Experience Travel and Living Volume 5 Number 3

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PERIENCE Volume 5 No. 3

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CONTENTS

ETL V5 N3 Cover final 2019.pdf 1 8/11/2019 8:07:02 PM

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PERIENCE Volume 5 No. 3

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ON THE COVER Ronel Egang, hair and make up artist to the stars and owner /creative director of Ronel Egang Salon, shares his success story and hopes that it inspires others to follow their own dreams, to just keep moving forward despite the challenges.

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Profile

Be beautiful according to Vero

The Vero collection: intricate, custom-made, avant garde, one of a kind

Hotel 1925: Lipa’s classic and historic getaway

Hotel 1925 is the only place in Lipa that embodies its heritage and beloved people

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Sanctuaries 32

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Pura Vida’s natural charm is perfect for a dream wedding

The perfect backdrop for a couple’s union to show their undying love for each other

Beauty & Wellness 18

The Midas Touch of Baby Go

Award-winning indie film producer Baby Go shares valuable tips on how to manage a business

A grooming wonderland called Ronel Egang Salon

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The Empire for Beauty

Encounter

Owner Ronel Egang hopes to inspire others to reach for their dreams no matter how difficult A bigger space for The Beauty Empire Face and Body Center to provide world-class services to clients

Cavinti and its captivating allure

Be captivated by Cavinti’s wondrous beauty and quiet demeanor that appeals to all types of travelers E XP E RIE NC E T RAVEL AND LIVING

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A welcome addition to Poblacion Maxx Hotel’s “Happy to Help” mantra gives customers an outstanding hotel experience

The wonders of the world through the lens of Mike Cruz

Premier photographer and drone pilot give Filipinos a chance to see their country in a different light


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CONTENTS Travel Lite 44

Make every Cebu trip complete at bai Hotel Cebu

bai Hotel Cebu gives that unique hotel experience

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Exceeding expectations, best impressions Somerset Alabang Your best bet for quick stay-

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cation weekends, alone or with the family

Portfolio 50 55

A myriad of canals and other eye-catching sights

Ride gondolas and visit other sites to make your Venice trip unforgettable

Peace of mind for Yuletide gift shopping Corporate Giveaways Buyers’ Show 2019 for the weary holiday gift-seekers

Celebrity Travel 56 59

Ara Mina relishes the chance to travel

Actress, entrepreneur and travel bug strikes off another travel destination from her bucket list

Manu Respall is no stranger to traveling Artist and social media influencer loves the Philippines

Sanctuaries 60

Surrounded by Sedona’s unmistakable splendor

Sedona in the USA draws millions of visitors yearly

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Recharge your spirit through spiritual tourism

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A new facet to France’s tourism industry

The Good Life

67-70 Celebrations at La Chaine des Rotisseurs Cebu, Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines, Society for Cultural Enrichment, Inc. and Embassy of Argentina in the Philippines

Postings 4

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Publisher’s Note For various reasons, many people and companies seem to avoid doing anything during the month of August, like making big business or life-changing decisions. Well, that’s their belief, and I beg to differ. Timing is relevant but most of the time, it doesn’t really matter. As long as I know that what I’m doing is right, that I’ve thought about it long and hard, and that I know that God is with me, everything will turn out right. I’m sure that our latest issue of Experience Travel & Living this August is according to God’s will and plan. We hope you will enjoy reading our stories for this issue, like our cover story of a Davaoeño, who serves as an inspiration, a perfect example that with God, everything is possible.

Ana Manansala Publisher

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Publisher: Editorial Consultant: Associate Editor: Creative Team: Creative Director:

Ana M. Manansala Joseph Cortes Rory Visco Nona Clemente, Mike Cruz, Neil Mariano Neil Mariano

Contributing Writers: Ruby Asoy-Lebajo, Carlo S. Suerte Felipe, Nona Clemente, Myke Soon, Yesu Labrado, Stephanie Tumampos, Jordanah Racines, Estrella Torres, and Suzette Jessica Contributing Photographers: Esmeraldo Llaneta, Patrick Uy, Teddy Pelaez, Mike Cruz, Don Jon Kirby Omega, Obet Constante

Administrative and Finance Assistant: Marketing Director: Sales Executives:

Leila David Ruby Asoy-Lebajo Bob Marasigan, Jun Escuadro

Experience Travel and Living is published bi-monthly by

MODE DEVI PUBLISHING, INC. Unit 2020 Cityland Herrera Tower, V.A. Rufino St., Brgy. Bel-Air, Salcedo Village, Makati City

DENNIS SIA, Vice President LILIAN SENGIA, Chief Finance Officer

Visit www.experiencetravelph.com Email: experiencetravelandliving@gmail.com Like us at www.facebook.com/ExperienceTravel.Ph Instagram: ExperienceTravel.ph Twitter: @xptravel.ph

The magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for all manuscripts and photographs submitted. While every reasonable effort is made to verify information, facts and figures, the magazine and its editors assume no responsibility for errors or misrepresentations that may appear in the publication. Opinions expressed in Experience are solely those of the writers and not necessarily endorsed by the company and its editors. Printed in the Philippines.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED No part of the magazine may be reproduced in full or in part without prior written permission from the editors.

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LIVING WELL

Vero Jewelry pieces are very artsy. A woman who wears a Vero piece must be confident.

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Be BEAUTIFUL, Be VERO by Ruby Asoy-Lebajo

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he Vero jewelry collection can be described as vintage and eclectic, classics with a contemporary flair. Vero, which means “genuine” in Italian, was conceptualized in 2004 and has been in the business for 15 years now. “I never thought I would be in this industry (jewelry designing). It’s very rewarding and fulfilling, especially when you see the product of your imagination,” shared Gladys Young-Palanca, the successful woman behind the Vero brand, during the launch of the new collection. Young said that Vero jewelry is not for anyone. “It’s very artsy and not really for anyone. A woman who wears a Vero piece must be confident.” It is because her pieces carry an “affluence of character.” Her skills and eye for detail were innate since she comes from a family of artists. Her great grandmother and grandmothers were also jewelers then, trading exquisite Spanish tambourine necklaces and coin bracelets. The artist’s flair for jewelry design started with the

Rhea & Lloyd Anastacio, Gladys Young-Palanca, Anton Palanca, Jovy and Georginna Desuasido, Bettina Laurel

collection of gemstones passed on from her mother and was awakened when family friends enticed her to redesign jewelries for them. Vero takes to heart the sanctity of “luxe style,” creating pieces that are unique and edgy, yet timeless and elegant. Intricate and enthralling, these are set in precious metals—gold and silver bedecked with a variety of diamonds and gemstones sourced around the globe. Vero also prides in bringing new life to old, outdated jewelry; from melting, redesigning and reconstructing, to achieving only the best, statement pieces that make you beautiful. There is no denying that wearing pieces of jewelry has its own historical and symbolic meaning, and eventually evolved to become more of a status symbol. But it has a deeper meaning behind it, and many may not really understand its true essence, yet jewelry will continue to captivate and mesmerize anyone, just like the Vero collection—intricate, custom-made, avant garde, one of a kind.

Nicole Palanca, Martin Mendoza, Paolo Cristobal, Sheila Carlos, and Carlos Palanca IV

Cristina Taboada, Sheila Go, Ara Liwag, Sherilyn Tan, and Zarah Hernaez

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Hotel 1925: A Classic Getaway in the Historical City of Lipa

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round two to three hours away, or about 80 kilometers south of Manila, Lipa City is Batangas’ seat of ancestry, recreation, commerce, religion, and culture. It is a town considered as paradise by many, perfect for celebrating special occasions, for

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religious pilgrimages or simply going on a tranquil getaway. In the late 1800s, Lipa was deemed the richest town in the Philippines since it was the world’s biggest and only supplier of coffee beans. Its ascent to premiere economic status did not escape


The Tale of Hotel 1925

the eyes of Queen Regent Maria Cristina of Spain, who conferred the title of “Villa” to Lipa as a reward for the hard work of its people and its contributions to the Philippines and the world. Despite their city’s esteemed status symbol, the Lipeños were unperturbed and remained industrious, hospitable, and strong-willed – traits that still hold true to this day. But if there’s one place in Lipa that embodies its heritage and beloved people, that is Hotel 1925. Nestled on a 1,209-square meter property, Hotel 1925 is a modern, 16-room boutique hotel that exudes timeless architectural beauty and pays homage to the status of splendor and luxury Lipa is known for. Experience Travel & Living gives you the story behind Hotel 1925, and a sneak peek of what you can expect at this classic getaway and the symbolic places where you can get a decadent experience and taste of the historical city of Lipa.

The tale of this new landmark in Lipa City began with Rufino Mojares or “Pinong.” Manong Pinong (born 1925) was a survivor of the Japanese occupation so he needed to develop a high entrepreneurial spirit to rebuild his life. He peddled many things to earn a living, from appliances to jeepneys, and just like the stories of Filipino tycoons, he also experienced hardships as a struggling entrepreneur. Eventually, Manong Pinong tasted success and built an open-space warehouse in Lipa to store most of his products while he raised his three daughters: Ma. Socorro Mojares-Cadiz, Esperanza Mojares-Leyeza, and Michelle MojaresFabie. In a conversation with one of his daughters, Manong Pinong requested a statue to be built in his memoriam. Fast forward to 2016, the daughters, with the help of Michelle’s husband TJ Fabie III, built Hotel 1925 right where Manong Pinong’s warehouse was erected, a proud monument for their father and how his success story inspired them to provide an emblematic place that Lipeños would be proud of.

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Unwind: The Hallways and Suites of Hotel 1925 Before we took a peek at the chic 56-sqm Balcony Suite King of Hotel 1925, we were delighted by the sight of the exquisite hotel interiors and set of antiques at the hallways. At the hotel lobby, you’ll be greeted by the warm smiles of their staff and a deluge of stunning sights. A wooden grand central staircase, a vintage cashier box, classic black-and-white Machuca tiles, antique walnut dressers and aparadors - things that truly take back a guest to the good ‘ol times. Now, onto the Suite. For the Balcony Suite King room, open its wide wooden door with an electronic key card then lie down on a chiropractic king-size bed after a day’s worth

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of tour around Lipa City (which we’ll get to later). While relaxing, you can turn on the LED cable television set, or binge on your favorite Netflix shows with their high-speed Internet connectivity. You can also look forward to the ensuite bathroom that provides you with imported French toiletries by Les Couvent des Minimes or stand on the balcony to breathe in the cold breeze of Lipa at night. Before you get to enjoy the luxury of this elegant suite, wouldn’t it be nice to have a tour of Lipa and enjoy what the town has in store? Experience Travel & Living recommends five places that provide a taste of the best of Lipa in terms of culinary, history, education, and relaxation.


