Ambassador Knut Solem of Norway was in Cebu recently to decorate Sabino Dapat with the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. Dapat, Ben to family and close friends, is the former honorary consul of Norway in Cebu.
He retired last year and was replaced by Candice Gotianuy, chancellor of the University of Cebu that enjoys a special relationship with Norway through its maritime educational courses.
The ceremony took place during a special luncheon meeting of the Cebu chapter of the Consular Corps of the Philippines, at the Manila Room of the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel.
Emily Benedicto Chioson, honorary consul of Israel and chairperson of the Cebu Consular Corps, opened the meeting with words of welcome and appreciation to Ambassador Solem.
She also expressed warm congratulations to Ben Dapat for the honor bestowed on him.
Ben spoke about his stint as honorary consul of Norway in Cebu, covering southern Philippines as well, for quite a number of years.
However, they were not the required number of years to qualify for the medal granted to him.
Ambassador Solem took this into account when he recommended Ben for the award, requesting the King of Norway to waive the requirement, given the dedicated service Ben Dapat had rendered Norway.
That is why the award has come only now, after Ben’s retirement, explained Ambassador Solem.
“And shortly before my own retirement,” said the ambassador in his speech as he is about to end his stint in the Philippines, the last of his distinguished career.
Ben Dapat may have retired as Norway’s honorary consul but he remains the current honorary consul of Denmark in Cebu. He is retiring from the post this year, and his replacement will take over by December, the latest.
Present on this occasion were honorary consul of Sweden Jose Sala, vice chair of the Cebu Consular Corps; the secretary, Carmel Durano, honorary consul of Poland; consul general of China Zhang Wei Gou, Japan’s counselor and consul Shoji Otake, and honorary consul of Belgium Enrique Benedicto.
Party set for honorary consul of Canada
Honorary Consul of Austria Julie Alegrado Vergara was with her father, former honorary consul general of Austria Arcadio “Dodong” Alegrado who asked everyone present to mark April 25 in their date books.
Dodong is organizing a farewell party for honorary consul of Canada Robert Lee, who was present.
Robert is retiring from the post and maybe by April 25 we will know who is his replacement. “It is a lady,” he hints.
More honorary consuls present at the meeting cum awarding were Spain’s Anton Perdices, Germany’s Franz Seidenshwarz, Portugal’s Sammy Chioson, the United Kingdom’s Tamsin Booth, Mexico’s Eduardo Gonzalez and US consular agent John Domingo.
Israel national day
Aside from the forthcoming farewell for Robert and Anna Lee, the Cebu Consular Corps have also marked, upon Emily Chioson’s request, May 8 for the celebration in Cebu of the State of Israel’s national day and anniversary. The formal reception will also be held at the Marco Polo.
Japanese resto opens
Casino Español de Cebu has reopened its Japanese specialty restaurant, the Kado, in a facility constructed for the purpose near the pool. It is adjacent to La Taverna, also opened recently as a tapas bar for smokers.
The ceremonial ribbon at Kado was cut by Therese Bowler Gonzalez, wife of the newly elected president of the Casino Español de Cebu, Eduardo Gonzalez.
Special guests on this occasion were Japan’s counselor and consul Shoji Otake with his wife Naomi, consul Masaki Hirasawi Tadashi and Kiko Muramoto, very active members of Casino Español.
Among those present was Antonio Veloso Jr., former president of the club and now its vice president. He had championed for Kado, and was happy to see its inaugural. We are told its tempura is one of the best.
Also present were Casino Español’s secretary Paco Jarque with wife Monique; treasurer David Chan with wife Tess who is the first lady president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in over 110 years; Gabby Leyson, director for social and cultural events; sports director Edgar Chiongbian and wife Cely; and house chair Luis Moro III with wife Lynn.
Simultaneously, La Taverna was inaugurated with Margot Larrañaga cutting the ribbon, assisted by former president Glenn Loop.
Honey Jarque Loop was drumming up interest for the April 30 performance at Casino Español of the Manila-based band The Bloomfields.
It is a Beatlemania show to celebrate 50 years since the advent of the Beatles. The price of a reservation includes buffet supper starting at 6 p.m., and the performance at 8:30 p.m. The event will raise funds for “Yolanda” victims in Leyte.
“I’ll miss it,” said Myra Gonzalez who is leaving this week for Spain to enjoy a two-month vacation, mostly in the south. She is looking forward to spending time in Sevilla during the famous “Feria de Abril,” which this year will fall on May.
Lots of celebrities attend the fair, and a large number of aristocrats, too, like the Duchess of Alba, one of the world’s most titled women. The duchess, who lives in a palace in Sevilla, does the rounds of the exclusive “casetas” in a horse-drawn carriage amid the crowd’s cheers.