MANILA, Philippines –Topping US President Barack Obama’s state visit on Monday was a grand dinner reception in Malacañang attended by the who’s who of Philippine politics, entertainment, and high society.
Besides the toasts given by Obama and President Benigno Aquino III, the highlight of the night for many people watching the festivities on television were the guests.
Who were invited and who were seated together?
Aquino and Obama were at the forefront of Monday night’s festivities. Seated side by side at the head table, the two heads of state exchanged toasts and praises.
Joining them at the presidential table were former Presidents Joseph Estrada (now Manila Mayor) and Fidel Ramos, and Vice President Jejomar Binay. Heads of the other branches of government were also seated beside them: Senate President Franklin Drilon, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno.
Completing the group were Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Philippine Ambassador to US Jose Cuisia, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice, US deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors, and US Ambassdor Philip Goldberg.
Also in attendance were Aquino’s sisters Maria Elena “Ballsy” Aquino-Cruz, Aurora Corazon “Pinky” Aquino-Abellada, Victoria Elisa “Viel” Aquino-Dee and Kris Aquino.
Flaunting her new short hairstyle, actress and television host Kris wore a purple Cary Santiago gown.
Spotted at the “bountiful harvest”-themed reception were Senators Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Gringo Honasan and Juan Ponce Enrile, who was at one point seen having having a chat and smiling with Manila Mayor Estrada.
Not to be forgotten is Interior Secretary Mar Roxas who was among those who welcomed Obama when he arrived onboard the Air Force One in Manila. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also shared a photo with the Presidential sisters, uploaded on Instagram by Kris. Other Cabinet members and congressmen also attended the event.
Guests from the business setor included Tessie Sy-Coson of the SM Group and Jaime Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corporation.