Dine: Imprenta and Casa Marikit

Experience: Beehive Farm and Kitchen

For great Filipino cuisine, no need to go far. At the first floor of the hotel, you can find Imprenta Modern Filipino Cuisine to savor classic Filipino dishes and drinks. Enjoy a sip of the signature kapeng barako, savor the taste of Beef Kare-Kare, or go the traditional recovery food route with Tapsilog. If you’re craving for international cuisine, we highly recommend Imprenta’s “sister restaurant,” Casa Marikit Ristorante Italiano. Michelle Mojares-Fabie, a culinary aficionado, brought Casa Marikit to life, making it the very first fine-dining restaurant in Lipa. It is an 11-minute drive from Hotel 1925 located at Brgy. BanayBanay right across San Fernando Airbase. This place has been raved about by food review sites, so we wanted to try it out. After a two-hour lunch of devouring various pasta dishes, their signature steak and gelato, it was all worth it! All the dishes were wellplated, the atmosphere was relaxing, the interiors are Instagram-able, and the servers were attentive. Casa Marikit can indeed be a great place for special occasions and make you feel as if you’re dining in Italy.

If you have kids with you, or maybe you just love honey, make sure to include the Beehive Farm and Kitchen in your itinerary. It’s a humble home-turned-dining place and center of learning for the buzzing beekeeping business not only in Lipa but in the entire world. Owned by Joel Katigbak, the Beehive Farm and Kitchen serves fresh dishes that use honey produced from their very own bee farm as a key ingredient. Apart from offering delectable dishes, experience the short tours and take a closer look at a beehive and see how bees produce honey. One recommendation is to visit from January to May as it is the season for honey flow. Also, you and your family can also have a taste of different flavors of honey, learn the difference of their tastes, and know why they taste differently. Who knows, it might be your jumping-off point to becoming a honey expert, right?

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Discover: Casa de Segunda Another must-visit place in Lipa, Casa de Segunda is a renowned tourist site in Batangas where the Luz-Katigbak ancestral residence stands, an almost century-old “bahay-na-bato” known to be the home of Segundina Solis Katigbak, the first love of our national hero Jose Rizal. The story of this National Heritage site was shared to us by its accommodating host, Lilet Malabanan, Segundina’s granddaughter. She narrated the short-lived romance between the young Rizal and Segundina, who met in Manila when the young girl was still studying in La Concordia College. Unfortunately for the young Rizal, Segundina was already engaged to Manuel Luz, the son of an affluent family in Lipa. Their story never picked up again, and Segundina spent the rest of her life in this ancestral house. To prevent further deterioration, Casa de Segunda underwent restoration and later turned into this beautiful museum.

Chill Out: Il Capo Located in the same floor as Imprenta, Il Capo is one of the newest go-to places in Lipa for gentlemen who would simply love a tete-a-tete over a glass of whisky and get a well-deserved clean cut and shave – all while listening to relaxing jazz music. Apart from professional grooming services and a wonderful menu of coffee and liquor, guests of this snazzy craft barbershop can also expect to see its collection of antiques, such as a vintage Vespa and old-fashioned furniture. Il Capo is surely a unique barbershop in Lipa where you can have an experience that will exceed your expectations. From mouthwatering local and international dishes and educational experiences, to the warm hospitality of the people of Lipa and Hotel 1925, our visit to this amazing city was truly one for the books, an experience where we can look forward going back to the hotel and the city along with our families. As for Hotel 1925, the coming years look promising for them as it aims to build a fitness gym, grand ballroom, swimming pool, spa, salon for women, a large garden and more exquisite rooms that will delight both Lipeños and town visitors alike. If you’re looking to have a deluxe experience in a culture-rich city that’s mere hours away from Metro Manila, Hotel 1925 is your place to be. 16

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BEAUT Y & WELLNESS

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Ronel Egang Salon:

Your grooming wonderland TEXT By Ruby Asoy-Lebajo Photos By ESMERALDO LLANETA ADDITIONAL PHOTO BY PATRICK UY

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wning a salon is, no doubt, challenging, but also rewarding and fun if you love it. Follow your passion and success will come after. Ronel Egang Salon owner Ronel Egang lives by this belief. Now, he’s seeing the fruits of his hard work, where his passion made all the difference. To date, his salon chain has seven branches and one franchise. You can feel the homey and welcoming atmosphere once you enter a Ronel Egang Salon. “It’s a perfect mix of warmth and comfort, a non-intimidating yet inviting atmosphere. I just want my clients to feel that the salon is their second home,” shared the young entrepreneur. Ronel Egang Salon specializes in creative hair-coloring, precision hair cutting, keratin treatments and makeup services and wants to be known as experts in hair coloring. “We also make sure that our clients have the best experience possible and get exactly what they need,” Ronel quipped. Ronel M. Egang is a celebrity hair and makeup artist, beauty expert and proud owner and creative director of his own salon. He has worked with a wide array of talented

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BEAUT Y & WELLNESS

photographers, celebrities, television shows and fashion designers, and has already beautified tons of famous faces in local showbiz. Since he opened his first salon, learning never stops for him so he continues to attend hair and makeup workshops. Among his notable achievements include winning 1st runner up (Makeup category) in HairAsia and completing the Intermediate Makeup Course in the highly reputable School of Fashion and the Arts. Originally from Davao City, Ronel now

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calls Bacoor, Cavite his home, and his salon has become the preferred choice for weddings and special events in the area through word of mouth.

Humble beginnings Ronel looked back at his humble beginnings and recalled the hard times in his province. “While walking through the rice fields, I saw a pair of rusty scissors and I knew that in time it will change my life,” he shared. “And it did. Life was hard, and I was willing to jump at any chance to get a

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better taste of life.” The opportunity came when he left for Manila and worked at a well-known salon. He knew that he didn’t want to work for anyone else, so he prepared himself to open his own salon. With the money he saved, he started buying basic things he needed, and did everything on his own – from carpentry, wiring, design, painting, etc., and the rest was history. He learned running a salon since he used to work in one. But in the beginning, all was just self-taught. He believes running


His typical work week

a successful salon also lies on the ability to satisfy customers, and that there’s no better way to keep existing customers than to have them leave happy after every visit. Most importantly, it boils down to loving what one is doing, where creativity and passion fuel the drive to be successful in a chosen career path, and just keep moving forward despite the setbacks.

Color trends for 2019 As regards color trends for 2019, Ronel avers Copper Brown will always

look great on men with a warm skin tone, especially during the summer season for that beach, surfer vibe and look, while Gray hair is also in, especially for hot dads. This color brings a perfect combo of gray and natural white hairs that are a result of genes or aging and makes them stylish. For women, Rose Gold is still more popular than ever. Aside from being fun, bubbly and creative, the color brightens the skin. For that awesome glow, natural dark roots with a touch of golden or dirty blonde are still super trendy this year.

His typical work week revolves around his customers and staff. As a handson owner, he visits and checks all the branches. His long day includes meeting clients, answering queries on social media pages, supervising employees, maintaining the appearance of the salon, managing the books, advertising and staying on top of professional happenings. His most challenging experience remains how he manages and motivates the staff. “It is a real challenge especially when dealing with artists who follow their own path. There is still that risk that a staff will leave and work for a competitor or open his own business.” When not too busy with work, Ronel travels in moderation to broaden his perspective, feel, experience and learn new things. He has been to Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Macau, and would like to travel to the US and Middle East soon and plans to visit the beautiful islands of the country. Ronel is grateful of his achievements. “Being a small salon business owner has given me the freedom to be who I am. Seeing where I came from and believing that I will continue to achieve success is very rewarding. My hope in sharing my story is that it will encourage others to reach for their dreams and to keep believing. As of today, I have seven branches in Metro Manila. I’m also open for franchise so I could help and assist people who would want to start their own salon business. ” True enough, if an individual has passion, there is a greater chance that money and gratification will follow because the time and effort invested in the venture comes with enthusiasm and zeal.

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BEAUT Y & WELLNESS

The Empire for Beauty gets bigger and better

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he Beauty Empire Face and Body Center held recently the soft opening of a new and bigger branch to provide its world-class services to more clients. This top-notch skin care and aesthetic center, the brainchild of husband-and-wife team of Dr. Alvin and Mrs. Dorothy Joy Matulac, offers a wide array of quality beauty treatment services, enhancement procedures and beauty products. The palatial-like, gold-colored interiors of The Beauty Empire also features exceptional beauty equipment that renders beauty treatments, all priced within reach but guarantees favorable and successful results that exceed expectations. The Beauty Empire takes pride in

Ms. Dorothy Joy Matulac, The Beauty Empire owner.

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(Left to right) Dr. Eunice Osoteo, partner doctor of The Beauty Empire, Ms. Dorothy Joy Matulac and Dr. Alvin Matulac, The Beauty Empire owners.

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Yesu Labrado and Dr. Dimples Matulac

its line of treatments that represent the latest breakthroughs in beauty trends and technologies. These include their popular services like Empire Popular Facial, Celebrity Facial, Diamond Peel, Oxygen Infusion Facial, Empress Glass Skin, Hydra Facial, Jetpeel Facial, Hydra Peel Facial, Biolift Facial and Acne Control. Other services such as Carbon Laser, Ndyag for Melasma, Maxilight for Underarm, IPL Underarm, IPL Legs, Cavitation (Arms, Thighs, Abdomen), Radio Frequency (Face, Face and Neck, Arms, Abdomen, Thighs), Electro Muscle Simulator (Arms, Abdomen, Thighs), Microblading (Eyebrows), Intense White, even Lip Tattoo. These procedures are done by The Beauty Empire’s partnerdoctors that include some of the most reputable dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons in the country so that everything is guaranteed safe. For services fit for royalty that goes well beyond expectations, try The Beauty Empire Face and Body Center. The new and bigger branch is located at 23 F. Bautista Street, San Francisco del Monte, Quezon City. The Beauty Empire Face and Body Center main branch, on the other hand, is located at 35 Timog Avenue, Quezon City.

