Friday, December 8, 2006

Peninsula's 30th Anniversary

What a night. Was deciding on what to wear till the last minute. The green or red dress? In the end, I opted for the green because my friend, Dennis Lustico, made it for me for that evening. My friend, Steffie, didnt get to wear her Dennis because the color was exactly the color that Rajo designed for the waitresses in the lobby. So she wore a very nice black brocade dress that reminded me of Audrey Hepburn.

The lobby was filled with the classiest people in Manila. Food was everywhere! Lobsters, prawns, tuna, sushi in the lobby. In the pool, Brazilian food so a lot of grilled steak, sausages and seafood. In the Rigodon ballroom, was heaven. Chocolate fountain, pralines, chocolate covered strawberries, trufffles, cake and we are talking expensive imported chocolate, well we are in THE PENINSULA after all. The aroma would lead you to the room from a mile away. In the Conservatory, nonstop of pass around cocktails and the Dj that played through the entire evening. But everywhere in the hotel, OVERFLOWING champage, white and red wine. I must have drank 6 glasses and was dizzy at the end of the night.

My gang for the evening, Lawrence, Christine, Chase, Clark and my date, Bryan. I am telling you, the best time of my life will be because of 3 things and 3 things alone.

1. You are amongst good friends. My gang was the perfect group of friends I can hang with that night because Christine's dad, is a director at Pen, so the waiters would leave the whole bottle of champagne on our table as per requested by Lawrence.

2. I had my hair done. My dress made by a great fashion designer and somehow, with all the alcohol in me, I felt pretty enough to mingle with the A class guests. And as long as I have lisptick on, I feel that I can conquer the world.

3. It was all for FREE. I dont know what to say more about all the food and drinks being given to you with such great service and not having to shell out a single centavo for it.

Do I make my point clear about how to have the best time of your life? I had a date that night (although it wasn't really an official date) and Bryan took care of this zigzag, dizzy dizon girl who had a lot to drink that night. The great part of the evening was when Bryan gave me a bunch of really nice flowers that were displayed in the newly renovated gym/spa of the hotel. He had the trainer take the flowers from the vase and handed them to me. So against my really green dress, were really red flowers and that made my night even better because red happens to by my favorite color.

So if I were you, I would try my best to be in the guest list to these parties that offer great company, superb ambiance, excellent entertainment and delicious food. If you can, this will all amount to a very unforgettable evening.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

La Isla Bonita with the Chavez.

You have to be ready for an adventure like this. If you are a city guy/gal, perhaps you won't enjoy a trip to this island of no electricty. But let me tell you that I was amazed at how I was able to stay for 3 days and 2 nights in this very romantic hideaway without a honey. It was hard I tell you, but I got through it somehow.

First, I went with good friends. The Chavez' invited me to go with them and with their friends, we were all of 23 people and since they know the owner, Ann Saldana, we had the island all to ourselves. It was quiet, peaceful and most importantly, CLEAN!!!

Secondly, I was assigned my very own yaya (nanny) because Ann could tell that I am no backpacker. She was a little scary at first. But when she carried my bags to my room like it was made out of chicken feathers, I suddenly felt like she can protect me from all the evil spirits and insects that might harm me. She was strong and proved it by moving my bed around because it was too hot and placed it out in the balcony all by herself. Being spoiled that I am, I just stood, watched and almost applauded when she finally did it. The breeze helped me sleep better the second night. Of course one must be covered with insect repellant and a bottle of water at bedside before sleeping. Waking in the middle of the night is not fun because it is so dark out and you can hear all kinds of insects and reptiles lurking around.

Third, the comfort of food took away the necessity for a lover. We had heavy breakfast with all the favorite dishes Filipino can think of. Tocino, salted egg, omelette and salad and others that only my stomach can remember but all meals, including lunch and dinner are served with a huge, gigantic fresh fish. Thinking about it now makes me so angry that i didnt get to take photos so that I can show you exactly what I mean. If you are on a diet, skip this trip because you will be fed like there's no tomorrow.

Fourth, since the beach front is shallow, Ann has her own boat that will take you to deeper waters where you can just jump off the boat and swim wherever you wish. The boat is once again, CLEAN and has cushions that you can sunbathe on if you decide to stay on the boat instead. And until I lose all the flab in my tummy, for sure you wont get to see a picture of me sunbathing. HAHA....

