Actor Xian Lim may be everyone’s dreamboat, especially with him voicing the titular bear in Paddington, but Albay governor Joey Salceda is not one of them. In Xian’s recent visit for the Tsinoy Festival in Albay, an incident happened that led Gov. Salceda to say, “no forgiveness deserved.”
The story begins when Xian was invited to the province to meet the people for the festival. When Atty. Carol Sabio-Cruz, the governor’s chief of staff, welcomed him with an Albay t-shirt, he turned it down, allegedly saying “Huwag po, ayaw ko po (No, I don’t want that).” After that, Atty. Sabio-Cruz offered him a coffee table book on Albay, called Warm Albay. Warm People, he allegedly said, “I did not come here to promote Albay.”
According to Atty. Sabio-Cruz, it is the traditonal way of welcoming guests. In an interview, she also said that Queen Sofia of Spain wore one, and even ordered more for the king.
“Ganun naman tayo mga Bicolano, Filipinos in general,” said Atty. Sabio-Cruz. “We always give good hospitality to our guests, kahit yung guest natin medyo bastos, but we continue to be very nice to them.” (That’s how Bicolanos and Filipinos are in general. We always give good hospitality to our guests, even if our guests are rude, but we continue to be very nice to them.)
She also said that Xian’s appearance was sponsored by the province of Albay.
Gov. Salceda is not taking things lightly. In a series of Facebook posts, he narrated the incident and posted some of his opinions, including learning a lesson from comedian Ramon Bautista. Just recently, Bautista was declared persona non grata in Davao after saying an offensive joke comparing women to hipon, slang for someone who has a great body and an unattractive face.
According to Salceda:
Xian Lim insulted and shamed ordinary PTCAO staff. Together with ordinary Albayanos, they are the ones who work hard, silently and patiently for Albay tourism. And based on the prevarications on his posts, he is not getting it. 1. We do not make guests wear t-shirts. We just give it to them. 2. The mere fact that coffee book table is called Warm Albay and the t-shirt is Warm Albay should already be obvious that these are typical touristic materials. The PTCAO incident morally approximates the cruelty and brutality in Maguindanao, and what’s worse we did not pay the MILF P350,000 to do it and we expected something better from him since he is not a terrorist, instead an artist. No forgiveness deserved.
He also said:
Xian Lim says in my face (Atty Carol) while handing the coffee table book in front of many – “I’m not here to promote albay”.” If his road manager checks his record, Albay paid for his many guestings since way back 2011 when his talent fee was just P75.000 (Ginoo ni Magayon) and now P350,000 for Fiesta Tsinoy Albay. Its either 1. His parents did not raise him well. 2. He had bad education. 3. He is not managed well. 4. His character is inversely proportional to his looks. 5. He is on something.
Gov. Salceda posted these after the event so that the locals could still enjoy the festival
To his defense, Xian posted a series of tweets on Twitter. He said:
I just read an online article about an incident which is deeply upsetting to me because it doesn’t tell the right story. In the article I was quoted as saying “I am not here to promote Albay,” something I never said or would ever say. Earlier, the author of the online article handed me a coffee table book of Albay and a t-shirt to wear. My exact words to her were, “Sorry po, hindi ko po mai-suot yung t-shirt kasi baka magka-conflict sa clothing endorsement ko. Pasensya na po.” Later on, someone reported to her saying, “Ayaw daw niya.” I love Albay and I am always happy to be here with its good people. I deeply apologize to Gov. Salceda and the people of Albay for the misunderstanding about my reasons for refusal to wear the t-shirt.
My parents raised me to be respectful and generous to everyone, and my management has always stressed the virtues of decency and humility. I do not do drugs and have worked hard to get where I am. If you send me the t-shirt and after I have cleared it with my clothing endorsement, I would be more than happy to wear it online and on air. I am also very willing to promote the book of Albay.
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