MANILA - A Filipino driver who has chauffeured several British ambassadors to Manila has received an honorary medal from Queen Elizabeth II for his service to the United Kingdom's Embassy here for 33 years.
Roland Quitevis, a native of Ilocos Sur, began his career at the embassy as a messenger when he first moved to the capital at age 22, according to the embassy's official Facebook page.
He was eventually assigned as the official driver of British ambassadors and has so far served 8 diplomats.
"I remember being so grateful for the opportunity, which is why I have always loved every single day of it – come monsoon rains, heavy Manila traffic and day-to-day encounters with British Embassy staff in action," Quitevis said.
"For me, every moment with all the Ambassadors has been unforgettable, as they have treated me like family and always with utmost respect."
In his 3-decade stint, Quitevis had also served members of the Royal Family, including Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and Prince Charles.
"It has been such a memorable experience to me to meet each one in person," he said.
"In fact, during the most recent visit of Princess Anne to the country, she commented that I was very young when she first came to Manila and visited the indigenous community in Clark in the aftermath of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption."
He also had the chance to take comprehensive driving courses in the UK in 1999 and 2013.
"On both occasions, I was able to attend specialized trainings and boot camps where I was taught how to act in situations that demand urgent response, such as precautionary checks that need to be done to make sure that the car is safe to use and keeping the Ambassador away from harm in critical conditions," Quitevis said.
He said he also learned how to remain alert while relaxed and calm.
Aside from the Honorary British Empire Medal, Quitevis had also been given the Service Recognition Award for excellent service by former British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lillie.
"Truly this is one for the books, and I will always be thankful to all HMAs (Her Majesty's Advocate) that helped me reach this point in my career," he said.
British Ambassador Daniel Pruce said Quiteves' award was a "thoroughly well-deserved recognition of Roland's long service at the Embassy."