Monday, August 16, 2010

Travelife Magazine's Malaysia Issue: Aug-Sep 2010

Our August-September anniversary issue is now on the newsstands, and it's a truly wonderful issue reflective of the "Truly Asia" setting of our cover: Kuala Lumpur. Beginning with our one-week trip to Malaysia with the entire Travelife editorial team on board, it was a very enjoyable issue to make, and we hope you have as much fun reading it as we had producing it.

As with our past issues, Managing Editor Jon Vicente, who is wonderful with witty phrases and never at a loss for words, best captures what's great about our new issue, so we're once again borrowing some of his copy -- which you'll find in his Managing Editor Note in the magazine.

Thanks and Sensibilities

This August-September issue marks Travelife Magazine’s third anniversary -- no small feat for a title in an industry where the annual issue is as much a milestone as a headstone. That we’ve lasted three years means that what we like to write about is probably what you like to read. Over the past three years, we've brought you information that provides great value – about the places you’ve seen, or want to see, the details that help you get there and get there in style. Within our core competency of travel, this is our way of showing you how much we value your patronage. There is of course a more direct way, and the third anniversary is as good a time as any to say it to you, our dear readers and advertisers. From all of us, thank you for being readers, friends and fans of Travelife Magazine and helping make us the Philippines' leading travel and lifestyle publication.

Our August-September issue features places where contrasting elements enrich the tourist’s experience with more significance than just “being there.”

Wonderful MALAYSIA

Our cover, shot on the Skybridge of Kuala Lumpur's iconic Petronas Towers, tells of a country that is becoming among ASEAN’s most significant tourist spots. In Visions of Kuala Lumpur, one finds the old and the new in proximity, and the feeling created by the proximity of historical landmarks and modern skyscrapers gets us wondering why it took us so long to visit. In May, the entire Travelife editorial team flew to KL and Penang to discover exactly what's so great about Malaysia. And we liked what we found so much that it took a lot of persuading for us not to re-book tickets back to Manila. It also helped that the wonderful ladies and gentlemen of Tourism Malaysia showed us just how much fun Malaysia can be -- they took us to favorite restaurants and gamely went along on our innumerable shopping excursions. We became fast friends and not a few of the editorial team are constantly on YM with them in KL even now.

Working with Zahnita

In KL, where we shot our cover, we had the pleasure and privilege of working with Zahnita Wilson, one of Malaysia's top models and a true pro in every sense. Needless to say, the guys on our team were won over by her beauty and charm. In fact, they were speechless when they weren't behind camera lenses, arranging backdrops, or carrying paraphernalia. Meanwhile, I really enjoyed talking with her over lunch -- she had smoked salmon while I had, well, everything delicious on the menu -- and in-between shoots. Zani, as we all called her, was forever smiling and she never even for a second showed a hint of fatigue in spite of the heat and the very long day. That alone was enough to impress, were it not for the fact that she also cleaned her house herself, looked after her toddler daughter and a cat, and was due for one more assignment that evening after our whole-day shoot. Yes, all of us were ready for room service and hot baths after being out the whole day, but Zani had about three minutes to rest and then it was off to a fashion show that would last till midnight. Our wonderful KL cover and inside fashion shoot was styled by Travelife Creative Director Dexter de Vera and shot by Travelife's photographer Brian Lim, with the assistance of Managing Editor Jon Vicente and Contributing Editor Buddy Cunanan.

Driving through TASMANIA

And speaking of contrasts, Travelife's Domestic Editor at Large Gabby Malvar, a former resident of Australia, provides us A Taste of Tasmania, exposing a vast and unexplored land whose quality of being simultaneously civilized and untamed provides the tourist with much that is unique and wonderful. Tasmania, known as the "island of inspiration," is the 26th largest island in the world with 37% of its land area taken up by natural reserves, national parks, and World Heritage sites. As Gabby will confirm, it's the perfect venue for a driving trip with two teenage daughters.

