Showing posts with label Nanning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nanning. Show all posts

Friday, October 27, 2006

China: More from Nanning

Since we had a full day yesterday, our hosts from the All-China Youth Federation decided to make some changes in the schedule and brought us to one of the counties of Nanning City for some sightseeing.

We visited Yiling Cave in Wuming County which was about an hour from the city proper. Before entering the cave, visitors were treated to a cultural experience with the traditions and various ethnic groups of Guangxi presented in an interactive outdoor museum and show. As we entered the cultural park, a group of musicians played on local horns and drums to welcome the group. The tour took about 30 minutes before we finally reached the entrance of the cave.

Unlike our caves in the Philippines, the entire route inside Yiling Cave from top to bottom was all wired for a sort of lights show. I felt it was quite commercialized or maybe I just was not used to seeing neon lights inside a cave. It would have been better if they just used plain flood lights to give visitors an unadulterated view of the spectacular limestone formations. The cave experience seemed more Disneylandish to me than a visit to a natural wonder. Oh well! But overall, it was fun. And it was good exercise too since it obviously got me sweating.

After catching our breath, we boarded the buses to proceed back to the hotel for lunch. We hardly had time to rest and we were off to our next stop which was the secretariat of the China-ASEAN Expo for a briefing on the upcoming event. This was followed by a visit to Qinxiu Mountain again where we planted trees in the China-ASEAN Friendship Park. It would be nice to come back 20 or 30 years from now and revisit the trees we planted.

With that over, everyone was excited since next on our itinerary was shopping. As our hosts quipped, it was time to contribute to China's GDP. We were brought to this large shopping mall called New Mengzhidao (Dream Land) and given two hours to do our thing. Since I was not in a shopping mode given that I had to conserve funds for my trips to Beijing and Shanghai, I decided to sneak out for a while to take a walk to the city square which was just a few meters away.

In front of the Guangxi People's Hall was Minzu Square which was all spruced up for the China-ASEAN Expo. One thing I noticed in China was that the flowers along the streets and squares were all potted and can easily be replaced as soon as they wilt. So there is always a fresh supply of flowers greeting visitors.

I hope Mayor Atienza and our other Metro Manila mayors start to learn the importance of proper gardening in their cities because Chinese cities are just so green and colorful with well-maintained plants and flowers along roads, sidewalks, parks and plazas!

I also took a photo in front of a billboard with photos of Chairman Mao, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin. Unlike our political billboards in the Philippines which are for the selfish interests of our incumbent officials, this billboard honors the former leaders of China. And it's tastefully done with proper landscaping in front, not like the political billboards especially in Manila which is basically nothing but clutter!

In the evening, our hosts in Guangxi prepared a farewell banquet. And just like in the previous banquet, toasts were exchanged, this time with the local liquor which explains why a lot of people got drunk tonight, some people we know inlcuded. Hehe!

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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