Xiamen, My Paradise

  Dear Xiamen,

  Xiamen, my paradise! Thank you for the love and joy you brought to my life。

  It was in December 2, 2006 – a milestone in my life’s colorful journey。 My love for the island and the people living in it was instantaneous。 Having around a hundred people on my 40th birthday in Gulangyu is absolutely phenomenal。

  One Philippine politician/friend who follows me on social me once asked me: “What do love about Xiamen?”。 I answered with confidence that “I found my home in Xiamen”。 One of the things that make life beautiful is the feeling of safety and security。 

  With its beauty, clean air and perfect mixture of the old and new, I was inspired to form our camera club called Xiamen Photo Plus which started as group of Filipino photo enthusiasts。 It evolved into an international group。  We have organized photo exhibitions in China and the Philippines with the help of the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen。 It was truly an honor to bridge our countries through our photographs。

  The working environment in Xiamen is also something to reckon with。 I started working in a design studio。 It was great opportunity to manage the art team and see you products being manufactured in nearby towns like Dehua and Yongchun。 Xiamen is definitely an ideal location to have a design studio due to its proximity to manufacturing plants and human resources。

  At present, I am grateful to be working in a law firm。 My department handles foreign investments, work permits and financial services。 I believe that more and more people are aware of legalities and I am happy to be able to share my knowledge in that area。

  The art scene in Xiamen is awesome! For the past 12 years, I have witnessed amazing art exhibitions organized by the Chinese European Art Center (CEAC) headed by Ineke and Siggi Gudmundson。 I’m also privileged to be part of Hafnia Foundation headed by Stevens Vaughn and Rodney Cone。 With the exposure, I was also motivated to pursue my passion in art and design。 Most of my paintings are inspired by the people in Xiamen。

  Being a social butterfly, I coined the word “XiaWoMen” as tribute to the beautiful women I met in Xiamen。 “XiaMEN” is the male version。 My collection of memorable photos is growing and I hope I could contribute to the legacy of the expats community in Xiamen。

One of the things I admire about Xiamen people is the spirit of volunteerism。 A prime example is the GuanrenCommunity。 I take my hats off for the volunteers who organize the monthly charity markets, information campaign about garbage management, giving free Mandarin lessons, sharing information about visas and how to live legally in China。 This is truly a meaningful and substantial undertaking purely done by kind-hearted Xiamen people。

  In conclusion, I cannot imagine myself away from Xiamen for a long time。 I am blessed and grateful to have lived in this city that has given me so much opportunities, challenges and joys。

  I LOVE XIAMEN… for life!

  Sincerely yours,

  Bong Antivola