Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The finer things in life

The last 24 hours have just been incredible. If I had to rewind everything, 24 hours ago I was at a Peking duck dinner with four good friends and we were talking about the good old days of technology when we didn't have the Internet to plan our trips and some very lucky people carried really bulky satellite phones that were actually the forerunners of today's cellphone. I remember being in Spain with my parents in July 1999 and my father brought with him from Manila a contraption that was the equivalent of a man's clutch bag in size. It was heavy too. But this was the mobilephone of 1999 and it was incredibly cool. Practically no one had such a phone that enabled anyone to access you globally on a 24-hour basis.


One of my friends, the CEO of one of the largest multinationals in the Philippines actually, also had us in stitches recalling his younger days in Canada, when he and his fellow students made ice that were the exact shape and size of a Canadian coin. They would use these "ice coins" in the public pay phones, and this enabled them to talk forever. People who were not in the know would later come up to the row of phones and be shocked at the constant puddle of water around the phones. This water was of course the "residue" from the ice coins used by all the foreign students to call home.

And today, too, was one of those wonderfully productive days with absolutely no time to breathe until now, at 1130 PM. It sounds crazy to keep such a schedule, I know, but it's also exhilarating to be doing so much with every minute of everyday. I only wish there were 48 hours in a day and 1000 days in a year.

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Early morning, I was at Gaita Fores' office to finalize plans for our wonderful Italy Night, scheduled for September 8 at Whitespace, and for our planned Travelife tour of Northern Italy from September 16-25. We are very excited for both events, and if you would like to join either one -- or both -- please keep posted to this blog and to Travelife Magazine's upcoming issues.

Together with Madame Silvana Fornari, wife of the Italian ambassador, we got so carried away with our discussions that it was close to noon when we finished; and off I went to Masseto to meet two other equally wonderful ladies for lunch. Masseto today was like a private club with most people acquainted with those in other tables. In fact, I spotted my cousin, as well as two brothers I really was going to visit that same afternoon to discuss our upcoming Italy Night with. What luck. They were there and about to sit down to a good lunch, so I caught them at a great time and in a wonderful mood to listen to my ideas. That certainly saved me a trip up to their office.


Lunch with my two friends, Lisa and Maite, was equally enjoyable. We were laughing so much when we weren't discussing their very noteworthy project to commemorate Jose Rizal's birthday with a series of events that Travelife will also be involved in. The first event is an all-night open-air event at Fort Santiago on June 19. Meanwhile, w hope to organize a tour to Dapitan next month together with their group; and, again, stay tuned to this blog for more details.

Speaking of our blog. They giggled so much when I recounted some of the funny incidents involving our blog, and especially when I repeated a couple of priceless but true one-liners that have made it to these pages courtesy of a couple of witty friends. These true incidents had them in stitches as we shared a fantastic chocolate tart between us.


After a series of meetings in Salcedo Village -- where I happened to bump into one friend for the third time this week, and there's certainly going to be a fourth time as I'm scheduled to have a proper lunch with him tomorrow -- I finally ended up at Shangri-la Makati for a food-tasting of wonderful culinary masterpieces by their executive chef. It was a great way to spend the evening, especially as the Shangri-la Makati girls led by Erica Sotto and company are such fun to hang around with.

However, I made sure I was home by 930 pm as another art collector friend -- not the charmingly aggressive one who's been trying to make me buy a very large red painting, but a serious and yet down-to-earth guy who's probably one of the largest heavyweights in the Philippine art world -- was coming over to my house to talk shop and art. I'd texted him earlier regarding my large red painting and he'd suggested meeting up. Unfortunately, my schedule this week doesn't even have a spare five minutes until late at night, just before going to bed.


It was so nice to just sit around in the comfort of my home and talk about art and the finer things in life. He told me: "There's really only a couple of things that matter when you're thinking about buying a painting: Does the artwork speak to you? And what is the artist trying to say with his work?"

My friend really is known for having one of the best collections in the country. Fortunately, he seemed to like all the art in my house. "I really like your collection because it's all so different," he said. "But at the same time, they all seem to have a unifying factor of a brown base. In contrast, that large painting you're thinking about is entirely different -- and that could be good or bad."

I looked at him quizzically, so he continued: "Bad in the sense that it doesn't have the unity of the others; and good in the sense that it's so different from everything else, so it's fresh and stands out."

We talked until late about appreciating art, building collections, and the future of Old Masters vs the Hot Young Artists so popular in foreign auctions these days. He's of the opinion that while the Old Masters have been eclipsed in popularity by the Young Bloods, it won't be long before the classics return with a vengeance. And after another breathlessly busy day, I can't think of a better ending.

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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