Bullfights in MADRID, sushi in TOKYO

In a moving piece called Tears at the Arena, Dheza Marie Aguilar writes about the bullfights in Madrid. Amidst a throng caught in the event’s bloodlust, her reaction stands out, leaving the reader with – at the very least – something to ponder. Meanwhile, global traveler and epicurean Jerome Velasco obtains an audience with Jiro Sukiyabashi, widely regarded as the world’s greatest sushi chef. This brief but intense encounter with world-class sushi makes for very enjoyable reading. Jerome, by the way, is an expert on Japanese food so when he writes about really good sushi, you can sure take his word for it.

Amazing, amazing CAPADOCCIA

At the back of the book, this month's Frequent Flier column features Float of Fancy, literally a high-flying tale about an amazing sunrise balloon ride where the rugged view of the Capadoccian landscape in Turkey is softened by the gently lilting flight of a balloon. The views and the uplifting experience are almost guaranteed to give you some kind of personal epiphany. Yes, we had a hard time waking up at an ungodly hour for the drive to the lift-off site sans breakfast; but this hot-air balloon ride at 6 AM was so worth it. I will never forget what I saw and felt for as long as I live. It's certainly one trip for anyone's bucket list.

Rafe takes on BARCELONA

For this issue, international designer Rafe Totengco, Travelife Magazine's Global Editor at Large, writes about the lively city of Barcelona, a mecca for designers and lovers of good food and the good life. Rafe recently traveled there with his best friend, the equally famous and talented New York-based designer Peter Som, and he diligently lists down for our readers all the fabulous sightseeing attractions, restaurants and shops that caught his sharp eyes. Don't leave for Barcelona without Rafe's guide.

A life changed through VIRTUAL TOURIST

Miko Liwanag, an endless adventurer and passionate heritage conservationist, and our regular columnist for Travel Light, writes a very personal piece about how the online travel website literally changed his life and opened up a whole new world of friends and destinations for him. Miko's not one for sentimentalism, as his friends will tell you, but this piece is one he wrote from a true traveler's heart.

This issue also seeks to acknowledge our male audience, which apparently comprises an equal share of our readers Creative Director Dexter de Vera gives our style pages a different spin. We hope this provides you with a mix and match guide to a dapper, sensible, look. Why should that matter? Well, if sepia prints of colonial adventurers or pictures of linen suited, suede-loafered men are any proof, traveling is as much about looking the part as playing it.

It is with your help that Travelife is stronger than before. Moving forward, we’re embarking on better and bigger things.


Better is in October, when Travelife Magazine, with Gawad Kalinga, The Peninsula Manila and Rustan's, holds the very first GK Hope Ball. The first event of its kind held by Gawad Kalinga, it will link sectors within the Philippines to achieve something even greater than community building: nation building.

Come fly with Travelife to TURKEY
Nov 13-20, 2010
Nov 17-24, 2010

Bigger comes in November, when Travelife heads to fabled Istanbul and Izmir on award-winning Turkish Airlines, in Turkey with some of you in tow. We're offering a once-in-a-lifetime one-week all-inclusive tour at a promotional price impossible to get elsewhere. Five-star hotels in central locations. All meals. All flights. Great tour guides. All the major sights covered. All tours and entrance fees. And, yes, enough shopping time -- or even time to putter around Istanbul's ancient alleys, if you so wish.

There will be two groups: Nov 13-20 and Nov 17-24, 2010. If you've always wanted to visit Turkey, do not miss this opportunity to get out of your world and dive into a civilization much older than Christ. We've been to Turkey five times and it never fails to blow our minds away. (The shopping is fantastic, too, by the way...)

And the last word, I'll leave to Managing Editor Jon: "After three years, what’s next? I can’t say for sure, because life and the burgeoning events conspire to hurl the future a historical curve ball. In the foreseeable future however, it will involve writing about more wondrous places, and things. We’ll see you right beside us when we do."


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