Last week, I had a pleasant trip to Manila, where I had my visa interview with the US Embassy. On this particular occasion, Cebu Pacific Air also provided an overnight stay at the Go Hotels Otis-Manila.
The morning of my interview, I had breakfast at Starbucks and drove to the embassy, getting there 15 minutes before my appointment. After an hour wait, the interview lasted for two minutes, where I was told, “Your visa is approved and you will get it in a week” – Thank God.
I had to acquire a visa since I was invited by the Guam Visitors Bureau to participate in a familiarization tour of the American territory. Previously, I had been invited to similar programs by the tourism boards of Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Japan – my travel advocacy is likely why I receive such blessings.
Last week, JG Summit Holdings Chairman Emeritus John Gokongwei, Jr. flew into Cebu City to inaugurate the flagship of the Summit Hotels and Resorts at the Robinsons Galleria, located in the Cebu City reclamation area. He was joined by his wife Elizabeth and Cebu City Mayor Tommy Osmeña.
The mayor told a story how the mall site was originally intended for the new Cebu City Hall, but, one day, “Big John” (Gokongwei) called him and asked if the reclamation property was for sale. He told the Summit chairman “Yes.” “Big John” asked him, “How much?” Osmeña offered P15 million, Gokongwei offered P12 million, and it was a done deal.
Tomorrow, I fly to Manila and travel to Guam early Saturday morning. Thousands of Filipinos live and work in Guam and I will surely meet somebody I know.
This column greets Roland Catada Ramos, Nato Novero, Ben Lopez, Jr., Richard Oquendo, Francis Redil Villanueva, Dan Amaguin, Ruben Tampos, Linus Jimenez, and Paolo Araneta./WDJ