MANILA - In life and most especially in business, sometimes it's not just what you know, but who you know.
That was probably what delegates at the World Economic Forum (WEF) had in mind when they broke their discussions to attend a cultural soiree.
Led by President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines, President Susilo Bambang Yudyohoyono of Indonesia, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and Myanmar Vice-President U Nyan Tun, the cultural soiree was a chance for the delegates to sit back, relax, and get to know each other -- hopefully minus the shop talk.
Aquino, however, couldn't help but again take a swipe at his family's political nemesis, former President Ferdinand Marcos.
This, after already hitting Marcos, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Chief Justice Renato Corona in his WEF plenary speech.
In his speech, Aquino said, "It is my hope that everyone here tonight has definitely a good time and be proof positive that it is fun or more fun in the Philippines. This hope, in particular, is for Dr. Schwab. During our first meeting in Davos, he shared with me that he traveled to the Philippines during the dictatorship many decades ago, and after meeting with our dictator, he resolved never to return again to the Philippines. And I assure you, I certainly understand why, Dr. Schwab; neither my countrymen nor I want to repeat the experience of being under a dictator."
Aquino also said the WEF founder has other reasons to like the Philippines. "I am told, Dr. Schwab, that you spent a few days in one of the most famous resorts in the Philippines: Amanpulo in Palawan. I am glad that you found another reason to return to the country -- and that, as it appears, you have not missed out on all the fun that our country has to offer."
"Of course, this includes the warm and friendly nature of the Filipinos you have met recently. May I then invite you to either extend your stay, or return to the Philippines many, many more times in the future, so that you can explore the rest of the cultural and historical attractions, beaches, and even diving sites that have all contributed to making the Philippines the most fun country in the world. This invitation goes out to everyone here as well, and tonight’s gathering will be a good start in that endeavor," he said.