BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro
Twenty-year-old Philippine Air Force One, Fokker 28 short range Dutch aircraft flies bachelor Noynoy, 28, and President Cory Aquino for 1988 Brunei state visit, bringing Sarao air-conditioned jeepney and a dozen Philippine ice cream. Uncle Noynoy brings home Ninja Turtle pasalubong for nephews and nieces.
Ancient Fokker’s parts, last produced in 1987, had to be fabricated for this rickety plane PNoy’s sisters discourage him to ride back to Brunei: As president on June 2011 state visit; a September 2012 royal wedding, and October 2013 Asean Summit meeting.
“Para akong nasa Tarlac. Ang gaan sa pakiramdam, Ang laki ng mga ngiti nila (OFWs),” says the Brunei state visitor.
PNoy delivers his longest, 40-minute Filipino community talk; visits Philippine Ambassador Ambassador Nestor Z. Ochoa’s official residence, a first in six overseas trips.
Spouse Mayie tells this Pinoy with the Brunei media, a Philippine Embassy Watcher since 1990, she serves Old Town hazel nut coffee to Malacanang reporters.
With Presidential Security Group, Major Ochoa had escorted to the Sultan’s Palace the air-conditioned jeepney flown in a PAF cargo plane. He retired as Armed Forces of Philippines Chief of Staff.
PNoy unveils the commemorative plaque at Philippine Embassy Chancery in Brunei’s Diplomatic Enclave; munches peanut and green peas; rushes to ICTSI in Muara Port, and to Jollibee Serusop to promote Philippine companies.
Allergic to chicken, PNoy misses a Champ double patty hamburger to eat due to to photo-seekers in the two-story, 150-seater fast-food outlet. He won’t eat “any kind of fowl since his family killed his pet chicken for dinner”
PNoy returns to Brunei 2012 for a morning royal wedding, honoring APEC Vla-divostok palabra de honor three weeks earlier. He lunches on Fratini’s Pizza Neapolitana (anchovy pizza) withTyphoon Lawin nipping at F29’s ageing wheels upon entering Philippine territory, and misses the evening royal wedding banquet.
PNoy attends the 23rd Asean Summit gala dinner in September 2013 when the newly renovated Brunei International Airport grand arrival hall is opened.
After her 1988 state visit on 20-year-old Fokker29, Citizen Cory Aquino tells Filipinos “to help our newly arrived countrymen so they will learn the new culture, and teach them how to help the country” when she attends the Sultan’s birthday celebrations July 15,1993.
In 2011, Citizen Cory, first president to visit Philippine Embassy’s Jalan Tutong rented premises, drops by during “a break after a hectic election campaign.”
Seeing the slim Embassy women staff, Cory wonders where they lunch and what they eat.
She gives them pink boxed, autographed acrylic flower paintings reproduced on Fiesta greeting cards.
In all-women Jerudong Polo Club dinner, where Pinay guests know everybody, Cory gets surprised.
“Now that you are Muslim, does your husband allow you to go out?”
“Since it was Ambassador Enrique Zaldivar’s invitation, no problem.”
Cory requests “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” song, which Malaysian band at Jerudong Polo Club can’t play.
2021’s last supermoon shines bigger, brighter yellow when PNoy, 61, dies June 24.