Our February-March 2010 issue is one of our best yet -- and we really had a lot of fun putting it together as well.
Our issue starts out with a great Editor's Note from Managing Editor Jon Vicente, who edits wonderfully, writes wittily, works quickly, and makes us laugh all the time -- a fantastic combination, as far as we're concerned. In his Managing Editor's Note, he eloquently sums up the best of this issue, and we're going to borrow some of his copy to describe our latest issue and entice you to pick it up at the nearest bookstore before it sells out. (This photo of Jon, by the way, shows him already hard at work on his Powerbook on our April-May issue.)
Of course, the photo shoot in New York that captured the style and pace of this lively city that considers itself the center of the world was central to a wonderful issue. For our cover and inside style pages, model Richard Herrera was shot on location in New York for TRAVELIFE by Dinno Paulo Jurado and Mara Estores, with styling by Pia Campos.
In this issue, TRAVELIFE walks you through New York’s city streets. High-powered IT specialist Angelique Faustino, a long-time Manhattan resident, and designer par excellence Rafe Totengco (Travelife's Global Editor at Large) both write about what they love best about New York and recommend places for even the most jaded denizens. Angelique is all serious at work, but she has an equally serious flair for fun and fashion -- thus we have a great article from her on spending a weekend the real New Yorker way. Happily, most of it doesn't involve shelling out big bucks. Meanwhile, Rafe needs no further introduction. And we're so glad he's agreed to be a part of Travelife. Rafe's regular column, The Rafe Guide, which will chronicle his visits to fashionable and/or exotic places, debuts in this issue with (appropriately) his musings on New York, the city he calls home.
Then we skipped across the Big Pond for Eric Ramirez’s singular take on touring Europe on a hungry and enthusiastic stomach. Appropriately, we met Eric, who very successfully invests in and runs various businesses, over a delicious birthday dinner at a mutual friend's home. His accounts of his travels immediately enticed us to ask him to contribute a piece for Travelife. Together with his wife Pam, who is equally a passionate foodie, he scoured Europe's best food markets for the finest produce. We got so hungry editing "A Moveable Feast," his wonderful article full of generous tidbits on what's delicious everywhere, that we headed for the best Italian restaurant we could think of as soon as we closed our Macs. Eric's piece was so appetizing that -- right there and then -- we would have flown to Italy for pasta with clams in white wine, slices of prosciutto and a glass of wine, if we could.
Travel often begins with a book, many predating Travelife significantly. Col. John H. Patterson’s The Man-Eaters of Tsavo was published in 1907, but served effectively as contributing editor Buddy Cunanan’s travel guide through Mombasa, Kenya. He recalls a week spent in this former East African British Crown jewel in his lively narrative “Shining in the Dark Continent.”
Meanwhile, we don't see Local Editor at Large Gabby Malvar as often as we would like, because he is usually on a plane, train, bus or else lost somewhere on a rickety banca headed for an undiscovered paradise. However, he makes up for his absence by providing us with amazing tales of adventure. Gabby, a former corporate finance man who -- at least to us -- seems more used to managing millions of dollars rather than navigating treacherous waters in a tiny boat, has two articles in this issue. He writes about a thrilling ride down the Chico River and a solo voyage that led to self-discovery on Easter Island. Somewhere in Gabby’s childhood was a book about Easter Island’s stone heads, with pictures so vivid that visiting them made his Bucket List. He describes the long overdue meeting in his poignant piece “Over my Head in Easter Island.” (That's a photo of Gabby relaxing in one of the beautiful corner suites of the Peninsula Manila with a glass of sauvignon blanc in his hand.)
Then we have university president and war data/ memorabilia enthusiast Vince Fabella, who is fortunate enough to have cousins who share the same interest. With the efficiency of war strategists, they planned a driving trip through Europe that took in the main battlefields of World Wars I and II, and had a really good time re-living scenes from war movies in the actual villages they were based on, and hunting down bunkers in the middle of nowhere. Vince and his cousins are now planning another war trip -- but this time to the Pacific war zones.
Keiichi Miki, a Tokyo banker and fund manager by profession, looks incisively into the challenges and potential of Philippine medical tourism today in an article ominously titled "Holiday under the Knife." It's probably the most thorough look at medical tourism in the Philippines to date. What lengths he went through to “observe medical services in Japan, India, and the Philippines” are undisclosed. Judging by the article’s scope, it must have been no picnic.
One's outlook inevitably expands with travel. Take movie executive Selina Gocolea, this month’s Globetrotter, who travels the world watching movies. Selina, one of our most charming Globetrotters to date in a prestigious roster of wonderful, high-flying ladies, has been to so many countries that we've lost count. This avid wine enthusiast (we first met her over a Napa Valley wine dinner, in fact) says her dream trip is a food and wine tour of South Africa.
It's also with great pleasure that we feature an interview with Nivat Chantarachoti, Thai Airways' top man in Manila and a true frequent flier. In this issue, Nivat recalls how he got shuttled around different Scandinavian airports on his way to New York one time -- and ended up never reaching the Big Apple. We often used to describe Nivat as the second most popular expatriate in Manila -- and now that US Ambassador Kristie Kenney has left the Philippines, he probably wins the top slot hands down.
Finally, Syria is at the very top of our own travel wish-list. We've always wanted to visit the hauntingly beautiful old city of Damascus. So we ourselves eagerly anticipated this issue's Embassy Row interview, which features the very popular Syrian Consul to the Philippines Issam Eldebs. We've always believed that Embassy Row should be a section that gives readers a chance to get travel tips from the top representatives of various countries -- sort of like having the rare opportunity to sit next to an ambassador at dinner and hearing straight from him or her about what's best in his or her country. Well, Consul Eldebs certainly doesn't disappoint in this respect. He describes what's beautiful about Syria and points readers in the right direction regarding where to go, where to eat and what to buy in Syria. Don't miss his insights into this enigmatic country.
This 2010, embark on the adventure that is travel. Don’t wait. Because as Mark Twain, himself a consummate traveler, put it: “twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor… Explore. Dream. Discover." And discovering more about our fascinating world is remarkably easy: Get the latest issue of Travelife Magazine and simply turn the page.
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