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Ms. Dorothy Joy Matulac, The Beauty Empire owner (center, in black), with Dr. Eunice Osoteo (in red) with friends and guests from the b/vlogging community

(Left to right) Dr. Eunice Osoteo, partner doctor of The Beauty Empire with Influencers Stephanie Yap, Maru Pasion, Mitzie Go, Mrs. Asia Pacific 2018, and Ms. Nona Clemente

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Cabo Del Marco Hilltop Lake Resort Brgy. Mahipon, Lumot Lake, Caliraya, Cavinti, Laguna

Amenities: Cabana Huts, Tree House, Videoke For booking/reservations, Please Contact +639974549582; +639999980520; +63495432201 Email: stepmarc_enterprise@yahoo.com


Captivating Cavinti While you worry about where to go for your next vacation destination yet plagued by high transport fares, check out Cavinti town in Laguna and prepare to be captivated by its simple treasures, warm and hospitable people and a cool environment that’s perfect for your solo adventures or better yet, for your family or corporate travels. Be swayed by its wondrous beauty and quiet demeanor, unruffled stillness and unobtrusive charm. The word Cavinti supposedly came from the phrase “Kapit sa Binti.” The wedding ritual in the town that time involved the groom running after the bride and capturing her for the wedding to be consummated. During one wedding, the bride ran towards the river and the groom followed, but a strong undercurrent almost swept her. The bride’s younger sister saw the incident and shouted “kapit sa binti” to her sister, referring to the leg of the groom. Fortunately, the bride caught the groom’s leg, and the phrase stuck. Tradition still holds at this quiet town but in 2016, Cavinti made waves during that year’s Sambalilo Festival, held every August. In August 1, 2016, the town made history as it booked a place at the 2016 Guinness Book of World Records by creating the world’s biggest sambalilo (from the Spanish word “sombrero”), a straw hat made from woven dried, flattened and stripped pandan leaves. It measured 13.05 meters (42 feet and 9.7 inches in diameter), with a height of 2 meters and a central dome with a width of 3 meters. Until now, the hat is still made part of the celebrations of the festival to promote Cavinti tourism. Aside from sambalilo weaving, one of Cavinti’s most profitable creations, townsfolk also make other pandan-based products such as colorful bags, baskets, bean bags and mats. The town also boasts modern agriculture amid a clean and safe environment, with eco-tourism spots like the Bumbungan Eco-Park and Cavinti Underground River and Caves Complex, both becoming favorites of eco-tourism lovers. It also helps that Cavinti is called the “Falls Capital” of Laguna with its many magnificent

waterfall destinations like Cavinti Falls (or Pagsanjan Falls if you are in Cavinti), Kipot Falls, Cansuso Falls and Sumucab Twin Falls. Enjoy as well these Cavinti festivals like the Cavinti Watersports Fest held every May to promote the Cavinti Freshwater Lakes named Caliraya and Lumot Lakes and its other water-based adventures and activities. These include Bass fishing competition, Dragon Boat racing, Canoe and Kayak racing, open water swimming, kite boarding, carabao swim racing, underwater fish hunting, Munting Dampa sa Lawa, Bikini Open, live bands and trade fairs. The Cavinti Harvest Festival, on the other hand, is commonly observed in September and October. Its vision is to boost the town’s agriculture sector and push people to plant more agricultural crops to promote organic farming and sustain the town’s food supply. When hunger strikes, savor the delicacies that Caliraya Mountain Lake Resort, Marina Resort and La Cucina in Brgy. East Talaongan, Lago Fishing Village and Camarin Lake Resort in Brgy. Anglas, offer to hungry tourists. They will surely crave for more once they taste the gastronomic delights these foodie destinations offer. The town also reaped various awards like the Seal of Good Housekeeping, Good Financial Housekeeping 2014, Full Disclosure Policy Program Compliance, 3rd Runner Up Most Outstanding LGU Region IV-A 2016, Literacy Award Champion – Provincial Level 2016, Exemplary Practice in the Implementation of Different Environmental Mandates 2016. Cavinti is a first-class municipality located in one of Laguna’s upland towns in the foothills of the Sierra Madre mountain range. It’s about 119 kms southeast of Manila, or a two-hour drive via SLEX and national highway or even via Marcos Highway, and around 11 kms away from the provincial capitol of Pagsanjan. For more about Cavinti, visit www. facebook.com/ngiticavinti or call (049) 523-0012, 523-0330, 0977-4696949, 0908-3325299, 0998-3945609.



PROFILE

Businesswoman and indie film producer Baby Go, her entrepreneurial spirit comes from the love for her children.

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The Woman with

The Midas Touch By Ruby Asoy-Lebajo

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very venture she engages in turns to “gold” in no time. This is not surprising for entrepreneur Baby Go for she has the Midas touch, so to speak. The hardworking lady fondly recalls how her Chinese friends often referred to her as someone with a “lucky charm.” “They always got me as their industrial partner because once I got involved in their businesses, they boomed,” she smiles. She has become an expert in trading, the buying-and-selling business, and eventually, in producing quality indie films that have received accolades from different award-giving bodies here and abroad. She started in the real estate business — buying and selling, plus lending using

collaterals. She then ventured into 24/7 convenience stores and grocery stores in Laguna, which she decided to close down to be able to concentrate on her present ventures. Baby Go’s group of companies includes PC Goodheart Foundation International, Inc.; BG Productions International, Inc.; BG Showbiz Plus Magazine; BG Tamayo Global International Company, which is involved in the distribution of health products; BG World Group of Companies Royal Imperial House Trading & Consultancy, Inc.; a for-VIPs only BG Art Gallery & Antiques International Incorporated, among others. For a business to grow, she stresses

the need for careful planning and concrete direction. Go shares, “It’s important to have focus. Establish each business first before starting on another one.” But more than that, always have courage in all your endeavors, she enthused. “I’m fearless. I’m very much sure on what business I should venture into,” she says. “Give time for your plans. For example, if I need to shoot a movie, I need to have budget and time for that.” She adds one should stay firm on his plan. “If you don’t have direction, you will be in disarray. I’m hands-on in all my businesses. I don’t have partners. I’m the sole owner. Once I dream of something, it becomes a reality. What I’m proud of is that I don’t have loans in the bank.”

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Baby Go’s tips on managing your business

A lady with a good heart Through her PC Goodheart Foundation, Go was able to assist its graduate scholars-turned professionals. The foundation has produced journalists, lawyers, accountants, teachers, businessmen, while others are now working abroad. “I’m happy that I was able to help them finish their education through my foundation. They haven’t forgotten me,” she says, when she had the chance to meet with some of them lately. Others would even send goodies to her office. She has also been able to extend medical assistance to those in need. She remains young at heart. Although she’s 21 years younger than her husband, she married at the age of 14 to a Chinese national. Being a young mom didn’t prevent her from being the kind of mother that she is now. Her four daughters and one son are now all grown 30

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up. She remembers how she would find and sell property while attending to her children’s schooling. “I was just attending to my kids. I got bored. So, I looked for things to do,” she shares. “I’m happy that I was able to raise my kids well, all educated and disciplined,” she smiles with pride in her eyes. What served as motivation for her entrepreneurial spirit? “There was one mom at school — she was very generous — and would always give gifts to the teachers of her children. Suddenly, her husband died. She was abandoned by her husband’s Chinese family. I thought to myself, what if this will happen to me in the future?” For Baby Go, being successful is having it all — a thriving business, and a fulfilling married and family life. It boils down to time management and for being the lucky lady that she is. NO. 3

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This successful lady entrepreneur wants to inspire other women as well. She shares some tips on how to manage the business well. Don’t consult with other people and be influenced by them. Decide on your own. Don’t get a loan for your initial capital. It will only go to interest. Go into business if you have the capacity. Have separate money for each business. Don’t mix them around. Do proper budget and allocation. Follow your instinct.


One with championing the Filipino Culture. (Center L-R) National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ (NCCA) Executive Director Rico Pableo, Resorts World Manila’s (RWM) Chief Integrated Marketing Officer Martin Paz and Director for Corporate Communications Joee Guilas together with the chefs of participating RWM hotels and restaurants during the NCCA and RWM partnership lunch.

A fiesta for Filipino cuisine at

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Resorts World Manila

n celebration of Filipino Food Month, Resorts World Manila (RWM) partnered with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to highlight Pinoy signature dishes that pay homage to the country’s culinary heritage. A total of 22 items from RWM’s signature restaurants and seven partner hotels met the commission’s criteria for authenticity and were included in the “Ang Sarap! Piyesta ng Pagkaing Pilipino” campaign. The hotels include global marquee brands like Marriott Hotel Manila, Sheraton Manila Hotel, Hilton Manila, Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, Belmont Hotel Manila, Savoy Hotel Manila, and RWM’s Maxims Hotel. NCCA Executive Director Rico Pableo and RWM Director for Corporate Communications Joee Guilas partnered to help raise the profile of Philippine cuisine through NCCA’s 2019 Filipino Food Month online campaign. The partnership is a huge affirmation of RWM’s advocacy to emphasize and champion Filipino culture in every aspect of its operations,

Manila Life’s Manila All-star S Kitchen’s Empanada at Sunrise Bowl by Manila Marriott Sheraton Manila

especially with its dining offers. RWM is the Philippines’ first integrated tourism destination when it opened 10 years ago. It gained repute for its all-Filipino theater productions, the integration of Filipino elements in its aesthetics, and its wide range of highquality Filipino food options. The 22 dishes were regional cuisines prepared by the head chefs. One is Silogue, an all-day, all-Filipino buffet restaurant whose entrees, says Chef Mario Manaloto, include the Visayas’ Kansi and Laing and Tinumok from Bicol, plus Sago’t Gulaman, a sweet summer refreshment. For Kusina of Hilton Manila, Executive Sous Chef Patricia Messina said her grandmother’s Kare-Kare made the list both as a heritage dish and an heirloom one as well. Dutch Chef Paul Stoks of S Kitchen by Sheraton Manila Hotel, on the other hand, showed the crispiest, most tender lechon ever, and his empanada is a study in creativity, with the rich, fatty textures of sisig with Kapampangan

Savoy Cafe’s Menudo Sa Puti Kusina’s Kare-Kare at Hilton Manila

Silogue Pinoy Buffet

longganisa in a crisp, flaky pastry shell. The Manila Life Café by Marriott Hotel Manila showcased Manila Sunrise platter and Pancit Luglug, Belmont Hotel’s Café Belmont offered the Negros Island favorite Chicken Inasal with a steaming cup of garlic rice, atchara, chicken fat, and the well-loved Crispy Pata. Savoy Hotel Manila prepared Menudo sa Puti ng Batangas and the Pakbet con Bagnet, a twist to the iconic vegetable dish. Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City presented Binagoongan, a shrimp paste-infused dish with fatty chunks of choice-cut pork belly. Maxims Hotel’s the Terrace and Café Maxims chose to go sweet with Terrace’s Halo-Halo, while Café Maxims showcased Bibingka, the dense, sweet rice cake topped with white buffalo cheese and salted duck eggs. Follow RWM on its official social media pages for updates. You can also download the RWM Mobile App or visit www.rwmanila.com for more information.

