It's true -- some of the best things in life are spur-of-the-moment. Such as our close-to-midnight jaunt to the Peninsula Manila's Salon de Ning last Saturday night. There we were at 11 pm, back from a Japanese sukiyaki dinner; and after a massage, we were just about ready get on our bed, take out the laptop and type out a promised email to a friend when a text came from good friends we literally see at least once a week. The last time we met up was on Sunday afternoon, to watch the Zobel Cup finals at the Polo Club, and we spent a happy afternoon literally shooting the breeze and watching the game. Then came the rest of the week -- and for once we actually didn't make any concrete plans for meeting up this weekend. Which was very rare, indeed.
A great crowd at Salon de Ning
The text came just as I was about to get into bed: "Ready to party. Where are you? Let's go to SDN."
He was referring to Salon de Ning at the Peninsula Manila, of course. I thought for a very brief moment about not going this time -- but that would've broken our uninterrupted ritual of a weekly meal or meeting somewhere in this city.
So I fought off inertia, quickly dressed up again and made my way to the Pen for a nightcap at Salon de Ning. At 11 pm, the lobby was hopping -- practically teeming with people who were either friends or acquaintances; and when we got into SDN, it was even more full with familiar faces from varying generations and industries.
Then, multi-talented events man Ferdie Salvador, who we last saw dancing in Republiq at 4 AM one Sunday morning a few weeks back, came over to greet us. "Everyone's here," he said, by way of greeting. "What's going on?"
I shrugged. "Belated Chinese New Year celebrations?"
The term "everyone" is of course relative -- but I knew what he meant. There were people to say hi to everywhere. The music playing, too, was just great. When we arrived, the music being spun by the DJ was from the 80s, as there were quite a number of the older generations around. Then a band came on and played more up-to-date music for the younger generations who were staying on past midnight. And by the time we left, the place was awash with a lot of unrecognizable techno beats that got lots of young people going. It was an incredibly good Saturday night crowd.
Merrymaking at the Fila Cup
Today we headed to the Polo Club at 2 pm for the Fila Cup polo finals. It was going to be a very long afternoon of polo games, followed by an awarding ceremony and then several performances on the field. The evening was set to end with a big buffet dinner on the polo field and a band playing everything from Beatles and Elvis Presley to Modern English. The arrival of dinner itself was a big production. An entire phalanx of chefs walked onto the field bearing large trays of food. When everything was set, people made their way down the stairs and onto the polo field to get supper.
The Polo chefs on parade
Fortunately, the weather couldn't be finer. It wasn't at all hot in the afternoon, and by nightfall, the temperatures had dropped down to such a comfortable degree that I just felt like sitting in a chair with my nth glass of Moet and not talking to anyone in particular. We have about three weeks left of this good weather, and I wanted to savor every minute of it.
The organizers sure made sure no one was wanting for drinks all day and night. Moet flowed like water, and there was lots of other stuff for those who didn't fancy champagne. One of the polo players, Jose Constantino, joined us for several rounds of bubblies. He was in a very good mood as his team had just won two weekends in a row.
"It must be exhausting being on the field all afternoon," I said. He nodded. "And I had to umpire six chukkers besides competing, so I'm really tired," he replied.
At 8 pm, I decided to leave and two chilled bottles of champagne were still being brought over to our table just in case some people still hand't had enough. That was quite hard to imagine, though, considering we'd been knocking back the glasses of bubbly all afternoon.
Our nth glass of Moet