Sunday, March 10, 2013

Dutch Treat for the New Year 2013

H.E. Gijsbert Anton Boon von Ochsee, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and his charming wife, Madame Martine Boon von Ochsee, recently hosted a cocktail party for the new year at their beautiful home in Dasmarinas Village.

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The party was just the right size.

It was a very select crowd of ambassadors and top government officials, as well as personal friends of this newly-arrived but popular diplomatic couple.

The wife of the Ambassador of Singapore,
and U.S. Ambassador Harry Thomas

The official residence of the Dutch Ambassador to the Philippines is a spacious and elegant modern home designed by Chito Antonio.

It’s got a very wide foyer that’s perfect for entertaining, and two receptions rooms that Madame Boon von Ochsee decorated ever so stylishly with a mixture of accents from around the world, including several pieces from the Philippines.


What I like best about it, though, is the very large terrace and gardens at the back that are dramatically lit up to showcase the greenery.

I always feel like I’m not in Manila when I’m there.


There used to be a large statue of a spotted cow at the very back of the gardens.

Whenever I visited the previous ambassador in this same home, I was always curious about this cow, positioned amidst the bushes, surveying all the dinners and parties from a strategic vantage point.

Ambassador and Madame Boon von Ochsee, however, decided to give Gertrude – that’s the name of the cow – more attention by placing her right on the terrace. It’s a very prominent spot, actually, and many guests enjoyed having their photos taken with Gertrude throughout the cocktails that night.

Gertrude’s new spot was certainly a hot topic of conversation among those who had been to this house before, as well.


Meanwhile, everyone was simply charmed by Madame Boon von Ochsee’s simple but elegant entertaining style.

All the food was prepared in-house and much of it based on Madame’s own family recipes. The couscous with fruits, the pavlova of berries and the chicken satay were especially delicious. 

Madame served her version of heavy cocktails on two tables in the formal dining room, adorned with very tall vases of flowers that were set off very nicely by the ultra-modern chandelier hanging right in the middle.

The plates were lined up on a long buffet table against the wall, on artfully folded and colorful napkins. The entire scene reminded me of those lovely photographs you see in international interior magazines.

The party was so enjoyable that I stayed long after most people had said goodbye, enjoying the cool breeze on the terrace and having one more plate of couscous and another glass of wine for the road, getting to know Gertrude a little better.

This also appeared in The Diplomatic Travelife column of Travelife Magazine Publisher Christine Cunanan in the Business Mirror. Catch The Diplomatic Travelife every Sunday in The Business Mirror.


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