Summarized by BYU Hawaii Press Release
A Place of Happiness
Ambassador of the Philippines appreciates unique environment of BYU-Hawaii
LAIE, HAWAII -- BYU-Hawaii hosted the Ambassador of the Philippines,
Ernesto Maceda, yesterday. His visit is part of an effort from BYUH
to familiarize world leaders with the international mission of the
university and the Church.
The Ambassador arrived in Honolulu earlier this week with Philippines
President Joseph Estrada's Cabinet, but spent an extra day visiting
BYU-Hawaii, the Laie Hawaii Temple Visitor's Center and the
Polynesian Cultural Center.
In his remarks during a luncheon, the Ambassador spoke candidly about
his feelings toward BYUH. "Prior to my visit I knew very little about
BYU-Hawaii, but I am overwhelmed by the atmosphere. This place is
heaven on earth," Maceda said. "The hardest thing to find is
happiness, but I feel that the BYU-Hawaii campus is oozing with
Maceda's experiences also prompted him to speak of his feelings
toward God in his remarks at the luncheon. "Life is not always a
bunch of roses and hard times are sometimes God's way of making sure
we remember him," Maceda said. "I have not always been a good
Christian, but after my coronary bypass surgery, I promised God I
would be better at remembering him." Since then, Maceda has helped
to open a medical center in Mindanao.
BYUH President Eric Shumway said, "We were very honored to host
Ambassador Maceda. We hold him in very high regard and we are
grateful for the opportunity to share the mission of our university
with world leaders. I was impressed with his love and sensitivity
toward the students."
Maceda congratulated the students from the Philippines studying at
BYUH by saying that "In the Philippines, only 40 out of every 100
students that enroll in grade school will go on to high school. Out
of those 40 only 15 will go on to college and out of those 15, only 3
will graduate with a degree." Maceda said he admired students who
shared a desire to return to their homeland in order to fulfill
President David O. McKay's prophecy of having leaders from BYUH whose
influence would be felt for good internationally.
Maceda also spoke at a Forum, informing students of the current state
of affairs in the Philippines. He shared some cultural and political
background of the Philippines as well as projections of the future of
the economy. During the forum's question and answer session, Maceda
stated the goals of President Estrada's administration and their
strategies for the economic crisis.