Friday, April 26, 2013

Deja vu in South Africa's birthday party tonight at the Makati Shangri-la

The first course for lunch
on board Philippine Airlines from Tokyo to Manila today...

This afternoon I flew into Manila from Tokyo, and from the airport I went straight to work.

I was excited to check the layouts of a series of articles coming up in our next issue that I'd collaborated with a friend on. I'd written the article and some of my nicest photos were also in it, so it was a pretty personal layout.

And absolutely beautiful, if I may add. Catch it in the June-July 2013 issue of Travelife Magazine. And, yes, read our wonderful current issue in the meantime.

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Our editorial team had just returned from a big weeklong trip somewhere for a cover shoot, so there were lots of stories and jokes being exchanged all around.

I'd been in Japan for this same time, Meanwhile, a good friend of mine had hosted them somewhere for this cover shoot and been their "boss" for a week.

After hearing the stories about their trip, and their new boss, now even I'm confused on who the real boss is.

Lots of our team are still away as well, in places as disparate as Sydney and Taiwan.


From the office, I did a quick change and then made a U-turn for the Makati Shangri-la to attend the South African National Day celebrations in the Makati Shangri-la ballroom.

South African Ambassador Agnes Nymanande-Pitso, full of energy and life, had once again organized a sit-down dinner of South African specialties, and great entertainment to go with it.

The dinner was cooked by three South African chefs flown in just for the occassion.

Team South Africa for tonight's party


Ambassador Nyamande-Pitso is a very good friend and so she is one lady I can't say no to.

I'm a big fan of South Africa as a country and a destination, as well. So you might say that I returned to Manila just to attend the party tonight.


I really liked tonight's entertainment, by Baby M, a pretty famous half-South African, half-Japanese singer who had flown in just to perform tonight.

She sang a first set of slow and sentimental songs, and then a second set of fast dance songs -- both sets were so very South Africa.

Her version of "You were always on my mind"
was the best I'd ever heard...

In her first set, she sang her version of the song "You were always on my mind." It was so beautiful.

Frankly, I don't really like this song. But the way Baby M sang it made me positively sentimental because it was such a fresh and also non-soapy way of singing this song -- but touching all the same.


The tourism promotion video of South Africa that played onstage the entire night made me equally sentimental for South Africa as well.

That's Table Mountain on the video...

I'm not sure if it was because we'd planned our trip to South Africa last November so well, that we'd included everything that was really best about South Africa; or maybe they'd just read our minds.

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Or maybe there was a photographer trailing us on our trip the entire time and we just didn't know it.

But that video tonight literally showed almost every place we'd visited, stayed in or dined at during our two weeks in South Africa last November.

I felt like I was watching a video of my trip instead of a tourism promotional video.


I saw the beautiful Westcliff hotel in Johannesburg, and the safari jeeps of the Sabi Sabi Game Reserve.

And Moyo and Melrose Arch, where we'd had lunch on our first day in South Africa, and then the Palace of the Lost City, where we'd had a club sandwich for lunch on Day 2.

I saw the balloon ride and all the museums we visited.

It had Constantia and the drives around Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront, and even the crafts shop where we'd finally found our trophy-grade zebra skins.

And, of course, the iconic places like Table Mountain and Franschhoek.

The clincher was probably Reuben's, a nice restaurant in Cape Town where we'd had lunch one day. This lunch hadn't even made it to the actual pages of Travelife Magazine, but I saw it in this "video of my trip."

Talk about deja vu. It made me remember what a wonderful Travelife we'd gone on.

I already have Tanzania penciled into this year, and three safaris are going into it. And tonight, I just decided to include South Africa again somehow into my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife this year.


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