A state dinner, joint press conference, and a private meeting with President Benigno Aquino 3rd highlight US President Barack Obama’s two-day visit to the Philippines.
These trappings are usually reserved for a state visit, when the host country rolls out the red carpet for a head of state.
There are two other kinds of visits—official and working—both diplomatically outranked by a state visit.
The Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning (PCDSP) considers a state visit as “the highest level of hospitality, honor and formality between two nations.”
Here is how the PCDSP further describes it: “A foreign head of state visits, having been invited by the host head of state. Military honors are given and the national anthems of both nations are performed. There is a meeting between two heads of state. A state luncheon or dinner is held in honor of the visiting head of state.”
The host country shoulders the cost of the sojourn. There is an exchange of symbolic gifts, and the guest is invited to address the legislature of the host country.
In an “official visit,” the guest may not be a head of state but a high-ranking official or dignitary. A state luncheon or dinner is not required, and military honors are reserved for a head of state. The host country also pays for the cost of the visit.
A “working visit” does not require an invitation from the host country, and it does not have to pay the cost of the visit.
Special thanks to Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. and his staff, Assistant Secretary for Media Relations Rey Marfil, Presidential News Desk Chief Editor Iskho Lopez, and Executive Assistant Alexandra Suplido to the Undersecretary of Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning.