Prince Albert II of Monaco had a taste of the treasures of the Philippine sea at a state luncheon hosted by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in Malacañang on Thursday.
The Prince, an environmentalist, was treated to a “tinola of gifts from the Philippine Sea,” a bouillabaisse made up of Bohol white marlin, Bulacan river prawn, Capiz scallop, Quezon blue crab, fish roe duet, French pottage and Bacolod bihod.
The Palace also served “ensalada of Batangas duck estofado a l’orange,” which was made from Negros chèvre, Sagada orange, muscovado, heirloom carrots, Tagaytay courgette and Cointreau-Davao cacao vinaigrette.
The Prince and the guests also feasted on Blackmore Wagyu short rib inihaw with Bistek Tagalog Jus, organise soy sauce, calamansi onion hay, Philippine chickpea socca, adlai pearls, sigarilyas and kalabasa blossoms.
For dessert, they had halo-halo.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Monaco, the second-smallest country in the world.
In his toast, Aquino talked about the Filipinos and the Monegasque Royal Family’s enduring symbols of a friendship that goes beyond diplomacy.
He lauded Monaco for “assisting victims of child abuse and exploitation and funding critical research for various illnesses” through the AMADE or Association Mondiale des Amis de l’Enfance [World Association of Children’s Friends].
“While your state may not be the largest in the world, you still committed several hundred thousand euros to help those affected, you have helped prevent epidemics and rebuild infrastructure, and I speak on behalf of the Filipino people when I say, ‘We will never forget your kindness,’” Aquino said.
“The fellowship of nations has never been based on size, power or influence. It has always been about our willingness to reach out to our brothers and sisters from other nations, to strengthen our ties with one another as we seek to build a better future for all peoples. Monaco may be far away, and it may be a relatively small country, but you reached out to the Philippines, you have made your kindness felt, and you will always be welcome on our shores,” he added.
Prince Albert thanked Aquino and the Filipinos for expanding collaboration and friendship between the two countries.
“Despite the scale difference of our countries of size and means, I’m delighted, but after our exchanges, we have identified a number of subjects that will contribute to reinforcing our ties. Some of these areas of collaboration concern of course the economy, but also culture and humanitarian, environmental, or even scientific research,” he said.
“Our countries share affinities on environmental matters such as the desire to build a future based on sound environment and sustainable development means in respect toward the territories that we live in,” the prince added.