Zambo rolls out red carpet today for Queen of Spain PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 July 2012 13:54

The entire city officialdom of Zamboanga headed by Mayor Celso Lobregat will roll out the red carpet today to welcome for the first time in history Her Majesty, the Queen of Spain, the first highest foreign dignitary to visit Zamboanga, Asia’s Latin City.

Mayor Lobregat, who presided over a high level meeting yesterday in preparation for the royal visit, told reporters that everything was ready for Queen Sofia’s arrival this morning.

“Let us all welcome the Queen to Zamboanga City. It is indeed an honor for the city of Zamboanga to be visited by the Queen of Spain. I don’t think there was any other foreign dignitaries of such stature who ever visited Zamboanga in the past,” Lobregat said.

Queen Sofia and party that includes Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Domecq are expected to arrive at 9:15 a.m. at the Edwin Andrews Air Base in Sta. Maria.

She will be welcomed by Mayor Lobregat, House Deputy Speaker and District 1 Rep. Beng Climaco-Salazar, District 2 Rep. Erico Basilio A. Fabian, Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen Noel Coballes, 3rd Air Division commander Major Gen. Jose Tony Villarete, and Police Regional Director-9 Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles.

From EAAB, a convoy will usher the Queen to Barangay Sinunuc in the west coast where she will inspect the “Kalambuan, Katilingban and Kalinaw” housing project funded by the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional (AECI) and managed by Spanish non-government organization “Manos Unidas” and the Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc. (ZaBIDA) headed by Claretian priest  Fr. Angel Clavo.

From Sinunuc, the Queen will visit the Claret School at San Jose Road, which is a beneficiary of a school building project funded by the Spanish government. Then, she will proceed to the Zamboanga City Medical Center (ZCMC), which has availed of a soft loan amounting to US$9 million (Php450 million) from the Spanish government for upgrading and modernization of medical facilities.

From the ZCMC, the Queen will proceed to the National Museum at the historic Fort Pilar, passing by the shrine of the miraculous Lady of the Pillar, for lunch that the city government will host.

To recall, the Royal Fort of Our Virgin Lady of the Pillar of Zaragoza (commonly known as Fort Pilar) is a 17th century military defense fortress built by the Spanish colonial government in Zamboanga City. The fort, which is now a regional museum of the National Museum, is a major landmark and a symbol of the city’s cultural heritage.

After lunch, the Queen will visit the Don Pablo Lorenzo Memorial High School at Gov. Ramos Ave. in Sta. Maria. The school’s speech laboratory and about 3,060 armchairs were donated by a Spanish aid agency, the Agencia Española de Cooperacion Internacional (AECI) in coordination with the Fundacion Humanismo Y Democracia (H+D) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress.

The Queen will fly back to Manila in the afternoon.

Lobregat, who was invited by P-Noy to a state dinner for the Queen at Malacañang Tuesday night, said he and Cong. Climaco had the singular honor to be called to the presidential table and introduced by the President to the Queen. Also invited was Rep. Climaco.

He said the living link of Zamboanga to Spain is the city’s Spanish derivative language called Chabacano, which is 65% Spanish. “No other city in the Philippines and Asia where the majority of the population speaks, understands and converses Chabacano on a daily basis except in Zamboanga,” he said.

Queen Sofía is both a great-great-granddaughter (paternally) and a great-great-great-granddaughter (maternally) of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and is, through several lines, her husband’s third cousin. She is a first cousin of Ernst August of Hanover, and through her great-grandfather George I of Greece, she is a second cousin to Charles, Prince of Wales.

Through Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria, Queen Sofia is also related to Elizabeth II and thereby related to all the royal families of Europe. She is also a first cousin once removed of Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Queen Sofia is of Hohenzollern descent through her mother, Frederica of Hanover, and through her paternal grandmother, Sophia of Prussia, and of Romanov descent through her father’s paternal grandmother, Olga Constantinovna of Russia. — Vic Larato