CEBU CITY – Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos bought a number of bags and accessories in Saturday’s opening of the One Cebu Expo that she joked she might end up having to ride a boat home.

In a brief interview with reporters, the former first lady said she was impressed by the exposition and mentioned the word “congratulations” at least four times, addressed to Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and the creative workers who made the products on display.

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Vice President Jejomar Binay and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. witnessed the opening but skipped the shopping. But not Congresswoman Marcos nor Sen. Loren Legarda.

The two women went around the exhibit area that showcased furniture, accessories, bags and shoes, destinations and food.

“Well, I support the one Cebu project where the LGUs (local government units) have an expo where they can show their handicrafts and their livelihood, and the businessmen can also have a venue for exhibition, which is good for the livelihood of the people,” said Legarda.

If possible, she said, she would like other provinces to copy the project.

“It’s a beautiful exposition and if this could be replicated in other provinces, that would be good. It really showcases Cebu’s immense resources and the creativity of its people.”

In his speech, the vice president said he hopes the One Cebu Expo will inspire other provinces to showcase their products.

One of Binay’s challengers in the May elections, Legarda left a little earlier than Marcos, who shopped for a number of bags and costume jewelry.

“It is just awesome...with so much art and so much soul in it. I’m really awed and it’s showing what a beautiful soul the Cebuano has because it is only coming from one place here (pointing to the heart) and I congratulate the governor for mothering this and for giving them the venue to show what is within them,” said Marcos.

When asked if she intends to bring Ilocos products to the One Cebu Expo next year, Marcos said, “Definitely.”

She plans to organize a cultural exhibition in Ilocos where the province can showcase indigenous products.

Now on its third year, the expo “consistently shows” the best products from local government units and from various companies, said the governor.

It also “extends its welcoming arms to sister provinces in Asia,” she added.

“The private sector joined in and joined hands...the epitome, the example of just how much a public-private partnership can achieve,” she said.

The expo is part of the founding anniversary celebration of the Capitol. Its biggest delegation came from Nanning City in the Guangxi Autonomous Region of the Peoples’ Republic of China.

More than 300 exhibitors joined the expo, along with 12 foreign exhibitors. (JGA/With RSA)