Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A black-tie dinner concert at the Makati Shangri-la, a visa to Panama, and how some things will always change

In Manila last night, living a #Travelife, I attended the annual black-tie fundraiser dinner and concert organized by the Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines (JSSP) at the Makati Shangri-la.

The 2015 JSSP concert was entitled "A Salzburg Festival," and for the first time, it featured wonderful songs from the movie "The Sound of Music," which is popularly connected to Salzburg but has few real historical ties to the city.


Nevertheless, it was a nice change and it made for a really enjoyable repertoire, combined with some excerpts from popular operas like Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, and some classic orchestra pieces.

As always, it was a full house of extremely well-connected and well-dressed music lovers.

Everyone sat down to a five-course dinner, and then this was followed by a concert performed by the Manila Symphony Orchestra together with the soprano Rachelle Gerodias and the baritone Byeong In Park, with Dr. Ernest Hoezl flying in from Vienna to conduct.


I really enjoy attending this concert every year.

This year, it was held in the lobby cafe of the Shangri-la Makati, which was transformed into a truly beautiful performance venue that was cozy, intimate and yet elegant. Out of all the venues they have held this dinner concert in, this is my favourite.

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The last time the JSSP dinner and concert was held at the Makati Shangri-la, in this very same venue, was four years ago.

And I forgot about this fact until tonight, when a wonderful lady, keen on art and polo and always very stylishly dressed, reminded me about this, when I said hello to her.

She asked me tonight: "Do you remember? We were seated together at this very same concert four years ago, at a table at the other end of the room, and we were with the Ambassador of Panama?"

When she said this, everything came back to me in an instant. How could I forget?


At this very same concert four years ago, I'd been seated next to the Ambassador of Panama, and I'd been on my Blackberry for a good part of the evening.

The Travel Companion had been bugging me to ask the Ambassador of Panama whether he needed a visa for his trip and how he could procure one quickly.

And when this lady tonight mentioned the JSSP concert four years ago, this entire conversation about Panama and a couple of other things just came back to me as if it had happened only yesterday.

I suddenly remembered even the most minute details of our Blackberry conversations.


How time flies, and what an eventful four years it has been.

And how interesting, how some things change -- or never change -- in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful #Travelife.  

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