Balai Isabel

Music and travel

If the other day was a day for art, yesterday was a day for music — in between work, of course.
Work-wise, it was busy as always. And sometime in the afternoon, I made my way across town to the ABS-CBN studios to guest on ANC’s Shoptalk and talk about Australia, a country I like very much for its astonishing and varied natural scenery, laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle and high quality of living. As a post-graduate student, I’d actually spent three months in Sydney doing research, and I’d taken an apartment in the beach neighborhood of Bondi. At that time, Sydney was a pretty quiet town compared to the other cities I’d just lived in; and it’s changed very much since then. Today, it’s a vibrant and cosmopolitan metropolis with just about the prettiest harbour view in the world. We’ll be posting an upload of this interview on ANC’s Shoptalk soon.
Then, last night, the Travelife team had a business dinner at Craft, a sports and music grill that’s part of a new restaurant complex at the Fort that caters mostly to a younger crowd. This complex, run by a team of enthusiastic 20-somethings, had just opened but it was teeming with people on a Wednesday. The decor and the food catered to new yuppies who want to re-live their college days. But what was most interesting to me was that the music was stuff two generations of guys above me at school used to listen to — and, in fact, still like listening to. For example, lots of Lynyrd Skynyrd was playing when I arrived.

“Do your customers like this?” I asked Marketing Director Ian Palabyab, glancing around at the kids around me, who looked like they’d just graduated a few years ago. “Even I don’t listen to music like this.”
Ian smiled. “It’s music I like. And actually lots of people like easy rock.”
I looked at some of my editorial team, who were with me that night. At least two of the girls were 20-somethings. “Is this true?” I asked. They both nodded at me enthusiastically.
Then the two live performers came on and, again, they certainly looked at least five generations older than everyone else in the audience. It seemed a bit of a disconnect until I actually heard them. They sang songs I couldn’t even relate to but they were so good that we ended up staying longer than expected.
Then it was from one music venue to another. We hopped over to nearby Seventh High at the end of Bonifacio High Street to finalize details for the Travelife Magazine party taking place here on June 2. Yes, Travelife is having a big party with great music and amazing prizes on June 2 to launch our June-July issue and to introduce our new Travelife TV show. A band I like very much will be playing music from the 80s and 90s, and we’ll be having good food and lots of drinks all night. It’s a by-invitation only party, but if you’re one of our valued supporters, your Save The Date email will be in your In Box this week.
“We’ve been really busy lately,” Alan Marasigan, Seventh High’s general manager, told us, as we walked in to one of their lounges. “We had the Justin Bieber after-concert party last night and it was just crazy. We were letting ten year-olds with their mothers in, but we drew the line at five year olds. It would just be too dangerous for five year olds.”
“We had so many people,” he added. “And we were even getting calls from Mindanao for reservations.”
Oh wow. Justin Bieber’s after-concert party at Seventh High. Seventh High’s been doing a lot of VIP performers’ after parties since they opened. Bruno Marx had his after-concert party at Seventh High as well, and he jammed happily onstage at Seventh High until early in the morning. That was complete chaos as well, as far as his legions of fans were concerned.
“Everyone’s been doing their after-parties here, for some reason,” Alan continued. “The big stars really like coming here.”

I could see why. It’s a nice venue that’s perfect in size. Big enough to accommodate a decent crowd of partygoers, but still intimate enough so you don’t feel you’ve just entered some auditorium. There are other classy music lounges in this city but most of them are just too small. I’ve been to a couple of parties in other music lounges and either my elbow was in someone’s stomach or I was stepping one someone else’s foot.
They had a really good — and very funny — band on last night, which sang a mixture of oldies and contemporary hits including songs from Katy Perry. I would’ve wanted to stay on to hear the music — Allan says he’s at Seventh High until 4 AM almost everyday — but I’d set a curfew for myself at midnight and it was just about so. But we’re certainly going to be back on June 2 for the Travelife Party.
When I got home, I was thinking about whether to post a blog or listen to music. Somehow, the great music I heard tonight at these two new venues in Manila put me in the mood to reminisce about songs I’d recently listened to a lot on my trips over the past months. The first one I put on was “It’s Over” by Level 42, which was something I played over and over again on my iPod in Sri Lanka. When I hear this song, I remember Colombo‘s golden beaches and the crashing waves at sunset, just beneath the beautiful Mount Lavinia Hotel, on my last night in Sri Lanka. This song also accompanied me on my trip to Japan last weekend.
Click here to listen to
by Level 42

I also listened a lot to the song Crazy For This Girl by the band Evan and Jaron. I’d never heard of either the song or the band, but I found it uploaded by someone on my iPod and I happened to like it the minute I heard it. When I hear this song, I remember those endless road trips through Sri Lanka, as this song also kept me company on these times.
Click here to listen to
by Evan and Jaron
And the past weeks, I’ve discovered The Heart of the Matter, originally sung by Don Henley, but beautifully sung by India Arie. This is my Manila song.
Click here to listen to
by India Arie
And here’s another song I recently re-discovered: Thinking of You by Paul Weller. So I consider this also my Manila song.
Click here to listen to
by Paul Weller

Travelife’s Special Summer Issue
with Angel Aquino in Boracay
Angel Aquino in Bora
for Travelife Magazine’s April-May 2011 issue

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