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Philippines – Georgia Friendship Mini‐Park Park to Rise in Tbilisi Zoo

The Philippines – Georgia Friendship Mini‐Park will be built in the Tbilisi Zoological Park. This was announced yesterday by Honorary Consul of Georgia to the Philippines Thelmo Cunanan Jr at an event at Tbilisi Zoo, in celebration of International Children’s Day.

The project, which is being spearheaded by Consul Cunanan, in partnership and close cooperation with Zoo Director Zurab Gurielidze and Honorary Consul General of the Philippines in Georgia Teimuraz Chichinadze, is being funded Batumi International Container Terminal LLC (BICT), the Philippines’ largest investor in Georgia and the operator of the container terminal of the port of Batumi. BICT is a wholly‐owned subsidiary of Philippine multinational company International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI).

The Philippines – Georgia Friendship Mini‐Park is the first park in the country that will officially celebrate the friendship of Georgia and another country. It will contain eco‐friendly structures such as wooden houses, mazes, slides, benches and tables that will provide leisure, fun, and enjoyment for families who visit Tbilisi Zoo. The park is scheduled to be inaugurated in the first week of January, in time for the Orthodox Christmas. “We have many events at the zoo for Christmas,” said Tbilisi Zoo public relations and media manager Mzia Sharasidze. “The opening of this special park will have a wonderful Christmas theme which the children will definitely enjoy.”

“Over the years, we have worked very hard to develop relations between the Philippines and Georgia. This park symbolizes the strong ties of friendship that bind our two countries. BICT, and its parent ICTSI, are world‐class companies. Filipinos love Georgians! This is a special gift to Georgia from the Philippines,” said Consul Cunanan.

For their parts, Consul General Chichinadze and Director Gurielidze expressed their support for the project. “As a Georgian, it has been an honor to serve the Philippines and Filipino people,” said Consul General Chichinadze. “I am very proud and happy about Consul Cunanan’s initiative to build this park. We will support this 100%.” Director Gurielidze, likewise, expressed elation. “It is a challenge to develop Tbilisi Zoo. We have worked for many years to give Georgians a wonderful place to learn about wildlife and enjoy this with their families,” he said. “I am so happy that our brothers and sisters from the Philippines have reached out to us with this beautiful gesture. I am very touched. God bless the Philippines. God bless Georgia.”

Aside from the mini‐park, Consul Cunanan and Director Gurielidze are also working on the Philippines’ donation to Georgia of two reticulated pythons. The reptiles, the first Philippines species to be included in the zoo’s collection, are expected to arrive in Georgia in time for the friendship park’s inauguration.

First Friendship Park in Georgia to Open, Philippines Consul to Georgia Thelmo Cunanan
First Friendship Park in Georgia to Open, Philippines Consul to Georgia Thelmo Cunanan

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ABOUT THE CONSUL (A.H.) Thelmo Cunanan Jr. has been Honorary Consul of Georgia in the Philippines since early 2011. He is a businessman, sportsman, television host, writer, amateur aviator, and philanthropist. He laid the groundwork for socio­cultural and economic relations between the two countries by founding the Philippines–Georgia Business and Friendship Association, Inc. in 2003 and was the first Filipino citizen to formally engage the Georgian government. Consul Cunanan has worked tirelessly to promote Georgia–Philippines relations and regularly gives radio and television interviews about the subject. He has written numerous articles about Georgia and is often invited by colleges, universities, and organizations all over the Philippines to talk about the country’s culture and heritage. Consul

Cunanan sits on the board of San Miguel Corporation (HK). He is the President and Founder of Zoo Crew Philippines, Inc. and Chairman of the First Filipino Movement. He is a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila Grade School, High School, College, and Business School (MBA).

His father was the late Ambassador/Lieutenant General Thelmo Y. Cunanan. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, the latter was Chief of the Southern Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, President and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company, and Chairman of the Social Security System of the Republic of the Philippines.

As Honorary Consul of Georgia, Thelmo Cunanan Jr’s accomplishments include the following:

  1. FIRST sister­city agreement between Georgia and the Philippines
  2. FIRST academic agreements between Georgian and Philippines Universities and Colleges (Caucasus University and Lyceum of the Philippines University and SanSebastian College);
  3. FIRST official Philippine tourism and business delegation to Georgia, in partnership withthe Georgian National Tourism Administration;
  4. FIRST Georgian Film Festival in the Philippines;
  5. FIRST Georgian Photo Exhibit in the Philippines;
  6. FIRST deployment of Filipino volunteer teachers to Georgia under the “Teach and Learnwith Georgia” Program of the Ministry of Education and Science;
  7. FIRST Georgian TV specials in the Philippines, aired on GNN;
  8. FIRST Georgian Food and Wine Dinner for members of the Philippine press, as featuredin “Food” magazine in November 2013;
  9. FIRST Georgian Tourism Campaign (“Go Georgia!”) in the Philippines, in partnershipwith members of the Philippine Travel Agents Association, Inc.
  10. FIRST Filipino art exhibition in Georgia “Colors of Hope”

Thelmo Cunanan’s consular office is located in Baguio City, the Summer Capital of the Philippines. However, he maintains satellite offices, staff, and operations in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. Info: www.georgiaconsulphil.com