaziland.

Also in the luncheon were Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Fransisco Benedicto, Philippine Ambassador to Southern Africa Virgilio Reyes, Jr. and Swazi Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Senator Mathendele Dlamini.

Dances

The luncheon program included song renditions and dances that showcased Cebuano products such as shells, guitars, accessories and fruits.

Models, among them Ms. Cebu 2002 and Miss Philippines 2008 runner-up Melanie Ediza, also displayed the traditional Filipino barong and Filipiniana gowns.

Mswati and the governor exchanged gifts during the luncheon. Among the gifts Garcia gave were a Filipiniana, a barong Tagalog, and accessories.

She also gave them a native lamp, a clock and her framed photograph with the royal Swazi couple.

Mswati’s delegation will meet with Arroyo in Malacañang Palace today.

He had planned on a lunch trip to Bohol on his way to Manila, but this was cancelled because their plane was too big for Bohol’s airport.


Asked on their Cebu stay, Mswati said that it is “so far, so good, and we were really taken care of.”

Mswati and his officials will have a working breakfast with Filipino businessmen on May 27. (KAB/Rachel Capapas, Silliman University Masscomm Intern)


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