Thursday, April 28, 2011

A perfect day


Can this day have gone any better? Sometimes you just have almost perfect days and today is one of them. Interestingly I got very little sleep since I’d finally hit the sack at 230 am this morning and was up again by 530 am for some reason. Then I drove across town to make it in time for a radio guesting on The Wakeup Show with Vince Golangco and Tracey Abad. Now these two guys are a bundle of energy (I really don’t know how they do it); but the gist here is that I had so much fun shooting the breeze with them on-air, talking about our latest issue and also sharing a bit about my experience in the Tokyo earthquake.

This is my second time on their show and between my two guestings, which was basically a matter of two months, I feel a lifetime has happened. Of course, I’d been to six countries and a couple of cities in the Philippines, plus had a near-death experience in the Tokyo earthquake in-between; and so maybe that’s why I feel I’ve lived a whole lifetime between these two guestings. It’s like I came full circle between that first time and today.

Here are some photos of DJ Vince and DJ Tracey clowning around with their favorite magazine, by the way.

HAPPY DAYS OF CRAZY SCHEDULES

Then my day was taken up with meetings, all very successful. I’m happy to say we’ve concluded some significant deals for Travelife today -- the results of meetings and and lots of hard work hatching up plans the entire week. In fact, things have been so crazily busy that yesterday, when someone’s assistant rang me seeking face-time for her boss this week, I looked at my schedule on my computer and said to her: “Thursday at 630 AM or at 11 PM, or Friday at 1045 PM.”

But none of those worked for her boss. How about Saturday? She asked. Nope, I was scheduled to attend a cooking class with a top French chef from France at 9 AM and then was completely unavailable after that. And I so didn’t want to do another 630 AM meeting on a Saturday because I've been doing this all week. That’s how busy my week has been.

GOING DUTCH

Then tonight, I went to the beautiful home of Ambassador Robert Brinks of the Netherlands, to join in the official celebrations for the birthday of H.E. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Ambassador Brinks has the kind of home I want to live in: it’s very modern and open, but it’s also warm and inviting. Not too many modern homes can get this combination right. I also like the touches of quirkiness he has in his home, in spite of its elegance and formality. For example, he has a complete row of little KLM blue and white Dutch houses – the kind they give away to business class passengers at the end of a long-haul trip -- on his dining room sideboard, quaint bird statues everywhere and a statue of a spotted cow in his garden.

The party itself was great fun, and as usual I bumped into many people I knew of all generations and professions and was able to catch up. It was a treat to catch up with so many people in one go, especially as I just have too few chances to meet up with friends in Manila. I even bumped into some people who'd joined the Travelife Turkey Tour in November, and we spent a fascinating few minutes talking about the joys of bird watching -- which is a great passion of theirs.

ONLY FOR THE BIRDS

Apparently the Philippines has 200 rare bird species, which is both unusual and amazing. "The entire Philippines can fit into one province of China, but they have only 100 rare species," one of my bird watcher friends said. I then asked: "Is the Philippines tops for rare bird species then?" I mean if we were ahead of massive China, we must be pretty near the top. Someone answered: "No, we're more in the middle, especially compared to countries like Costa Rica."

Tonight certainly was one of the most enjoyable embassy parties and I think much has to do with the fact that Ambassador Brinks is a warm and friendly ambassador who doesn't take himself so seriously. I stayed way longer than I expected to; and on the way out, Ambassador Brinks accompanied me until the door. There was one bunch of tulips from the Netherlands by the side of the door and he gave them to me on-the-spur-of-the-moment. It was the very last bouquet and I was so pleased to receive it.

MAKE MINE A HERRING

It was also at this cocktail party where I witnessed the pretty fantastic sight of formally dressed Dutch people holding up long and large pieces of herring above their heads and eating it by slowly dropping the herring into their mouths from above, inch-by-inch. I'd found a place to rest my plate and eat at the ambassador's long dining table, and somewhere down this table were a row of Dutch people sitting upright and literally pouring the herring into their mouths from above.

"You've got to try that," said Consul Tony Rufino, with whom I'd been eating with and exchanging some gossip with. "You're Travelife, after all."

It looked very unusual and in all my visits to the Netherlands, I'd never actually witnessed such a scene. But he assured me that this was indeed the proper way to have herring. I was set to try it as well, in my formal saree and all, but I they'd run out of herring by then. Apparently it was very popular.

NOSTALGIA FOR THE 80s AND 90s

The last event of the evening was a rendezvous with the Travelife staff, both present and former, at a very nice bar and lounge that we’re thinking of using for a Travelife thank you party for our advertisers. Great music was playing -- the band was actually playing songs from the late 80s and early 90s -- and finally I could relax.

Could the day have actually gone any better? No, this was one of those almost perfect days.


ON SALE EVERYWHERE FROM APRIL 15
Travelife's Special Summer Issue
with Angel Aquino in Boracay
Angel Aquino in Bora
for Travelife Magazine's April-May 2011 issue

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