Boracay hosts Apec ministers
BORACAY, Philippines—The second meeting of Pacific rim officials formally began here on Wednesday morning, with their host regaling them with stories on the discovery of this paradise island.
The Philippines, being the host and chair of this year’s biggest party for officials of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), lived up to its tourism slogan “It’s more fun in the Philippines” when it brought the 1,500 Apec delegates to its prime beach destination.
“I hope Boracay is a good backdrop of what we in Apec want to achieve and secure in the future on this island where the earth, sea, and sky are one,” Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Laura del Rosario said in her welcome remarks at the formal session of the APEC SOM2 on this island.
The SOM 2 of the Apec, composed of 21 member economies along the coastlines of the Pacific Ocean, commenced following a series of technical working group meetings which began on May 10.
“There are different stories how Boracay got its name. I will tell you one about the vision of an enterprising couple Lamberto and Sophia, regarded as the pioneers of this island,” Del Rosario told senior Apec officials.
When they arrived on the island, the Tirol couple started planting coconut, trees, corn and tobacco.
“Akay, angud Bora (Darling, Bubbles)” Lamberto told his wife Sophie after seeing the sea foam formed by the waves, Del Rosario said.
“Bora means bubble. Akay is a term of endearment, which means darling,” Del Rosario said.
The couple, the ancestors of most landed families now in Boracay, stimulated development that transformed the island from a farming community to a tourist destination that it is now, she said.
Travelers who have gone to Boracay have well kept its beauty a secret before. “Internet, however, got in the way,” she shared.
Boracay is considered by travelers as Asia’s best beach destination because of its fine white sands and clear turquoise waters.
High on the agenda of the closed-door sessions at APEC SOM2 were efforts to boost small and medium enterprises, touted by Apec officials as “the engines for inclusive growth.”
Apec officials aim to come up with regional agreements to lower services tariffs across Asia-Pacific to enable small business to participate in cross-border trade.
The yearlong meetings that began in Manila in December were preparations for the Apec Economic Leaders’ Summit in November where world leaders like US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and others are expected to attend.