The Terrace Halo-Halo

Café Belmont’s Crispy Pata


SANCTUARIES

THE WEDDING OF

Reena Vasquez and Jeremy Chura PURA VIDA RESORT Negros Oriental April 22, 2019

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ura Vida, which means “pure life,” is a resort nestled in the serene coastline of Dauin, Negros Oriental, a quaint town just 30 minutes away from Dumaguete City. Just recently, it was the scene for a lush wedding, a union surrounded by the loving embrace of the unspoiled tropics--swaying palms, the allure of a clear sea and sky, and the promising sand. It was the perfect destination for a couple who swore to live life together--perhaps even forever. It was an easy choice for the beautiful US-based couple, Reena Vasquez and Jeremy Chura, when they decided to tie the knot at Pura Vida Resort and make it memorable. The resort is embedded within a culture-rich Filipino community in Dauin, a place that’s close to where Reena grew up and is absolutely close to her heart. The resort’s ambience itself manifests the classic traits of the quintessential Filipino: friendly, warm and hospitable. The tropical theme for the wedding was an inspiring blend in the midst of the resort’s allure. The wedding aesthetic boasted

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exotic tropical blooms, a humble yet striking show of the Philippines’ sun-kissed colors. Wooden tables were adorned with low floral centerpieces, which featured the well-loved, fresh tropical flowers of the Philippines, including Hawaiian flower, ginger lilies, golden torch and heliconias in shades of purple, red, pink and orange accented by lively greens. In the evening, string lights heightened the event experience like a halo, and as soon as the guests arrived at the dinner area, the couple welcomed each one with sweet smelling white plumeria garlands. The happy couple also made sure not to scrimp on food and served the most impressive local Filipino cuisine highlighted by the island’s fresh catch of the day - grilled fish with sautéed spinach, stuffed squid, an array of seafood, and “action stations” that featured fresh barbecue, grilled meat, and vegetables. Guests had drinks of mango basil and calamansi with camote tops. The dessert station was a proud Filipino display of mango tapioca, leche flan, cochinta, turon, ube ensaymada, and even the Filipino’s best: halo halo. Jeremy and Reena’s wedding is a true example of an authentic Filipino celebration. Credit goes to the wedding’s “Dream Team,” with wedding planner extraordinaire Agnes Joy Luceno-Tuale of W.E.D. or Weddings Exquisitely Designed, a proud member of the Philippine Association of Wedding Planners. Superb photography was provided by Luigi Borromeo of Creative Stills while videography was courtesy of Chamberlain Guevarra of Tatsuo Productions, Hair and Make Up by Patricia Goyechenea, Styling and Floral Design by W.E.D., the sumptuous food by KRI, with Sound System and Lighting prepared by Billy Jan Linao of Soundhub Multimedia.

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Live life to the max at

Maxx Hotel text By Carlo S. Suerte Felipe Photos by TEDDY PELAEZ

Looking for a new hotel in Makati City? Check out Maxx Hotel, owned by Mike and Ginger Aglipay, a newcomer in the hospitality industry, and located in Makati’s foremost lifestyle destination that is Barangay Poblacion. Named after their son, the 4-star Maxx Hotel took two full years to build until it opened its doors September of 2018, making it a welcome addition to the ever-growing hospitality industry in Makati City. Don Ciriacruz, Maxx Hotel Makati General Manager, stressed, “We always observe our ‘Happy to Help’ (our slogan) mantra to each and every customer. Service is imbibed into the minds of all hotel employees so we provide only the most outstanding hotel experience to our guests.” Once you enter, quickly noticeable is the hotel lobby’s clean look, with an eye-catching curved orange sofa that beautifully matches the similarly colored ring chandelier. Customers will surely delight and enjoy their stay at each of the Maxx Hotel’s 48 rooms, all with free high-speed Wi-Fi, LCD smart TVs, and the lovable Dolce Gusto coffee machines. Room interiors come with a modern design and varying wall art themes, and most rooms give a different view of the captivating Makati skyline to further enhance guests’ stay. Maxx Hotel’s rooftop can also serve as a venue for small, outdoor conferences or gigs like parties, reunions, or even mini concerts. Also, the small yet cute pool offers an even extraordinary view of the Makati horizon. For customers with sudden cravings for a late-night snack, Maxx Hotel has an all-day English and Filipino breakfast menu, efficiently cooked at the One Luna Reserve Coffee and Bar located at the hotel’s ground floor. Maxx Hotel may be a new player in the local hospitality industry but is already growing at a steady pace. Its newest branch in Pasig City along Pasig Boulevard already started last June. Plans to open branches in Palawan and Pasay City are also in the pipeline, to be completed in the next three years. This way, young, savvy professionals are sure to live life to the max(x) here. Maxx Hotel Makati is located at 7817 Makati Avenue corner Singian Street, Brgy. Poblacion, Makati City. You can also try Maxx Hotel Ortigas located at 169 Pasig Blvd., Pasig City. You can email ortigasreservation@ maxxhotelph.com or call (+632) 253-2178 / 253-2183 / 253 2173. Check out Maxx Hotel on Instagram (@maxxhotel) or like them on Facebook, www.facebook.com/maxxhotelphilippines. EX PER I EN C E T R AVEL AN D LI VI N G

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ENCOUNTER

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travel wonders through the lens of premier photographer and drone pilot, Mike Cruz

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IN FOCUS N text by Nona Clemente Photos by mike cruz

ew York-based premier landscape and cinematic aerial photographer and videographer, the Philippines’ pride and top-notch drone pilot, Paul Michael “Mike” Cruz, brings back home his amazing skills in capturing the most incredible aerial footages and images. For one of his first assignments upon his return to the country, Mike joined the 4x4 Expedition Philippines group for a 15-day FJ Cruiser off-road tour across the country last year. Flying his drone and maneuvering it with precision and creativity over the most challenging areas, establishing the shots with his brave calculations and sharing the clips daily on social media throughout the expedition, it gave viewers a chance to see the Philippines in a different light. The visual experience also excited a whole new breed of adventure travelers. We are excited to welcome Mike on board as he joins the new team of Experience Travel and Living Magazine and Travel Wonders Video Channel. #MikeCruzFilms

Paul Michael “Mike” Cruz

Bagac, Bataan

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Times Square

Grand Central Station New York

W 34th Street

Art Museum Marina Skyline Sunset Singapore

Lower Pierce Reservoir Sunset Singapore

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TRAVEL LITE

bai Hotel Cebu facade and cityline

bai Hotel Cebu: Your exceptional host in the south

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t was my fourth visit to Cebu, yet I still gush over its innate beauty and I fell in love all over again. It is still one of the country’s most accessible islands and the most entertaining of locations and can easily accommodate people of diverse lifestyles, whether a foodie, beach lover, businessman or an adventure junkie. My trip was made special with the exceptional bai Hotel Cebu, the biggest hotel in Visayas and Mindanao, also a culinary destination with its 8 dining options like Café bai, Marble + Grain Steakhouse, and Ume Japanese Cuisine, all part of the top 10 restaurants in Mandaue City. The Twilight Roofdeck Lounge + Bar at the 23rd floor, meanwhile, gives a 360-degree view of the cities of Mandaue,

By Ruby Asoy-Lebajo Photos by Don Jon Kirby Omega

Interior of Twilight Roofdeck Lounge and Bar

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View from Twilight Roofdeck Lounge and Bar

Cebu, and Lapu-Lapu. bai Hotel Cebu is meant for business and leisure travelers who look forward to going to Cebu and its neighboring islands. It is near Mactan Cebu International Airport, about 25 minutes away, and the Domestic Port of Cebu, which is 10 minutes away. Upon entering, guests can already feel safe. “We have an advanced security system to ensure the safety of our guests and associates,” shared Alfred Reyes, general manager and vice president of Operations at bai Hotel Cebu. “Aside from metal detectors, our glass windows are coated with anti-blast films for additional protection, our seismic accelerograph detects early signs of earthquake and our fire detection alarm system is very sensitive and accurate.” bai Hotel Cebu also supports sustainable nature-based tourism, the

General Manager Alfred Reyes

first environmentally sustainable property in Cebu that uses low-emission glass windows to shield the interiors from about 30 percent of UV heat and help save electricity with less use of automatic airconditioning units. You can also find plenty of recreational facilities at bai Hotel Cebu, like a fitness center with sauna, an infinity outdoor lap pool and kiddie pool, and an in-house spa - The Spa at Cebu by RSpa. There are also serviced offices located at the fifth floor that cater to businesses looking for an office space in a prominent location in Cebu. Reyes said the hotel changed the business landscape of both the city and the province. “Our 668 rooms, 12 event venues and eight dining outlets added more choices to travelers who come either for business, leisure, or both. Because of this, Cebu is now able to accept more tourist EX PER I EN C E T R AVEL AN D LI VI N G

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Executive Bedroom (King Bed)

arrivals, plus large-scale meetings, conferences, and events.” bai Hotel Cebu also offers delectable culinary delights at Ume Japanese Cuisine, where a la carte meals are specially prepared by its Japanese chef, while the Marble + Grain Steakhouse, its fine-dining restaurant, serves prime USDA steak. For those who love to chill with friends, there’s a selfserving coffee outlet—Wallstreet Coffee + Bar—and the all-day dining restaurant, Café bai, the no. 1 restaurant in Mandaue today, that serves Eastern and Western specialties. Those who love exclusivity will love the hotel’s bai Platinum membership program. Members get exclusive perks and privileges like huge discounts on their food and beverage outlets as well as two complimentary overnight stays, and a cash voucher on selected outlets. Members are also entitled to exclusive promos and discounts at their partner establishments they can avail year-round.

