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Last September, my wife Nanette and I were in Amsterdam for the second leg of our three-country European tour. Nanette went shopping in De Bijenkorf at De Dam Square while I strolled down Damrak Avenue. I noted some Filipino tourists in groups of two- to five people also enjoying the shops and restaurants.
When Nanette and I met up again for lunch, we went to the Marco Polo Pizzaria and Steakhouse in the area. As we were waiting for our order, a couple who looked Filipino entered and took a table near us. I smiled at them and asked if they were Filipino and from where. The wife answered that she was from Baguio and that she knew I graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).
"How did you know," I asked.
"You're wearing the [PMA] bullring, just like my husband," she replied.
I must admit I didn't notice her husband's ring before then. Since I was obviously senior to the guy (in PMA, not in rank), I asked them to move to our table so we can talk better.
He turned out to be Brig. Gen. Eduardo Davalan, PMA Class of '85 (I'm PMA Class '74), and the current Regimental Commander of the Philippine Army Scout Rangers stationed in Bulacan. He and his wife, Dr. Deneb Stella Abastilla Davalan, were on their way back to Manila after he finished his General Staff Course in Germany.
The EYE Film Institute Netherlands, one of Amsterdam's latest attractions, was a silent witness last September to a felicitous reunion of three former schoolmates from San Beda College: Jing Chua, one of the original Tayuman group of dress designers from Manila, Franklin M. Bobadilla, long time Amsterdam resident and Eddie Tuico, a consultant for a pharmaceutical firm in Texas.