Coming to a coffee table near you…

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

Wow, that’s what I call a welcome. The Duty Free Philippines 25th anniversary team rolled out a banner greeting for The Moodie Report at the Fiesta Mall downtown duty free shopping complex in Manila yesterday.

I spent an enjoyable and busy afternoon with a committee of great and dedicated people set up to work on ‘Aquino to Aquino – Duty Free Philippines @ 25’, a high-quality coffee table book we’re producing on behalf of the state-owned retailer.

It will be launched at a high-power government reception in Manila on 8 May, underlining the national significance of Duty Free Philippines in terms both of the vital revenues it generates for the tourism sector (it is part of the Department of Tourism) and the affection with which it is held in the nation’s heart.

It’s going to be some book, very different from many corporate publications. It’s a story of people (there are 60 ‘pioneers’ who started with Duty Free Philippines back in 1987, including Chief Operating Officer Lorenzo ‘Enchong’ Formoso, and are still with the company) and of overcoming the odds, legislative and otherwise. I promise you it will be a remarkable read.

Underlining the passion of the team, I discovered a fantastic mural on the wall made of handprints of many of the staff who work in the company. It’s called ‘Hands that built DFP’ and it’s one of the most evocative illustrations of human endeavour I have seen. I can promise you you’ll see more of it in the 25th anniversary book.

I also had the chance, of course, to walk Fiesta Mall, marvelling at the diversity of the retail offer, which ranges from high-end cosmetics such as MAC and Chanel to supermarket items and power tools.

Later in the day I caught up with Manila International Airport Authority General Manager (Major General) Jose Angel A. Honrado, an ebullient and engaging man, who regaled with me tales of the imminent transformation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport as much-needed investment is poured into the aging Terminal 1 and the controversial T3 finally comes to life.

He’s in no doubt about the value of commercial revenues in funding that infrastructure, or about the importance of Duty Free Philippines. “Duty Free Philippines is one of the most important aspects of our national endeavours, one that we should always nurture,” he said.

You can read more from the Major General, from Enchong Formoso and from many of the hands who built Duty Free Philippines in May – coming to a coffee table near you soon.

[Enchong Formoso, Major General Jose Angel A. Honrado and Martin Moodie raise their hands to Duty Free Philippines’ 25th anniversary]

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