Customer First

Infinity Lap Pool

Café bai carving station

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Reyes’ work motto is “customer first, and I always remind my associates about that,” he related. This hands-on manager walks around the hotel regularly, does ocular inspections, even dines in the outlets to check food quality, and talks to guests to ask about their stay. The hardworking GM is a 30-year industry stalwart, a product of University of San Jose–Recoletos, with two certificates on General Management Programs from Cornell University. He worked in various properties locally and abroad and is the first Filipino to open a 668-room hotel in the Philippines. To check their reputation, Reyes said they monitor all online reviews and take necessary actions. “At our monthly general assembly, we update our associates, discuss different situations and strategies. We are very thankful of the positive reviews even though we are just in our first year of operations.” Managing a huge property, dealing with a millennial workforce, plus the evolution of digital platforms and travelers’ discriminating demands make his day exciting and challenging, as Cebu is becoming the next Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions (MICE) destination in Southeast Asia. This drives Reyes and his associates to be more creative in finding ways to entice clients and make them enjoy their stay and help make bai Hotel Cebu the no. 1 hotel in Mandaue City. In the long run, bai Hotel Cebu hopes to expand within Visayas and Mindanao with even bigger properties in terms of space and rooms, and more amenities and facilities than present.



TRAVEL LITE Rest and relax at one of the many amenities. Fully equipped fitness center, an outdoor swimming pool, outdoor Jacuzzi, a children’s playroom and pool.

Somerset

Alabang,

your home away from home text and photoS by myke soon

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good thing about weekends is the idea of spending it with the family. Once in a while, we indulge in mini vacations in different parts of Metro Manila, and this time it’s in the south, in the beautiful Somerset Alabang Manila. Located at Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Somerset Alabang Manila is close to offices, retail outlets, restaurants, shopping malls, and supermarkets. Perfect for business travelers or those looking for a quick leisure getaway or staycation, Somerset Alabang Manila is very accessible from the airport and is linked to other destinations in the south via the South Luzon Expressway. When you enter Somerset Alabang Manila, a decent and spacious lobby with high ceiling, plus very comfy sofas where you can drink or just chill and read, will greet you. While we waited to be whisked away to our room, I signed up for their ASR, or Ascott Star Rewards Programme, where members earn rewards points when booking or staying at any Ascott brand. An ASR member enjoys the lowest rates,

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Somerset Alabang is a great place for quick family getaways and staycations. - Soon Family - Myke, Riley & Nix

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All serviced apartments come with a modern kitchen, stylish bathrooms with a tub and shower. Some well-thought of convenience is also in place inside the one-bedroom deluxe like the controlled airconditioning, housekeeping services and a washing machine with a dryer for utmost comfort and ease. The generous living areas with sofa and huge TV also adds to the experience.

Inside the stylish bedroom is a working desk, a TV, closet for your stuff and a really nice, big cozy bed which will make you not leave the room.

exclusive discounts and perks, and signing up is free! Soon, our room was ready. We tempered our expectations about the 1-Bedroom Deluxe we got but I was hopeful. I didn’t see photos of it online but when we entered, my first impression of the 56-square meter room was “wow.” Even my daughter exclaimed “wow.” Before we could even put down our stuff, our daughter Riley was already all over, as if it was like home. Somerset has 181 serviced apartments that offer stylish furnishing and fittings, a very comfortable bed, fully functioning modern kitchen, spacious living and dining areas and an exquisite bathroom, plus nice and classy interiors. So we’re not surprised of Riley’s reactions. Somerset’s guest service, we noticed, was creative and thoughtful so guests feel even more at home. Apparently, it’s something they do regularly to know their guests even better and offer something more than the usual. Riley sure did enjoy a lot of ice cream that night. At Somerset Alabang Manila, guests can find the usual amenities in serviced apartments like plates, utensils, glass and even soap and sponge for dishwashing.

First impression when I opened the door and I stepped in, I silently said, ‘wow.’ My daughter heard me say it and she also said ‘wow.’

There’s also a microwave oven and washer/ dryer, truly handy for travelers for their laundry needs. The room comes with a king-sized bed, one of the softest and most comfortable we’ve been in (and too big even for all of us) and another TV, plus the chic bathroom that’s hard to get out from. The home entertainment system is truly spectacular, plus a very good broadband Internet connection so you’ll get connected. Staying at Somerset Alabang Manila also offers a unique experience, especially at the swimming pool, fitness center with state-of-the-art facilities, a residents’ lounge and playroom for kids! For the business traveler, they’d love the support facilities like function rooms and a boardroom, very

ideal for business travelers. Level 4 at Somerset Alabang Manila is where you can find Café Madrigal and Bar, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant with an a la carte menu of Filipino and international dishes. Partake of its buffet breakfast offering, like bacon, sausages, longganisa, eggs, and daing na bangus, plus bread, pastries, salads, cheeses, cold cuts, dim sum, and fresh fruits. Somerset Alabang Manila surely exceeded our expectations because we had an amazing stay. Best to stay there for at least two nights to fully satiate your vacation cravings. You’ll surely enjoy Somerset’s signature and exquisite touches, as if you never left home. It was really fun that one of their staff even made a balloon for Riley. Pretty cool! We felt rejuvenated and just happy with the whole experience. You may reach Somerset Alabang Manila at 3409 Spectrum Midway, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City, 1781 Metro Manila, Philippines. Call (+632) 643-0999 or email enquiry.manila@the-ascott.com. “Like” their Facebook page, https:// www.facebook.com/SomersetPH/ or visit https://www.somerset.com/en/ philippines/manila/somerset-alabangmanila.html.

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PORTFOLIO

Take the Gondola Appreciating Venice through the gondola ride is the perfect experience. Although quite pricey (around 80 euros), a ride can last up to 40 minutes and can fit in four people so it’s best to share the cost. For a more memorable trip, ask for a gondolier who can serenade. Enjoy Italians’ pleasant, deep singing voices that can echo through the canals’ walls.

Through the canals in

Venice Text and Photos by STEPAHNIE TUMAMPOS

I’ve seen Venice countless times but only in movies and magazines, but it’s totally different when you’re actually there. Facing the Adriatic Sea, the city has no roads but instead has canals and the waterbus is the easiest way to go around. To enjoy Venetian life, here are four things you can do while in Venice.

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Rialto Bridge shopping The Rialto Bridge is one of the four oldest bridges in Venice located at Rialto, home to the city’s most prominent markets where you can snag good-quality leather and beautiful accessories made of Murano art glass, one of Venice’s most beloved treasures. Venetian glass, especially the cristallo, is deemed the finest glass in the world.

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PORTFOLIO

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Visit Saint Mark’s Square (Piazza San Marco) and basilica Check out Saint Mark’s Square and its basilica, an example of Italo-Byzantine architecture of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice. Italian churches are so beautiful inside that tourists always spend the whole day to line up so better buy tickets in advance.

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Libreria Acqua Alta Bookworms will love Libreria Acqua Alta, an offbeat but cozy bookstore with thousands of vintage books you can buy or just read inside. Literally translated as the “Book Store of High Water,” this cramped but beautiful bookstore is one of Venice’s best-kept secret places, and you can even meet their cute cat guard, Tigre.

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The best business gifts take center stage at the Corporate Giveaways Buyers’ Show 2019

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The annual buyers’ show cements its reputation as the Philippines’ biggest and longest-running expo for business gifts.

ear 2019 is already on the second half so it’s natural that companies are already starting to scour for suppliers for their annual holiday client giveaways. While many resorted to searching for gifts online, which can be risky, it was perfect timing that the annual Corporate Giveaways Buyers’ Show 2019 was held recently. Occupying a huge amount of selling space for business gifts, the show provided buyers that peace of mind where they can talk to the suppliers face to face and see, touch or hold, or even buy on the spot the actual item or items they desired, all in a single space. The 32nd Corporate Giveaways Buyers’ Show, by far its biggest show to date, drew more than a hundred legitimate corporate gifts suppliers under one roof last June. Over the years, this annual exposition built a solid reputation as the best source for professionals in the field of purchasing and supply management, advertising, marketing, public relations and customer relations who are on the lookout for their annual holiday

giveaways and special promotions. “Every year, the Corporate Giveaways Buyers’ Show introduces new items and concepts to give our loyal and new visitors more options to choose from,” Raquel Romero, president and general manager of World Expos and Concepts, Inc. (Worldexco), the organizer of this timetested trade event, shared. “We always try to ensure that we have a good mix of products from different price points coming from exhibitors, those who have been with the show for dozens of years or are new to the event, to cater to a wide range of markets and requirements.” Products that took center stage at the three-day show included popular budgetfriendly novelties to branded premium gifts for high-profile executives. Among the thousands of products showcased were from popular categories like travel essentials, mobile/tech accessories, food and beverage items, eco-friendly products and novelty merchandise, all highly customizable and can be ordered in bulk for more cost efficiency. Even suppliers of office solutions

also helped visitors with requirements such as corporate uniforms, office furniture, equipment and printing services. Though it started as a small gathering of only about a dozen exhibitors starting in 1987, the Corporate Giveaways Buyers’ Show became known for providing an effective selling platform to the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises, startups and even established ventures to showcase their wares. This one-of-a-kind exposition also provided tremendous boost to local enterprises that provide essential livelihood to indigenous minorities and disadvantaged communities from various areas of the country. “The Corporate Giveaways Buyers’ Show remains the best and most reliable destination for companies looking for corporate and promotional items to help strengthen their brand’s recall and enhance their relationships with customers in a highly competitive and evolving market,” Romero added. For further information, visit www. corporategiveawaysbuyershow.com.