And lastly, before I head out to the pool to get even more sun, I have to tell you again that the company is what mattered most. Annabelle, one of my best friends in the world made sure that i was welcome and was comfortable with her family and friends. I was a newcomer to this group but they surely didn't make me feel like I was. So thanks again Bel for making this city girl taste what it's like to be Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon, minus the lover and giving birth on the island.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Trip to Vienna, Austria

I have one word for Vienna, Austria. F A B U L O U S!!

This was actually our last stop before Steffie and I had to go to Amsterdam for our flight home to Manila. But boy, I am so glad that we decided to go to Vienna even if we had luggage that weighed a ton and a half to lug around. It was simply breathtaking, and to think, we only had time to see 1 place, which is called Schonbrunn. There is a cafe on top a hill that Steffie and I climbed despite our aching bodies. As flippers (Filipino), we decided to take the long route up and make a wish as soon as we get to the top and hope for the best. We are superstitous that way.

We felt, acted, looked and pretended to be rich so we had a drink and something to bite in the very expensive cafe. We are Asians in the land of the Whiteys so we made sure that we were not mistaken as some maids on their day off. As always, I had lipstick on which can prove to the Austrians that asians with lipstick can be pretty dangerous.

The view was fantastic. As you can very well see in my photos, one can't help but be amazed at how beautiful the world can be if only we manicured our lawns, pick up our trash, plant some trees and flowering plants, keep the air clean, obey and respect rules and have gorgeous women like Steffie and I roam around freely with pocket money of about 1,000 euro each.

Anyway, back to Earth, this place we went to also had a zoo right next to it and Steffie and I, being animal lovers decided that it was something that paying 6 euro was worth. We wanted to very much see whales and dolphins and giraffes and lions but I was a bit disappointed when all we saw were some nasty penguins (they were doing IT, see photo as proof), pelicans, crocodiles, lizards, bears, turtles (which probably came from the here), fox and bats. I later on changed my mind about my 6 euros. What a waste. I see more animals in my household everyday! Pigs, cows, rats, dogs, snakes...oh wait, those are all the people I work with. Except mom and dad of course. Can't piss them off, they are the bosses of me.

One more reason why I love Austria so much is because they know how to appreciate beauty. Steffie and I were walking back to our hotel, but with Steffie's long legs, she was 10 steps ahead of me when this tall woman came up to me and stopped me on the middle of the sidewalk. Wait, let me describe to you how this lady looked like. She was dressed in white pants, white top and white jacket. She had on black patent shoes which was obviously Chanel and black purse to match it, as well as Chanel sunglasses which stood out against her platinum white hair and red lipstick (told you lipstick is a weapon). She was about 60 yrs old and very slim and practically had a sign on her forehead saying "I am a millionaire, stand back and let me through you peasant!" Very admirable in my book.

Anyway, she stopped me and said with her rich Austrian accent, "Excuse me, but where are you from?" I was thinking, "Oh no, she needs a maid and wants to hire me." I told her I was from Manila, Philippines. And then (are you sitting down?) she says to me, "My goodness, women from the Philippines are so beautiful!" I know, I know...I can't help these things from happening but think of it this way, I represented the Filipina and thanks to me, I have just put us on a pedestal.

Of course I am telling you this story not because it is the first time it happened to me (because it happens almost everyday, ahem ahem) but because this was, for me, the ultimate compliment. When a woman, a stranger that's oozing with confidence, class and wealth stops you on the middle of the sidewalk just to tell you how pretty you are, you can just leave everything behind and become an illegal alien in Austria. Imagine, if this woman thinks you are hot, what about what men think? Hmmmm????

But seriously, if you are planning to take a European vacation, visit Vienna, wear lipstick, skip the zoo, pretend you are rich, wish when you get to the top of the hill, and hope for the best.

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome and why we couldnt go in.

It wasn't because Steffie and I are evil. Of course we have done things in the past that may constitute as evil but I don't think that they are so bad that the Church doors would mistake us as 2 witches. Although I must admit, we are bewitching gals but that's about all the witchcraft we can handle.

It was our last day in Italy before we had to leave for Austria. We took the earliest train to Rome and as soon as we got off the taxi, I started walking towards the church only to find Steffie sitting on a nearby bench looking really disturbed. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that the taxi driver jipped her 20 euros.

