Monday, December 11, 2017

Cathay Pacific chooses Margarita Fores, Chris Tiu, Amina Aranaz and Liz Uy as image models for a Life Well Travelled

Cathay Pacific is always inspired to bring people to where they’re going and to create wonderful experiences for everyone who flies with them. For this Hong Kong-based international airline, travel is as much the journey as the destination. So they've chosen chef Margarita Fores, fashion stylist Liz Uy, businessman Chris Tiu and bag designer Amina Aranaz as brand ambassadors for their campaign, A Life Well Travelled

Going to Denmark via Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific, the premium carrier has been championing a #LifeWellTravelled for three years now, through the rich, wonderful stories of passengers. The campaign centers on how travelling well transforms journeys into something more ― more memorable, more meaningful, more rewarding. And now, even more personal, because of how travelling provides a wealth of experience and perspective that impact and inspire each of us differently.

Cathay Pacific takes a closer look into how people live a well-travelled life by discovering their own unique take on their journeys. The full value of travelling cannot be captured by souvenirs and photos alone, but rather these are captured by our own personal points of view. These are what really make adventures meaningful

Going to Belgium via Cathay Pacific

Four passionate individuals share their points of view through their own distinct creations which show what it means to live a life well-travelled with Cathay Pacific and how this enriches people in different ways.


Cathay Pacific Life Well Traveled 2017 Ambassadors


One of Asia’s top chefs
, Margarita Fores, reinvents her iconic dish of water spinach ravioli, Negros cross-crab, calamansi cream, baby crab fat and leek hay, with touches that showcase her travels. Even the table setting of Margarita Fores is a montage of old and new, and all about places she loves –with Murano stemware, plaid French country china, and silver cutlery on woven Filipino fabric.

Chef Margarita Fores with Cathay Pacific


Bag designer Amina Aranaz uses her signature embroidery and woven straw techniques to create a woven bag and trunk that allow you to take a stylish piece of home with you wherever you go. The distinct cultural symbols reference the many wonderful insights she has gained from various travels, while the different world landmarks embroidered onto native materials show how inspiration from all over the globe can make something beautiful.

Amina Aranaz with Cathay Pacific


For entrepreneur Chris Tiu, it was his visits to Europe that taught him to appreciate quality pastries and pushed him and his friends to bring Eric Kayser, baker of some of the finest pastries in the world to the Philippines. The extensive range of pastries and baked goods and flavors from Eric Kayser travel across the world and find their way to Filipino palates.

Chris Tiu with Cathay Pacific


Stylist Liz Uy takes cues from the street styles found in different countries for her display which reflects a wardrobe inspired by everything she loves from the fashion capitals – whether it’s the underground appeal of New Yorkers or the Italians’ love for everything over the top. Switching up her style has never been easier, especially when anchored on a standout piece.

Liz Uy with Cathay Pacific

Discover what a life welltravelled means through,as well as through #LifeWellTravelled posts on social media, which chronicle many a passenger’s amazing journey around the world made possible by Cathay Pacific.

True confessions over dinner at Man Wah, at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong

Remembering a delicious Cantonese dinner and interesting conversation at Man Wah, the famous Chinese restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, which is also one of Hong Kong's great foodie institutions

Man Wah, the famous Chinese restaurant at the top of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, has long been one of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong, and I've actually had the pleasure of dining solo and ordering an entire Peking duck for myself on several occasions, while staying at the Mandarin Hong Kong

Man Wah is often my last stop before flying out of Hong Kong, you see, and I take the evening flight so I have lunch by myself after all my friends have already left. You can imagine the stares I get from other diners when I do this. 




But, to tell you the truth, I quite enjoyed getting a table with a view of Hong Kong harbor at Man Wah and ordering a Peking duck by myself without having to carry on a conversation with someone else. 

Dining solo at Man Wah always gave me time to appreciate the view and the food, as well as to think about a lot of things. It also enabled me to better appreciate my incredible luck in life, dining in this beautiful restaurant. I would never be able to think about my life or my luck if I was dining with other people at Man Wah.



One weekend, I was in Hong Kong for a 24-hour stopover after two weeks in Europe and of course I had dinner at Man WahEven on a Sunday evening, which is typically a very quiet day for restaurants in the Central district, Man Wah was full of prosperous-looking locals.

A British friend living in Hong Kong joined us for a lauriat dinner at Man Wah so I booked a table for three. It turned out that we were actually four for dinner.

He brought with him that night his new girlfriend, who was very much the type of girl he always dates -- a very pretty ex-model from an ex-Russian state with a penchant for expensive jewelry

This girl wanted to be a lawyer and she seemed very nice and street smart. She'd lived in TokyoLuxembourgGreeceSpain and even in Bulgaria. In Tokyo, she'd done modeling for Louis Vuitton

She was certainly eye candy for the high-flyer he was, being the kind of guy who wanted to have everything in life -- a great career, cash in the bank, expensive toys and the beautiful woman next to him.




So I'd met a never-ending string of his eye candies before, over dinner in all the great restaurants around the world. 

I called his penchant for new girlfriends the "revolving door policy" as he had a new girlfriend every six months -- so much so that I always hesitated to try and get to know the new girl, as I knew she wasn't going to be around for long.


But this particular new girlfriend seemed ambitious, determined and yet charmingly warm. 

She began almost every other sentence with the phrase "I have to confess to you..."