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Feeling blessed at the

Holy Land By YESU LABRADO

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Bringing a power bank or two was necessary because when you’re there, you’d want to bring back as much memories as you can

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es, she portrayed roles that were mostly on the sultry side, but what people don’t know is that actress, singer, entrepreneur and certified celebrity Ara Mina (Hazel Pascual Reyes) is also a keen travel bug. Just recently, she embarked on a whirlwind, 10-day blitz trip to the Holy Land and the Middle East, touching her heels in countries such as Israel, Jordan and Egypt. Planned several months ago, it was a trip that was at the top of Ara’s travel calendar, an integral part of her bucket list that one day, she will be able to visit the Holy Land. By God’s grace, she was able to meet the very generous and humble owners of Highlands Travel travel agency in one event, who invited her to join the Israel, Jordan and Egypt tour, with a huge all-in discount, to boot! Who would say no to that, right? Elated with the opportunity, Ara’s feeling was indescribable the moment she stepped on the streets where our Lord Jesus walked, and everything was surreal, and there’s no way to capture the exact emotion once you’re there. All Ara did

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was just to make the most of the moment and she wholeheartedly took it all in. It was indeed a short trip, but she still managed to squeeze into her itinerary the time to buy little somethings for pasalubong back home and more importantly, took tons of pictures for the memories. So many in fact that she had a tough time choosing which ones to upload and at what time because the time difference was a bit hard to adjust to. The Middle Eastern cuisine was quite new to her taste buds, yet she found it was quite delicious! “We were taken care of 24/7 and we didn’t feel the slightest fear of being lost in the crowd of people because our tour guides were very alert, attentive and caring, like a father to his children. Bringing a power bank or two was necessary because when you’re there, you’d want to bring back as much memories as you can so you’ll end up taking all the storage space of your phones and will surely sap your battery juice, taking pictures and videos the whole day,” she said. Going home, Ara knows she was fully blessed to have the chance to travel while still able. Yes, it was tiring with the endless walking and sightseeing, but she really didn’t care. She was happy. Though unable to tour all the spots, she averred that she will go back sometime in the future! Traveling, she said, is an important part in her life and suggests everyone to go and see places while they still can and are still young. “Don’t wait until you’re old and wrinkly,” she suggests, “because you’ll get to do so much more by exploring your adventurous side.”

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Travel with instinct

Manu Respall text By Carlo S. Suerte Felipe Photos by TEDDY PELAEZ

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ome travelers nowadays can’t leave home without their gadgets, their favorite jacket, or even pocketknife. But for artist, character actor and poet/writer Giovanni “Manu” Respall, it’s that small bottle of petroleum jelly that he always carries with him all the time. “My lips get dry easily that’s why I can’t leave home without it,” he said. A multi-talented individual who’s been in the entertainment industry for about three decades now, Manu is no stranger to traveling. Going places has been part of his showbiz career where he realized that traveling light is better than hauling a few bags during a trip. Before any trip, he doesn’t just bring the essentials. With careful and extensive research, he visualizes how he will roam around the area where he is going. “Just imagine how you will bring those bags the whole day. My suggestion? Travel light and enjoy the trip.” And he does travel with only a backpack, his constant travel companion for quite a while now. Inside it are just a few clothes and a pair of comfortable shoes, maybe a book, and his mobile phone. Another important thing that he brings—and wears—every time he travels are his instincts. “When you travel, wear your instincts 100 percent of the time,” he said, “because it will make your trips easier. Be assertive. Use your mouth when you have to. Don’t carry that shy personality when you are traveling. It’s more logical to find your way to or going back from your

destination by asking the locals.”

Philippines is first world Unlike many Filipinos who prefer to migrate to another country, Manu is proud to stay and travel around the Philippines. Already in his Forties (which doesn’t show in the way he dresses up because he is more into shirts and jeans), his showbiz career was recently overtaken by his image in social media under the “MR Speaks” Facebook account. His fierce, straight-to-the-point comments and opinions gained him quite a huge following online—quite an achievement for a self-confessed non-techie individual. Once in a while, Manu would get speaking engagements (being a social media influencer to followers known as “Speakans”) in other countries but still prefers to visit Philippine tourist sites as much as he can. “I see the Philippines as a first-world country disguised only as a third-world country. It’s not just the tourist attractions that we have that are world class but also our talents as Filipinos. Other people in other countries may not realize it but if you can only imagine what Filipinos can do, lagot ang ibang bansa (other countries will be in trouble).” Manu noticed that a lot of Filipino students, upon graduation, immediately leave the Philippines to seek better work and life overseas. “What they don’t realize is that many foreigners go and (secretly) live here. I suggest they tour around and get to know our country first and learn the different opportunities here. Mas rock kaya dito sa Pinas (it’s more rockin’ here in the Philippines).”

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Surrounded by Splendor

Text and Photos by Jordanah Racines

Discover the many colors of natural wonders in Sedona’s desert landscape

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reens are serene, blues are calming, browns are earthy, oranges are tropical, yellows are happiness, and the list goes on and on. But the perfect palette of colors? It should start somewhere. Just recently, my dream trip to Sedona, a desert city near Flagstaff in Arizona, USA, came to fruition, and it came exactly by chance! And what a chance it was, because Sedona is undoubtedly a perfect getaway for an adventurous travel bug like me. For me, Sedona exemplifies creativity, because you can find it

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around every corner, just like the famous Red Rocks, which are more beautiful up close and personal. Of course, what will make your heart leap with wonder are the world-class cuisine and the city’s healthy and sustainable community practices. These are what really captivated me the most.

Entrancing artwork Our afternoon started with a tour of Tlaquepaque, an arts and crafts village

with a magnificent Mexican vibe and hundreds of art galleries and craft shops lined up along cobblestone pathways. For art nuts out there, you’ll be wide eyed and will find it hard to resist not buying the entrancing artwork you’ll find there. Take a pick from wonderful paintings, scintillating sculptures, brawny metal arts and attractive rugs to stunning gems and stones. Be warned that going to Tlaquepaque may probably cause a dent on your travel budget from buying the

diverse collection of art pieces that are truly a feast for the eyes.

Gastronomy galore A whole day of touring will naturally leave you famished. It was late in the afternoon when we asked locals for some good spots where we could have dinner. Cucina Rustica was a popular suggestion, and so off we went because we were really starving. All that walking surely burnt a lot of calories.

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With its Italian and Mediterranean fare, Cucina Rustica, located at Oak Creek Village, is one of Arizona’s most beloved restaurants. Run by chef Lisa Dahl, an acclaimed author and restaurateur, its villa-style look and feel translates to great gastronomic galore. This resto is a true feast for the stomach that also activates all your sensory perceptions. A live guitarist complements the place’s ambience, as illustrated by rustic doors that were so utterly prominent at the entrance. And, oh man, the complimentary bread was so heavenly — and not just because it’s free! Suddenly, I felt my standards for bread just shot up the roof.

Adventure for body and soul After filling our stomachs the night before, it was time to experience the adventures that Sedona offers. Our hike started at Slide Rock Market. Good thing that we are used to hiking, so we finished the trek in 20 minutes, more or less (or probably more). Mind you that Sedona is not just all about arts and food, because it also has its spiritual side. The mind, body and spirit

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connection is unique once you commune with nature. I connect myself to nature the moment I expose myself to the glorious rays of the sun. There was that feeling of enchantment, knowing that the bountiful beauty of the environment is surrounding us and that moment was priceless. The world is truly big, and I’m glad to have someone to share it with. You’ll also be amazed at the astounding colors everywhere. The prominent greens and earthy hues were absolutely mindboggling, being the perfect palette of millions of hues, tones and tints that surrounded us was incomparable. We give due credit to Sedona’s distinctive natural beauty that draws millions of visitors each year that has been preserved and protected by the community. Their efforts to maintain and to sustain the spectacular scenery for generations to come really deserve a big hurrah. Of course, our Sedona getaway wouldn’t be complete without a side trip to the monumental Grand Canyon, the socalled Holy Grail of travel and adventure. But that’s for another story. EX PER I EN C E T R AVEL AN D LI VI N G

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France Spiritual Treasures of

By Estrella Torres

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France is a favorite destination for its pilgrimage sites

rance remains the capital of European tourism, with Paris, Cannes and Lourdes as favorite destinations. But beyond the mesmerizing Parisian spots, more destinations around France can be explored for spiritual tourism, as well as cultural and historical heritage tours. The tourism industry is of much importance to France, since the country remains the number one tourism destination in the world with 88 million visitors in 2017. This figure is estimated to have reached about 90 million in 2018. Moreover, the tourism industry is an important sector because it contributes to eight percent of the country’s gross domestic product and helps create over two million jobs. Filipino tourists continue to flock to France, mostly for religious purposes. The French Embassy in Manila said there were more than 80,000 Filipinos who visited France in 2017 despite the lack of direct flights. The French Embassy expects an increase in Filipino tourists, as the embassy introduced in 2017 the 48-hour visa processing for Filipinos to

allow them to make their spiritual journeys. France is host to 50,000 religious sites and 42 UNESCO World Heritage sites, of which 11 are religious in character. The French Tourism Development Agency, Atout France (Assets of France), has been hosting road shows of French destinations for spiritual journeys for Filipino pilgrims. Asean regional director Morad Tayebi of Atout France said Filipinos are among the top visitors in France in terms of spiritual tourism. Besides Lourdes, he said there are a lot of unexplored religious sites, as well as scenic destinations and the culinary culture in the provinces of Normandy and Burgundy.

Lisieux, Normandy Just two hours away from Paris by car and 90 minutes by train, Lisieux in the province of Normandy is host to important religious sites significant to the life of St. Therese. Spiritual journeys around Lisieux include following the footsteps of the Saint Family — St. Therese and her parents Saints Louis and Zelie

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Martin—who had been canonized in October 18, 2005 in Rome. The tour includes a visit to the Buissonnets, the family house of St. Therese, where she spent her formative years. Next stop is St. Peter’s Cathedral where the saint as a young girl realized her missionary calling. Lisieux is also host to other religious sites. Visitors can go to the Carmel Chapel, which serves as the Shrine of St. Therese, and the Crypt that serves as the Shrine of Saints Louis and Zelie, the first couple to be canonized as saints in Catholic history. The Basilica, built in the 20th century, also holds a festival of gatherings in honor of St. Therese. Cap your pilgrimage in this town with a visit to the idyllic Chateaux and Gardens- St. Germain de Livet Castle Museum, the Chateau de Crevecoeur, and the Canon’s Garden. While in Lisieux, do not miss the majestic Le Mont Saint Michel, a medieval monastery situated in the bay of Normandy and Brittany.

