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Home away from home

MANILA, Philippines - • The second floor of the SMX Convention Center transformed into a giant party hall on Friday night at the host country closing reception. Showcasing the Philippines “Land of Gold,” the night featured a wide-array of performers and stellar performances by international artists including Leo Valdez, Bituin Escalate and The Company.

Heart thumping music, blinding klieg lights and overflowing food kept the audience in a party mood the whole night. What started as a variety show soon turned into a series of fashion shows showcasing contemporary creations by leading Filipino designers.

Street dancing and signature numbers by the Tausug of the Sulu Archipelago performed by the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group also captivated the audience.

Quietly, some Lea Salonga fans waited for the Broadway star to perform, as some of the organizers said, but no such performance happened.

• ADB spokesperson Ann Quon said Manila 2012 attracted a record of more than 5,000 delegates which included 507 local and international journalists and 450 civil society participants.

• Journalists who covered Manila 2012 may not necessarily miss the hectic schedule but will definitely miss the Media Center set up on the third floor of the PICC Secretariat building. Equipped with Wi-Fi and more than 50 units of HP computers, news agency cubicles and interview rooms, the Media Center has become a home away from home for many local and foreign journalists. Overflowing coffee, sandwiches and other finger snacks also kept members of the media sane the whole ADB meeting.

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• The closing press conference of ADB president Haruhiko Kuroda was going on smoothly until someone from the audience asked about ADB’s accountability over the passage of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), noting that the law has not really lowered the costs of power in the Philippines. After the question, ADB spokesperson Ann Quon, visibly irked, said the next question must come from a “real journalist.”

• Facing flak for hiding the slums of Manila from the guests of Manila 2012, the government said it was part of the Filipino culture to show only the best to their guests. Presidential Spokesperson said Filipinos usually clean their homes when a guest is coming and hide the unruly or untidy parts.     

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