WHEN I was asked by Italian Ambassador to the Philippines Marco Clemente to write this story to mark Italy's Festa della Repubblica (Republic Day), I was honored, of course, and eager to set myself to the task, but I found it a little daunting.

The diplomats had ready answers to describe what Italy means to the Philippines, but their job was easy. One only needed to cite 7 decades of friendly relations between the two countries, and the quantifiable evidence of those relations in mutual trade, tourism, Italy's popularity as a destination for overseas workers, and various economic and developmental agreements.

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