Alençon, Normandy The birthplace of St. Therese, Alençon is fast becoming a Catholic pilgrimage site. Tourists can view the toys of St. Therese and the wedding ring of her parents. The tourism development office in Alençon also preserved the bedroom where St. Therese was born and the bed where her mother died. The Basilica in Alençon is an important religious site as the young St. Therese was baptized there in 1873. The chapel preserved the baptismal gown of the young saint for viewing.

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An interesting stop, located seven kilometers from Alençon, is the House of Rose Taille, the nurse who breastfed Therese because her mother couldn’t, thus saving her life.

Paray le Monial, Burgundy Burgundy is also an important pilgrimage destination in France. Be sure to visit the town’s loveliest place, Paray le Monial, located at the heart of Charolais-Brionnais area. The church, now turned into a basilica, was where a nun named Marguerite-Marie had visions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Do not miss the town of Vezel in Burgundy to visit the basilica where the relics of Maria Magdalena can be found in its crypt. The basilica is also a masterpiece of Roman architecture. Still in Burgundy, the preserved body of Bernadette Souberous, the Saint of Lourdes, lies in a crystal coffin in a chapel here where she served as nun. Saint Bernadette, born in Lourdes, is a venerated saint known for the Marian apparitions. The Virgin Mother was said to have appeared before her, asking for a chapel to be built at the cave grotto at Massabielle in Lourdes. She spent the last 13 years in Nevers and her body, which never decayed, still lies in the chapel. Spiritual tourism in France includes journeys beyond the scenery, medieval castles and gastronomic experience that the country is known for. The tours following the footsteps of saints and detailing their kindness to humanity indeed help us find life’s deeper meaning.


THE GOOD LIFE

Jaime Picornell with MPPC director of sales and marketing Lara Constantino-Scarrow and revenue manager Jude Pangan

Bonifacio Landmark Realty and Development Corp. president Hans Hauri, Stephanie Sieberg and Fritz Strolz

Elena Palacios and Luis Escharry

Ian Bozhilov and Loue Manuel

Dr. Vivina Chiu with Julie Najar

Michael and Rose Hennessy

Officers and board members of La Chaine des Rotisseurs Bailliage Cebu led by Bailli Delegue National Michel Lhuillier (3rd row, 4th from left) during the 26th Induction Gala Dinner held at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu.

Victoria Nolasco with Eryn Van Winden

Plantation Bay’s Efren Belarmino, Teresin Mendezona and Joward Tongco

Ian Lancaster, Marco Polo Plaza Cebu (MPPC) general manager Brian Connelly and Chaine des Rotisseurs Bailli Delegue National Michel Lhuillier

Amparito and Michel Lhuillier with Angie Mathieu and Mickey Paulson

A Night of Glamour By Suzette Jessica

It was a night of Las Vegas-style glitz and glamour when the Cebu chapter of La Chaine des Rotisseurs held its 26th Induction Gala Dinner at Marco Polo Plaza Cebu (MPPC). Bailli Delegue National Michel Lhuillier alongside the organization’s board members inducted 19 new Chaine des Rotisseurs Bailliage Cebu members, while special awards were bestowed upon existing members for their milestones in the organization. Following the ceremony, guests were ushered

to the adjacent section of the ballroom, where they were personally welcomed by the ultra-efficient and hardworking MPPC general manager Brian Connelly and the industrious and dedicated director of sales and marketing Lara Constantino-Scarrow. It was a lavish evening of fantastic food and sumptuous wines from France, Italy and California. Congratulations to both the Chaine des Rotisseurs and Marco Polo Plaza Cebu for another successful event. EX PER I EN C E T R AVEL AN D LI VI N G

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(From left) Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (JSSP) Wiener Ball co-chairpersons Tanzania consul Betty Chua and Virginia Lane, JSSP chairman Monaco consul general Dr. Fortune Ledesma, JSSP vice president and Wiener Ball event chairperson The Gambia consul Agnes Huibonhoa and JSSP president Olga Martel

Ambassador of Panama Rolando Guevara Alvardo, consul general Dr. Fortune Ledesma, retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and Ambassador of Colombia Victor Hugo Echeverri

Fine music for the soul By Suzette Jessica

Ambassador of Austria Bita Rasoulian and husband Ramin Mahmoudi

Ambassador of Australia Steven Robinson and wife madam Rhonda

Former Spanish ambassador to the Philippines Ignacio Sagaz and wife Aurora

Tingting Cojuangco and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) president Nick Lizaso

Carolyn Tan with Bonifacio Landmark Realty and Development Corp. president Hans Hauri and wife Bo

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The crème de la crème of Philippine society gathered together for an evening of fine classical music during the Wiener Ball of Johann Strauss Society of the Philippines Foundation Inc. (JSSP) held recently at the Rizal Ballroom of Makati Shangri-La. The annual gala concert was organized under the leadership of JSSP chairman Monaco consul general Dr. Fortune Ledesma, president Olga Martel, event chairperson and vice president The Gambia consul Agnes Huibonhoa and co-chairpersons Tanzania consul Betty Chua and Virginia Lane. Maestro Peter Ritzen led the night’s celebration, followed by a lavish dinner to cap off the evening. Proceeds from the event will go to JSSP’s various beneficiaries, including the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

DMARK Beauty Corporation CEO Nikki Tang, mesdames Mervat Ezzat of Egypt and Monia Zaoui of Morocco with Ping Valencia

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Lissie Ong

Margaux Cobarrubias

Cecille Asprec

Beth Ventura and daughter Elyse

Carolyn Tan

Fashion for a Cause By Suzette Jessica

It was a night for culture and the arts as the Society for Cultural Enrichment, Inc. (SCEI) held a charity fashion show entitled Seasons, featuring the dazzling creations of celebrated fashion designer Jun Escario, organized by event chairperson Ofelia Wadle. The committee that led the fundraising program was headed by chairman Angola consul Helen Ong and vice chairman Dr. Jimmy Laya. Proceeds from the event were to

Society for Cultural Enrichment Inc. (SCEI) Committee (from left) event chairperson Ofelia Wadle, Len Olbes, Bo Muralla, Sheree Chua, SCEI chairman Angola consul Helen Ong, Eni Alba, Marian Ong, Gambia consul Agnes Huibonhoa and vice chairman Dr. Jimmy Laya

be used for the benefit of dance scholars and a program to expose public school teachers to culture and the arts, as well as for the purchase of a cryotherapy machine for the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS). During the evening, the Cultural Achievement Awards were handed out by artists Edgar Doctor, Karen Concepcion, Roy Gonzales and Danny Dolor to a select group of individuals.

Ofelia Wadle, consul Helen Ong and fashion designer Jun Escario

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A Double Celebration By Suzette Jessica

It was a twin celebration hosted by the Embassy of Argentina in the Philippines, under the leadership of Ambassador José Néstor Ureta, when it celebrated the country’s 209th National Day and Malbec World Day. The occasion was also memorable because Ambassador Ureta announced his retirement after 42 years from the diplomatic service. “The Philippines is a nation to which we share

Ambassador of Brazil Rodrigo do Amaral Souza and wife madam Lais with Carmelita and Bob Dela Rosa

Ambassador of Colombia Victor Hugo Echeverri, Monaco consul general Dr. Fortune Ledesma, Ambassador of Hungary József Bencze and Marivic Rufino

Ambassador of Egypt Ahmed Ezzat with Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates Hamad Saeed Al Zaabi

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a similar inspiration and determination for a better future for our people and international community,” Ureta said. He praised the growing bilateral relations between Argentina and the Philippines, praising the Filipinos that he met during his stay as being hospitable, polite and hardworking. Congratulations, Ambassador Ureta.

Ambassador of India Jaideep Mazumdar and Ambassador of Morocco Mohammed Rida El Fassi

Madam Mariza Arciniega and husband Ambassador of Mexico Gerardo Lozano Arredondo

Ambassador of Australia Steven Robinson and wife madam Rhonda with Portugal consul Tony Rufino

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Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia and Ambassador of Argentina José Néstor Ureta

Ambassador of Sweden Harald Fries and Niña Faye Simbajon

Anna Schissau and German Embassy Manila chargé d’affaires Dr. Roland Schissau

Mesdames Mervat Ezzat of Egypt, Adriana Clorinda Tomas of Argentina and Veronica Foxley of Chile


POSTINGS

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hen going to Dubai, an ultramodern and chic city in the United Arab Emirates, a city known for expensive and luxurious shopping, revolutionary architecture that includes the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and a dominating figure in Dubai’s skyscraper-marked skyline, and lively and lovely nightlife spectacle, it is home to the extreme, royalty, extravagance, modernity, and financial stability. But amid the lavishness and opulence lies a small spot where one can enjoy sumptuous and delicious gastronomic delights, the traditional Filipino kind of culinary glee, that is. Thanks to City Pavilion Café and Restaurant, coupled with its bright interiors, hospitable and cheery staff, and of course the delectable menu, Filipinos living and working in Dubai can now look forward to dining the way they are accustomed to— truly Pinoy. City Pavilion Café and Restaurant, which started in April 2017, offers Daing na Bangus, Nilagang Baka, Beef Tapa, Chicken Adobo, Sizzling Squid, King Fish Sinigang, among others, just some of the restaurant’s affordable choices you can drool on and savor to have a taste of home. They also have their version of the modern boodle fight, only it’s not served in the usual large-size banana leaf but in modern platters, composed mostly of seafood like crabs, squid, fish and shellfish, plus grilled chicken and popular Filipino desserts, good for about seven people. Plus, City Pavilion serves a true Pinoy summer favorite, its own recipe of “Halo Halo” to beat the torrid desert heat and other sweet servings for kababayans with a sweet tooth. But more than the Pinoy vibe and delicious food, City Pavilion Café and Restaurant is where everything is good and tastes good, with accommodating restaurant personnel that embodies great customer service and typifies what Filipino hospitality is all about according to Noe Balagon, Manager of City Pavilion Cafe and Restaurant.. Looking for reasonably priced Filipino food when in Dubai? Don’t worry. City Pavilion Café and Restaurant will surely satiate your craving. City Pavilion Café and Restaurant is located at the ground floor of Centurion Star B building, 7b 34 Street, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

