As the Philippines’ capital and seat of government, Manila has seen various heads of state and government who have come here for state or working visits in the country. However, for many Filipinos, there is no greater impact of such visits than that of the President of the United States. Then again, that should come as no surprise given the United States’ position today as a global superpower and more importantly, the historical ties that existed ever since the Philippines first became an American colony in 1898.
Thus, the high level of anticipation being seen at this time for the upcoming state visit of US President Barack Obama on April 28. It will be a given that the visit will be about strengthening US-PH ties, (something that is being stressed out as of late due to those issues we are having with China over disputed areas in the country) but it will be interesting to find out what else will be on the table when Obama and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III meet. Will we get back the Balangiga Bells? Will Obama announce new investments in the Philippines? Will Obama get to wear and barong and how will he look with it? On another note, will Obama get to try balut or other Filipino delicacies?
As we await and see what history will be made, if any, from the upcoming Obama state visit, let us look back at the US presidents who came before him who visited Manila in the past through this new edition of the Urban Roamer’s Guide. We will deal here strictly with those who visited the country in their official capacity as President of the United States. Thus, we will not be counting William Howard Taft, (who was here from 1900-1904 as US civil governor before he became president) Ronald Reagan, (governor of California state when he visited here in 1969) George Bush, (who came here in 1981 as US Vice President) and Jimmy Carter. (no longer president when he came here in 1999)