Now, it might not be a lot to you folks living in Europe (you know who you are) but to us Flippers, 20 euros can already buy us the ff:

1. Bottomless ice tea at Marina - P50.00
2. Halo-halo at The Peninsula - P310.00
3. Sunglasses in Divisoria - P200.00
4. DVD, 16 movies in 1 disc - P80.00
5. Bathing suit in Greenhills - P400.00
6. Pedicure at Emphasis - P335.00
7. Small slurpee at 7-11 - P5.00

There you go! All those things that Steffie could have gotten, all down the drain. What a shame! Guess she forgot to wear lipstick that day. Going back to my story, if we were indeed witches, Steffie would have casted a spell on the taxi driver and turned him to escargot.

Now, the reason we weren't able to go inside the church was because we had 3 hours to spare in Rome and the line was about 3 miles long. All we could do is take pictures of the magnificent structures and scultptures of the richest Church in the world.

Guards in security golf cars would roam around the grounds and reprimand those who were misbehaving. In the fountain located at the center, we saw 2 boys almost swimming in it. They were drenched and splashing water everywhere. They got sooo busted! I say, don't mess with the Italians. They might talk your ear off.

Because groceries, giftshops and malls are amongst our favorite places, we spent about an hour at the souveneir store deciding whether buying a rosary there would make us more holy or if a pin with the photo of the Pope would take us straight to heaven when we go. I wanted to buy one for my Lola (Grandmother) who is a devout Catholic, but after a lot of thought, I decided that it would be useless to give my Lola one because she has about 2,000 rosaries and 800 Holy Bible in her house. Another one from me would be overdoing it. So in the end, I didn't get to buy a single thing. It was a lot to think about and my brain got tired. Religion can be very confusing and misleading and I believe that having faith in God and not being a witch will take me to heaven when my time comes.

Beam me up Scotty!


FYI, the last line is a famous line from Star Trek.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Asian chicks hit St. Tropez!

I know! Tell me about it. One of the best places that I have ever been is the land of the rich and famous, St. Tropez. It is located along the French Riviera in southern France. Legend says that the name St. Tropez came from a martyr, St. Torpes who refused to give up his faith and because of it, he was beheaded and his body was thrown into a boat, which drifted to what is now called Golfe de St. Tropez, where he finally came to shore.

We drove down here from an 8 hour drive from Paris. The view was breathtaking and the traffic was well, there was none. In Europe, drivers can go as fast as 150km/hour. But if your car can go faster, then let it fly. Unfortunately, we were not using a sports car so my need for speed was not completely satisfied. Our good friends from Switzerland, Fernando and his gang were kind enough to drive us around Europe and we were very lucky to have had them because they were able to get a 5 star resort hotel for us to stay at for a very cheap rate of 112 Euros/night. The rooms had a kitchen, living room, dining room, lanai, storage room and a very spacious bathroom.

The resort has a huge pool with woven sun loungers (probably made from the Philippines). Even if it was a bit chilly in the evenings, I still had to take dip because it was too beautiful to resist.

The weather was perfect. The restaurants and clubs were filled with people from all over the world. We saw a big bunch of Norwegians in one club and lots of Mexicans in another. Italians were also present as well as the French from nearby cities. But one thing Steffie and I did not see much of are Asians. And that's where the party starts. Steffie and I stood out and it was funny how much attention we got from these people.

In this bar that we went to, Chez Maggie, I received roses from one guy, drinks from another and this other guy and his friends wanted to have photos taken with ME! They even asked if they could kiss me on the cheek. It was hilarious but fun. It was my moment of celebrity life.

The next day, when we decided to have lunch in this super expensive restaurant which had reminded me a lot of the Philippines because of the furniture they had used. I felt so proud even if I wasn't 100% sure but I truly believe that the lounge chairs are made by Budji Layug or from someone that does the same thing.

After lunch, we headed down to the beach to catch some sun. The water was blue and the sand was fine but in my book, the beach of Boracay is still the winner.

I think that my whole European tour would not have been as great if we missed going to this wonderful city. So if I were you, please make St. Tropez your next destination. If you do decide to follow my advice, aside from your bathing suit, don't forget to pack your evening attire because people here know how to party. You may also just buy your clothes from the many shops that have super great but expensive things! Just to give you an idea, a big bottle of mineral water cost me 18 Euros (P1,160). Imagine that. Anyway, they have just about everything one can need in a place like this but it would be best if you buy them all from the grocery where that bottled water would have only cost me 1 Euro (P65).

Also, it is best to buy them from their version of a tiangge (street market). Opens at 9 am and closes at around 9 pm. Best time to go would be May to June and September. If you need a tour guide, please send me a message and we can discuss my fee and requirements. I will make sure you get to be a celebrity too, at least for 1 night.