A taste of authentic Filipino food vibe in

Dubai

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Your Tropical Island Holiday Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay will continue to work tirelessly to create a sustainable future for Boracay, ensuring that visitors are able to enjoy this idyllic island for many generations to come. By Ruby Asoy-Lebajo

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oracay Island is one place I really want to go back to after I experienced its pristine beauty in its heyday. After its brief closure, I was delighted to be back to this idyllic nirvana. Upon arrival at the Caticlan-Boracay Airport and at Caticlan port, a boat whisked us to Boracay island and brought directly to

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Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay at Punta Bunga Cove, reopened recently for guests to experience this exquisite destination’s newlyrestored magnificence. The itinerary was light and easy. Day One featured a sumptuous lunch at Ssäm, with its innovative Asian cuisine and a sushi and sashimi bar, and a relaxing break at The Café with its irresistible cakes, signature sandwiches, teas, coffees and Chocolate Hour! Night time was made special with a welcome seafood dinner and cocktails at Sol Marina Beach Club hosted by Mövenpick’s affable general manager, Andre Brulhart and his team, Grace Agatep and Pia De Villa. “It is wonderful to welcome guests back to Boracay,” says Brulhart. “With our private beach on the island’s northern tip, Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay did not have the same issues as the rest of the island, but we are happy with the overall impact of the island’s closure.” After dinner, we chilled out at Sol Marina’s sun loungers and cabanas. The next day, breakfast was at The Market with its delectable daily buffet breakfast and global à la carte lunch and dinner selections. We then went to the main beach to see how it looks like post-rehabilitation.Lunch was served at Brezza and its authentic Italian cuisine, like the fastest handmade pizzas on the island baked in a wood-fired oven imported direct NO. 3

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from Napoli (Naples), Italy, nicknamed “The Beast,” plus Italian “aperitivo” and fine wines. Afterward, it was a luxurious spa treatment at the resort, where I opted for the 90-minute Sagay Regenerating Ritual, inspired from sagay (shell) true essence. It incorporates sagay’s richness in calcium that can be absorbed by the body through heat and essential oils to leave the skin moisturized and smoother. For dinner, best-tasting grilled food was served at the resort’s very exclusive presidential villa. As hoteliers, Brulhart believes their duty is to preserve their destination and create benefits for the entire local community. Our last day was a “me” time moment to experience the hotel’s amenities. At my bright, contemporary-designed room, one of the resort’s 312 rooms and suites, I saw the tropical gardens and shimmering sea. Families and younger guests will also enjoy the Little Birds Club and playground, where event organizers can host unforgettable occasions in several venues like the indoor meeting rooms and an outdoor wedding space. These and more made my paradise escape truly memorable. For more about Mövenpick Resort & Spa Boracay, visit www.movenpick.com/en/asia/philippines/ boracay/resort-spa-boracay.


Wander Like a Local:

Wuhan Unveiled

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he first thing that comes to mind when traveling to China may be the terracotta warriors of Shaanxi province or the Great Wall of China in Huairo, or even bar hopping in Shanghai. But there is one place in this old country that is very much worth exploring—Wuhan. Sprawling with historic temples and picturesque views, Wuhan is about 1,160 kilometers from Beijing and is the best place for gastronomic, cultural and spiritual aspiration. Dubbed as the “Chicago of China” due to its connection to other major cities via dozens of railways, roads and expressways, Wuhan is the perfect base to get from one point to another across China. To explore Wuhan’s rich culture and tradition, there’s no better way to explore the city than on a full stomach. The city offers hot and dry noodles, Doupi (a breakfast snack made from eggs, rice, beef, mushroom and beans), salty doughnuts, and the famous Duck Neck, known as “living meat” or the most delicious part of a duck. The meat is tightly attached to the bone, which is maybe its greatest pleasure, besides the burning and spicy flavors. Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province and the most populous city in Central China, lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River’s intersection with the Han river. Marvel at Guiyuan Temple, one of the top places to visit, being one of the four biggest temples for

Buddhist meditation in Hubei, Yellow Crane Tower, one of the four great towers of China, Hubei Provincial Museum and of course, a ferry boat ride at East Lake to explore the scenic area with pavilions and gardens. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom in spring. Wuhan is historically significant and also a major player in China’s rapidly developing future. With a 3,500-year history, Wuhan’s urban civilization dates to Panlong Town, the oldest city ever unearthed in the Yangtze River basin. For the past thousands of years, thanks to its well-developed transport network and abundant local products, this area has always been a land of milk and honey, and a regional political, commercial and trade center. Thus, Wuhan possesses an advantage and characteristic of diverse cultures. While Guangzhou is the paradise for eating and Shanghai is for dressing, Wuhan is a combination of both. High mountains and flowing water, hot weather, spicy food, smart people, splendid history and culture, they characterize the city as one of the most colorful in China, making this gem of a city as the next top destination for globetrotters. The city of Wuhan warmly welcomes Filipinos to visit and bring out their inner wanderlust. Sounds blissful enough to book that ticket and hop on the plane? For more information, reach Be Tour & Travel. Discover Wuhan today and find out why it’s known as “China’s Thoroughfare.”

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Let’s explore Cavite Isla Events Center organized its first-ever Travel and Tour Expo to further boost tourism in the province By Ruby Asoy-Lebajo Photos By: Obet Constante

Tourism management is geared toward developing students in formulating policies that will make tourist destinations sustainable.

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ith Cavite being near Manila and a preferred venue of families and friends for their weekend getaways, Isla Events Center recently organized the first Cavite Travel and Tour Expo (CTTE) to boost the province’s tourism offering. The event also attracted exhibitors from popular destinations in the country that offer travel and tour packages. Department of Tourism (DOT) IV-A CALABARZON officer-in-charge regional director Marites Castro led the ribbon-cutting ceremony that formally opened the three-day expo at Isla Events Center located at Tamsui Avenue, Bayang Luma II, Imus City. She was joined by Cavite Tourism and Cultural Affairs officer-in-charge Rozelle Sangalang and CTTE project director and Isla Events Marketing and Sales consultant Jonalyn Agrazada. Castro said that Cavite has so much to offer in terms of tourism promotion. “We are positioning Cavite as a cultural


and historical destination, so we need to capitalize on its rich history and many historical sites. We just need to fix it so we can shout to the world, ano ba meron sa Cavite (what does Cavite have)?” shared Castro during the opening. She added that Cavite, a hub for culinary tours, adventure and amusement, festivals, and shopping activities, should be tourist ready, complemented by a road network leading to these tourist sites. “That’s why we have convergence with DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways).” Castro also highlighted the need to create a “sustainable and responsible culture of tourism” to attain inclusive growth. She expressed commitment to support product development, including improvement and enhancement of manpower through training, and creating

affordable tour packages to entice more visitors. She likewise told tourism stakeholders to upgrade on new technology and use social media in their promotions. Dean Margareth Fernandez of the International School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (ISHRM), the largest and leading school for HRM in Region IV with campuses in Bacoor and Dasmariñas, also noted that tourism management is geared towards developing students in formulating policies that will make tourist destinations sustainable. “It’s not just about Cavite because it is also about national and global issues. Since we are in Cavite, we are committed to teach our students to look into how they can help develop tourism in Cavite.” One of the exhibitors, The Bayleaf Cavite, is a 4-star hotel and the second branch of Bayleaf (the first located in

Intramuros, Manila). Now on its third year, The Bayleaf Cavite, represented by Wilma Esquejo, director of Sales, shared that they achieved 62-percent growth since they opened in General Trias, Cavite. The hotel has four F & B outlets—The Atrium, Bar on the 8th, PoolBar, and Fields, an all-day dining café—and has 148 rooms and suites that can accommodate families and groups. “Our rooms are a good mix of sheer elegance and lasting comfort,” she said. Frequent guests are golfers, students, local and European travelers traveling for both business and leisure. Launched on December 2018, the Isla Events Center is being positioned as an events venue with “endless events possibilities.” Agrazada said the project comes as a pioneering venture “to make the public know that Isla also offers ‘other’ uses of the venue, not just for banquets and socials.” The Isla Management team is also tapping the “travel, trade and Manilabased clients by offering exclusive activities that are appealing to the buying public.” The center can accommodate up to 150 people in a banquet-style set up, and with a 30-vehicle guest parking area. Seminars and conferences can also be held at the Isla Events Hall, which can fit approximately 250 people in a theater style set-up. For more information on Isla Events, check and like its Facebook page, www. facebook.com/EventsIsla or visit www. islaevents.net.

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Passpod is now in the Philippines

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inally, Passpod, the digital tourist pass, is available in the Philippines! During the 1st PhilippineIndonesian Economic and Investment Summit 2019 held recently in Jakarta, Indonesia, Indonesian travel technology startup PT. Yelooo Integra Datanet, Tbk. and local payments service provider Weepay Payment Processing Corp. signed the memorandum of agreement that paved the way for the Filipino traveler to finally enjoy the service of Passpod. Among those who witnessed the historic event were Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia, the Hon. Amb. Leehiong T. Wee, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Commercial Attaché for Indonesia, Jeremiah Reyes. Also present were members of the Indonesian business community as well as the Philippine Business Club of Indonesia. Passpod is a digital tourist pass that provides seamless connectivity when traveling overseas and offers local attractions anywhere in the world. Established in 2017 as a Mi-Fi (Mobile Wi-Fi) rental company in Indonesia, Passpod has evolved to become a one-stop connectivity solution for tourists during their trip. Locally, Passpod Philippines offers personal hotspot or Wi-Fi rentals, worldwide travel SIM card packages, travel insurance, local attractions, events, tickets and activity passes as well as online shopping for all travelers. Click “like” on the Passpod Philippines Facebook page, www.Facebook. com/passpod.ph.




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