Consul General and Madame Zhang Weigou hosted a diplomatic reception to mark the 64th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China at the grand ballroom of Marco Polo Plaza Hotel, which was draped with swaths of silk in flaming red and golden yellow. A tarpaulin depicted the Great Wall of China and covered an entire wall.
Welcome remarks were delivered by Consul General Zhang who traced the evolution of China, whose history covers more than 2,000 years, in the past half century. “We have opened up,” he remarked. Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China date back to 1975.
Program highlights included a dance from Southern China, regarded as a paradise on earth; a demo on Chinese calligraphy by a young acrobatic dancer; and a message from Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III read on his behalf by lawyer Mark Tolentino.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was also unable to attend as he had gone to the wake of a young relative, an army lieutenant who was a casualty of the strife in Zamboanga. Representing him was Cebu City’s articulate Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, who is chairperson of the city’s Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission.
Among those present were Ambassador Francisco Benedicto, honorary consul general of Korea Augusto Go with wife Elizabeth, honorary consul of Belgium Enrique Benedicto with wife Helena, Mr. and Mrs. Lim Liu, Marco Polo general manager Hans Hauri with wife Bo, and resident manager Julie Najar.
More members of the consular corps included Japan’s Shoji Otake, Canada’s Robert Lee with wife Anna, Germany’s Franz Seidenschwarz with wife Elizabeth, the Slovak Republic’s Antonio Chiu, and Angel Espiritu who, since retiring from the Cebu office of the DFA, is now consultant on foreign affairs at Cebu City Hall.
Marco Polo’s food-beverage director Stephan Wieprich was supervising the efficient service of an epicurean Chinese dinner specially designed for the occasion. Chef Kei from the Marco Polo in Hong Kong had flown into town expressly for the event.
Appetizers were exotic, and high praise went to the Coriander Scallop and Seafood Broth. There followed sauteed prawns with scallions, baked spare ribs, garoupa fillets with golden garlic, Fujian fried rice and fried noodles.
German food fest
We’ve heard that Wieprich may soon go back to Germany with his wife and family. But before he goes, there will be a food fest at the Marco Polo featuring genuine German cuisine.
The 16th year of Cine Europa in Cebu was presented through the usual involvement of the Arts Council, for three whole days, Oct. 4 to 6 at the On Stage theater of Ayala Center, a co-presenter of the event.
Cine Europa is an annual undertaking of the Delegation of the European Union and the embassies of EU member countries, as well as the embassies of Norway and Switzerland.
Large crowds of movie buffs filled up the theater for the screenings of 21 films. Many of those who attended saw more than two or three of the films. It would be interesting to find out if anyone saw all of the films, or at least the most number.
The success of the event this year, as in past years, was due to the chairmanship of Arts Council secretary Mariter Dumon Klepp, assisted by trustee Rose Hennessy. VP Maxwell Espina was at the opening-day reception as were treasurer Elvira Luym; trustees Lot Lot Neri and Marissa Fernan; and advisers Fe Sala Villarica and Maia Franco.
The new ambassador of Austria, Josef Mueller, came with his wife, Kai Wang, and their young son David, accompanied by Austria’s honorary consul Julie Alegrado Vergara. They were here for the weekend at the Alegrado family’s Maribago Bluewater resort in Mactan.
Romania’s Ambassador Mihai Sion was with Romania’s honorary consul Grand Benedicto and his wife Genevieve, and Grand’s father, honorary consul of Belgium Enrique Benedicto.
Germany’s honorary consul Franz Seidenschwarz was present, followed by his wife Elizabeth, who had led her German-language class students to see one of the German movies. There were two this year, plus two others with German dialogue, Austria’s and Switzerland’s.
Also present were Alice Plaza and Victoria Hermosisima, Bernie Aboitiz, Josie Dumon with grandson Christian Klepp, Kingsley Medalla with his mom Pacita, Kinue Castillo, and the glamorous Gladys Young bedecked in colorful jewelry she designs herself and of which she is her own best model. They are one-of-a-kind pieces.
The Arts Council staff—Mariz Rallos and Hannilyn Cenarlo—deserves due recognition for a job well done, supervising the screenings and the crowd flow, not to mention their abnegation during the three-day festival that included a full-time weekend.
Next event in Cebu is the third visit here of Libera, the internationally famous London-based children’s choir. It will be on Oct. 31 at the Chapel of Saint Pedro Calungsod.