The Philippines is expected to reaffirm the ties that bind it to Madre España when Queen of Spain makes an official visit on July 2-6.

According to the Spanish embassy, the queen will have an audience with President Aquino in Malacañang Palace, where a state dinner will be held in her honor.

“The visit of Her Majesty will focus on the development aid provided by Spain to the Philippines,” the embassy said. “It is the third visit embarked by Her Majesty to gain firsthand knowledge on the Spanish development cooperation in the Philippines. Her earlier visits took place in 2000 and 2003.”

Her itinerary will include activities in Metro Manila, Albay province and Zamboanga City.  During her visit, Queen Sofia will observe the progress of the projects funded by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Aecid) and assess the impact on the beneficiaries on the ground.

Included in her delegation are Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Jesus Gracia, Ambassador Jorge Domecq and Assistant Secretary for Development Cooperation for Asia Alberto Virella.

Secretary Dinky Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will tour the queen.

In Manila, the queen will visit Escuela Taller in Intramuros and the National Library of the Philippines on July 3.

On July 6, she will be at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and at the National Museum of the Philippines.

Escuela Taller is a vocational workshop school in cultural heritage recovery for vulnerable youth, funded by Aecid and managed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and Intramuros Administration.

Opened in 2009, it has benefited a large number of youngsters from the slums of Baseco and also Intramuros. Certificates in wood carving, masonry, painting, finishing and various other trades are recognized by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, improving the employability of economically disadvantaged youth.

During their training period and first professional practice, these young students apply their newly-acquired knowledge to the rehabilitation of prominent buildings and historical sites.

Some of the projects implemented include the restoration of perimeter walled areas in Intramuros, Parish Church of Malate, the rehabilitation of the DSWD office in the city of Manila and the Almacen Real in Fort Santiago, among others.