BRIEF and formal was the national day celebration of Belgium.

It was headed by Ambassador Christian Meerschman, and orchestrated well by the Honorary Consul of Belgium and Mrs. Enrique and Helen Benedicto at the Artic Room, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel. Special guests were Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Congressman Tomas Osmeña, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama and City councilor and tourism chairperson Margot Osmeña.

One Cebu, Garbo sa Sugbo

It was a glorious commemoration of the 441st founding anniversary of the City of Cebu and the weeklong One Cebu Expo 2010 and the Garbo sa Sugbu awards and the Governor’s Ball, which started on Aug. 7, and ended on Aug. 16 with the Pasigarbo Festival.

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Oh, yes, there is so much Cebu can showcase and guests from the business, academic to even the political circles were simply overwhelmed. In the One Cebu opening, the most distinguished Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was almost speechless as he praised the show of unity of the Cebuanos. Rep. Imelda Marcos and Sen. Loren Legarda, both dressed fabulously, had a shopping spree of local bags and fashion accessories.

Sen. Bong Revilla was less gracious compared to the enthusiasm of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes and the guests from the Consular Corps, business community, the local government units and the travel/tourism sectors.

In the Garbo sa Sugbo awards, we took note of the big attendance to honor Cebuanos who touched the lives of many.

The Order of Lapu-Lapu, the highest tribute almost synonymous to a Knighthood conferment, went to: Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal. The great Cebuano leaders, businessman with deep-seated social responsibility Norberto Quisumbing Jr.; now public servant with an impeccable record of being one of our best leaders, Department of Energy (DOE) Sec. Rene Almendras; and the pride of the circulo literati of Cebu, Dr. Resil Mojares; business icon John Gokongwei; and Dulce, who couldn’t fathom how she deserved the commendation and then sang one beautiful Cebuano song; among the other awardees, she drew the loudest cheers. Congratulations to the other awardees: Dr. Ramon del Fiero and Sofronio Mendoza; the Cebu Normal University, St. Benedict Childhood Education Center and the Cebu Technological University, which were given citations.

The event became more significant with the participation of the sister cities of Cebu—Kangwon, Korea, Guangzi (China)—and some delegates from the East Asian Tourism Forum.

Deserving high approval ratings are the following: certified event organizer chairman Enrison Benedicto, exhibit chairperson Melanie Ng, in coordination with Board Member and tourism chairperson Agnes Magpale; and the Capitol staff led by Bess Francia, Amor, Ian and Grace and Ronald.