Santiago to lead Xiamen cultural, trade mission

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- City Mayor Edwin Santiago will leave on Friday, January 31 for Xiamen, China in a bid to forge cultural, trade and sisterhood ties.

Santiago, along with 2013 Giant Lantern Festival Executive Committee chairman Marni Castro, City Tourism and Investments Promotion Officer Ching Pangilinan-Gonzales and master lantern maker Ernesto Quiwa will first attend the Xiamen Lantern Festival and International Garden Show which will run from February 2 to February 17.

"Our first call will be to switch on the 20-foot Parul Sampernandu in the Xiamen traditional Chinese lantern festival and then extend our gratitude to the organizing committee and officials of Xiamen City and the provinces of Fujian and Jiangxi for having invited us as the first Asian city to participate in the popular and exclusive festival," Santiago said.


Santiago told Sun.Star Pampanga that Quiwa and his six-man crew -- Edward Abad, Darwin Dayrit, Elbert Muli, Allen Joseph Quiwa, along with Sta. Lucia village chief Herman Quiwa -- are already in Xiamen assembling the 500-kilo lantern prior to the arrival of the San Fernando delegation. All expenses for the trips are courtesy of Xiamen City.

"While we are there, we would also confer with Xiamen officials on how we could strengthen cultural ties through the exchange of best practices and technology. We believe we have a common ground in terms of culture and arts," he said.

Santiago added that the Fernandino team will similarly look at avenues to foster trade, particularly the promotion of lanterns and other products through an agreement that will mutually boost economic activity here and in Xiamen.

"That could very well be included in a sisterhood pact we are planning. Initial talks have been very encouraging and we are optimistic that the city could lead the way in improving diplomatic ties with China through this cultural and trade mission," said Santiago. (JTD/with reports from Fergie H. Fabian)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 29, 2014.

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