Saturday, December 04, 2010


“FM in Cancun”.

That was the headline I remembered from the Bulletin. I thought it would make a good material for my Cancun blog entry but Dean Tony Lavina of the Ateneo School of Government beat me to it. His column for the Today mentioned just that.

FM (i.e. Ferdinand Marcos) was among the 23 world leaders who attended an Economic Summit in Cancun in 1981. I was among the thousands of delegates from 194 countries and governments, and among the 50 members of the Philippine delegation, attending the 16th Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change twenty-nine years after FM but also in Cancun.

Cancun is very touristy and indulgent. At least that’s what impressed on me by the Hotel Zone strip where I stayed. For $120/day, I can gorged myself with unlimited breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner and drown in free flowing margarita, daiquiri, mojito, pinacolada, and local beer while ogling sunbathing sexy tourists wearing almost nothing. Not bad at all for a place which recorded only 3 residents in 1970.

But I was sent to Cancun to work and when I did, I realized that the only decent meal I will have for the next 2 weeks will be breakfast which became so monotonous later I feel like puking just thinking of it. Lunch was subsisting on whatever we were able to pack in our bags and bring to the negotiations. Dinner is a limited room service selection because the buffet tables close at 10 pm. Thank God for the Margaritas and I always manage to catch 5 of these, triple strength, just before the bar closes at 12 midnight.

Our daily grind starts with a hurried breakfast to catch our 7:30 morning briefings followed by a frantic 30-45 minute trip to the Cancumesse for the security checks then another restless 10-15 minute ride to the Moon Palace for the negotiations. We walked a lot with our heavy briefcases-on-wheels in tow. Internet access has never been so important. On the way back at 10 pm, we go through a reversed routine of the morning grind but this time with a complimentary 300 meter walk from the bus stop to the hotel gate then a steep 10 meter climb for the finale.

I did somehow survived Cancun and now have a COP tucked in my belt. But it’s not because of them heavily armed Mexican Marines and Federal Police security cordon. It’s more of Team Philippines who pulled us together and carried us throughout the 2 weeks of the negotiations. It’s not a perfect team but it has more good than bad in it. And it’s been my privilege to work with such fine men and women…

PHOTOS EXPLAINED: [1] Top photo grabbed from Google images shows FM (all white at extreme right) with some of the 23 world leaders in the 1981 Economic Summit in Cancun. [2] The second photo shows yours truly in action during the Cancun climate change negotiations (Ramon Magsaysay awardee Atty. Antonio Oposa who represented Micronesia is in the center while that on the right is Jasper Inventor of Greenpeace). [3] The third shows some of the members of Team Philippines. Both second and third photos were taken by Kuya Fred Serrano who is undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture and the top negotiator of Team Philippines' adaptation panel.  

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