Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dutch Treat and another lovely evening in a Travelife

Tonight, I attended a cocktail party given by the Dutch Ambassador, H.E. Gijsbert Anton Boon Von Ochsee and his wife Madame Martine Boon Von Ochsee at their lovely contemporary home, filled with modern art works.

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Ambassador Boon Von Ochsee only arrived in Manila a few months ago.

So it was not so long ago that I used to visit this same house, designed by the architect Chito Antonio, as a guest of the previous ambassador.

Tonight it was very interesting to see the same house styled in a different way, both ways equally tasteful and beautiful in an understated manner.

With Ambassador and Madame Boon Von Ochsee

The first thing I noticed upon entering the house was that the lithograph of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands was gone from its usual place.

I love this artwork as it is so simple but it captures the Queen so well; and my eye was always drawn to it first whenever I entered this house.

This lithograph is now in the main dining room, and it looks just as nice in this new spot as it did in the old.


The party was just the right size.

It wasn't a crush of people so that everyone had to stand uncomfortably in a crowded room. Rather, it was just enough to nicely fill two public rooms and the terraces and outdoor seating by the swimming pool.

And it was a very good, carefully selected assembly of guests. So many ambassadors who only make rare appearances in parties were there tonight. It was nice to see so many friends.

Tonight's party made me so happy to be living in Manila, actually, for some reason.


In this small town of ours, it's not unusual to see the same people at events almost everyday.

As long as I'm in Manila, in fact, I see some people so often at parties and functions that I end the conversation with "I'm sure I'll see you soon."

Some people may think this is rather claustrophobic, to be seeing the same people over and over again.

Team Travelife with Ambassador and Madame Boon Von Ochsee

But from another perspective, it's so nice to be with friends almost everyday. And this is how I've been feeling all week.

Tonight, for instance, I bumped into an ambassador of a very important country. I know I'm going to be with him at a sit-down dinner tomorrow night and so we talked about our mutual affection for the guests of honor of the dinner tomorrow night.


The manner in which Ambassador and Madame Boon Von Ochsee entertained tonight, too, was elegant but very relaxed -- and this made everyone relax as well.

This photo was taken at the end of the party

The food was laid out on two pretty tables in the main dining room, and the bar was on the terrace.

Meanwhile, bowls, plates and utensils were nicely arranged on the long sideboard in the public dining room. There were lovely flowers everywhere, including three or four tall vases of flowers that almost reached the ceiling.

Everything edible was made inhouse, and many of the dishes were done according to Madame Boon Von Ochsee's own recipes.

These were all delicious, and I particularly liked the couscous with sultanas and cranberries, the satay sticks, and the strawberry pavlova.


Because I like Ambassador and Madame Boon Von Ochsee a lot, and also because I was having a really nice and relaxing time in their gorgeous garden, I deliberately stayed behind when almost everyone else had left, to have a few moments with them.


Really nice music was playing all over the house and gardens, and it took me back to another era of old-fashioned and glamorous living.

I can't describe the music properly as it was neither slow nor fast; but I can tell you that it made me want to become an artist suddenly, and to just create things. Or to fly to Paris. Which is where I'm headed in a few months, by the way....

The music made me take my camera out to take artsy photos of the interiors, the home, and stolen shots of people.

I can't post most of the photos here for privacy reasons, unfortunately, but I can tell you that they're certainly inspired shots -- inspired by the great music and the lovely evening.

And then, because I still had a blog to write and a pretty long day tomorrow, before my never-ending Travelife for 2013 officially starts this weekend, I reluctantly said goodbye at around 9 PM.

By then, it was just us and a few young people I know pretty well, talking about, yes, the sweet joys of a never-endingly eventful Travelife.


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