Pinoyspotting: Suriname

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 I went hiking with Dutch tourists in the Brownsberg Nature Park in the district of Brokopondo in Suriname. We passed by this abandoned house. (Photo is courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

I went hiking with Dutch tourists in the Brownsberg Nature Park in the district of Brokopondo in Suriname. We passed by this abandoned house. (Photo is courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Suriname has a very diverse population. But it is one nation, one people – a paragon of tolerance and inclusion. Paramaribo, the capital, may be the the only city in the world where you can find a mosque and a synagogue standing side by side. The country celebrates differences, from a wide assortment of dishes to religious holidays that are participated by everyone in the society. Everyone in Suriname is one!
 I learned to make a fish net in a village in Paramaribo, Suriname. (Photo by Iris Oehlers, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

I learned to make a fish net in a village in Paramaribo, Suriname. (Photo by Iris Oehlers, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

 Sitting: John Ryan Costelo. Standing: Melanie Escora and the author. (Photo by Arnold Tecio, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Sitting: John Ryan Costelo. Standing: Melanie Escora and the author. (Photo by Arnold Tecio, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Paramaribo, Suriname. It did not take me long to meet the Filipino employees in the hotel.

John Ryan Castelo (Davao City) and Melanie Escora (Cebu City) are the finance controller and assistant finance controller, respectively. They did not know each other in the Philippines. A mutual friend told them to apply to their present positions.

 Jurmain Kross, the author, and Arnold Tecio. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Jurmain Kross, the author, and Arnold Tecio. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Arnold Tecio (Bacoor, Cavite) is the executive chef of the Flavors Restaurant in the Courtyard Marriott. His junior sous chef is Jurmain Kross.

Arnold, who previously worked in Curacao, invited me to the fish-market night. Being a fish lover, I enjoyed the grilled tuna. And I couldn’t stop eating the shrimp dishes!

 The author, Jimmy Royer, and Bryan Agustin. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

The author, Jimmy Royer, and Bryan Agustin. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Bryan Agustin (San Jose, Romblon) is a front-desk officer at the Courtyard Marriott. One of his co-workers is Jimmy Royer.

Bryan enjoys dealing with customers, and he previously worked in another hotel in Paramaribo.

 Roaida Mani and the author. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Roaida Mani and the author. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Greeting the customers of the Flavors Restaurant with a warm smile is Roaida Mani (Zamboanga City), who is a cashier. She previously worked in Venezuela.

 The author, Marcel Reyes, and Dennis Jamolin. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

The author, Marcel Reyes, and Dennis Jamolin. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

The cleanliness at the Courtyard Marriott has a clear Filipino connection: Dennis Jamolin (Quezon City) is the executive housekeeper, whereas Marcel Reyes (Bangued, Abra) is one of the housekeepers.

 Arnold Reyes, the author, and Jerry Ortega. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

Arnold Reyes, the author, and Jerry Ortega. (Photo courtesy of Rey E. de la Cruz, photo editing by Ivan Kevin Castro.)

I wondered why the men’s washroom was always spic and span until I saw Arnold Reyes and Jerry Ortega do their work. Both are from Bangued, Abra, and they work in the housekeeping department.


 Rey E. de la Cruz

Rey E. de la Cruz

Rey E. de la Cruz, Ed.D., writes from Chicagoland when he is not loving the arts and traveling. He is the author of the children’s book, Ballesteros on My Mind: My Hometown in the Philippines, which also has Ilocano, Spanish, and Tagalog versions.


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