Friday, September 9, 2011

After Italy Night, an AIESEC NIght

Margarita's glorious appetizers
before the 9-course meal,
in large platters on a circular table
in the cocktail area.

I'm still in a middle of a nice hangover about Travelife Italy Night, our fourth-year anniversary event last night involving an incredibly full house of 280 people at a nine-course degustation dinner by Margarita Fores and an amazing travel light and sound show about Italy, the likes of which the Philippines has never seen before. It was an amazing success that ended past midnight, with many of us dancing to a mix of Italian and 80s music as the fire engine-red Ferrari and the lily-white Maserati were driven out of our venue after tantalizing our guests for hours.

Everyone thought we were raffling off the Ferrari and the Maserati, and there were audible sighs all over the room when it was announced that the cars were going back to their rightful owners at the end of the evening.

It was a busy and stressful evening but also incredibly fun. All my dearest friends and closest associates were there, along with the ambassadors and honorary consuls representing over 35 countries. And most importantly, former President Ramos, former Speaker Jose de Venecia, and Viel Aquino-Dee and Pinky Aquino-Abelleda graciously took time from their busy schedules to join us at for Travelife Italy Night.

There were a million events happening in our city last night -- so much so that, at last count, I actually had five invitations to events aside from my own Travelife Italy Night -- but it was a testament to the regard people have for Travelife Magazine that 280 of Manila's finest came early and stayed the entire evening with us.


For my table, I of course had former President Ramos and former Speaker de Venecia, along with my dear friends the Ambassador of India and the Ambassador of Switzerland and their wives, and HSBC Country Manager Tony Cripps and his wife.

Meanwhile, for the second Travelife event in a row, as well, I asked a good friend of mine to sit next to me and help me host my table as he's really perfect for the role. He can talk to anyone and he's always cheerfully diplomatic. I always feel completely secure leaving my table full of VIPs in his hands as I'm standing up and walking around for much of the night as well, and he holds the fort pretty well while I'm gone.

And even if he's a La Sallite, he's full of good sense (joke). He's also the perfect cocktail party escort. He's come along with me to a few cocktail parties although he often jokes that he can never believe he's doing this as he's actually far too important to just be someone's bag holder at a party.

Well, on Thursday night, he gallantly agreed, and also escorted me up and down the stage for the many times I had to get up on stage. I often tease him mercilessly about a couple of things, but he's actually been wonderful when I've needed him. Thank you.


My favorite photo for the night:
With some of my board members and their spouses,
after it was all over.

And perhaps the nicest part of the evening for me was when almost everyone had left and I finally had time to sit down and have a second dessert and coffee with some dear friends seated at another table. It was just relaxing to be with them and to feel their support even if I could not talk too much anymore because of fatigue.

And when it was time to finally go home, I went into the kitchen to find Gaita Fores -- the star of the evening -- sitting at a table with her crew. Both of us were exhausted and I imagine that she was even more so. So all I could do then was give her a hug and say "I'll say thank you another time." Words would not have done justice last night for the effort and hard work she and her team put in.

So for the nth time this year I felt so happy and appreciative to have such good friends.


RPN CEO Tonypet Albano,
Philippine Star columnist Cito Beltran

The honorary consuls' table

Nikki Jimenez of CH4 with MAP President,
Architect Jun Palafox, and Mrs Jun Palafox


Then today I was up early again to get my makeup done by my favorite team at Shiseido and then to prepare for a taping for a TV guesting on ANC. And then later it was as if everything started all over again. We began preparations for Travelife Sri Lanka Night -- a special free concert on Sep 24 that Travelife Magazine is bringing to everyone as a public service -- and then I had a meeting to discuss the AIESEC Alumni meeting that's going to take place in October.

For the latter, three AIESEC UP guys several batches above me in school came over to my house for a meeting and since it was past 7 PM, I offered them an impromptu dinner of pancit palabok, jambalaya with chicken, and baby back ribs, with bottles of good Spanish wine. It was a hodge podge of stuff but then dinner had been unplanned anyway. It turned out to be lots of fun as we sat back and relaxed in the dining room, drinking wine and talking about the good old days.

Two of them went to La Salle Greenhills before UP so of course there was lots of good-natured ribbing about schools from them. They thought I'd get offended, but I was actually used to it. I sighed: "Two guys I see a lot of for work do this to me all the time, so I'm pretty used to it." This included my escort to Travelife Italy Night, who's also a rabid La Sallite.

One of them then added: "I don't know if you'll take this as a compliment, but I always thought you were from AIESEC UP."

Our reminiscing about AIESEC continued till almost midnight, when they left and we'd all promised to make great effort to have a wonderful AIESEC Alumni meeting next month. And from tomorrow, I'm leaving town again for some much-needed peace and quiet at one of my favorite places.

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