Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thank you for good friends

It's so nice to be seeing good friends all the time. These past weeks have been incredibly happy and fulfilling, but also really difficult and quite stressful; and much of it has to do with the fact Travelife Magazine is growing and expanding, and with it come ten million things to do and only 24 hours in one day.


But I would never exchange these times for anything in the world. We're breaking barriers, creating new roadmaps and simply making dreams come true. And basically, I mean making my dreams come true. Lots of it has to do with the pretty amazing and incredibly hardworking members of the Travelife team: Leah Gohu, Gel Bayona, Irynn Constante, Carlo Velasco, Bryan Arevalo, Dunn Pinlac, Edna Tenerio, Bernice Qua, June David, Rhoda Cadondon, Rachel Ramos, Scott Valencia, Gladys Bueno; and our group of interns from DLSU, Ateneo and UST. Thank you, guys.


For one thing, we're set to break our own record for our upcoming fourth-year anniversary issue, Travelife Magazine's August-September 2011 issue, coming out in the newsstands on August 15.

We've also just finished two incredibly successful events: the Travelife India Night Special Free Performance last Saturday, organized by Travelife and graciously hosted by the Dusit Thani Manila, and attended by over 400 people including so many students and public school teachers as a public service event; and the Travelife India Night Gala Dinner, attended by over 200 VIPs, including our own valued Travelife readers and friends. These were labors of love for us, and just thinking about these actually makes me teary-eyed.

Ranjana Gauhar and her dance group straight from India

Some of the VIPs at Travelife India Night: US Ambassador Harry Thomas and Madame Marivic del Rosario in the left head table; in the center head table: Secretary of Tourism Alberto Lim, the Australian ambassador, the country head of Standard Chartered, the ambassadors of Singapore, Sri Lanka, Spain and Turkey; Mr. Jaime Bautista, CEO of PAL; Antonio Albano, CEO of RPN 9.

Marivic Vazquez, Pinky Troesch, Peter Coyiuto


Then, I took about three minutes to breathe, and then it was on to planning the next events including Travelife Italy Night with Margarita Fores, together with the Embassy of Italy and Bacchus Epicerie on September 8; and the Travelife Gastronomic Tour of Northern Italy this September 17-25 also with Margarita Fores and Bacchus Epicerie. These two events will be truly wonderful milestones, so don't miss them.

It's really heartwarming as well that so many of the Travelife readers and friends who joined our previous tours to other countries are being the first ones to sign up for the Travelife Gastronomic Tour of Northern Italy. This is so touching, and it makes us all at Travelife all the more eager to do whatever it takes to create a most wonderful and memorable trip to Italy for all.

I've also been seeing a lot of my friends, who've been incredibly supportive of Travelife Magazine. They've joined me in my events and we've also just met up and had some fun. This fun has been really important right now.

I can't mention everyone, and I hesitate to pick out a few because the few times I've done this, this blog apparently became a dinner party topic in this town. But if you're reading this, you know who you are.


Let me just tell you about the last three nights.

On Monday, many of my friends joined me for the Travelife India Night gala dinner, including a couple of my magazine board members who have been with Travelife since its inception. And on Monday night, I hope they were as proud of what this magazine has achieved and where it's headed as I was. After all, Travelife Magazine began simply with an idea and an inspiration; and they'd seen it happen themselves.

After the dinner, we'd sat around for a bit, and it was just so nice to wind down with good friends after an amazing night of cabinet secretaries, ambassadors and big-time CEOs. Thank you for being there.


Last night, I was triple booked -- beginning with the opening of the Korean Cultural Center and then the launching of the French boutique champagne brand Bruno Paillard at CAV in Bonifacio Global City. Bruno Paillard is being brought in by my good friend Jojo Madrid, successful businessman and entrepreneur par excellence, as well as Travelife board member since Day 1. He had an intimate but wonderful crowd of wine and champagne lovers gathered. I only had time for about three glasses of champagne, but during this hour or so, I had a really nice time seeing old friends and making new ones.

Then I went on to Masseto, which is coincidentally owned by Jojo and a bunch of other friends, to join a wine dinner at the invitation of Chef Tippi Tambunting. This was my last event for the evening so I literally felt myself wind down. Tippi sat me in front of an extremely interesting expatriate who runs one of the most successful entertainment complexes in the country, and we had such a stimulating conversation about tourism, life in a third country where we both owned flats, and -- of all things -- chocolate tarts. That was really fun, coupled with excellent food. I'll post a separate entry on this dinner pretty soon.


And tonight was the first evening of another of Jojo's brainchilds: Burgundy Night at Masseto, which will be held every Wednesday. I had a dinner tonight but I promised Jojo I'd drop by for one drink, so I was there at 7 PM and I joined a group of his friends from the financial industry gathered around the bar drinking wine and talking travel and travel experiences.

I'd already met some of them at the champagne launch the previous night so it was kind of like a continuation of our conversations at CAV. One couple is joining me for the Travelife Turkey Luxe Tour in October, while one guy showed me a film clip of himself on his iPhone skydiving for the first time. And in a separate area of the counter, my cousin and her friends were having dinner -- and I'd seen her for the third night in a row as well. It was all very enjoyable and I would've stayed on if not for dinner plans.

I left Masseto earlier, though, thinking how nice it is to live in a city where you always see people you know and like, and there are so many opportunities to enjoy having fun with them. Manila can be a really gossipy little town, but if you pick who to hang out regularly with, you can have a life full only of positive energy and talk about great ideas rather than about what's wrong or funny with people.

The only persons missing are my good friend B and her husband JC, who are now living in New York. They would have made my week complete. Or at least almost complete. One or two other friends are also missing, and they know who they are as well.

So this is probably the most sentimental entry I'll ever place in this blog. Don't ask me why I decided to write this for public consumption. Maybe it's because this song's playing as I type this out -- and I love it. There's no such thing as a trouble-free life, but may each and every one of us always live days mostly of happiness and thankfulness.

by Diane Reeves
Click on the title to here it

And tomorrow, I'm off to somewhere in southern Philippines. Yes, it's another adventure. These just never stop because already I'm also packing for a trip through three cities in Malaysia next month. Just another week in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful, TRAVELIFE.

* * *

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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