My first trip to Europe was in 1985 and the first city I visited was Amsterdam, it is still etched in my mind like a film genre of love, thriller and romance, yes let me go trough this one by one.
LOVE, because ever since I was in High School coming from Asia from the Philippines my love for excitement, travel, and adventure keeps lurking within my soul, I read anything and everything about Europe and after travelling to Hongkong with my camera and love for filmmaking my obsession to go to Europe even became monstrous, I dream about it, I search for it and even taste it.
So when I had an offer to work in Bahrain in 1983, the first thing I did was look at it on the map and when I confirmed that it is near Europe I signed the contract and plan my first Europe trip when I was 23.
After finishing my first 2 years contract instead of going home with the disappointment of my mom and family I went to my first Eurorail Trip and my first City was Amsterdam, the love of my life was fulfilled.
THRILLER, landing in Schipol was terrifying and yet exciting, I went directly to the washroom and notice the Vendo machine with condoms instead of soft drinks, I immersed in the cacophony of unusual sounds coming from different instruments.
Took a cab and when the driver asked me where to go I looked at him again and referring to my tourist brochure I uttered “Liedsplein” I thought I entered a BIG CIRCUS as I came out of the taxi, right in the middle of town I saw man eating fire, man lying in broken glasses, clowns juggling, crowds everywhere in different group watching different performers, I saw a nun all in proper costume giving away brochures on how to repent and be ready for the second coming, it was certainly thrilling.
I decided to sit in one of the park chairs and try to absorbed what is happening, is the whole of Europe a circus? Are all cities in Europe like this one? Do Europeans love magic? these are all questions running through my mind when a black guy with Rastafarian hair asked “Do you want a coke” I looked at him, smiled, and I said, “Sorry I always prefer 7 Up”, he looked at me with the quizzical smirk and left without saying a word.
ROMANCE came as I started to visit most of the wonderful landmarks of Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank house, Van Gogh Museum, Dam Square, Red District, and those wonderful and interesting canals and cafe’s that left wonderful memories that kept me from going back over and over again.
If I’m going to make a film about Amsterdam how will I approach it? just like I said, it will be love, thriller, and romance.
After my first visit in 1985, I ‘ve visited Amsterdam again for at least 5 more times and discovered Scheveningen, Zoetermeer, and the Hague and that is another story…