By Michael Aaron Gomez
The Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) welcomed about sixty student delegates and school administrators from schools in both the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China in the morning of Sunday, 21 October 2018, at the Jacinto campus, as part of the China-Philippines Friendship Tour organized by the Chinese and Philippine consulates. On the Mindanao leg of this tour, the consulates chose AdDU as a school tour stop. Among the Chinese schools represented in the tour are Fujian Medical University, the Fujian University of Traditional Medicine, the Fujian University of Technology, and the Shangqiu Normal University.
Welcoming the delegates to the campus was University President Fr. Joel E. Tabora, S.J., who noted the history behind diplomatic relations between China and the Philippines, beginning with the history of the Philippines under colonization by the Spanish and the Americans. ‘Top leaders from the Philippines and China have exchanged visits,” Fr. Tabora said. “There is a host of bilateral agreements that leads to better relationships, cooperation between our countries—these include scientific and technological cooperation, civil aviation and transportation, cooperation on information technology, cooperation against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs, tourism cooperation, and the like.” Following this welcome was Assistant to the President for External Affairs Mr. Romulo Vinci Bueza, who also doubled as that day’s lead tour guide. He gave a short background on Mindanao, dispelling the narrative of danger and unrest, as well as introduced the University and the mission work the Jesuits have engaged and continue to engage in for Mindanao.
The delegates toured the campus, guided by Mr. Bueza and other student tour guides. They visited the Community Center of the First Companions, the new swimming pool, the Martin Hall, the Our Lady of the Assumption Chapel, the Arrupe Hall, the Laudato Si, and the Gazebo. Alongside the tour, the student guides gave the delegates short backgrounds and histories of each stop. After the tour, they went to the Arrupe Hall to partake in a short brunch of native fruits and local delicacies, including durian; mangosteen; and pomelo, as well as palitaw; empanada; and turon. The delegates proceeded to lunch, and to the next part of their tour.
From the Mindanao leg of the Friendship Tour, the student-participants and school administrators will proceed to visit sites in Cebu and Metro Manila, before proceeding to visit sites in China.