Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two truths, one lie, and a La Salle thing

Hello from Cebu after a very nice dinner with friends who'd also journeyed from Manila for the weekend, and we all went over to abaca for pizza, roast chicken and a couple of glasses of red wine al fresco. It was a very nice evening and we sat talking about everything and anything the entire night -- the perfect way to end a most perfect weekend.


Of course I was telling them about the amazing party AIESEC Philippines alumni and Travelife Magazine organized on Friday at the Peninsula Conservatory, that literally took everyone back to the wonderful 1980s. What a magical evening that was, and much of it was due to the music provided by the incredible Gary Valenciano, the fantastic 8 Track Band, and DJ Cocoy Puyat who began and ended the evening with the kind of music that still makes my heart skip a beat.

I knew I wasn't going home early anytime on Friday so I'd booked a suite at the Peninsula Manila. I love the hotel's corner suites which are very spacious and have great views. It didn't go to much use actually, as I think I had three hours of sleep. But it was so nice to just drag myself to the elevator after the party instead of trying to look for my car and actually getting out of the hotel.

The next morning, too, there I was on the way to Escolta to have a leisurely breakfast and I was humming Gary Valenciano's Di Bale Na Lang all across the lobby. Talk about a Gary V hangover.


Then last night, I joined the second night of the AIESEC Alumni Asia Pacific Conference 2011 at the Filipinas Heritage Library, and walked right smack into a very lively event organized by AIESEC Alumni Peter Angliongto and Monique Pronove. Everyone was wearing costumes and/or hats and people were switching tables with every course. So you met a different set of people with each course, and played some kind of party game to break the ice. Lots of fun, actually.

So for the main course, I found myself seated in table 7 and we were all supposed to tell the group three things about ourselves: two truths and 1 lie. And everyone was supposed to guess which of those three things was the lie. Obviously, the lie was not supposed to be very obvious -- especially as the poorest liar was being made to drink a bottle of vodka or something.


I was trying to think of something to say when it just occurred to me that I'd been BBM-ing with my friend J for much of the time of the dinner so far. He was asking me for a favor and he had a really funny way of doing it, so we were just trading all kinds of insults every few minutes over BBM.

And just before the 3rd game had started, I'd just BBM-ed him that if he wanted to be publisher of Travelife, he'd have to literally pay up; but then, in a follow up BBM, I'd also "reminded" him that he couldn't afford to buy Travelife Magazine even if he wanted to. Some indie travel publication perhaps; but not the Philippines' leading travel magazine.

Obviously, he thought I was joking, because he replied back "Poor me," and added a sad smiley face for effect. I had to laugh at the irony of that message, although I don't know if he'd even intended it that way.

So when it was my turn to say three things, I'd just put my Blackberry down and the first two things I said were: "One. I can't live without my Blackberry. Two. I can't live without my Macbook Pro." I can't print the third thing in this blog because it's a bit too personal for public consumption; but let me just say that I was very surprised that everyone picked out the lie very easily and quickly. And I can tell you that it wasn't the stuff about the Blackberry or the Macbook Pro.


Unfortunately I left the party midway since I was on another plane the following day -- today -- and this time to Cebu for a bit of work and R&R at the same time. We booked PAL in spite of the news of the strikes because it had the most convenient schedules, assuming the flights were actually flying and on time. To my very pleasant surprise, my Cebu flight was not only on time but even ten minutes earlier for boarding and departure preparations.

And an even greater surprise was seeing one of my contacts in PAL's advertising department actually manning the gate, with a walkie-talkie in hand. I'd heard they'd been volunteering, but now there I was actually seeing him in action. "Everyone's doing their part," he told me.

So PAL was on time and the plane was nice and very clean. I'm really finicky about plane cleanliness and this plane to Cebu was great. But we were delayed flying into Cebu anyway because we just couldn't take off from Manila! There was congestion in Manila airport -- will someone please do something about this pretty frequent occurrence? -- and so we were all seatbelted and waiting to depart for about 45 minutes before actually taking off.

Upon landing in Cebu, we checked into a nice suite at a nice resort with a great view of the water, and at about 8 PM tonight, there we were at abaca enjoying a nice atmosphere and really great company, and doing a bit of critiquing on the food.


Of course we talked about Gary Valenciano performing at the AIESEC party last Friday night. It was a pretty amazing private concert. By now the whole world -- or at least the whole world who reads this blog -- knows I have a major crush on him. But then again, so did 99% of the female population at AIESEC: ONE MORE TIME last Friday.

"It's just amazing how he's kept his energy, his talent and his looks," I gushed, trying to rationalize why I was watching the videos from our Friday night party over and over again. "He doesn't look like he's aged even a day!"


"That's a La Salle thing," my La Salle friend said. Oops. There we were again with this Ateneo-La Salle rivalry. But this time he was serious. "Look at Gary V or Edu Manzano." He actually mentioned a couple of common La Salle friends as well who've stayed as good-looking as they were in college, but I've decided to omit their names here as they're not public figures.

I had to agree with him on that part. Then he added the clincher: "Now name me a dozen Ateneans who've kept themselves ok."

I'm sure there are a lot, but I just couldn't think of any tonight. It was probably the red wine that did it. Then he suddenly switched the topic back to music and said: "By the way, you should've asked Gary V to sing "Don't Disturb This Groove."

Oh, I so agree. I completely forgot that and a couple of other songs. Time by Culture Club, Hi Fidelity, Enter My Dreams by Kenny Loggins. And I guess that's more than enough incentive to organize part two of AIESEC: ONE MORE TIME. And hopefully it won't take 24 years for that to happen again.


So Friday night, I was back in 1989. Tonight I'm in Cebu. And in a couple of days I'll be in Kuala Lumpur dining with the Tourism Minister, and then in Langkawi for a dinner for the Queen of Malaysia. And as soon as I return from Malaysia, it's on to Japan for a few days of autumn leaves and autumn dishes. Just another week in our never-ending, and never-endingly eventful, Travelife.

Travelife Magazine's
Oct-Nov 2011 Issue


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