Love Joy (from DZAS) sent a text message to me last week.
LJ: “Kevin, have you ever been to Malacanang?”
Kevin: “You mean the President’s palace?”
Kevin: “No, I’ve never been there.”
LJ: “They are having a Christmas party for members of the press, and we’re allowed to invite a few guests. Want to join us?”
I accepted the invitation, which led to quite an interesting afternoon (Monday, December 8th). I met LJ and the other DZAS folks at one of the gates. We went through all of the security checkpoints (where my camera was confiscated) then proceeded to the ballroom. Malacanang is a lovely place, and the food was delicious. I met Mariz, a reporter from channel GMA-7.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo eventually made her entrance. I couldn’t see her at first—she’s quite petite (under 5 feet tall), and was surrounded by people. I could tell were she was by the cameras held high above the crowd. We all waited for her to finish eating before taking pictures (I think I was the only one there without a camera phone, which was allowed—go figure).
I was hoping she would just stroll our way, where I could shake her hand, introduce myself, and snap a picture—the “dignified presidential guest” approach. That didn’t happen. People swarmed around her once she finished eating. We had to simply muscle our way in and steal a few shots, the “desperate picture-taking groupie” strategy. But hey, it worked:
The President worked her way up to the stage, where she drew names for raffle prizes. LJ won a refrigerator! The raffled continued until all the prizes were allotted for.
We hoisted LJ’s refrigerator and headed out to the palace entrance (alongside several other prizewinners). It looked like we were leaving SM mall instead of Malacanang palace.
There weren’t any taxis passing by outside, so I had to improvise a little to get back home. I hopped on a jeep, got down near Ayala Bridge, then rode a tricycle (motorcycle with side car) the rest of the way home (just a block or so).
Where else can you eat free food, take your picture with the President, move a refrigerator, and ride a jeepney all in the same day? Only in the Philippines!
Thanks, LJ for your invitation! When are you going to start up your own blog?
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