Secretary Clinton's first day in Manila ended with a lovely and gracious dinner hosted by Philippine President Arroyo. The thirty guests ate local fish and fruit specialties while talking about world issues, cultural trends and sharing stories and laughs.
The next morning found her heading out super early for a live, televised "Townterview" with students from across the Philippines. Held at 400-year-old University of Santo Tomas, more than a thousand students from Manila universities packed the auditorium, all wearing school colors. Others participated via remote link from around the country and still others sent in questions via YouTube and text messages. Secretary Clinton was relaxed as she talked big global issues and Philippine issues. Her passion for the role of civil society in promoting peace, human rights and good governance was obvious. She also reflected with pride on serving her country and on being part of President Obama's team. She laughed with the sports enthusiasts in the student crowd when describing her support for the not-so-victorious New York Knicks.
After shaking more hands and posing for more pictures, she took time to talk to a local radio DJ about the importance of voting and getting young voters engaged in elections.
The mood shifted more somber as she then headed to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. The cemetery, built and maintained by the American Battlefield Monument Commission, holds graves of more than 17,000 World War II dead while the walls list the names of thousands more missing-in-action from World War II. Secretary Clinton laid a wreath at the cemetery and took a few moments to talk with World War II veterans who had come to the cemetery to greet her.
She then headed back across town, through the world famous Manila traffic, to the historic U.S. Embassy located on Manila Bay. There she swore in 68 new Peace Corps volunteers, telling them of the great service they provide to both the Philippines and the United States. She told them of the great tradition of the Peace Corps in the Philippines where more than 8,000 volunteers have served since the program began decades ago. She thanked the Filipino partners of the Peace Corps as well as the Filipino "host" families of the Peace Corps who were also in attendance.
She ended her Manila visit with a short session with U.S. military temporarily deployed in the Philippines, hearing of their experiences and thanking them for serving our nation. And then she greeted her thousands of U.S. Embassy Filipino and American fans for whom she is the ultimate superstar!
Read Ambassador Kenney's previous entry.