Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Don't Stop Believing

Last night I wrote about how a guy I sat next to, at a steak and wine dinner at Gustavus with the South African Ambassador, shared his foodie black book with me; and one of the juicy bits of information concerned the red velvet cake in a place called Karen's Kitchen in Palm Village, Makati.

Well, my first message on my Blackberry today was from the prodigal J, who dislikes being called prodigal and who prodigiously insists he's not recklessly extravagant -- that's the meaning he's using for prodigal. Or was he just insisting he's not reckless? Or not extravagant? I now forget, especially as I didn't mean the term "prodigal" in that context but in a more Biblical one. For more on this discussion, read my blog entry yesterday.


Anyway, J never begins his BBMs with a good morning anymore, although there was a time long ago when he actually did. But today he went straight to the point. "Yes, the red velvet cake from Karen's kitchen is quite good," he told me.

I was in the car again, on the way to work, so it was perfect BBM-ing time. I replied: "Great. Now I can confirm that we agree on at least three things in Manila." He's always reminding me about how we never agree on anything, you see.

My phone soon pinged again and it was another BBM from J: "One, the cake. Two, XO 46. And what's the 3rd?" There was a smiley face at the end so I'm guessing he knew what the 3rd is.

I reminded him what the 3rd thing was. Unfortunately I can't write it in this blog because that would so give him away, especially among people who know him well. And then I added: "And actually there are a couple more things we agree on, but it's hard to remember -- with your cynical mindset and all." Of course, I put a smiley face after that jab.

I continued: "And, off the top of my head, I remember how we both enjoyed that dinner in XXX as well." We'd had dinner at this Italian restaurant sometime back, and I think the two of us finished a meal good for four persons. The waiters were positively shocked, and I even ordered a second dessert.

We continued talking about food and restaurants for a while, until exactly as my car pulled up to my office building, and then I got back to the real world. For some reason, J's BBMs always have good timings like this.


Then, my busy day started. Today was typhoon signal no. 2, but it was nevertheless full of meetings. Before lunch, I met with Madame Silvana Fornari, wife of the Italian ambassador to the Philippines, and we brainstormed further on the entertainment for Travelife Italy Night with Margarita Fores on September 8. This is really exciting and we're putting our heart and soul into it, true Italian-style.

It's going to be a truly wonderful event, and it's so good that from the start, we're both in agreement about what kind of entertainment we want. It'll be elegant, classic, contemporary, chic and fun all at the same time. If you love Italy, or if you want a taste of Italy, make sure you join us for Travelife Italy Night as this is one event that will be simply amazing.


As soon as my meeting with Madame Fornari ended, I rushed over to the Dusit Thani Manila to meet with the Sri Lankan Ambassador regarding a Travelife project for Sri Lanka Night. We discussed the performers coming all the way from Colombo and Kandy for this event, and 12 of the country's most talented traditional dancers are arriving in September to perform for us. This is going to be another exciting project as well. Stay tuned for more details on Sri Lanka Night, coming up in the second half of September.


It may be signal no. 2 but we at Travelife Magazine were still working when most offices had already gone home. Thank you so much to our hardworking staff. We have truly wonderful people at Travelife now, and everyday is a joy for working.

Anyway, we were doing our final pagination this afternoon, and this involved the usual haggling for ad spaces between all our advertising executives; but with me getting the final say. I put on the spotlights for our pagination board, played some nice music at maximum volume, and set to work partnering ads with content. We have a record number of advertisements for our next issue, so it's a happy problem to find spaces for everyone.

This is what was playing at our office today:
in Spanish
by Maxwell

In the evening, the rains didn't stop us from journeying on to Resortsworld for a cocktail party to celebrate the 24th anniversary of Business World. It was a very nice event and a great opportunity to say hello to our friends at Business World, as well as to so many of our own valued partners and friends.

Here, I bumped into Citibank country head Sanjiv Vohra, who'd just returned from overseas, so he'd missed our Travelife India Night gala dinner last July 18. "But I heard it was a great success and that the performance was really good," Sanjiv told me. "Thank you for promoting India."

It's easy to promote India because it's such a fantastic culture, and India has a wonderful and hardworking ambassador in the Philippines who works tirelessly to promote Indian interests.

At the Business World party, I had two spoonfuls of rice here as I'm actually on the Juju detox diet today (my 2nd day!), so I've been trying to be very good with food. Fortunately, it's been quite easy so far. When you're so busy, food is the last thing on your mind and you simply have no time to eat. Today was one of those days. It was meetings galore, plus the closing of our issue, and preparations for a very important presentation tomorrow that's been giving me some sleepless nights. So Juju's simply perfect for right now, and I feel great.

But even when I'm at a lunch or a dinner these days, I don't really eat if I'm working. In fact, my friend M said to me last month: "I've seen you work at events. You don't eat." He'd escorted me to a series of cocktail parties one night and we'd literally waded through tables and tables of food. He'd tasted everything, but I had a wine glass in one hand and a de rigeur plate in the other, but I didn't really eat anything until the last event of the night, which was when I could say work was finally over.


Anyway, tonight, I had two spoonfuls of rice and these were delicious. But perhaps the best part was the entertainment. The Company came on and sang several songs, all from the 80s to mark the time when Business World was founded 24 years ago. They sang a song from Swingout Sisters to start, and ended with the very upbeat and inspiring song "Don't Stop Believing."

"This is dedicated to the staff of Business World," they said, before beginning their song.

I left when The Company ended their segment. There was still loads of entertainment coming on and I would have loved to stay; but tomorrow is a really big day involving a crucial presentation, so I thought I should head home early for once. Wish us luck tomorrow, and goodnight from Manila.


with Margarita Fores
and the Embassy of Italy & Bacchus Epicerie
September 8 at Whitespace

TRAVELIFE Gastronomic Tour of Italy
September 17-25

For reservations and information, please contact:
Bernice or Rachel at TRAVELIFE
813-8400/ 892-2620


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