(During the Dinner Tendered by Traveller’s Century Club (TCC) Gold Member from Philippines (220 Countries) Atty. Dominador D. Buhain to Louis Charles Merkel, Suzy Alias, Dorothy Jackson-Durity, Mary Ann Sunderland, Linda Kay Bell, and Debbi Allen of the TCC St. Louis Chapter on February 9, 2016 at the Residence of Atty. Buhain, No. 28 Del Pilar St., Ayala Heights Village, Diliman, Quezon City)
The reason behind the display of various artifacts and paraphernalia in the house is an offshoot of my desire to travel. Despite our middle class stature, my parents were able to send me (when I was around twenty (20) years old), brother Toti, brother Ogie and uncle in law Chino to visit Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo, Japan.
Amazed by the beauty of these places including my sorties to the Philippine islands (being the only salesman of Rex Book Store then) where I would also see the beauty of the country where I was born, it prompted me to work harder, to save and be more strict in disbursing funds, to continue with my law studies which took me ten (10) years to finish, hoping that during my lifetime I would be able to see as many places as possible.
I am fortunate that my brother Dr. Jose D. Buhain and wife Luz Buhain based in the USA informed me of a travel club based in Los Angeles called Traveller’s Century Club (TCC) which would consider full pledged members those who would not have reached this numerical goal would be considered as aspirants.
Their listing includes very remote places which are considered as countries for the purpose of getting counts to be cited as full pledged (100 countries), silver (150), gold (200) and platinum (300) TCC member.
They have a listing of around three hundred (300) points of destination and thanks to God at the age of Seventy (70) I have visited Two Hundred Twenty (220) countries thus reaching the numerical goal to be a Gold Member. Likewise, I have visited all the Eighty (80) provinces in the Philippines. Todate, I have visited Two Hundred Eighty (280) UNESCO Declared World Heritage Sites. There was a point in time when I was considered as the Most Traveled Individual in Asia Pacific.
As mentioned during my Seventieth (70th) birthday celebration, due to the difficulty of travelling which requires the confluence of time, money and health every time I would be able to visit the place I try to buy within budgetary constraints mementos which I consider not only as an evidence but a trophy that I was successful in having a touch down on the place to be visited with the aid of Divine Providence.
Oftentimes during my lonely moments due to my single blessedness, I would look at them to remind me of the experiences I have had in an area, thus relieving of the onset of depression and boredom. I am thankful to the Buhain and Fontelera families (with Don Buhain virtually at the helm) and Danda for business developments aided by Sunday (Finance and Human Resource) and Jeanne Marie Tordesillas (Marketing) for considering me as their Chairman and President notwithstanding my propensity to travel.
Due to the surplusage of mementos or souvenirs due to rampant buying, I am thankful to Divine Almighty I was able to put up the Book Museum and the Ethnology Center (which houses the Cordillera and Mindanao artifacts and other ethnic collections) in Marikina City. The Book Museum features the smallest book, smallest poem, smallest woodcarving of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross, smallest Last Supper image, etc.
Likewise, with surplusage of mementos, I was able to convert the erstwhile Rex Tanza building to a Display Area which houses the Flores shrunken head, Ifugao biggest snake skull, one of the biggest pearls which was retrieved from the Palawan seas, the huge collection of prehistoric carved stones from the Gigantes Island, Big images patterned after the Lithuania Devil Museum along the Baltic Sea, twenty four (24) seated round table likened to that used by “Knights of the Round Table” inspired by a Lucban, Quezon antique furniture, among others.
It is saddening to note, however, that despite the rarities being displayed, Filipinos appear as not yet predisposed to see these items although I believe it is improving. In short, the overhead exceeds the revenue.
In my humble way I try to be of help to the business by providing inputs during Board Meetings and Executive Sessions and likewise to the industry as what I am doing now as president of the Philippine Printing Technical Foundation, President Emeritus of Philippine Educational Publishers Association, Honorary President of the Asia pacific Publishers Association, Founding Member and concurrently Vice-President of ASEAN book Publishers Association, President of the ASEAN Print, President of the Printing Industry Board Foundation, Incorporated (PIBFI) President of Philbook, President of Club Bulakeño, and Vice-President of the Ayala Heights Village Association, etc.
I pray you didn’t get exasperated for the self-serving pronouncements.