HONOLULU — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is now in Hawaii for the third and final leg of his visit to the United States.
Philippine Airlines flight PR001 carrying Marcos Jr. and the rest of his delegation touched down at the Daniel K Inoue International Airport in Honolulu at 1:12 p.m. Sunday (Manila time).
Marcos Jr's visit to Hawaii marks his public return to the place where his family was exiled almost 4 decades ago following a popular revolt that ousted his dictator father and former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
While the visit may be viewed as the younger Marcos coming full circle, the President says it is just about reconnecting with people who stayed with his family during their darkest days.
"Of course, Honolulu, and Hawaii, in general, have a different dimension also because of the time that we were in exile. But that dimension is not some kind of a, I don’t know, full circle. It’s not like that I really want to visit my friends," Marcos Jr. said.
"These are the people who looked after us, after ’86. These are the people who fed us. They bought us clothes. They brought food. Kung hindi sa kanila, I don’t know what happened to us, and of course, they occupy a special place in my heart," he said.
"It’s just revisiting and visiting friends really that shared our difficult times together and helped lighten the load for us in the time of EDSA."
While in Honolulu, Marcos Jr. will hold a meeting with the Filipino community in Hawaii, many of whom have Ilocano roots like the President.
This follows his earlier meeting with Filipinos in Los Angeles, California a few hours earlier, and in San Francisco, California last Tuesday.
According to Marcos Jr, "California and Hawaii have the largest concentrations of Filipinos and Filipino-Americans, home to almost half of the 4.2 million Filipinos in the United States, who serve as the bedrock of (Philippine) bilateral relations."
On Sunday, the President will visit the United States Indo-Pacific Command Headquarters in Camp H.M. Smith in Honolulu.
He will also visit Pearl Harbor where he will offer flowers at the USS Arizona Memorial.
Marcos Jr will also hold a roundtable meeting at the Daniel Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies before finally flying back to Manila Sunday night (Hawaii time).