Europe-PH News

3 Decades In The Philippines

February 29, 2012

Emmie V. Abadilla

Europe-PH News

The longest serving President of the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP), Hubert d‘aboville first came to Manila in 1977 as a backpacker, aged 17, slept at Luneta Park and befriended local thugs who invited him to their Tondo shack and showed him around.

“The Philippines conquered me” maintained the Brittany, France native. To date he has, spent 30 of his 67 years in this country. His home family and business are all here.

After globe-trotting, Hubert returned to Manila in 1981 as Head of a French multinational timber trading firm. He fell in love with Araceli “Ara” Valenzuela, daughter of Dr. Pio Valenzuela, close associate of Andres Bonifacio and member of the Katipunan’s Supreme Council.

Accidentally seated next to each other over dinner in a friend’s house, he could only remember her talking about how much she loved Paris while he went on and on about how much he loved the Philippines. “We mirrored each other,” Ara explained.

A Foreign Service graduate, she worked in a five-star hotel for half a decade and studied in Sorbonne. Then she hand-crafted two thousand shell necklaces and sold half in Avignon for ten thousand francs to finance a year of adventure in Paris.

Hubert and Ara married in 1982. But he had to return to France in 1986 to be Deputy Head of Marketing and Sales in Europe.Yet he pined for Manila.So, in 1988, he left his high-paying job in Paris and came back to establish his own company, Paris Manila Technology Corporation (PAMATEC) specializing in electrical power.

From the timber business, he sought to shift into reforestation.”I really wanted to go into high impact, eco-cultural projects,” he declared. But he saw better opportunities to do it in the power sector.

Hubert envisioned PAMATEC as a social enterprise that will bring power-generation technology to the country’s poorest communities. In addition, he founded a non-profit NGO, Together-Ensemble Foundation, Inc. in 1992 to provide relief in disaster areas and promote rural development.

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Source: Manila Bulletin; Business Bulletin; 29 February 2012

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