OUR kababayans from the Foreign Service got swept off their feet when Angeles City Mayor Ed Pamintuan hosted the Foreign Affairs group of Heads of Posts a couple of months back. A letter arrived in the Office of the City Mayor this month from the Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas particularly by the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations. It was personally signed by Assistant Secretary Celia Feria of DFA. The letter reads:

“Dear Mayor Pamintuan, on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs, I wish to express my sincerest thanks and appreciation for graciously hosting a dinner at the Museo Ning Angeles for the visiting DFA group of Heads of Posts last Ferbruary. You not only delighted us with authentic Kapampangan cuisine personally prepared by Mrs. (Miniang) Pamintuan, but you were kind to honor us with your presence at the dinner table despite your busy schedule. This made the evening truly memorable for us. We are also grateful to our dear colleague and your cabalen, Elmer Cato, Charge d’ Affaires of the Philippine Embassy in Baghdad for arranging this event.”

On the second paragraph of the letter, Asec. Feria wrote: “In our brief visit of your city, we found it to be culturally rich in heritage sites and at the same time a vibrant modern metropolis just a few kilometers from Manila. We hope that we in the Foreign Service will be able to return your kind hospitality in the future. I am sure that there are many projects that we can do with and for Angeles City to enhance people to people contacts with other cities abroad. On behalf of my colleagues Mr. Mayor, dacal a salamat!”

I’m not sure with other cultures from various provinces but I was taught by my folks to treat guests with warm hospitality. Even when your stomach creates those borborymi noises because of hunger, I let my visitors take the first bite. When we were kids, my cousins and I patiently wait until the accommodated persons would head for the exit, and when the coast is clear we race for the table and finish the prey… like vultures. Lucky were those who scavenged the glasses of soda that were untouched.

My kabalen diplomat Elmer Cato knows how to entertain guests and he knows where he should take his visitors for a delightful experience virtually even pleasing the palatable senses. Many tourists remember the places because of landmarks and beautiful scenery but those who transient in Angeles does not only remember the city but also remember the hospitable locals, the rich culture and tradition of the residents, and the delectable cuisine of the Kapampangans.