by Christele J. Amoyan with reports from Sweet Princess S. Matining
The Boy Scout of the Philippines (BSP) conferred to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden the prestigious Mount Makiling Award on Saturday, January 25, during the 3rd One Regional Scout Jamboree at the Mt. Makiling Jamboree Grand Arena.
The Mount Makiling Award is regarded as a rare recognition given to notable dignitaries including monarchs and head of states. The recognition rites was led by Philippine Vice President and currently BSP President Jejomar Binay.
About 7,000 boy scouts, including wood badgers and outstanding boy scout awardees, from Southern Tagalog, Bicol and National Capital Region witnessed the historic event.
King Gustaf arrived in the Philippines on Friday for his first visit to the country. Meanwhile, the King wished to pay personal visit to Tacloban survivors of the Supertyphoon Yolanda.
His Majesty, in behalf of the World Scout Foundation, donated $100,000 dollars to reinforce community disaster preparedness skills training to Yolanda-hit areas in the Visayas. Additionally, another $100, 000 will be given to support BSP projects.
“One of the first things the King will do is show respect for the people who lost their lives, and the people who lost their livelihood because he’s been very touched by the disaster,” told World Scout Foundation Director John Geoghegen.
According to Geoghegen, the King was moved by the resilience of Filipinos to overcome Yolanda. He added that it is time now for the Philippines to change its name to the ‘Land of Smiles.’
After the honorary tribute, the King toured around the Jamboree site and had photo-taking session with the boy scouts.