In the morning the speakers were driven to look for demonstration material. Mr. Nakajima selected a giant Podocarpus, while the Taiwanese demonstrators were still on the look. During the drive we were told that our driver was an undercover secret agent for Interpol who was also secretary for the Philippine Bonsai Society. So we felt very safe. Actually, there are security guards all over, in fact I saw two armed guards with machine guns in front of Wendy’s near the hotel as I was walking by. Personally, I feel safe, everywhere and did not see any crime. On the way out of the restaurant where we had a delicious Chinese feast I noticed a new type of solid gold money bonsai. Wish it were real…
I was told that the convention committee would like to learn how to create a forest bonsai from me. Good thing my computer was with me containing 198 PowerPoint programs including one on forest bonsai. Many hours were spent adjusting the program for foreign presentation. While, it was fortunate to have my computer with me, but my tools are still missing since arriving Monday evening in one of my suitcases. The suitcase finally arrived in Manila, but is still stuck getting government paper clearance at the airport. Even the Interpol secret agent tried to get it released. No luck. The Indian tour members also had a similar experience, and required the services of an attorney. The convention has tools for me to use, so I’m not too worried. This is the first time I’ve had a suitcase gone missing with all my travels, so guess I’m kind of lucky.
Colorful bark on one of the many different Acacia species
The plants for my demo arrived, along with a large cement container. I’m very pleased with the plants and think an interesting forest can be created, while teaching the fundamentals.
The official opening ceremony, held on Thursday evening, was colorful with dancers representing many Asian nations presenting poses before the program. They also performed at the welcoming banquet later that evening.
Now, the “ribbon cutting ceremony” was great! Rather than have the dignitaries and speakers line up and cut a ribbon, Bobby Gopaio, display chairperson, designed a unique program. As the names were called, each demonstrator was handed a beautiful shohin bonsai. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to keep them, but we tried. Then we all proceeded to the bamboo structure where the shoo-in bonsai were displayed the day before for judging. Each tree was labeled with a number, which corresponded to the location in the box stands, which were “hanging” supported on clear Plexiglas. Thus we completed the entrance display. It was fun and unique.
At the evening welcoming banquet Mama Fely Guipt, current president of the Philippine Bonsai Society and driving force was honored for her decades of leadership which created the success of the organization. She is 87 years young and was surrounded by her loving family and many friends. A warm tribute was given to her by Vic Ceballos a past president. When she was asked to make a few remarks she began by asking Vic, “Why did you make me cry.”