This initially made me feel like she was going to admit to something earthshaking like "I have to confess to you that I was a Cold War spy," or "I have to confess to you that I was a man before a sex-change operation.

Or "I have to confess to you that I was the ex-girl friend of a Russian mobster." Or perhaps the second wife of a Third World dictator.


It turned out that it was probably just the kind of stilted English she'd learned at school back in Russia -- or the result of her translating from Russian to English

Because her unusual way of starting her sentences with "I have to confess to you" was followed by statements like "that I'm crazy about spas." So what she actually wanted to say was: "I have to confess to you that I'm crazy about spas." 

Or her other confession: "I have to confess to you that I love designer clothes but I only buy at the Foxtown outlet in Europe." Foxtown is the designer outlet in Switzerland, just across the Italian border, by the way.

But the two of them seemed very in love, as was always the case anyway with my friend and a new girl, and my friend seemed quite happy

We talked about many things, but we began the evening by talking about travel, perhaps because of my connection with Travelife Magazine.


Then it was time for my friend to make his own confession. 

He was in a troubled state of mind

"So I have two weeks to go on holiday and an unlimited budget," he began. "But the problem is, we can't decide where to go. We sat by the pool all morning googling places on our iPhones and we just couldn't decide."

He was talking big but he wasn't really boasting either when he said he had an unlimited budget, but was just doing regular conversation. 

In his world -- the world of high-flyers in international finance -- people talk like this all the time and no one gives it a second thought because that's just how everyone else around them lives. 

Lots of them do have unlimited travel budgets.


"The trouble with you is that you're spoiled for choice," I said. "With enough time and no money constraints, you have the whole world and that's just too much. If you were just a little less fortunate, like most normal people, I can guarantee that you'd be booking a trip somewhere in 30 minutes. There would be at least five places you'd love to visit in a heartbeat." 

I'd definitely be able to quickly name five cities I'd love to spend two weeks in with unlimited spending on my credit card.

He smiled. 

Being extremely competitive, he certainly liked the idea of being more fortunate than his other pretty fortunate peers in his pretty fortunate universe.

But it was this very same competitiveness that got him to where he is today -- and that's what's also getting him to where he's headed tomorrow.

So over dinner, we continued our lively conversations, although most of it was more true confessions from his now ex-girlfriend from Russia, as well as about our memories over 20 years of living very interesting lives around the world, living a #Travelife

Sunday, December 10, 2017

A princess in the fairytale city of Prague in the Czech Republic

The beautiful city of Prague is probably the best place to feel like a princess in, even just for a week. Read about how luck smiled on me and how everything fell into place for a wonderful holiday in the Czech Republic, living a #Travelife.

The Vitava River in Prague, the Czech Republic

I've been to Prague more times than I can count because I love this city. I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. On one of these holidays to Prague, I met some wonderful people who treated me like a princess for a week.

The weather was just beautiful in the Czech Republic at that time so this made my holiday even more perfect.




This visit to the Czech Republic really started on the spur of the moment, you might say; but this it almost always what happens in my never-ending Travelife. Everything starts out as an idea but eventually things somehow fall into place to create the most wonderful trips to so many truly lovely destinations.

Czesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic

To top it off, I had very good company to go around the places I wanted to visit in the Czech Republic. After a few days in Prague, off we went to visit Czesky Krumlov and Marianske Lazne, two famous spa towns in the Czech Republic. Then it was back to Prague for another two days before flying out to Paris.


On my last day in the Czech Republic, I booked a session at Spa Beerland, which is a beer spa in Prague. As you know, the Czech Republic is known for its beersAnd then, from the beer spa, I walked back to my hotel sans map and through the streets of the Old Town, for a good two kilometers.

The beer spa in Prague

Prague is not a very easy city to navigate, but for some reason, I didn't get lost returning to my hotel. Talk about lucky, getting from one end of Prague to the other without a map. I just kept walking based on intuition, not fearing getting lost.

Maybe Prague will be another city I will know like the back of my hand...


Walking around Prague Castle at night

Then for a last dinner in Prague -- what can I say?

My fairy godmother smiled down at me and provided me with another wonderful evening and excellent company. Three gentlemen appeared out of nowhere and they all really treated me like a princess.

One of them hosted a very nice traditional Czech dinner at his restaurant, and other two -- who are friends of friends -- gallantly acted as my escorts for the night. They picked me up at my hotel and drove me to the restaurant, and kept me company for dinner.

We had a very nice time at a restaurant on top of a hill overlooking Prague and a skip and a hop away from Prague Castlewith a dramatically-lit convent in the background.

Then, after dinner, we four walked towards the edge of the hill so that I could have a last look at Prague in all its beauty. The views of Prague from the hill are really breathtaking.


And then the next morning, the two gentlemen were again at my hotel at 8 AM to personally take me to the airport. I could have taken a hotel car, really, but they were insistent on bringing me to the airport themselves

I can't stop thanking the Universe for my great luck. Things like this happen to me all the time -- everything just always falls into place without me obsessing too much over what will happen or thinking too much about the end resultsI just know that somehow everything will work out well enough in my #Travelife.

Prague Airport 

At Prague Airport, which is not too near the city center, by the way, one of them said: "Always remember that you now have friends in Prague. And it's not often we have a lady guest from overseas -- so she should be treated like a princess."

Indeed, I truly felt like a princess in the fairytale city of Prague, living a never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.