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In researching our forthcoming Coffee Table Book to celebrate Duty Free Philippines’ 25th anniversary – ‘Duty Free Philippines 25 Years – Aquino to Aquino’ – I came across many old industry photos that present compelling and often poignant memories of the past quarter century.
By coincidence I entered the travel retail industry the same year that Duty Free Philippines began operations, 1987, but judging by the photographs above (part of the picture library that appears in the book) the company has battled the ravages of time much better than I have.
The photo was taken in 1998 at the inaugural Raven Fox Awards, when Duty Free Philippines was named best food & confectionery and best gifts travel retailer, respectively. As always, a picture is worth a thousand words. Lorenzo ‘Enchong’ Formoso, holding the trophy, has barely aged since and now leads Duty Free Philippines as Chief Operating Officer. Raven Fox Sales Director Amanda Felix has risen up the ranks to be Publisher of Duty-Free News International (DFNI) – then owned by Raven Fox, subsequently sold to ‘Frontier’ magazine owner Metropolis.
The fresh-faced young (ish) man in the ill-fitting shiny suit is of course yours truly, four years before I decided to back my bet that digital media was the future and launch The Moodie Report.
DFNI celebrates its own 25th anniversary this Friday at a Charity Dinner in London and even though their recently published history had an understandable whiff of Stalinist revisionism about it (I and all the other ex-DFNI editors on The Moodie Report team were officially expunged!), I did indeed enjoy 13 wonderful years at a great company and wish them very well for this week’s grand and much-deserved celebrations which I shall attend with pleasure and nostalgia.
So, that’s the identity of three of four people in each of the two pictures. But who are the gentlemen on the right hand side?
One (top) has a touch of the Austin Powers about him but it is not, I confirm not, Mike Myers. Perhaps the sandy hair is a clue?
And the refined-looking gentleman in the picture below? Note how the eyes are crystal clear – another unmistakeable clue. He was, and remains, a jewel of a man.
Do you know who they are? Answers by e-mail headed ‘The way we were’ to Martin@TheMoodieReport.com please.
A magnum of Champagne to the first of the correct entries drawn out of a hat at next month’s Singapore show where each of the individuals is likely to be present.
Footnote: The idiosyncratic nature of that year’s Raven Fox awards, alas, did not last and they were subsequently replaced with more conventional trophies.
Unfortunately while Amanda and I were presenting them on stage, the glue on first the Raven, and second the Fox, came unstuck.
Several of the startled awardees, who suddenly found themselves clutching small birds and animals, had to gamely push them back in place while the official photographs were taken.
To this day there are original Raven Fox awards in display cabinets around Asia Pacific with a Raven that has taken flight and a Fox on the run.