Al & Bella Ancheta
Quezon City, Philippines
On December 9, 2012, I received an email from Jorgen Jensen of Copenhagen, Denmark, advising me of a forthcoming visit with his wife Birte Jexen to the Philippines. They had a couple of days in the Manila area at New Year’s before proceeding to Palawan, one of the tourist destinations in the Philippines. I enthusiastically responded that I would be most happy to welcome them to my country, the Philippines.
A slight complication arose in that on the day before their arrival on December 29 I had to be in Tagaytay City for an urgent meeting on the 30th. Hence, I was not in Manila when they arrived. Tagaytay is about 1 1⁄2 hours drive from Manila, where we have a small family vacation home. The next best thing I could do was to book Jorgen and Birte for 2 nights into a Manilla hotel.
I also arranged with a tour agency to pick them up at their hotel on December 30th for a city tour the whole of that day, a tour which included the Spanish ruins of Intramuros. After the tour Jorgen and Birte had some free time in the evening to move around the commercial stores and restaurants close to the hotel.
On Dec 31, my chauffeur drove Jorgen and Birte to our home in Taygaytay City, where Bella and I, our daughter Beni, and her family welcomed them. After lunch we drove Jorgen and Birte around the city, whose main attraction is a relatively active volcano, nearby, whose crater is surrounded by a lake; the inner crater itself is under water. We stopped by the Taal Vista Hotel where one could have a good view of scenic Taal Volcano.
It is customary in our country to have food and drinks during the evening of the New Year culminating with family members having a midnight meal together (called the Noche Buena). We greeted the New Year in front of our place with just electrically induced “firecracker” sounds (firecrackers are prohibited because of various accidents involving live firecrackers). Anyway, we contented ourselves with watching the glowing and multi-colored fireworks display in the sky coming from the direction of Tagaytay Highlands.
The following morning, January 1, our guests returned to Manila to catch their plane to Palawan, a nature-rich tourist attraction, which I am sure Jorgen and Birte enjoyed. My family and I enjoyed the company of Rotarians Jorgen and Birte, and I hope they likewise enjoyed the limited hospitality, friendship and fellowship we extended to them.