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Envoys, expats tell stories about the Philippines

IT’S true: the Philippines is a great place to be in. This was the sentiment shared by the envoys and expatriates the BusinessMirror had the opportunity to meet up close and personal in the past year. As they told us the story of their lives, their ideas and beliefs, and their vision of the future of the Philippines, they also shared with us how much fun they were having during their stay in the country.

We look back at the men and women we met in 2013. Here is what they told us.

 

Henry Schumacher “When you live in the Philippines, you live with many shades of gray. In Germany it’s just black and white. After that, I can’t see myself living in black and white again.”

 

Former Ambassador Stephen Lillie of the United Kingdom “Swimming with the butanding was the single most memorable experience for me.”

 

Dusit Thani Manila general manager Alex Colin Willats “It also helps that everybody here speaks very good English and that people have a great attitude in general.”

 

Ambassador Abdullah Al-Hassan of Saudi Arabia “I love to promote tourism here. This is a very beautiful place.”

 

Nivea Philippines country manager Alexander Schweiger “Anyone looking for opportunities in the Philippines will most likely find them around here.”

 

United Business Media managing director for Southeast Asia M. Gandhi “What we want to do as we work here more is to bring the information from the world to the Philippines and take the information from the Philippines to the world.”

 

Ambassador Guy Ledoux of the Delegation of the European Union “It’s always a pleasant experience to wake up every morning with people smiling. People here are always smiling.”

 

Ambassador Toshinao Urabe of Japan “I feel like I’m a balikbayan. The Philippines is like a second home to me.”

 

Ambassador Gilles Garachon of France “The Philippines is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.”

 

Mondelez Philippines’s Chief of Joy Sudip Mall “I don’t think there is any other country where you have people who welcome complete strangers with complete smiles.”

 

Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines Inc. president Partho Chakrabarti “Filipinos never let me feel that I [am] a foreigner.”

 

Former Ambassador Harry Thomas of the United States “Filipinos are fun loving....They love to laugh. I’ve learned a lot from them. An important thing is they taught me patience.”

 

United Business Media Asia-Thailand Business Director Rose Chitanuwat “Everyone [here] seems to be good with the language. That’s why I teach English to the kids there in Thailand.”

 

Club Punta Fuego general manager Mikel Arriet Arriet says he has learned to be patient, a trait he picked up from Filipinos.

 

Spanish Chamber of Commerce executive director Maria Angeles Romo “Although Manila was different from Madrid, it was easy for me to adapt to my new home.”

 

Ambassador Menashe Bar-On of Israel “It’s a wonderful country, and there are a lot of beautiful beaches here, and the people are very friendly.”

 

Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Julian Payne “I liked it here. It is my comfort zone. This is an easy place for English-speaking foreigners like me and the living conditions suit me best.”

 

Royal Cargo chief executive officer Michael Kurt Raeuber Raeuber considers himself a bridge between Filipino and German cultures.

 

Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila general manager Adam Laker “Filipinos know what they want, and they have an appreciation of the finer things in life.”

 

International Labor Organization country director Lawrence Jeff Johnson “It’s fun working here. Nowhere in the world, except in the Philippines, can I always just pick up the phone if I need to talk and discuss issues with officials [of the government].”

 

Ambassador Asif Ahmad of the United Kingdom “I want to do something which hasn’t been done before, which is to generate a high level of investments from the Philippines into the UK.”

 

Mandarin Oriental, Manila general manager Torsten van Dullemen “Filipinos are just the most adaptable people in the world.”

 

Ambassador Philippines Ma Keqing of the People’s Republic of China “The historical bond between China and the Philippines is so strong. The Philippines has an invaluable heritage, and we have to cherish and learn to value and take good care of our heritage.”

 

Ambassador John Gomes of Bangladesh “I admire the optimism and happiness among people here. Even the salesladies who have to stand long hours in the malls are admirable as they seem to be happy in doing their jobs.”

 

German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry general manager Nadine Fund “Riding tricycles and jeepneys makes me feel like I am part of something bigger.”

 

Ambassador Hyuk Lee of South Korea “When these Korean students return home, they convince their parents to travel with them back to the Philippines because they discovered for themselves that the country is indeed a beautiful place.”

 

Chevron Philippines Inc. general manager and country chairman Peter Morris “Chevron is doing okay, but we expect to do better in future years and share in the Philippine growth story.”

 

 

Former Ambassador Christopher Thornley of Canada “Getting to know this beautiful country and its amazing people is one of the most important experiences for me,”

 

Ambassador Ivo Sieber of Switzerland “The Philippines is a great place to settle in. I have made so many friends here, even outside the diplomatic circle.”

 

Ambassador Adam Jelonek of Poland “As Poles enjoy culinary celebration so much, we share with the Philippines the tradition of food festivals.”

 

U.S. Ambassador to Association of Southeast Asian Nations David Carden “The Philippines is now leading in competitiveness, education.... It is one of the most outward-looking countries that has engaged other markets all over the world.”

 

Resorts World Manila chief entertainment officer Colin Kerr “If you love entertainment, the Philippines is the best place to be, because the Philippines is very entertainment-centric. Everything about [this country] is entertainment.”

 

Ambassador Malayvieng Sakonhninhom of Lao PDR “Many of the Filipinos who came to Laos at that time were doctors, nurses and engineers and students. They helped many of the victims of the Indochina War. That’s why for many Lao people, they have a special friendship with the people of the Philippines.”

 

Manila North Harbour Port Inc. chief executive officer Richard D. Barclay “One thing I like about Filipinos is that they have strong bonds in terms of family. They make it a point to have a get-together regularly.”

 

Ambassador Agnes Nyamande-Pitso of South Africa “Mahal kita Pilipinas, at salamat sa pagiging kaibigan ng South Africa.”

 

Mövenpick Hotel entertainment and events director Francisco Beltran “Talent here in Cebu is amazing. Artists here are all-out performers. You’ll be amazed.”

 

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