Thursday, October 26, 2006

China: Nanning, the Green City of China

We left the hotel early yesterday to proceed to the airport for our flight to Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China. We arrived in time for lunch. From the airport, we went straight to the Ming Yuan Hotel where buffet lunch was waiting for us. As always, food was overflowing! What else could you expect when China hosts international meets like these? They definitely know how to make their guests feel welcome.

Our first stop for the afternoon was the China Guangxi International Youth Exchange Institute where we met up with the Philippine delegation to another program sponsored by the Chinese government, the ASEAN Youth Cadres. After a brief introduction by the school director and a presentation by the Philippine and Lao students at the institute, we proceeded to Qinxiu Mountain. On the way, we saw the preparations for the 3rd China-ASEAN Expo which is held annually in Nanning.

There wasn't much time so they just took us for a drive around the park. We had to rush back to prepare for the banquet together with the officials of Guangxi government. As always, the banquet at the Ming Yuan Hotel was superb! Toasts for China-ASEAN friendship were exchanged the whole evening. On the right is the Philippine delegation with Madame Chang.

Today was reserved for the China-ASEAN Youth Forum. This was an opportunity for the ASEAN and Chinese youth representatives to discuss the topic "voluntary spirit and civic consciousness of the youth." I was tasked to speak in behalf of the Philippine delegation during the country reports in the morning. Each country delivered a situationer on the state of volunteerism in their own countries. One thing we noticed from Philippine statistics was that the incidence of poverty was lower were levels of volunteerism was high and the opposite where there was little volunteer work. That says a lot about volunteering. If Filipinos stop thinking about what they would get in return for everything that they do, we'll definitely go places!

In the afternoon, we were divided into discussion groups with two representatives per country in each group. We discussed the same topic but this time offered some possible solutions to certain issues raised such as the need for a regional body to coordinate volunteer efforts. I was asked to report for the group during the forum conclusion. Extra work for me! Haha!

In the evening, we had a party with each delegation as well as groups from Guangxi preparing cultural presentations. Our presentation was hilarious! Haha! Let's leave it at that.

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