It really is more fun in the Philippines

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

Mabuhay.

Never was the Filipino word for welcome more appropriate than last night, as Duty Free Philippines (DFP) began its year-long 25th anniversary celebrations in style.

The Moodie Report was on hand as DFP put together an extraordinary, emotion-packed evening of nostalgia, entertainment and, most importantly, recognition of the many ‘hands that built Duty Free Philippines’.

The event was graced by the presence of the Secretary of Tourism, Ramon R Jimenez (below right with DFP Chief Operating Officer Lorenzo ‘Enchong’ Formoso), who spoke warmly of the contribution that DFP makes to the country’s tourism industry and to its people. “We are very proud of your work,” he told the audience of around 800 DFP management and employees, who were joined by leading suppliers and business partners.

“The reason why DFP is so successful is that it is a primary example of what Filipinos are all about,” he said. “It is precisely this sense of family [that stands out]. Filipinos cannot share space without making friends.”

And how they made friends last night. Besides the appearance of big professional stars such as Gary Valenciano (who moved many to tears with his mournful song ‘Babalik Ka Rin’ – an anthem to the legion of Overseas Filipino Workers), much of the entertainment was home-grown.

What other travel retail company could put on such an extended and highly professional concert? Music and rhythm seems to run in the genes of Filipionos. The singing and dancing was seriously good, all capped off by Enchong Formoso playing on guitar (below) with his outstanding semi-professional band Midlife Crisis.

There was more emotion as The Moodie Report and Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association President Sunil Tuli (second picture below) presented the original General Manager of DFP, Jose Maria ‘Chim’ N. Esteban III, with an Outstanding and Pioneering Contribution to the Travel Retail Industry Award.

Chim (above), one of the great figures of Asian travel retail over the past quarter century, was moved to tears by the recognition as he spoke of the presence of his wife and son in the room. It was a privilege to share the moment.

The audience also got to see the Department of Tourism’s acclaimed ‘It’s more Fun in the Philippines’ video commercial. And you know, based on the sea of smiling faces I saw last night, it really is…

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  • Truly it’s more fun in the PHILIPPINES! I’m proud to be a Filipino!,working at Duty free Phils. for 16 years who contributes a lot in the fast paced of our lives is a great grace from our GOD!Thanks a lot for your nice comment!We’re very thankful to our COO,LCF, he also is GOD’s gift to the DFP!God bless you!