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Mabuhay, Greece! |


Mabuhay, Greece!

PERSONAL CHOICE - Frannie Jacinto - The Philippine Star
Mabuhay, Greece!
Ambassador Ioannis Pediotis and his charming wife Aliki Pappas celebrate the National Day of Greece.

As early as the 18th century, Greeks — composed mostly of sailors, traders and fishermen — were already in the Philippines. Although there are barely a few thousand Greeks currently residing in our country, over 30,000 Filipino crew members are employed by the Greek Merchant Marine because they are hardworking, resilient, dedicated, and have a good command of the English language.

Since 1947, the friendship between the two countries have remained strong — sharing a commitment to International Law, respecting human rights, the environment, democracy and the rule of law; aligned on international issues, from the Ukraine war, to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Maite Gallego, Miko Liwanang, Lisa Bayot

For Ambassador Ioannis Pediotis, the National Day of Greece was a landmark occasion as it was the first time to celebrate the event in the Philippines.

“The people of the Philippines and Greece share, among other things, that love of the sea. We are both islanders and both very hospitable to foreigners. Filoxenia, another word for hospitality, literally meaning ‘friend to a stranger,’ was created somewhere in the Aegean 3,500 years ago and we use it and live by it today. We share these similarities with the tens of thousands of Filipino citizens living and working in Greece, who are a major factor for knowing each other better.  We also love the sea, since the time of Homer. I’m guessing that that’s one of the reasons why our merchant marine fleet is the biggest in the world. To this accomplishment, a great share rightfully belongs to the Philippine officers and seamen,” he shared.

Connie Garcia, Gill Fluss, Romanian Ambassador Raduta Matache, Irene Wicklein

Upon arrival at the Fairmont Hotel’s ballroom, evil eye bracelets, a symbol of protection, were handed out as welcome gifts. Ouzo, an anise-flavored drink, was offered together with culinary delights specially flown and prepared the traditional Greek way — pastitsio, souvlaki, moussaka, baklava, and a crowd favorite, the cheesy tiropita. One could immediately savor the fresh ingredients, herbs, spices, and the highest quality olive oil.

Hugh and Georgette Wilson, Danielle and Courtney Camcam

Traditional Greek dancers performed the syrtaki to the familiar tune of the music from Zorba the Greek, delighting guests who clapped and tapped their feet to the popular and catchy tune performed by a bouzouki (Greek long-necked mandolin) artist who was flown in for the event.

Aliki Pappas, the statuesque ambassador’s wife, stood out wearing a stunning white outfit with gold accents by famous Greek designer Themis Z.

Ambassador Ioannis paid tribute to her, “I would like to thank my personal adviser, my executive secretary, my PR manager, my accountant, my confidante and my partner and friend: My wife Aliki – all in one.”

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