Saturday, September 24, 2011

Shopping and culture go together

Tonight we finally finished our series of Sri Lanka evenings that began with a dinner for government officials and the diplomatic corps on Thursday, for clients and international associations on Friday, and then culminated with a special performance for the general public today.

In terms of culture, however, today's show was the best as the ten-person dance group who had traveled all the way from Kandy, the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, to perform in Manila had provided a full set of dances that simply had the audience mesmerized. Judging from the applause, it seemed like everyone had enjoyed themselves thoroughly.


Kandy, by the way, is about four hours' drive from Colombo, on maddening roads full of bicycles, tricycles, people and even the odd lizard or peacock. But it's a beautiful mountain-top town so like Baguio in many ways that when we first drove down Kandy's main road, the five guys I was with all exclaimed: "Baguio! Session Road." It really felt like Session Road.

We'd stayed in Kandy for two days and had checked into an old colonial hotel with a very elegant bar and a series of winding corridors. The rooms all had high ceilings and antique furniture, giving us a feel of what it must have been like to be in Sri Lanka during the period that it was a British colony.

And during our stay in Kandy, we really took advantage and explored the arts and crafts' aspect of Sri Lanka -- much to my delight, and to the impatience of the guys who were all more into the outdoors aspect of Sri Lanka. We visited a gem factory, a saree factory, and all kinds of crafts workshops making everything from Buddha figurines to tablecloths and wooden masks.


Anyway, back to TRAVELIFE Sri Lanka Night. It was especially heartwarming to see so many children enjoying themselves -- and many of the children who joined us today for Travelife Sri Lanka Night had actually joined us the first time at Travelife India Night last July. They'd loved seeing all the exotic dances so much that they happily came along with their parents to Travelife Sri Lanka Night today. In fact, not a few of the kids asked me if they could sit in the front row to get a better view of the performers.

All the adults loved the performances as well. These are some of the comments posted on our Facebook pages last night regarding Travelife Sri Lanka Night:

Posted by N.D. on Facebook:
"Travelife has taken me to a whole new concept in a traveling life. Sri Lanka Night was amazing. One night was definitely not enough to experience it fully, but it was more than enough to leave us wanting more. Thank you, Travelife, for truly bringing the extraordinary to the weekend."

Posted by J.R. on Facebook:
"Ang GANDA ng naging palabas ng Travelife Sri Lanka Night. Napawi ang pagod ko sa ganda ng mga kulay at galing ng pagsayaw at palabas."

Posted by C.F. on Facebook:
Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to be included in Travelife Sri Lanka Night, and to witness this fantastic show. Indeed, it was such a sight to behold. More power to you!

Posted by A.T. on Facebook:
"It was an amazing show indeed."

posted by Lara Garcia on Facebook


Lots of people ask me why we do these Travelife Evenings. They're certainly labors of love and so much effort, and we get no business from these. But I really feel so strongly about promoting culture and sharing this wonderful experience of travel and culture with as many of our Travelife Magazine readers and friends as possible.

We aren't content just being the country's leading travel & lifestyle magazine; we want to truly bring the experience and wonders of the world to our readers. And this is a passion, not a business.


And tomorrow afternoon, I'm taking our guest singer Deepika Priyadarshani -- a household name in Sri Lanka for her golden voice and award-winning song -- shopping. Just before we left the venue tonight, she asked me if I had some time to meet with her before she returns to Colombo. For her, of course I did.

"How about some shopping?" I asked her. We'd talked about shopping over dinner at the ambassador's residence on Wednesday night, and she'd been wanting to see what Manila had to offer. Unfortunately, she'd been tied down with all these cultural evenings until today -- and so had I.

Next week, a new set of planning for our endless events begins; but tomorrow I'm free and badly in need of a little bit of shopping therapy myself. So I happily volunteered to take her to some interesting shopping places. Shopping and culture go together after all...


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