Friday, March 25, 2011

Two brothers and a necklace

Good morning from another airport at 7 AM. This is beginning to be an almost daily habit, and NAIA 1 in particular is a place I pass through so often that I don't even have to tell them my name at certain check-in counters and lounges. I see some of them on a weekly basis so we even have running conversations about something from the previous week. And I'm so at home here that I can even choose which lounge to hang out in.

And this morning I'm at the MIASCOR lounge because they have taho and arroz caldo for breakfast, and a pretty good adobo pastry which they heat up for me in the oven.


Yesterday I was in Cebu. My day began with a cholesterol-busting breakfast at the Radisson Blu in Cebu. I usually don't eat breakfast, and if I actually have something at all, it's one of my raw vegetable juices (the Juju green juice is one of my favorite breakfast fares by the way). But yesterday, I don't know why, but I found myself heaping my plate with beef steak, longganisa and even a delicious dimsum which was actually a yummy Chinese sausage wrapped in a piece of bacon. I could almost feel my arteries clog -- especially after two days of really delicious lechon for breakfast and lunch in the Queen City of the South -- but I just couldn't resist.

Mid-morning we checked out of the hotel and I stopped by a friend's design workshop in the export processing zone on the way to the airport. He had some really beautiful products on display which I've never seen in Manila. Why do all the beautiful items get sent abroad?


But the piece de resistance yesterday was an amazing necklace that was fashioned to look like a garland of branches with sparkly diamond-type stones. It was new and a one-off item and I just had to have it. I don't think they even priced it yet, but I took it off the display, put it on and never took it off again. I already had the perfect black dress to wear it with, and the perfect occasion: I was going to the opening cocktails of the Van Hagen brothers at the Peninsula that evening and it was just the sort of occasion to wear something unique.

Well, last night I did wear this necklace with a very simple black dress, and you can't imagine how many people stopped to comment on it. Strangers talked to me in the elevator, acquaintances came up to me as I looked at the exhibit and friends wanted to know where I got it ("Secret," I said with a giggle).


Of course, back in Cebu, it took a while to purchase this necklace because it had just been made and then we had a bit of a haggle about the price. I'd budgeted about 15 minutes for this showroom visit and it turned out more than 40 minutes. My travel companion, who'd been working with me in Cebu, was beside himself with worry that we'd miss our flight as it was 40 minutes to take-off and we were still negotiating a necklace some distance away. He had an important meeting in Manila that afternoon.

"Relax," I said. "I take flights all the time and I've never missed one yet."

Yes, I do cut it close all the time, but simply because I'm trying to fill my hours with too many things. I usually check in for international flights about an hour before, and for domestic flights even later. It helps of course that lots of airlines know me by now because I fly so often, so they're just a little bit more lenient.

Anyway, just as I predicted, we were perfectly fine for our flight and I even had enough time to get on my Blackberry and buy some Cebu lechon.

Back in Manila after the one-hour flight from Cebu, I went straight home and dressed up and put on my fabulous necklace and headed to the office to do some work before Alex Van Hagen's cocktail party. I was really keen to go and see his works because I'd seen them on his camera about two weeks ago, at a dinner at Masseto, and they looked simply stunning even on a screen just a little bigger than two postage stamps. I just had to see them in real life.

Alex takes very ordinary things from nature and makes them into beautiful works of art. The ones I liked especially turned out to be the surfaces of barks of trees. "I shot that in Hidden Valley," he told me last night, as I admired one of his photos.

Meanwhile his brother does some lovely delicate etchings of scenes from the Philippines and Europe. I particularly liked one of an old Philippine church with a carabao looking out. Anyway, I'm planning to see the exhibit again when I return to Manila on Tuesday, without the crowds and the photographers last night. The exhibit at the Peninsula Gallery runs until this Friday, April 1.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend, wherever in the world you plan to be.

Interested in the Travelife Turkey Tours
for May 2011?
Click here to watch an interview on ANC
with Christine Cunanan,
Travelife Magazine Publisher
Angel Aquino in Bora
for Travelife Magazine last week


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