Coconut Palace was built in the 70s by a famous architect named Frankie Manosa. The palace showcases the versatility of the Coconut Tree. The parts of the tree is used extensively from the roof to the flooring including chandeliers and inlaid coco shell table. Incidentally, the Coconut Palace is also the Official Residence and workplace of the 2nd most powerful man of our country.
When I got the message that we were to have a meeting at the Coconut Palace, I brought my camera just incase I bump into VP Binay. True enough, while eating my lunch the guards scuffled and a few minutes after, a dark unassuming man entered the dining hall. I was a few seats aways from him. Then the meeting started…
There are very few persons that I admire. One is Lee Kwan Yew for establishing Singapore that we know now. Another is Golda Meir for standing her ground and giving peace a chance. Among the Filipinos, I am a Benigno Aquino fanatic since High School. I don’t subscribe to his offsprings though. 🙂
And then there is VP Jejomar Binay. From humble beginnings he rose the ladder of Philippine politics. I’ve heard stories about how poor he was while attending class at the University of the Philippines. He would just bring rice to school and his Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity brothers would share their viands with him. He didn’t have the means to have a decent lodging so he hopped from one house to another (adopted by his APO brothers). He also worked as a janitor to support his tuition fee in Law School. During the Martial Law regime, he became an activist and was jailed. After the dark episode of our history, during the time of Cory Aquino, Jejomar ran as Mayor of Makati (the Central Business District of our country). He continued on to deliver basic services to his constituents. How lucky his residents were. They were provided free medical assistance, free education, free hospitalization, free movies for Senior Citizens, and free bday cake!!! I wondered why he was so popular with the masses. I concluded maybe it was his height or the color of his skin, or maybe the fact that he just looked so common. A Makati resident told me it was because they felt important around him. He would talk to them and really understand what they are going through. e would crack spontaneous jokes. He would attend weddings, baptisms and wakes of his makati residents. I wondered how can he squeeze all those activities in his time. I was told he finishes work at 2-3am and up again by 9am.
I am in awe of what he has done. If a pubic servant wishes to know how to stay long in politics they should have a crash course with VP Binay. If only all mayors in my country can provide the basic services in their level, then there will be more educated, healthy and hardworking Filipinos.