MANILA -- US President Barack Obama lauded the contributions of Filipino-Americans in the US as he offered a toast for President Benigno Aquino III at a state dinner in Malacañang on Monday night.
In his toast, Obama acknowledged the ways the friendship between Americans and Filipinos are expressed, such as the two countries' mutual obsession with basketball, mutual admiration for Manny Pacquiao, and their shared pride for Filipino-Americans and their contributions to the country.
The US president also thanked Filipino-American executive chef at the White House, Cristeta Comerford.
"There's Cris Comerford, our executive chef at the White House. She was born in Manila, she still has family here. Thanks to her, we in the White House enjoy the occasional lumpia and adobo."
Comerford has been serving in the White House since 2005, and is the first female executive chef in the White House, as well as the first executive chef of Asian descent.
Obama also thanked Aquino for the honor of receiving the Order of Sikatuna, rank of Raja, adding that he will continue to honor the bond between the two nations.
He added that Americans, despite the tornados and storms they have experienced recently, are inspired by Filipino people's resilience and determination.
"You bring that strength and solidarity to our lands, so let me say this tonight on behalf of the American people. We are honored and proud to call you an ally, and a friend. Through our treaty alliance, the United States has an ironclad commitment to defend you, your security and your independence."