Friday, May 13, 2011

Escape to the Shangri-la

I'd been in Manila for all of three nights -- three nights I was out every evening, mind you -- when the travel bug hit again and I felt I wanted to get away from it all. Unfortunately, unlike many other times in the past (including just a couple of days ago), it wasn't very easy to just pack up and go away for this particular weekend as I had many commitments in town and even some renovations going on at home.


I'd been thinking about renovations since last weekend, after leafing through back issues of Architectural Digest during a stay at my home in Mount Fuji in Japan, and I'd made up my mind to change the look of my house in Manila somehow. And as anyone who knows me -- or has worked with me -- knows, I always want things done yesterday. I guess that when you have so little time and so much on your plate all the time, you just don't have patience for slow or wishy-washy. You just move on.

So between last weekend and now, with a couple of driving trips and airplane rides -- plus lots of work in two cities -- in between, I'd somehow organized a renovation of my house and brought in new fixtures and furnitures. In 30 minutes, I'd bought what I needed at one of my favorite stores in Manila, which had been persuaded to stay open and wait for me to arrive one evening. I'd texted the store on my way home from the airport -- the day I flew in from Tokyo earlier this week -- and visited the store that same evening to choose the stuff needed for the renovations I'd been planning in my head on the plane back to Manila.

Then everything had been arranged for deliveries and installations yesterday, and it's all set to finish in time for a dinner party I'm hosting for friends at home tonight. I've just had the most wonderful lunch at the Shang Palace (which I'll blog about later) and I still have to think about the menu for tonight in a bit, as well.

"You're cooking dinner for a group of people tonight?" My lunch companion asked. "Where do you find the time and what are you cooking?"

I shrugged. "I'm planning to think about it from now." It was true. I'd hardly had time to myself these past weeks (or maybe it's more like months) so today was a bit of Me Time, and I purposely didn't think about anything too taxing today, as I planned to return to the real world the moment I left Shangri-la. Life can wait till then, I figured. And, yes, it's a hectic life but I can't imagine it any other way.


So, as you can see, this weekend was not quite the time to just pack up and head for The Farm at San Benito in Lipa or Chiva-Som in Thailand, two of my favorite de-stressing places in this part of the world. I was just at The Farm in March but I haven't been to Chiva-Som in a while now and am just hankering to find a free five days, or even a weekend, to go. Ordinarily, I would leave in a minute. But not any of this weekend's minutes, unfortunately.


That was when the idea hit me, to simply -- literally, in check-in and go -- get away from it all by escaping to a very convenient and literal urban shangri-la. Yes, I packed a small bag and spent last night at the Shangri-la Makati just chilling out, and it was so good. Now I know why busy people love staycations. You can feel you're somewhere else in a matter of minutes without having to uproot yourself and go through the motions of travel like immigrations and airplanes.

I checked in after a very nice dinner with a friend, so that was at about 930 PM, and I'd booked a corner suite with a great view of Makati. When I'd settled in, I glanced at the spa brochure. The spa is open 24 hours at the Shangri-la! What a luxury and just what busy people need. So I rang them up and booked a Judith Jackson aromatherapy massage and facial for 1030 PM. As luck would have it, I had very good therapists for both, and the masseuse in particular worked magic on my tired shoulders and feet. When she finished, it was close to midnight but I felt like a new person, and I still had a facial coming up.

When everything was over, it was early morning and I was ready to finally hit the sack. A full weekend was coming up and it couldn't have started better than with a Friday night sleepover at the Shangri-la Makati -- five minutes from home.

What's on my iPod this weekend:

I love this song this week...
Sweet Reunion
by Kenny Loggins

You Can't Hide Your Heart From Me
by Brenda Russell


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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