Japan Royals Visit the Philippines on 60th Friendship Anniversary

March 30, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. grace with (one’s) presence /ˈɡreɪs wɪθ wʌnz ˈprezəns/ (idiom) – to appear in a place or event, usually as a guest of honor
Example: The Japanese royals graced the halls with their presence.

2. banquet /ˈbæŋ kwɪt/ (n.) – a formal dinner, usually in celebration of a special event
Example: Only VIPs were allowed to the banquet.

3. touch upon /tʌtʃ əˈpɒn/ (idiom) – to mention something in passing or talk about it briefly
Example: The committee touched upon some related issues during the meeting.

4. archipelago /ˌɑr kəˈpɛl əˌgoʊ/ (n.) – a large group of islands
Example: The Philippines is an archipelago composed of more than seven thousand islands.

5. steadfast /ˈstɛdˌfæst/  (adj.) – devoted, loyal, and unchanging
Example: His steadfast service to the company earned him the admiration of his colleagues.


Read the text below.
Emperor Akihito and his wife Empress Michiko graced the Philippines with their presence for a five-day state visit, from January 26 to 30.

The royal couple was given a red-carpet welcome by Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The president also gave the royal visitors a welcome ceremony and a banquet at the Malacañang Palace, where a meeting between the two heads-of-state also took place.

During the 20-minute meeting, the two leaders talked about the growing economic ties between the two countries, marked by a boost in Japanese car sales in the Philippines, as well as the growing number of Uniqlo stores in the country, after the famed brand partnered with leading Filipino shopping mall chain, SM Supermalls.

They also touched upon the emperor’s first visit with his wife to the archipelago 54 years ago. The royal couple was yet to be crowned at the time, making their recent visit the first official state visit of the Japanese emperor to the country.

Secretary Sonny Coloma Jr., head of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said that they believe that the state visit highlights the strong, enduring friendship between the two countries. Coloma even called Japan a steadfast partner and ally.

Aside from visiting the seat of the Philippine government, the couple also visited several Japanese schools and institutions, and met people of Japanese descent who reside in the Philippines. Towards the end of their trip, they also went to the Japanese Memorial Garden to pay their respects to those who died in World War II.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What do you think would be the implications of stronger ties between the Philippines and Japan?
·         What could help strengthen the relationship between two countries further?

Discussion B

·         If you could create a project that involves both the Philippines and Japan, what would it be? Why?
·         In what ways do you think the Philippines can help Japan?

March 30, 2016