Swiss envoy: Asia’s Latin City branding very precise, unique PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 11 June 2012 14:39

Visiting Zamboanga City for the first time, Switzerland Ambassador to the Philippines Ivo Sieber has expressed awe and admiration to the numerous attractions and potentials of Zamboanga and more importantly to the city’s new branding “Asia’s Latin City” as he described it as very appropriate, precise and unique.

“I congratulate your mayor and the city government for this initiative,” the envoy said referring to the new city branding.  He said as a German-speaking Swiss, he is attracted to the Latin culture as it embodies something that is relaxed and ease of life. “Having spent a day and a half in Zamboanga, I can say that the branding is absolutely appropriate especially with this long standing and deep relation, historical and cultural relations with Spain, in particular the language chabacano”.

Other than the city branding, the Swiss ambassador also left Zamboanga City Thursday afternoon with rich and happy experiences and a contented feeling of having traced cultural heritage and ties with Zamboangueños.

“I am already thinking about coming back here, which obviously points out what my first impressions of the city are”, Ambassador Sieber said in an interview before enplaning to Manila together with his wife Gracita Tolentino Sieber, Thursday afternoon. During his stay, the envoy had a chance to meet with Mayor Lobregat, top military and police officials and the Swiss community, visited numerous tourist sites such as Pasonanca Park, Butterfuly Garden, Plaza del Pilar, City Hall and Paseo del Mar where he got to watch with admiration the dancing fountain show, and several other attractions in the city.

He quipped: “I must say I was not expecting such a big number of attractions and all of them that I visited are very nice, the town hall was spectacular, it shows the heritage of the city. I was very impressed by how it is being preserved and I congratulate Mayor Lobregat for doing a very good job here”.

Ambassador Sieber also made a sentimental journey to John Spirig Elementary School in Suterville, which, incidentally is named after a relative from his mother’s side—Yohan Spirig, who moved to Zamboanga in the 20th century and changed his name to John Spirig.

“We will do some more research on what the exact relationship is between John Spirig and my mother. His name was John Spirig who was here in 1903”, the envoy shared.

Zamboanga, he stressed, is a wonderful city that provides a lot of opportunities because of its privileged location with a culture and history background that is very unique in the Philippines.

“I had a wonderful time here in Zamboanga and anybody who has not been here, I recommend them to visit Zamboanga, it is a wonderfully welcome city, the setting is beautiful and the food and people are spectacular”, Ambassador Sieber volunteered, adding: “Anybody who anticipates coming here, I recommend that they come and they would have a wonderful time here, because I did”. — Sheila Covarrubias