World leaders' 'Star Trek' outfits make waves

World leaders' 'Star Trek' outfits make waves
Philippine President Benigno Aquino (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

How did Philippine President Benigno Aquino feel about being part of Star Trek?

The Office of the President on Tuesday distanced itself from talk on news sites and social media about the Chinese traditional suit donned by the President and fellow world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit that made them look like the cast of the sci-fi movie blockbuster.

With a smile, deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said that it was always a "unique experience" for leaders to wear the national costumes of Apec's host country.

Ms Valte said the leaders, in fact, looked "spiffy".

An official Malacanang photo showed Mr Aquino in an ill-fitting maroon Mao tunic, flanked by Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As soon as the photo was posted late on Monday night, the chatter on Twitter and Facebook compared the leaders to Star Trek characters in their Star Fleet uniforms. Suddenly, the Enterprise, Mr Spock and "Beam me up Scotty!" were all over social media commentaries about the opening event in Beijing.

Ms Valte said Mr Aquino "thoroughly enjoyed" the cultural presentation at the Apec dinner.

Did he say anything about what he wore?

"Nothing specific on the garb," she said.

Wearing the national costume of the Apec host country, or a stylised version of it, has become a tradition at the annual conference.

During the Apec summit in the Philippines in 1995, world leaders - including then US President Bill Clinton - wore the barong Tagalog.

Ms Valte said the Philippines "wishes to emulate the (Apec) chairmanship of China" this year when it hosts next year's Apec summit, with venues in Clark, Legaspi, Bagac, Boracay, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Tagaytay and Manila.

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