by Becky Garcia
I love Brazil for so many different reasons. I have been to Rio de Janeiro thrice on different occasions. I had even been invited to a familiarization tour once. Whenever my destination is Brazil, I bring back happy memories.
In the late ‘80s, while in Paris, I learned Lambada—then the latest dance craze of Brazil —based on an advertisement of an orange drink. When I came back to the Philippines, I introduced the sexy dance and was eventually tagged as the “Lambada Queen.”
I was asked to appear on television and did a big show in a hotel in Cebu. A few years after, I had my own television dance show.
I also brought in early 2000s the Carnival in Rio champion samba school, Salgueiro group, for a big show, parade and masquerade ball at Westin Hotel. I also helped the Embassy organize a trade mission of top Brazilian businessmen to the Philippines.
A few years later, another samba group of 32 dancers came for a show in Manila and Cebu. Those were the days when I had very close relationship with the Embassy of Brazil.
As such, I was elated when Brazilian Ambassador Rodrigo Amaral de Souza invited me to their National Day at the Raffles Hotel recently. They were playing Brazilian music and local dancers wearing colorful carnival costumes were swaying to the beat of the samba.
In his speech, Brazilian Ambassador Rodrigo emphasized the close relationship between the Philippines and his homeland. He also noted that despite the geographical distance between the two countries, they are united by common values and historical ties. He also congratulated the Philippine government for the excellent job as Chairman of Asean, which has reached its 50th anniversary.
He added that the Philippines is a large and attractive market for Brazilian food products be it vegetable commodities like soya bean, corn beef, poultry or pork meat. He then proudly mentioned the recent qualification of Embraer in the Philippine Air Force’s bid for the purchase of six new aircrafts under the Close Air Support Acquisition Program.
Last year, Brazil and the Philippines celebrated the 70th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations. He ended his speech in Portuguese for his countrymen who were present followed by a toast to everlasting friendship between Brazil and the Philippines.
Viva o Brazil!