Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Solo on the Silk Road, 24 hours in a Samar Cave

We've taken a bit longer to tell you about Travelife's wonderful October-November Pre-Holiday issue because travel, the GK Hope Ball and so many other things have been taking up our time recently. But the issue was released at the start of October and it is still on the newsstands for the rest of the month, so we really hope you get a copy!

About Travelife Magazine's October-November issue

The holiday season has arrived in the Philippines, happily synonymous with cooler weather, midnight masses and holiday parties. It is said that the Philippines celebrates the longest holiday season in the world and Filipinos are incurably proud of this fact. In the first part of our October-November issue, Travelife Magazine makes note of this and recommends certain items that you may want to consider giving your significant others – or yourself. Sure, we’re starting early; but if you hang on to this issue into November and the early days of December, our picks should still be good.

On location in Istanbul and the "boyfriend smile"

This issue's cover was shot on location in Istanbul, and we had a fantastic time putting together the pictorial in the gardens of Istanbul's fabled Topkapi Palace and in front of the beautiful Blue Mosque. It was a particularly fine day and we had a lively and very pretty model named Zubeydeh. Being a model, she was used to the typical fashion pictorial of beautiful women posing in expensive clothes against a beautiful backdrop, but looking like they have a stomachache. This posed a problem for us as our covers are normally different. We like to feature models who are having a good time.

So, of course, we had to think of all sorts of ingeniuous ways to make her show her teeth. Finally we hit the right spot. She gave us a nice smile when we told her to think of her boyfriend, and then an especially wide smile when we suggested she think of her previous boyfriend. But she had the best smile when we asked her to imagine a future boyfriend. We amusedly wondered why...but of course we're not telling the current boyfriend this.

The boyfriend smile in the Topkapi Palace Gardens

The ex-boyfriend smile in the Topkapi Palace Gardens

A minute of inspiration on Turkey

It was during this trip to Turkey, in the comfort of our lie-flat beds on Turkish Airlines' 777 jet back to Hong Kong, that we hatched a plan to organize a trip to Turkey for Travelife readers and friends. We'd had such a wonderful time in Turkey that we strongly felt that more Filipinos should have the opportunity to visit. Well, that minute of inspiration is now becoming a reality. From this weekend, over 70 readers and friends of Travelife Magazine will be journeying to Istanbul for us to see for themselves the places we at Travelife have marveled about in our magazine and in this blog.

This is part of Travelife Magazine's core philosophy of not only writing about wondrous places, but also of trying to bring wondrous places to our valued readers. Watch out for more fabulous travel experiences next year. We'll be offering Turkey tours on a regular basis and adding other fabled destinations. In fact, just yesterday at lunch with a powerhouse airline lady, I was already hatching up a tour to another intriguing location for next year. But that's another story.

Travelife Magazine will be your travel partner

For now, let me tell you that I personally have put a lot of time and effort into planning this trip to Turkey, and I hope it will make all the difference between a commercial tour and a trip with Travelife -- in terms of value, arrangements and planning. After traveling with Travelife in some way -- whether it's bringing a copy of our magazine, with all our recommendations, on your trip, or actually going along with us on one of our many exciting voyages next year -- we're hoping you will not want to go anywhere without Travelife anymore. We will be your travel partners in every sense -- and no other travel publication will offer you this experience.

From dark to light in the Philippines

Back to our October-November issue. Gabby Malvar, Travelife Magazine's Editor at Large, periodically subjects himself to the unusual. He’s at it again, this time in extreme altitudes. In Samar’s caves, he goes Walking the Underworld (page 84). Deprived of sensory input in visceral darkness, he turns his mind to deep philosophical musings. And from within the bowels of the earth he goes to the extreme opposite and heads skyward aboard an Ultralight aircraft. High above the Pampanga countryside he soars in a Flight of Imagination (page 96).

Erstwhile globetrotter Caroline Eden makes her way deep into Central Asia, to Bukhara, Uzbekistan, one of the ancient cities on the Silk Road. Her account of Recapturing Bukhara (page 92) is so vivid, it makes the reader want to see it for himself. I certainly wanted to. On the other side of the world, Francesca Panti visits Berlin and experiences a darker side to the history of Germany. In Dark Pasts, Bright Futures (page 88) she shows us that there is a lesson to be learned amidst the gloomy monuments to man’s ignominy. Decades of relative peace after the Second World War and the Cold War, it seems that we’ve finally embraced that lesson. Or have we?

Planning for Turkey next year

In this issue, we also show how fabled Istanbul continues Echoing the Past in the Present (page 68). Even if you're not joining us in Istanbul this week (we hope you'll consider joining us next year!), you'll find our account quite thorough; a worthy guide for your visit.

A shortlist of holiday destinations

This is a holiday issue in many ways. All the destinations here are possible alternatives to the year-end troop to Boracay, Hong Kong, or Baguio. Of special mention is a pilgrimage tour to Spain’s Santiago de Compostela for Filipino pilgrims, offered for the first time by the Spain Tourism Board and Thai Airways. But if these are not in your stars, our roundup may just provide the alternative, outlining excellent hotel restaurants easily at par with your celebratory mood.

Hong Kong, next issue

We’ve had a busy time putting this issue together, and the outcome is something which provokes your thought, emotions, and ideas. We hope you find it useful and informative. We’ll see you next issue, our December-January issue shot in Hong Kong, a city so familiar to so many of us but one that is perpetually exciting and always changing. By then the holidays will really be upon us.



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