LEAVING a place you have come to love is such a sad experience. We have lived in The Netherlands for eight years and those years have been spent making friends, visiting friends from nearby cities, and most especially learning the culture of the country.
Moving to Rotterdam was not a coincidence as we have met very good friends who later in the years have become our business partners.
Dr. Wim Van der Torre and Aad Timmerman, one of the first friends that we have met and now our business partners who have been to Manila several times, organized a very touching farewell party for George and me. They invited the friends who have become part of our life in Rotterdam.
Present were Wim’s family, Anamarie and three sons Dirk, Bouke and Jappy who have been to Manila once; Aad’s lady love Sonja Versluis; and Marcel Van Breda, a Bill Clinton look alike. Marcel is the owner of Schmidt Zeevis, the biggest seafood dealer in The Netherlands and our business partner as we have been exporting the best quality tuna from the Philippines to The Netherlands for three years now. Marcel came with wife Petra and our common friends, nice couple Leo and Henny Knoops.
Another business partner, Ronald Buijk, who brought me to Havana, Cuba for a possible joint venture with pharmaceutical companies in Cuba and who has also been to Manila, came with wife Mariette.
Guys who came solo were Gijs Vrind who will soon come to Manila for business, Antoine Verhoeven, a regular Manila visitor; Sjaak Buhling without wife famous singer Laura Fygi who just had a show in manila recently; John Huffel who will be spending his Christmas holidays in Manila with Wim; Robert Heilbronn who will bring the city racing and Formula 1 to the Philippines next year; another business partner of mine famous architect Roberto Meyer soon will be based in Manila, and Colombian lawyer and dusky beauty Luz Marina Parra.
Of course not to forget my Filipino connection. They were Filipinas married to Dutch citizens Toon and Tess San Andres Willockx who will move to Manila next year; Dutch actor who has done Filipino films Peter Van Overbeek better known as Pedro Pinduko and statuesque wife Sunshine Gracia; Dr. Emily Enjambre, a Cebuana dentist and fiancé KLM executive Jeroen Jongerden. The only Filipino EENT surgeon in the Erasmus Hospital, Dr. Bong Hardillo from UP who is getting married soon.
Latecomers were TV celebrity Euvgenia Parakhina with boyfriend, famous TV Producer Jeroen Jorna and dancer/ TV choreographer Peter Bosveld. Visiting the Filipino couple from Abu Dhabi were businessmen Jovy and Janet Tuano whose son Jose Mari will enroll at the Erasmus University.
We will leave The Netherlands with a heavy heart but will bring back fond memories of our stay there and hope to be back one day to visit our friends.