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At the welcome dinner for Vice President Jejomar Binay (second from right) hosted by Philippine ambassador to the U.S. Willy C. Gaa (far left) and Linda C. Gaa (center). Also shown are Filipino Reporter publisher/editor-in-chief Bert Pelayo (far right) and Dr. Linda R. Pelayo, associate publisher.  (Photo courtesy of the Philippine Embassy)

 

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“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” — Mahatma Gandhi

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PHILIPPINE Vice President JejomarJojoBinay took Washington by storm a week ago.

He mixed official business with pleasant interaction with expats from the D.C. area.

Diminutive, unassuming and at home in Tagalog and English, the one-time mayor had built Makati into the country’s premier city today.

“Come home and see for yourself,” he cajoled his Kababayan, first at a pulong bayan at the Embassy of the Philippines and, later, at a private dinner hosted by His Excellency Willy C. Gaa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and his charming wife Linda Concepcion Gaa at the ambassador’s official residence.

As VP, Mr. Binay wears three important hats: as head of the government housing program; chair of the overseas Filipino workers; and head of the anti-human trafficking task force.

Whew!

But, the guy is up to the demanding task.

No wonder, this early, he’s talked of as a worthy successor to his boss and friend, President P-Noy.

His son, Makati Mayor Jun-Jun Binay, continues his dad’s work.

Among other things the VP did are for senior citizens of Makati to get some freebies, like going to movie theaters, sending cakes on their birthdays, etcetera.

At one time, his wife, Dr. Elenita Binay, was also mayor of Makati, and he has a daughter who is now in Congress representing the city.

This is what you call dynasty, but if they’re doing the best for the people, why not?

More than 50 invited guests attended the sit-down dinner at the Gaas to meet-and-greet the Vice President during cocktail hour.

Ambassador Gaa made a short welcome speech followed with a toast by Maryland State Delegate Kris Valderrama.

VP Binay then spoke, this time in Tagalog as he said he’s been speaking English in all his scheduled engagements.

Dinner followed served at two dining rooms where guests feasted on delicious food prepared by the gracious hostess and her associates.

The mongo of Myrna Lopez was also a hit, but not by those with a gout problem.

Pity, huh!

Three friends from New York invited to stay overnight are much appreciative of the kind hospitality of Willy and Linda.

They make you feel at home.

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Happy newlyweds Christina Lewis (center) and Dan Halpern (left). Photo taken at the East Hampton home of the bride’s mother Loida Nicolas Lewis (second from left). Also shown are the bride’s sister Leslie Lewis Sword, husband Gavin and their children Savilla and Christian.

 

The lovely Loida Nicolas Lewis was undoubtedly the happy mother of the bride when her youngest daughter Christina exchanged I do’s with Dan Halpern last September 2010.

Under a Chuppah, former New York Mayor David Dinkins performed the wedding ceremony at the posh East Hampton home of the Lewis family.

Now, another wedding ceremony is set this month in the Philippines, a bigger one this time, at San Agustin Church in Intramuros, followed by a reception at Fort Santiago.

Manila’s who’s-who — the elite society, politicians, diplomats, family and friends and everyone who matter are invited, including those from the U.S.

Both bride and groom are Harvard alumni, as well as their parents and siblings.

To Christina and Dan — happy life together and God bless!

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Happy Valentine’s Day to you all, honeypies!

 

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Camille Ungco (second from left) is flanked by her mother Wilhelmina, father Nikita and brother David at her 18th birthday celebration. It was hosted by her parents at Pines Manor in Edison, N.J. on Jan. 29.