Russia Govt imported 72 Cebuano Hospitality for 20th APEC summit


20th APEC summit Russia -  Vladivostok is a city and the administrative center of Primorsky Krai, Russia, situated at the head of the Golden Horn Bay, not far from Russia's borders with China and North Korea. Photo from Wikimedia

Vladivostok — When President Benigno Aquino III and the leaders from other countries arrive here for the 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, they will experience Filipino hospitality in a Russian Far East setting, officials said Thursday.

They said 72 of about 150 Filipino hotel workers here were from Cebu's Movenpick Resort and Spa, who had been imported by the Russian government's Apec organizing committee to serve as receptionists, bellboys and chambermaids.

"We are well known for our hospitality services," said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Laura del Rosario.

"This is a good opportunity for us to showcase our abilities as a people. These are people who will be attending to the heads of state as well as other high-level officials."

At least 21 leaders from the Pacific Rim countries were expected to attend the  summit. About 50 venues and facilities have been built from scratch, including a four-lane bridge linking the city to the nearby Russky Island.

Organizers expect about 10,000 guests to attend the meetings on the island, which used to be an isolated military base. The Russian government has deployed warships, warplanes and ground-based air defense systems to protect the delegations.

In addition to the Filipinos, the organizers also recruited workers from South Korea and more than 900 trained volunteers from various regions of Russia, according to Apec Business Summit's deputy head Zamir Shukhov.

He said the volunteers went through various tests on foreign languages including English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

But some Filipinos told reporters many of them had picked up a few Russian phrases and the Russians had tried to master some Binisaya or Cebuano words.

They expect President Aquino, a Pampango, to feel at home with the Cebuanos.

Manila Standard Today

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