NEW YORK, United States (UPDATE) - President Benigno Aquino III said he is looking forward to having New York City’s world-famous hotdogs sold by street vendors.
The President arrived in New York early Tuesday morning and had breakfast with several Cabinet members at the Hotel Sofitel.
He said that he and the Philippine contingent’s lifestyle while in the US will remain simple, an apparent reference to allegedly lavish overseas trips made by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"Yung pizza may katapat dito, masubukan uli. Yung hindi [pizza] chain, more like 'mom and pop' ang dating,” Aquino said. “Pero yung hotdog is something I'm looking forward to.”
He revealed that the Philippine delegation had "In and Out" hamburgers in San Francisco when they arrived.
“Iyung aking mga secretary tuwang-tuwa. First time kong nasubukan masarap nga naman pala," he said.
Aquino also chose to stay at the Sofitel hotel in New York instead of at the Waldorf-Astoria, where his predecessor usually stayed when in the city, according to the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
Ready to meet counterparts
Meanwhile, Aquino said he is ready to meet his counterparts from other countries during his first official working visit to the United States.
"There are a lot of responsibilities, and it's my duty to ensure that I’m prepared before I meet all of them,” he said. “We have something like 12 attaché cases with all the briefing materials."
Aquino will attend the United Nations General Assembly, but it is not yet clear if he will have a bilateral meeting with US President Barack Obama.
Obama will address the UN General Assembly Thursday. On Friday, he will be hosting the US-ASEAN leaders' meeting, and there lies an opportunity for a bilateral meeting with Aquino.
However, Philippine officials said they are still awaiting confirmation from the State Department if such a meeting will push through.
"Even with that, it still is worthwhile and on the off-chance that I might have a chance with President Obama,” Aquino said. “Of course, that would be most welcome. There are a lot of concerns that can be taken up with President Obama."
He also explained the reason behind his decision to bring along former Senator Mar Roxas in his US trip.
He said Roxas will help the Philippine business delegation in meetings with foreign groups.
"These business figures were people that he got to work with when he was an investment banker, so there's something about a personal touch," the President said. - with a report from Ging Reyes, ABS-CBN Northern America Bureau